Showing posts with label Hiroshi Sakurazaka. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Hiroshi Sakurazaka. Show all posts

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Edge of Tomorrow by Hiroshi Sakurazaka

Title: Edge of Tomorrow aka All You Need is Kill
Author: Hiroshi Sakurazaka
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Rating: WARTY!

Read poorly by Mike Martindale.

Not to be confused with Isaac Asimov's The Edge of Tomorrow or a score of other novels employing this tired title, this Edge of Tomorrow was originally released as All You Need Is Kill accompanied by illustrations from Yoshitoshi Abe. This was not a manga, but there was a later manga adaptation released.

The novel was re-released under the new title to tie it in with the movie of the same name which was based on the novel. I listened to the audio version of the novel read by Mike Martindale. I have to say that the reading was poor, and the story wasn't very good, which might account for a tough reading. What, Simon and Schuster couldn't get an Asian guy to read this? Shame on them. Way to go big Publishing&Trade;.

The plain fact is that the movie writers got it right. I had a chance to see a sneak preview of the movie and was completely won over by it. This novel (or short story more like), on the other hand was less than thrilling because the author had striven so hard to make it sound so hard-bitten and tough that it was almost a parody of a war novel. Everything was exaggerated and bitter and it was such a laughably stereotypical military conflict story, that I sincerely believed I would not be able to listen to it all. It did improve as the story progressed, but nowhere near enough to make me consider this a worthy read.

The movie depicts the main character as an American, Major William Cage (named after the original character's nickname), who has no training beyond basic and who is frankly cowardly and happy to be the PR voice of the military. He's unceremoniously tossed into the front lines against his will. In the novel he's Keiji Kiriya, a lowly soldier in the United Defense Force, Japanese contingent who has basic training and is in an infantry unit. In both cases, on his first battle, the soldier somehow gains the ability to reset time every time he dies, and so after he's killed, he always wakes up on the day before the battle where he died.

Sergeant Rita Vrataski in the movie is Sergeant-Major Rita Vrataski in the novel, and is a US special forces soldier, but is otherwise the same person (except that she's British in the movie, not American), and the one highlight of this novel is how she is described and referenced throughout it. The novel doesn't have Kiriya linking up with Vrataski for the longest time, and even when they do, their story is different. He's a much more independent operator, although he quickly decides that she has the right idea, and manages to work out, over several lifetimes, that he needs to arm himself with the same battle-ax which she uses since the bullets in his little standard issue gun don't do diddly against the Mimic carapace.

The ending is different, too, and that's all the spoiler you're going to get. Had I read this before the movie came out, I would have had no intention of seeing the movie - until of course, I saw the movie preview and realized it was much better. I can't recommend the novel. I do recommend the movie which I also review on this blog.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

All You Need is Kill by Nick Mamatas

Title: All You Need is Kill
Author: Nick Mamatas
Publisher: Haika Soru
Rating: worthy!

Illustrated by Lee Ferguson.
Based on the novel by Hiroshi Sakurazaka

This is a triple tie-in: novel, movie, and graphic novel, all reviewed on this blog. I have to ask - the title: is it a play on the old Beatles anthem, All You Need is Love? (Also note that the graphic samples shown here are not in any order - don't want to give too much away!).

This illustrated version is not the same as the movie The Edge of Tomorrow (reviewed here) which was derived from the same original novel upon which this graphic version is also based. The ending is different in the movie, and the movie version does not have quite the same basis as this one does, but nevertheless, the original tale is well-worth reading, and it's told well in this graphic version. The dialog is amusing with subtle pop-culture references here and there, and the art work is really top notch.

It begins with Keiji Kiriya, a Japanese soldier, waking in his bunk after experiencing a really weird dream. His morning training session is interrupted by a visit from the Full Metal Bitch, aka Rita Vrataski, a legendary soldier who looks like a teenager when out of uniform, but who looks deadly as a cobra in her red armor. She starts to bond with Keiji. Indeed, she has been looking for him, which is why she wears distinctive armor - she doesn't want him to miss her.

Over time (!) Keiji comes to realize that there's more to her than the more to her which meets the eye, and he realizes that she has gone through the same repetitions that he has, but she is not doing so any more. As he notches up one repetition after another, and gets better at what he does, he also comes to realize what she has long known: in order to end this horrifying rinse and repeat, one of them will have to die.

Don't think you know the ending if you've seen the movie. You don't. Not having read the novel yet, I don't even know if this ends the same way as that. I'll let you know when I review the novel! Meanwhile, I recommend this graphic version for the dialog and the art work.