"Is it true the green tea they serve in Japan at the end of your meal comes free?"
— Rita "Valkyrie" Vrataski, aka "The Full Metal Bitch"
There's one thing worse than dying. It's coming back to do it again and again. When the alien Mimics invade, Keiji Kiriya is just one of many raw recruits shoved into a suit of battle armor and sent out to kill. Keiji dies on the battlefield, only to find himself reborn each morning to fight and die again and again. On the 158th iteration though, he sees something different, something out of place: the female soldier known as the Bitch of War. Is the Bitch the key to Keiji's escape, or to his final death?All You Need Is Kill is a 2004 Japanese novel by Hiroshi Sakurazaka that deals with Keiji's "Groundhog Day" Loop and his desperate efforts to break the cycle.Warner Bros. is currently working on a film adaptation titled Edge of Tomorrow, directed by Doug Liman and starring Tom Cruise as "Bill Cage" and Emily Blunt as Rita Vrataski.There is also a manga adaptation illustrated by TakeshiObata.
Tropes in this work
Attack! Attack! Attack!: Probably the only battle strategy the Mimics use. Despite this, they were still able to destroy much of Earth's defense force thanks to their ability to send their memory to the past.
Awesome yet Practical: Rita (and later Keiji) use huge battle axes for close quarter combat while everyone else use 20-shot Pile drivers. They realize that the 20mm rifle rounds are near useless against the Mimic, and the pile-drivers, while still deadly to Mimics, are limited to 20 shots, so a weapon that doesn't run out of ammo is invaluable. The axe can also be Awesome, but Impractical, as Shasta soberly points out, because its powerful inertia can easily lead to a broken spine or even death. The users were only able to perfect their technique thanks to the consequence-free nature of the time loop.
Big Bra to Fill: Inverted. Rita is flat-chested but the actress who plays her in the Hollywood movie based on her life is far more glamorous and curvy. When Rita is presented with a Japanese figurine modeled after herself, she has to be told that it's supposed to be her because of the utter lack of resemblance.
Blessed with Suck / Cursed with Awesome: Imagine being able to relive the day when you get painfully killed over and over until you figure out how to survive. Though it is not stated, Kiriya , as well as Rita, knows it is both a blessing and a curse.
Blood Knight: In their introductory meeting, Rita told Shasta that she was glad she lived in a world full of war. Rita herself admits she's skilled as a great warrior but does have some inner doubts about whether becoming a warrior would have been her own choice of destiny.
Book Ends: The opening scene has Rita comforting a dying Keiji. The denoument has Keiji returning the favor after their fight.
But Not Too Foreign: Sergeant Ferrell, a Japanese-Brazilian, immigrated to Japan after his family farm was destroyed by the Mimics.
Chekov's Gun: There's a minor event that is described as happening in every loop that Keiji survives long enough to reach - him helping a drunk Yonabaru into his bunk. When it doesn't happen (on account of Keiji spending the night with Rita), it's a sign that the upcoming loop is going to be very different.
Crippling Overspecialization: Keiji feels that this is the Mimic's one weakness, as their reliance on looking into the future, and acting solely on that foresight means that humanity can learn faster than they can, and that humans can specialize in other ways (as mechanics, or soldiers, or inventors, etc.) that Mimics can't with their shiny hammer.
Expy: The armor almost resembles the armor of Spartans from the Halo series.
In the manga version, Rita looks like Aoki from Bakuman.
From Nobody to Nightmare: Keiji enters the loop as a not particularly exceptional soldier. He exits it as "Killer Cage" Kiriya, second recipient of the Order of the Valkyrie, with the highest Mimic kill total - period. His fellow soldiers are shown to have a good amount of fear of him afterwards.
Genius Bruiser: Rita, though not explicitly stated. After getting stuck in the loop, she figured out how it works, which Mimics are responsible for it and the strategy to get out of it, all by herself.
"Groundhog Day" Loop: Keiji and Rita (but not in Keiji's loop) are stuck repeating the same 30 hours.
Guns Are Worthless: Played very straight. The Jacket's 20mm rounds does little damage to the Mimics' armor; Heavier mounted gun can hardly hit them due to their speed. The pile-drivers are capable of killing the Mimics in one shot, but can only be used at near point-blank range.
Highly Conspicuous Uniform: Rita's crimson Jacket and Keiji's sky-blue one. It is explicitly stated that they want their Jackets to draw attention and let everyone know they are still alive and kicking.
Innocent Aliens: Ruthlessly subverted. The aliens decide to ecoform the Earth without checking to see if it's inhabited by intelligent life, because sending a radio signal and waiting 80 years for a reply would take too long. Worse, even if the Earth is inhabited by intelligent life, the aliens decide that they should ecoform the planet anyway, reasoning that civilization is always built on the sacrifice of the natural world, so xenocide is no big deal.
Lonely at the Top: Rita Vrataski. At the end, she escapes that fate, and Keiji takes her place.
One-Man Army: Played straight, deconstructed, and discussed. Both Rita and Keiji are clearly One Man Armies, and it's stated that without Rita humanity would have lost the war years ago, but they're not so powerful as to be able to save all their teammates, a failing which rips them up inside. Many think that Rita is just used for propaganda purposes. After Keiji breaks out of his loop, his incredible battlefield prowess causes his old teammates to regard him warily.
Red Oni, Blue Oni: Played with between Rita and Keiji. Ultimately lampshaded with their Jackets - Rita's is painted crimson, while Keiji has his painted sky blue after his induction into the Special Forces.
Roaring Rampage of Revenge: After he's forced to kill Rita to break the loop, Keiji goes into such a rampage that he barely remembers the resulting fight, in which he kills more Mimics than all of Rita's kills combined.
Save Scumming: The author's inspiration for the novel. It's the source of Keiji's and Rita's advanced combat skill, and the Mimics' important advantage.
Rita was actually skilled before her looping began, but it was the looping that enabled her to figure out how to finish off a Mimic troop.
Slasher Smile: Keiji starts sporting these as soon as he realizes that he has the best way to train.
Starfish Aliens: The Mimics landed in the ocean, and copied what they found there (Starfish), which they now have much more in common with them than humans. There is little mention of the real aliens though, other than that they require a much different biosphere than us.
Stay in the Kitchen: Partly subverted. Rita is by far the greatest fighter the Earth has at its disposal, but among Keiji's Japanese squad there are no women. Men are also referenced as making up the majority of Jacket users worldwide.
Switching P.O.V.: The third chapter focuses on Rita's past and the Mimic's origin.