Rating (Out of 5): ~3.5-4
Publisher: Shonen Jump Advanced (VIZ Media)
Release Date: November 4, 2014
Volumes: 2 / 1 Omnibus
When the alien Mimics invade, Keiji Kiriya is just one of many recruits shoved into a suit of battle armor called a Jacket and sent out to kill. Keiji dies on the battlefield, only to be reborn each morning to fight and die again and again. On his fifth iteration, he gets a message from a mysterious ally: the female soldier known as the Full Metal Bitch. Is she the key to Keiji's escape or his final death?
For some reason, I thought there was more than two volumes/one omnibus of this series. I just assumed, I guess. But I’m glad that it’s only one, and I definitely would have picked it up faster had I known.
I haven’t read the novel or seen the movie, or even heard much but hype about this book. The only other thing I’ve really read of Obata’s is Death Note, too, although I did enjoy that series a lot. So what I’m saying is, I came into this book pretty open and with very little idea of what I was getting.
It’s pretty violent, first of all. And Obata’s artwork is rather gorgeous at times. He does not hide from the death and blood, which is good given that this book takes place in war.
Kiriya has just started training, and is about go on his first day on the battlefield. And when he does, he dies. Only he comes back, and lives those two days over and over again, with no idea how to get out of it.
Kiriya is a fighter, and even though he has to relive dying over a hundred times, he keeps trying, gets more determined, and figures out ways to do it differently, to get better, the more it happens. And then he meets Rita, the top fighter, with her own special weapon and the most kills.
I loved the progression of the story—how Kiriya gets stronger and figures out how to work things to his advantage. And his relationship with Rita, as well as Rita’s own backstory, was done beautifully. The ending was…sad. I’m not even sure what I was expecting, but the way it ended just kind of depresses me. It’s sad for all included, but I will agree that it fits, and it does kind of give Rita peace in the end. I’m still not sure if I like it, though.
The one real complaint that I have for this--and it’s not major, I can get over it--is Rita’s build. She’s tiny, which is perfectly fine, but she also doesn’t have any muscle. If she’s been doing this for three years, the strongest and most skilled fighter, and the only one carrying the heaviest weapon, then she would have more muscle, more bulk, to her.
Overall, I really enjoyed this volume. I’m impressed with the story and the art, and am now thinking about picking up more of Obata’s work, as well as the novel and/or movie of this book.
Also, I must say that this is a very pretty book. There are color pages at the beginning of the book, it’s a larger omnibus (taller?) than normal, and it’s printed on nice, thick pages. Definitely a worthwhile read.
A review copy was provided by the publisher, VIZ Media, and Erik Jansen from MediaLab PR. Thank you so, so much!