Keiji Kiriya doesn’t remember a time before the Mimics. The bloated, dead-frog looking creatures have come from a planet 40-some light years away in search of a new home for their race. Humanity, however, does not plan on giving them Earth so easily.
He’s only a recruit, can barely operate the heavy Jacket that soldiers are suited with on the battlefield. It’s his first real battle against the Mimics. On the battlefield, he damages one of them but not before they get him too.
Only to wake up and find himself repeating the same day over again.
Keiji is caught in a loop, reliving the same events every day. After a few days through the loop, he begins to train to become a better soldier. Most of the day to day events remain the same, but there are minor variances in most of them. Some of them he dies in the beginning of battle, others not.But with every loop, he becomes a stronger killing machine, Hell-bent on getting himself out of this loop.
In each of these loops, he sees the one woman slaughtering machine, Rita Vrataski, the Full Metal Bitch. She is one of the elite US Jacket jockeys, sent to Japan to help keep the technology of the country safe from the Mimics. Her Jacket is brilliant blood red and wields a giant battle axe, with which she has killed thousands of Mimics in order to defend humanity.
Once I began reading about Keiji’s struggle with the time loop I didn’t want to put it down. Sakurazaka-san does an amazing job at portraying each of the loops without going into each one individually. Keiji grows with each pass with the loop, fully aware of all the previous passes. The choices he’s made in each loop influence then next loop he will encounter. Watching Keiji grow from a rookie to a battle hardened soldier really kept me enjoying the story.
It’s not a long novel, barely 200 pages in length, but it is a good science fiction tale. I recommend it if you are looking for a short but enjoyable read.
Cover art by yoshitoshi ABe (Copyright Viz Media)