It is time for Waifu Wednesday once again and here comes another stone cold badass of a woman. Today’s celebratory waifu is the heroine of All You Need Is Kill – Rita Vrataski, or “Full Metal Bitch” to those who do not personally know her or who end up appreciating her from a safe enough distance.
That’s right; for today’s weekly waifu it’s yet another one illustrated by the one and only Takeshi Obata, the artist behind the infamous Death Note. But this time with All You Need Is Kill it released in 2014 with its story having been written by Hiroshi Sakurazaka and Ryosuke Takeuchi and printed across only two volumes. This manga adaptation of the Japanese novel of the same name written by Sakurazaka would also see an American movie loosely adapted from it called Edge of Tomorrow, released within the very same year. But with all that said this piece is to highlight the Rita Vrataski of its manga version.
Spoilers are mentioned down below so please consider speed reading through the mere 17 chapters that makes up the entire manga before scrolling any further.
Who is Rita Vrataski?
In this action sci-fi nightmare, protagonist Keiji Kiriya is a new recruit in the fight against the constant threat of Mimics, an alien force that has already obliterated much of the human population. But during his very first deployment as part of the United Defence Force (UDF), when coming face to face with said adversaries, he meets his untimely demise. But he’s not exactly dead.
Keiji wakes up and repeats the same 30 hours before his death each and every day. Now looping endlessly, Keiji seeks a way out. He makes numerous attempts at tackling the same day differently at every given opportunity, from downing an increasing amount of enemies during the Mimic invasion or changing up his strategy by using a brand new weapon at one point. In any case, his gaze always seems to capture Rita’s, another fellow special forces solider whose reputation precedes her. A young woman who is slowly but surely catching on to a very important revelation involving the two of them.
Why we love her
Rita is a fearless and striking battle hardened unit of the UDF. She’s respectfully termed as “The Valkyrie” due to her notoriety in being the individual who has taken down the most Mimics. She’s thoroughly eye catching for a variety of reasons, such as her unique usage of a battle axe rather than the basic firearm when handling Mimics, as well as her red colour scheme as opposed to the muted UDF uniform design.
Without going into spoiler territory just yet Rita’s behaviour outside of battle is one of the few indicators to her real, authentic self. When she’s not having to fulfil the role of the always-dependable blood knight, Rita is a goofy and energetic maiden whose petite and airy appearance further juxtaposes to her talents on the battlefield. It’s especially endearing to see her try to stomach sour food when it does not sit right with her, but she’s not one to back down from friendly competition.
Why you will love her (spoiler section)
So here’s the real deal about Rita Vrataski, whose real name we will never actually learn of. Her story has been a tragic one ever since her teenage years.
A sudden Mimic invasion destroys her family, quickly taking out her mother before she also witnesses the death of her father whose last words are imploring her to live on. Regrettably, due to the sole reason Rita decides on how to live her life from then on, she locks in her own untimely demise by pursuing revenge for her parents’ sake. Rita’s one goal in life after this traumatic event is to annihilate the Mimics completely. She enlists into the UDF via identity thief due to being too young at the time to join. Soon after joining she becomes the first victim to the looping.
As the true brain and brawn of the story, Rita worked out the secret functioning of the looping on her own as well as the eventual way to escape it, and helps Keiji to do the same, at the cost of her own memories. The heroine who selflessly spared Keiji’s life over her own, even when she had a prime opportunity. The heroine whose name and true identity will never be known to mankind, ultimately saved in Keiji’s name instead. Even when she never got to live the life she deserved.
Rita deserves to be more than a mere memory so the least any of us can do is to appreciate the few glimpses of her life’s story we have of hers across the many variations of All You Need Is Kill. Take your pick of its manga, novel or live action movie in your own time.