The baddies in Edge of Tomorrow are black, amorphous tentacled creatures called Mimics. The problem is, as best as I can remember, they never actually mimic anything. And they certainly don't look like they're mimicking anything found on Earth. So who gave them that name, and why?

2 Answers 2


They were called mimics because they were capable of mimicking human military behavior extremely quickly. This happened to be a result of the Omega's time traveling capabilities, but the humans in the movie had no idea about that. All they knew was that they would attack one way, and the aliens immediately knew how to counter it or do it themselves.

Sky News Anchor: They appear to mimic and even anticipate our actions...

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    Beofett's answer may be technically correct, but I like this answer because it comes from within the same canon source itself.
    – Omegacron
    Oct 15, 2014 at 18:52
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    The canon source is All You Need is Kill. This movie is an adaptation...not the canon source. Oct 16, 2014 at 14:43
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    @Thaddeus Although it is an adaptation, the question is about that adaptation, not the original source. Evidenced in other areas (specifically thinking on TWD), the original source and the adaptation often have differences. I think when this happens, answers from the original source are only better if there is no answer from the questioned source. This is especially true when talking about movies made from books. WWZ is an excellent example as well. Oct 16, 2014 at 14:48
  • I agree with Thaddeus about All You Need is Kill being "true" canon, since there are several adaptations, and Edge of Tomorrow contains the least detail (as is typical with movies). However, I upvoted this answer because I agree answering with sources from the version being asked about is as good as canon in most cases. I obviously don't think my answer is wrong for going more into the canon explanation, but this is definitely a good answer.
    – Beofett
    Oct 16, 2014 at 17:16
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    @DaveJohnson I don't disagree with you. My prior comment was intended for Lightness Races in Orbit, who claims "the answer should be about the movie", and who also commented on my answer claiming it was irrelevant. I agree that the OP clearly is interested in the movie, but disagree with Lightness' assumption that the OP implicitly has no interest in the book or manga. Not everyone watching a movie remake is even aware that it is based upon something else. As I mentioned before, I think your answer is good, and it received a +1 from me.
    – Beofett
    Oct 17, 2014 at 13:59

In Hiroshi Sakurazaka's All You Need is Kill, the novel upon which the movie was based, the Mimics are alien organisms (nanobots?) sent to "terraform" the earth to make it habitable for an alien race from a nearby star system.

Iirc, the "mimics" invaded native life (starfish) in order to co-opt their biology into a platform upon which they could build a bio-weapon, and were designed to adapt to their surroundings in order to accomplish their mission (including their ability to "loop back time" in order to anticipate dangers and other obstacles). They mimicked terran biology in order to adapt to the earth's environment, so that they could evolve and reproduce enough to begin transforming the earth into an environment more hospitable to their creators.

This ability to adapt is one reason they are called mimics.

It also appears that this may be a translation issue.

According to an answer I found on Quora, the original Japanese can be translated as "Gitai":

In that katakana form (ギタイ) it doesn't mean anything. It's just a name. But, it can be written in kanji as 擬態 (mimesis, mimicry, camouflage) or 義体 (artificial body, cyborg).

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    Japanese names always get these slight translation errors or differences, ive read manga that were translated by 10 different people throughout the series, and peoples names changed 10 different times lol.
    – Himarm
    Oct 15, 2014 at 18:04
  • The novel is excellent, incidentally.
    – Fake Name
    Oct 16, 2014 at 9:04
  • I'd be interested to see an example of that @Himarm if you had a link handy??
    – Daft
    Oct 16, 2014 at 13:32
  • @Daft i dont have any handy but one i easily remember is names from dragon ball, in the english dubs, mercenary tao is a villian goku fights, in the subs, hes called tao pia pia, or general toa pia. typically when you see a name like that, tao pia pia, it doesnt have an english translation. so when the dubs were being made they decided to americanize the name and made it mercenary tao. but different english manga translations have like 6 different names for him as well, as each translator took some liberties with his name since it doesnt actually translate.
    – Himarm
    Oct 16, 2014 at 14:14
  • @Himarm ah I see. Cheers!
    – Daft
    Oct 16, 2014 at 14:16

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