English: King of Thorn
Synonyms: Ibara no Oh
Status: Finished Airing
Aired: Oct 9, 2009
Duration: 1 hr. 50 min.
Rating: R+ - Mild NudityL represents licensing company
Score: 7.431 (scored by 10542 users)
1 indicates a weighted score
2 based on the top anime page.
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Oct 26, 2009
The manga is a perfect length to adapt into a film, only six volumes. For the most part, the pacing is just right. King of Thorn doesn't start off too fast nor too slow, however nearer the end I do feel the pacing speeds up a little too drastically and you'll have to catch on pretty fast or you'll be left behind. Unfortunately the story seems to degrade as it progresses. The first part of the film was very original and intriguing, but the second part is very typical of the survival horror genre, and I could anticipate what was around the corner. The final part of the film is nothing short of mind-boggling. The ending is understandable, but some scenes are a little confusing and will require your full attention to work out. Fans of the manga will be disappointed to know that here and there parts have been changed. Zeus isn't in the film at all, and Marco's past and present has been altered among other things. The manga could have been adapted to the screen in its original form, so I have no idea why major details have been modified. The story is good, but thats all it is. The beginning showed great promise, but it was let down by what followed.
The animation is both good and bad, and sometimes both at the same time. The traditional animation is very rich and greatly detailed, but Sunrise decided to make the monsters in the movie using computer generated animation. This does not blend well with the traditional animation at all, in fact it sticks out like a sore thumb. The monsters themselves look fairly detailed and realistic, but that is ruined when they don't blend with anything else in the film due to the difference in the animation. However, scenes without the monsters look fantastic. The attention to detail isn't always there, but when it is you notice it. Unfortunately though, much like the story, the good parts are let down by the bad parts and so the animation is only good as a whole, when it could have been so much more.
The sounds and music are probably one of the best aspects of King of Thorn. The music is used appropriately and is all around fantastic, as is the many sounds of the monsters, moving vines, guns, surroundings, et cetera. Everything sounds very realistic and as it should be. Sometimes the use of none or very little sound is also notable, as it builds great tension and really works well with the whole atmosphere of the location, which by the way is an overgrown, thorn infected castle in Scotland.
There are some great characters in King of Thorn, most notably Marco and Ron, and I wouldn't say there are any bad characters, just ones who aren't as good. Each character in the main seven is at least developed a little and has a place in the story, minus the old rich man. Which is good as in survival horrors you often have pointless characters that are there just to increase the kill count. Thankfully this isn't the case in King of Thorn. Going back to a comparison with the manga, as mentioned, Zeus isn't in the film and Marco's past and present have been altered, which works well with the new direction Sunrise decided to take, but unfortunately the direction isn't actually very good. Also, Kasumi (the main character) does tend to get on your nerves a little throughout the film, but she is bearable.
King of Thorn was enjoyable to wach but that is mainly because the story was always moving. There wasn't really a dull point for the viewer to wish the movie got onto something different, until of course it came to the end, which was very hit or miss. A large enjoyable factor in the movie was the fact that it was moderately scary. Quite a few people in the movie theatre jumped and squealed at certains parts, and it was fairly gory. The film does prove that anime can be a good medium for survival horror, but unfortunately other elements did let it down. Fans of the manga may be quite disappointed, but people who are unfamiliar with the manga and so cannot draw comparisons should able to respect the film a little. Go in with an open mind and you may be able to find some merit within the film, as it does have redeeming points. King of Thorn is not a bad movie, but there is a lot of room for improvement. read more
Oct 28, 2009
The first part of the film feels good, the characters are unique and feel likeable and the way everything unfolds again feel just right. But as the film progresses and the true nature of the story comes out one feels starts to think differently about the film and by the end you'll feel like you were robbed. My main issue with the film was the story and the art. As I stated the film starts out fine but becomes tedious because of the speed of the film and focus on unnecessary people and there will be moments where you don't know where the film is going because of the pacing. In terms of the art the characters look good and the painted background look nicely detailed and suits the locations; however there is one fatal mistake that becomes blatantly obvious in certain parts of the film and that lies in the animation. At certain points the film tends to jump into the area of 3D animation with character models that look like they are cel-shaded and the movement looks terrible. The times when it switches are easily noticeable and just look bad.
The music isn't too memorable nor is it a soundtrack worthy of brilliance, it's decent enough as it adjusts to each situation and works on a whole. The characters in the films start of okay but then feel like they just be killed off because their credibility falls over time. The little boy provides humour in some places and while Kasumi feel like a likeable lass because of her shyness and care for her sister Shizuku, but through her memories and the way she acts I found her just to be a worrywart and lost interest after quite some time. In terms of how you'll enjoy the film is entirely down to your preferences really, fans of complex sci-fi films and maybe disappointed with end result purely because the film doesn't fully give you the experience that you felt that would. The feeling of loneliness, claustrophobia, isolation and danger is done well for the most part eventually it just feels tedious then exciting and thought provoking.
Overall the film is something that can be watched but just doesn't feel like it gives out what it planned to. It had all the right ideas and feels good for the first part but progresses questionably and leaves you feeling robbed at the end like you were expecting more. read more
Nov 28, 2009
But next time in a form of 13×24 minutes long series, rather than a 90 minutes long movie.
To make it clear, how I was able to watch this movie ahead of you. Anilogue filmfestival is being held in Budapest and Vienna, and one of the premier movies was King of Thorn, and I managed to get my hands on a ticket ^^
Now back to the review.
As I mentioned first of, this was a really-really eventful movie squeezed in a very short 90 minutes.
In 2015 a new virus called meduesa raises it's head and spreads worldwide, leaving noone alive who's caught by this epidemic.
However a pharmaceutical company, offers 160 choosen one to be put in deep sleep, to ensure their survival, until a cure is found. But something goes wrong, very wrong.
That's where the new story of The sleeping beuty begins.
And it makes you really want to know, what is different in this story, from the fairy-tale version. The princess has a lot more role (more [and maybe someone else], than you'd thought!! just wait until the last 75 minutes !!!), but the princes weren't cut out from the cast-list either...
The story would had had a lot more to tell about the circimstances, and the personalities of our "knights", "servants", "gatekeepers", but we'll have to be satisfied with the adventure and the princess' story int this short 90 minutes.
Sunrise Need I say more. Oh, yess!!! And I'm not saying this, because of my approvement.
The creatures were fit to be animated in CG, but, by some parts (mainly gunfights) are little crew went through a little CG-fication too, witch would had been acceptable, if it would have appeared only in gunfights, but somehow, they've put some of these technical solutions in simple dialogues, and running sceens, witch was a bit irritating, that they changed from one cut to the next into a blockhead, strife-haired, bottomless-pit mouthed characters. But it didn't kill the atmosphere, it was just, not unnoticable.
Nothing to complain here (or I might be the stick-eared one). It reale made the atmosphere, what it ment to be felt like. Maybe at the end it was a bit more fittable for a Disney film's summit, but it didn't break the pot.
160 -153 killed right off leaving 3 knights (a former policeman, a prisoner [lookalike], a scientist) a fool, a maid etc.
As I mentioned before, they don't really develop, only our "princess", and maybe the 3rd "knight", maybe a bit by the "maid", but it's really regrettable that the movie was cut so short. So no big progress by the crew, manly just by the "princess"
Overall, it was great, but left me there with alot of other questions in the middle of nowhere. Okay, they weren't so cruicial, but I would had been really curious about the "who?"s, the "why?"s, the "how?"s. I really was amased by the climax (no not the flying thingy, but the "truth") of the movie, I've almost sh*t bricks. However the film was so short, it didn't have the time to develop, escalate, and expand itself so, that this climax would had a really Big-Boom effect. Still this climax one of the few WTF moments of my anime history.
Really good movie, but surely would had much more pontential, in a form of a 13 episodes long series.
Ps.: Note me on my profile, if you find grammatic glitches in the review, please. Thank you! read more
Feb 16, 2013
For example the Senator dies after he finds put that Medusa will kill him and sits in a hall to rot/ petrify. some other people do die but Katherine plays a very important role in understanding what Medusa is. Tim doesn't get controlled by Alice (who is alive, and explains her story in the manga), the main villain actually shows up to the party, and Marco does a better job of leading everyone.
All of the bad plot mishaps aside anyone who has not previously known about King of thorn will think this is a solid movie, and it is. Instead of the this is what happens aspect, Sunrise decided to take a Sleeping Beauty of Anime stance on the story. Now was the story any better than what i t could have been? I don't think so, but the voice actors of the Dubbed version are awesome. The accents are spot on and the results show near perfection.
The only main issue I ever saw was the flip flop of animation and CG which is disappointing. Sometimes characters would be in CG right next to hand drawns and nearly all of the monsters were in CG. I'm not looking for Redline quality but if you were to buy a DVD or Blu-Ray it would be more than noticeable and very distracting.
I would always recommend this movie on the coontingency that after the movie start straight in to the manga. The story in the manga is unbelievable and so worth your time. With only 6 books in the series why not? read more
Apr 20, 2013
What does hurt the movie for me to a good extent is the pacing. The movie's events fly by a quick pace, which prevent any dramatic or suspenseful moments from encounters with the monsters or revelations from having time to sink in and allow for the maximum emotional impact to be felt by the viewers. In addition, some of the prominent characters in King of Thorn felt rather underdeveloped as either they had little depth or weren't given enough depth to allow me to connect with them fully. Also be warned, this movie can get quite violent at points as a number of characters die in very bloody ways thanks to the monsters they encounter.
The visuals for King of Thorn were also a bit of a mixed bag for me. The regular animation had a great amount of visual detail put into scenery and character designs, with subdued color tones going along well with the tense mood the movie wanted to give off. On the other hand, the CG animation used in the movie, while fluid in action scenes, sticks out like a sore thumb in many instances in its rendering of vehicles, the various monsters and even the characters during action sequences for some odd reason. In the case of characters, their rendering looked quite rough compared to their regular designs and were not as well-detailed.
But while having its issues with animation and pacing, King of Thorn is still a solid movie worth killing two hours to watch through thanks to its plot buildup concerning what led to the institution inhabited by Kasumi and others to become a hellish place they have to survive through. read more
Mar 30, 2013
It felt like, mmmm, like I started in the author's world, and then halfway through mad scriptwriters took over and threw in every stupid plot twist they could possibly imagine, all while stealing ideas from Studio Ghibli. The manga series has a discernible thread that actually makes sense. Fear plays a huge role in the way Medusa works, and Alice is a crucial, note CRUCIAL, character. Not to mention the actual VILLAIN, who has been totally IGNORED in the anime! I mean, seriously, half of this movie is "King of Thorn" and the other half is junk!
Oh, and the ending, how I HATE the ending! Ok, yes, I'm a romantic and I think Marco and Kasumi are cute together. He's really a great guy despite those terrifying tats and I LOVE him. I especially love, and spoilers here, that he lived through the manga! Somehow the scriptwriters thought, what, that having Marco live was too cliched? That having an actual villain for them to beat would never work? That, perhaps, doing the manga JUSTICE by having a twelve episode anime SERIES was too much to hope for. Argh, the frustration is killing me!
The only thing I like, and like is such a strong word, is having Marco and Kasumi animated. Wow, after two hours and all I like is those two characters are actually moving off the manga page, that tells me volumes of how CRAPPY this movie really IS!
Maybe someday we'll get lucky and they'll make it again, only RIGHT this time. read more
Sep 28, 2012
*WARNING, this review is from the perspective of someone who has not read the original manga.*
STORY: Mass disease is a damn frightening thought, no doubts about that. But one that turns you to stone? Oh shit! Talk about being "stoned to death."
Ahem, anyways King of Thorns is a 110 minute movie made by Sunrise based on a manga series of the same name. And I'll go ahead and be honest and say that I really enjoyed myself with this movie, or rather I enjoyed thinking about what ideas this movie offered.
It begins with a mass media coverage of a virus called Medusa causing people to turn to stone in a mere 12 days, easily setting in a sense of dread for just about everyone in the world. While others will die eventually, a select group of people will be put into a cryogenic sleep at a castle like structure with the hope of a world cured of Medusa. Unfortunately they wake up prematurely to a new nightmare.
King of Thorns mostly works as a B-grade horror survival flick with some sci-fi properties. Many horrific beasts kill and slaughter the vast majority of the people that were asleep, leaving only a select few to fend against the monsters and escape from the castle.
The people among the survivors are as followed; Kasumi Ishiki, the main character of this movie and a shy and timid bespectacled young girl who lost her parents to Medusa leaving her and her twin sister to care for their selves. Marco Owen, your action super star and a criminal who won his way in through chance to be among those who will be in cryogenic sleep and knows more about what's going on than he's letting on. Ron Portman, an american police officer who also will be constantly bickering with his opposite on the justice system. Timothy Laisenbach, a young boy who can't help but to compare their dangerous situation to a video game he played. Katherine Turner, a woman who treats Timothy as her own child as he reminds her of her own child while providing the fairy tail back drop for this dark tale and several others that die soon after the massacre. Each of these characters have their own reasons for surviving, some more so than others, but each has their own compelling story behind them. Or at least I would think so...
The major problem with King of Thorns is a simple one: The lack of sufficient time. The lack of time to thoroughly explain certain plot points. The lack of time to put more development into the main group of characters, save for Kasumi and Marco, they get the bulk of the character development and screen time. And the lack of time put into details about certain plot points that will be left hanging. Surely what time it has is used as well as it could have been used, with the plot never derailing from it's focus or never stopping the pace to show decent action scenes, but this movie would have benefited more by being adapted into a 12 episode series instead.
Which leads into my second biggest grip about this movie, certain scenes were made in a way to prepare for the story's strongest point, a plot twist. Said plot twist makes this movies plot points tie into something unexpected but at the same time not something that was pulled out of no where making it plausible within the context of the film and not wasting any of the setups. Mainly because this movie makes sure you will see where all of it's scenes lead to, by practicably bashing your head in with hints and information. You will still need to pay attention without a doubt, but the lead up works like a double edged sword, making you anxious for what's to come and irritating you by making sure you see it coming and reminding you constantly.
There are some other nit picks I have with this movie (Like how Marco is a pro at doing the impossible), but the ideas and the plot twist at the end makes this a movie one I'd recommend, for at least the interesting ideas it comes up with.
ANIMATION: With Sunrise in charge of production, you can expect some nicely done and consistent animation with some really bad forced in 3D animation as well. The 3D parts are completely unneeded and will only take you out of the movie if it annoys you as much as it did me. The character design are good and well diverse, as diverse the world's population (Fortunately with a male teenager absent, we have more than enough of those in anime anyway).
SOUND: The background music is used effectively, and works wonders with the fairy tail back drop the story uses. While I didn't listen to the Japanese audio, I watched the new english dub by Funimation and they did solid job for the most part. While Brina Palencia does wonders for role as Kasumi with Patrick Seitz not falling behind her as Marco, Bob Carter is probably the weakest link in a dub that is filled with some awkward accents.
+/- Interesting ideas within. / Doesn't spend much time with needed explanations on certain plot details.
+/- Decent cast of characters. / Only the main leads get the most attention.
+/- Great plot twist at the end. / Practicably holds your hand and guides you to it by constantly remaining you how it gets there in the first place.
+/- Good english dub. / Dub is filled with accents that aren't particularly great.
+/- Good animation. / 3D animation that is obviously used to save on production.
- Marco performs the impossible on a regular basis.
I'd honestly would rather have a zombie apocalypse than face a crisis that can wipe out the human race, because at least we're ready for that since we get remained of how to act in a situation like that with all of the movies remaining us how not to act. Sorta how this movie shows you what to expect at the end... read more
Nov 29, 2012
Wasn’t she happier when she was fast asleep?“
King of Thorn provides a fresh and intriguing spin on the old fairy tale “Sleeping Beauty“, using it as a frame to tell what is on the surface a relatively original apocalyptic survival horror flick, but underneath which lies a complex web of religious fanaticism, science fiction crossed with fantasy, and ultimately, a personal story of two sisters. Does this unique combination of an old children's tale and a modern horror show, of psychology and fantasy, of action and thrill deliver on its premise? Yes and no. While highly action-packed for the most part and entertaining and interesting throughout its entirety, King of Thorn does suffer from some massive flaws that unfortunately drag down the score of what might have been a benchmark creation for the survival horror genre. Does that mean that the movie is bad? Definitely not, and while far from perfect, it's still a very enjoyable flick with relatively high rewatchability and certainly one of the better ones in its genre.
King of Thorn is an adaptation of the 37-chapter manga of the same name by Yuji Iwahara. The film adaptation takes many liberties with the original material, but I'll do my best to keep the comparisons with the manga at minimum, and judge the movie on its own merits.
Sunrise, an old and established studio that has produced a multitude of different shows over the course of its 40 years long history ( shows like Mobile Suit Gundam, Gundam SEED, Visions of Escaflowne, both seasons of Code Geass and the legendary Cowboy Bebop ) brings us this on-the-edge-of-your-seat thrill ride about deadly viruses and fantastic monsters, all to the background of a sci-fi research facility located underneath an enchanting and enthralling Scottish castle.
Every background is highly detailed and there are several set pieces that are just jaw-droppingly gorgeous in their size, content, detail, superb colouring and they really leave a strong impression of being crafted with a lot of effort and care. Machinery inside the research facility and the architecture of the castle in which it is situated are meticulously drawn to the tiniest minutiae, giving it a believable and realistic look that manages to immerse the viewer into the story superbly. Particularly praise-worthy are the few short scenes set in New York City and a couple of shots of a deserted Scottish town, both of them at the beginning of the movie, and it's scenes like these that show just how much effort was put into it by the art department. Rather than being some generic depictions of how an average Japanese might perceive them to look like, streets of New York are incredibly realistic and detailed, with several examples of real-life architecture to complement more random but still very faithful art-deco and modernist buildings. And it's not just the architecture that's detailed and realistic; clothing, vehicles, even the railings surrounding the entrance to a subway station are crafted carefully to enhance the realism of the setting and make it as convincing as possible. Same goes for the Scottish village and countryside, which are featured for less then a minute, but the attention to architectural styles, shop fronts and signage is on the same fantastic level. The camera angles, shading and colouring are also excellent, making the visual experience cold, gloomy and ominous, and effectively conveying the sense of an impending doom that permeates the majority of the story, while still not sacrificing any of the realism by going overboard in any of these areas.
The character designs are very good too, well-coloured, realistic and aesthetically pleasing; some of them like Marco ( with his extensive tattoos ) are even quite memorable. While they are far less detailed than the surroundings in which they move, the contrast between the character models and the backgrounds isn't that jarring, and the 2D elements all blend extremely well with each other.
As previously said, the art direction, backgrounds, character designs and even the cinematography are all top-notch, but the animation itself is a very mixed bag and this significantly lowers the overall visual quality of the movie.
The traditional 2D animation that is present throughout most of the movie is nothing spectacular, but it's still of high quality and very fluid, and there is hardly any cases of it going off-model. However, for some reason, the studio decided to render most of the monsters, and occasionally the characters as well, in 3D. The CGI models themselves are actually pretty good; they mostly move naturally and are quite detailed and well-shaded, but the contrast between the 3D CGI models and traditional 2D characters and backgrounds is so obvious, irritating and stark that it damages the viewing experience during those scenes. Some of the vehicles are also computer-generated and clash with the setting almost as strongly as the monsters.
The problems in blending the 3D animation with the 2D backgrounds and character models are not easy to overlook and thus the visuals fail to get a perfect score, despite being overall very impressive, which is a great shame.
The music, composed by the experienced Toshihiko Sahashi ( Full Metal Panic!, Mobile Suit Gundam SEED ), compliments the visuals well and even though it may not win any awards, it's still pretty well-written and well-used. The highlight of the soundtrack is the untitled main theme, featuring a beautiful combination of powerful, haunting and melancholic vocals accompanied by great instrumental performances on the strings and the flute. A very touching and emotional piece, it fits the general atmosphere and the underlying story perfectly. Other tracks are mostly instrumental and vocal variations to this main theme, with an odd electronic piece or an organ thrown in here and there. The ending credits song “Edge of This World“, written specifically for the movie, was performed by the popular Japanese singer Misia. The song is also a stand-out, along with the aforementioned main theme, and its lyrics are very fitting and poignant, a refreshing change from the practice to just put something that fits the movie or show tonally with little regard for the actual content. Overall, the music was very good and the quality of the tracks made up for the lack of diversity.
Unfortunately, I cannot discuss the qualities of the dub as opposed to the subbed version, since the movie was only localised by Funimation a few months prior to the writing of this review and I haven't had the chance to watch the English version. What I will mention is that the director of the English dub made a wise choice of using various ethnic accents for the diverse cast of characters, from British ( Marco ) to Italian ( for the corrupt senator who manages to survive the initial slaughter ). The Japanese seiyuu did a very good job at portraying their respective characters and the vast emotional stress that they have to go through. Whether you prefer the English or the Japanese version, you won't be let down.
Sadly, as much as I'd like to say that the story of King of Thorn is on the same high level as the technical aspects of the movie, I simply can't. There are some major problems with the execution of the story, and these problems largely stem from the limited running time; the movie doesn't have enough time to adequately cover all the plot points and finish the plot threads while still leaving an appropriate amount of time for the revelations and emotional impacts to properly sit in for both the audience and the characters.
Adapting a 37 chapter long manga into a 105 minute feature is no small feat, and even though the writers decided to narrow down the focus of the movie by dropping some of the subplots and characters from the original manga, I still believe it would have been better had Sunrise opted for a 10-12 episode long TV show or an OVA series, even with the narrower focus of the anime adaptation. The more personal and emotional nature of the adapted story still needs time to unravel naturally and the audience needs time to allow for the drama to sink in, and the movie would have really benefited immensely if it had at least additional twenty or so minutes of running time.
The plot can be roughly split into four acts, each act about 25 minutes long; the first act covers the initial outbreak of the Medusa virus which causes worldwide panic as the national and international organisations are powerless in the face of this deadly and extremely mysterious pandemic. A private corporation comes forth with a solution: they have managed to master the science of cryogenic suspension ( which they call “Cold sleep“ ) that will allow 160 lucky individuals to remain alive and safe from the virus until a cure can be found. The first act ends when the members of this “Noah's Arc“ are put to sleep. This first part is very well executed, managing to provide a large amount of exposition very naturally, mostly through a montage of television reports dealing with the outbreak and spreading of Medusa. The viewers are also introduced to the main cast of characters and everything is set for the second act in which the sleepers awake to find out that the world has ended. Or so it appears.
The main problems of the movie and the principle flaws in the story-telling are present in the second and third act. By the end of the second act most of the 160 people that were put to sleep have been killed by the strange monsters roaming the castle that has in the meantime been covered in huge thorns. It is inferred that the noble motivations of the corporation that initiated the project weren't so noble after all, and during the third act the truth behind the Medusa virus is finally revealed and the remaining survivors manage to escape the thorny prison of the huge castle. These two arcs are extremely fast-paced giving no time for breathers neither for its characters as they run away from monsters while trying to find their way out of the maze of the underground complex and the castle's dungeons, nor for the audience that has to connect all the plot points and grasp the situation after several info-dumps which are extremely confusing on the first watching. Needless to say, this part of the movie puts a huge strain on the audience as it jumps from tense action scenes to the expository dialogue/monologue dealing with the backgrounds of some of the characters and the mysteries behind the current apocalypse, both of which are in turn regularly interrupted by the the main character Kasumi's flashbacks that gradually reveal her relationship with her twin sister, Shizuku.
There's a lot of good stuff in this part of the story, primarily the development of Kazumi's character and the relationship between the two sisters, which turns out to be the main underlying plot thread around which everything else revolves. The background and the nature of the deadly Medusa virus is also very interesting and thought-provoking, even if the idea was already explored in some other sci-fi works [ sort of SPOILER ALERT], the best example being the 1998 psychological thriller “Sphere“ [END OF SPOILER].
As I said, every minute of the movie is very entertaining and attention-grabbing, however, the fast pace and condensed story come with a heavy price. Those unfamiliar with the original manga will have a hard time digesting the revelations and the main plot twist, partially because they could have been worded a bit better and partially because the movie gives the viewer no time to digest the data before hurrying to move your attention to the next action scene in which the characters fight for their lives. The plot also suffers from numerous contrivances and the revelations can feel pretty convoluted, revealing potential plot-holes under the closer look.
Character development is yet another victim that falls prey to the inadequate running time. The main cast consists of seven survivors of the initial onslaught. Apart from Kasumi and the ruffian Marco, who get the majority of screen time and are very well developed ( especially Kasumi ), the rest receive minimal character development. That is not to say that they are just cardboard cut-outs or plot devices. Even though they might not be very developed as characters, they all have personalities and feel and act like real people. Some of the characters had their backstories from the manga scrapped, but their backgrounds are still at least hinted at, and given the screen time they get and the fast paced nature of the story, character development was handled as best as possible.
The real gold of the story, though, comes in the final, climactic arc, where the last, underlying plot line is finally resolved in a surprising, but ingenious and satisfying manner.
King of Thorn draws the parallels between its story and the fairy tale Sleeping Beauty from the very start. In the hands of a less competent writer, this would just be a pretentious and futile attempt to add depth to a story centred around graphic violence and cheap thrills, but King of Thorn actually makes these parallels and comparisons meaningful and relevant to the story it's telling. As already mentioned, the anime adaptation did away with some of the plot lines and characters from the manga in order to focus on the relationship between Kasumi and her twin sister Shizuku, and it can be safely said that this was a very good decision that raised the overall quality of the film. Their story is well written and well presented, slowly building up towards the climactic finale, and it toys with the questions about true feelings and wishes of the Princess from the original fairy tale. Unfortunately, this beautiful and touching story has to carry around with it the baggage of the survival horror story that it's tied to. I believe it would have been wiser had the writers decided to take even more liberties with the original material; once they decided to significantly alter the original, they should have gotten rid of all the elements that weren't completely necessary for the central story of the two sisters. Namely, the “survival“ element of the horror story should have been toned down to the barest minimum, with the story focusing even more on the psychological effects of the catastrophe that has befallen the castle and the world. Nevertheless, the underlying narrative and its parallels with the tale of Sleeping Beauty are definitely the strongest and best executed part of the story and they make the movie stand out among the other works in its respective genre.
Ultimately, King of Thorn is a good movie. Not a great or a perfect movie, but a good one none the less. The personal nature of the underlying story and some very intriguing themes and concepts that it brings up make it distinctive and certainly much, much better than other anime horror shows like Highschool of the Dead. It's a very mature and serious film that never stoops low to please the lowest common denominator. The action scenes are tense, entertaining and occasionally very gory but never gratuitous. While nothing spectacular in terms of animation, it features some gorgeous artwork and beautiful music that greatly add to the viewing experience. What prevents it from getting a higher score are the horribly used 3D CGI models, extremely fast pace for the largest part of the movie and the numerous contrivances and convoluted plot points. Combined, they make the story less enjoyable on the first watching and can unnerve the less resilient viewers to the point where the good stuff ( namely the Kasumi-Shizuku relationship ) just flies over their heads, making some of the plot twist feel more like something from M. Night Shyamalan's kitchen ( although he can only wish to create plot twists this convincing ).
Oct 1, 2012
The premise and ideas of King Of Thorn are incredibly unique but the problem is that the movie took a lot liberties with the material of the manga. They scrapped the backstories of the characters, the main antagonist Zeus did not appear in the movie and the ending was completely changed from the original story. For example in the manga, one survivor named Tim is a little boy who is mature and quite usable for the team but in the anime, he's a video game JRPG addict and HE'S COMPLETELY USELESS! These changes were just awful and really ruined the characters for me (minus the sisters though). We're talking about 7 people who must risk their own life to survive a place where thorns, a non-curable killer virus and monsters take over the place and what the writer did is scrap the emotional backstories of ALL characters. Also, important characters like Alice and Zeus were never used in the film since they did provide important story aspects in the original mangas. So yes, the changes to the characters and stories were inexcusable, they could have made this into a 3 hour anime film to provide us with emotional weight that these characters go through, character backstories and much story as possible. Overall, it makes the story convoluted as hell that it's too hard to appreciate the ideas that it offers for the viewers.
The animation by Sunrise is hit and miss. When it shines, it's in the 2D animation department. The detail is great, coloring and backgrounds look fluid look wonderful and the character models are nicely drawn well and on the miss, it's the 3D CG animation. My god... Why? It looked horrible and the monsters in CG form looked like they popped out of a PS2 game. Hell, the character models in CGi look very ridiculous. I think the reason for this is that Sunrise had a low budget to make this movie and they incorporated CG to save up some money for the marketing. Next time Sunrise, balance out the budget so that this doesn't happen again. For all my problems I have with this movie, does it make it awful? Of course not. There are a few positives I had with the movie. The sisters were handled very well in the movie and you do feel sorry for them for what they go thorugh and Kasumi goes through more hell than anyone can ever imagined. i also love the scenes with lots of tension and gore and the dubbing by Funimation was not that bad. Brina Palencia was perfect for the role as Kasumi giving that vulnerable side to the character and Patrick Seitz was convincing as Marco and the whole cast did a solid job on their perspective roles. Although the accents of each character can be laughably bad at some points.
If you're interested in seeing this, you might like this one as I did cause to be fair, it offers some great relationship moments with the twin sisters, great moments of tension and a nice dub provided by Funimation. However if your a fan of the King Of Thorn mangas, be very cautious with this one as it changes everything about the mangas including the backstory of all characters. Therefore, King Of Thorn is an interesting anime film with great ideas but with a very sloppy execution. read more
May 4, 2012
The most disappointing and yet most impressive thing about this movie is the story. It actually IS very, very good, but only at the beginning. Or, let's say, throughout the first half of the movie. Then it gets unnecessarily complicated, I still don't get everything. It would've been perfectly fine if they would've left out some of those many, too many twists. But there are also many enjoyable moments that caught me off guard. You know these moments when you think, okay, it cannot get any worse than this - and suddenly it gets MUCH worse? This movie is full of it, and THAT I liked.
The art is very fluent and very enjoyable. It's a mix between rather unspectacular animated characters / objects and some 3D elements. It makes everything a lot more interesting for the eye to watch.
Throughout the whole movie there are parallels to Sleeping Beauty. Not only a character from the movie, some kind of narrator, serves them to you by loudly repeating the fairy tale itself. The music actually makes you believe you're in a fairy tale. It wonderfully mixes with the dark setting, leaves a bittersweet taste. Simply beautiful.
The characters all have their own surprising little secret, which sooner or later are revealed. But it feels like it's not enough. I wished for more background information to each character to be able to better understand them. Which sadly, I didn't all the time. As for the main character, Kasumi; Especially for her I hoped to get a little more information. There are some flashbacks, each time longer than before, and each time delivering you another piece of a puzzle to put together. But as I said; You don't really know enough about the characters to be able to do so. But, even if the characters won't make a lasting impression on you, they're not unlikeable.
I was plagued by lots of WTF - moments. But as I said, I enjoy those very much. :D There are also few but very well placed shock moments. And blood. ;)
If you wanna watch a good, in its story line very twisted movie, I would recommend it to you any time. But if you easily get confused by these kind of movies, you should avoid this one. You might only be frustrated after watching it. As for my part, I admittedly WAS confused. But it left me thinking about it, about the possibility for something like this to actually happen someday. Scary and fascinating at the same time.
Also, I once had this strange thought, the exact same as it was mentioned in the movie but long before I watched it. SPOILER; What if we're all just a dream or imagination of only ONE living being? This thought still freaks me out and I love the movie for addressing it. :> read more
Sep 18, 2012
King of Thorn is one of the rare movies that manages to pace itself very well, neither boring the audience or giving them too much of adrenaline rush. It's a film that unravels it's mysteries bit by bit without giving it all away.
Story: This is an unabashed survival horror title, it's got the genre's tropes down to a fine art, a facility over-run with thorns and weird creatures that attack survivors. But what's really great about the story of this movie is that they keep unraveling mysteries as time goes on, the revealing of these mysteries are done perfectly and they mix these well with the action sequences so that your not sitting around listening to someone explain everything and boring you to death. The only real problem with the story is that near the end it becomes incredibly confusing and you have no idea what is real and what is not.
Art: I want to make it clear the reason this gets a low grade is not because of the absolutely beautiful 2D animation and backgrounds, it gets it because of some really really shitty 3D Animation, There is no reason to have the human beings become 3D out of nowhere and then suddenly shift to 2D, it looks jarring and out of place. This is what really brings down the movie in my opinion, if they kept it to completely 2D, this would probably be a near masterpiece, instead it really harms the movie.
Sound: I watched this on English Dub, there are accents for all the characters except for Kasumi, Shizuka, Peter and Ron. The accents are perfect and are not out of place or take away from the story. Though at times I felt R Bruce Elliott's Italian accent slipped a little into Russian, however that's not as much of a big concern if you've watched the movie. The music on the other hand for this title is incredible, anytime a title makes you want to look up who did the scoring for it, you know you have good music. Toshihiko Sahashi did an incredible job with this soundtrack and payed great attention to detail with it, he included a little scottish flair paying homage to the locale of the Story.
Character: I really love the Characters in this story, when you have a film that makes you care about the characters and what happens to them, You generally want to see these characters survive the hell they have found themselves in. I really would like to go in depth on this but I'm not very eloquent when it comes to talking about other people. I think what I really like about this film is the character development regarding Marco, when you first see him you honestly think this man is an complete asshole but over time you really start to learn he is a flesh and blood human being like the rest of us and that he too carries around wounds of the heart.
Enjoyment: I absolutely loved this movie, I think I could definitely watch it again, if the animation could have just been fixed as well the ending just a tiny bit this may be one of the best Anime Films to have ever been made, I know I won't forget this movie.
Overall: King of Thorn has it's flaws, but it has some of the most beautiful 2D Animation and Music you will experience in your life. read more
Jan 16, 2011
While there's some strong overlap here, the difference is that King of Thorn strikes me as a lot smarter. Or maybe it isn't really, and that's just my perception. Maybe I'm just overly impressed with the references to classical mythology and the psychological import of fairy tales ("Sleeping Beauty" plays a key part in the plot and imagery). More likely, I can't help noticing that while Pandorum starts sharp and gets more conventional on its way to its twist ending, King of Thorn gets decidedly brainier as it progresses to its impressive twist-upon-twist ending. (much like that of the movie inception)
Better still, nothing from the early parts of the film is ultimately meaningless, which helps redeem passages that at the time might seem random or precious. The weird yet intense relationship between a pair of twins, the usual assortment of character types thrown together (cute child, hunky bad boy, ext.), the overall trippiness of the setting/mood when they first wake up--all of it signifies something, and the end result is a conclusion which is strangely satisfying. read more
May 3, 2013
Jan 7, 2013
The movie starts off with a long drawn out sequence of explaining the Medusa Virus and taking the patients to the island. This didn't bother me all that much, as exposition is necessary, but I preferred how it was done it the comics - naturally brought up throughout the series. It moves into quick, sudden action that pulls you through the few slower, dialogue based scenes.
The story - 9
Naturally, as a fan of the Manga - I like the story. The anime did leave out a few things, Details on Alice, left out a character, and some minor stuff. The movie hit the most important points which is all I ask for a movie adaption. It's still a shame it couldn't have been a little longer to fill out some of the things it left out though.
Art - 3
For the most part, the art is just fine. The problem is whenever there is a lot of movement or action - the characters are changed from drawn images to cell-shaded model (Think the graphics to early ps2 games). The movements became a bit off, and some of the switching between styles was weird. I ended up laughing at it a bit - which isn't what you want to do while watching a horror-survival movie.
Sound - 7
The voice acting of the English dub was good. No performances really stood out. I thought the accents that some people used were a bit awkward at first, but it didn't bother me as the movie sent on.
Character - 7
I give this a seven because most of the characters miss the development they get in the manga. Due to time constraints, I understand missing out on certain characters. What is most important with the main characters is kept in and done pretty well.
Enjoyment - 7
I enjoyed it. It wasn't good, but it wasn't anything very special.
Overall - 7
Overall, it's a good movie and well worth the watch. read more
Dec 9, 2012
The story was about a set of people who were bewildered by what they saw around them after waking up in a supposed long sleep. They didn’t had enough time to think because they had to stay alive from the mysterious monsters that lurked around the facility they were kept. Not only they had to survive but they also had to figure out what happened to the world while they were asleep and just how long they’ve been sleeping.
This movie exceeded what I was expecting from it. It’s not just a survival type of story that has a mysterious and twisted plot but it has a strong psychological touch which revealed at the end of the movie. You will be confused and puzzled after every revelation and so you really have to finish it to really understand the whole storyline.
The animation was superb which to be expected considering it was done so recently. Accompanied with a nice soundtrack, this movie was definitely worth to watch.
Jan 18, 2012
My advice: Read the manga and imagine everything as if you were watching an anime.