Wednesday, October 17, 2012

King of Thorn Review (English)


So I know everyone was expecting this review to be about Higurashi. But because of the busy life I’ve been having lately, I had to make some changes to the schedule, like cutting the Trigun review for instance. However, I didn’t want to leave you guys hanging this week. Ladies and Gentlemen, King of Thorn.

King of Thorn is a near two hour Action/Survival Horror film based on the manga by Yuji Iwahara and published by Enterbrain. Tokyopop was the original licensor of the series in America, but since closing it’s doors, no company has picked it up for rerelease. The film, from Sunrise Studios, is directed by Kazuyoshi Katayama. FUNimation Entertainment received the license for the film and released it one month ago.

Medusa Virus, a sickness that turns its victims to stone, begins to ravage the people of Earth. In a desperate attempt to save humanity's future, a select group are chosen for the only cure: cryogenic sleep for many years into the future. The groups are chosen and put to sleep, only to wake-up early to a nightmare: freakish creatures are destroying the cryo facility that the chosen survivors have awoken in. Without knowing what these creatures are, why they are being attacked, or even the condition of mankind, the remnants of civilization must band together and fight these monsters in order to survive and escape the cryogenics facility in an attempt to discover what exactly has happened to the Earth since they entered their exclusive slumber.

The animation is an interesting mix of 2D animation and CGI a la [C] and High School of the Dead. But is it the good kind like [C] or the kinda bad like HSTD? I’m gonna lean towards bad. Why I’m leaning on bad is because it bounces back and forth between the two different styles and it can be distracting from the entire film. But the backgrounds and scenic animation are pretty stunning. Even if we’re in Scotland and the majority of the film is in a castle. As for the music, it can get kinda corny and sound comedic, but for the most part it’s a decent sound track.

The story kind of confused me a bit. For the most part, it’s simple to follow and it’s a big survival story from beginning to close to the end. The last ten minutes of the film try to pull a Shutter Island kind of twist ending and it’s a good idea for an ending, but cramming everything in there in ten minutes isn’t a good idea. The pacing was really well done up until that point and then the film is like “Pacing? What’s pacing?” and it just goes for it. This hurts the film a bit, though it does make you want to watch it again just so you can understand it clearer. The other slight problem I have is plot conveniences, especially in Marco Owen. Dude... You can’t take that many hits and still live till the end.... There is no way in hell...... And can I just say that Mr. Random Exposition was kinda random? Just saying.

He's too sexy for his shirt.
Guess that brings me to characters. You don’t get a lot of development here, and I’m kinda ok with this. This is a survival story that doesn’t give people the opportunity to discuss amongst each other about themselves. The only person we get good backstory for is Kasumi. There’s a bit of illusion for Marco and one or two instances for Katherine, but that’s about it. The other characters get jack squat. At the same time, we aren’t being shoved character development down our throats. With Katherine, especially, the little pieces that we get are just enough for us to piece together what happened in her life, even leaving some room for interpretation. In this case, less is certainly more.

I know where this is going....
Now the dub is an interesting subject to talk about here for one reason. Patrick Seitz. Not only did he voice Marco Owen, but he was the script writer for the film. So.... Why is his name above Brina Palencia in the end credits when Kasumi is the lead character? Hell, the Japanese had Kasumi first in the cast list, but FUNi decided it should be Marco. No I’m not bashing Seitz, cause he did a nice job as always, but how the hell did he get a spot above Brina Palencia? It makes no sense.... Anyways...... The cast is solid even though the majority of accents did seemed forced on occasion. Brina Palencia’s (Spice and Wolf) Kasumi was nice and different then what I’ve seen her done as of late. And like I said before, Patrick Setiz (Monster) did a fantastic job, as always, with Marco Owen. And rounding out the cast there’s Bob Carter (Speed Grapher), Christopher Bevins (Hetalia), John Swasey (SDF Macross), Luci Christian (Princess Tutu), Monica Rial (Panty and Stocking), R Bruce Elliot (Sgt. Frog), and Stephanie Young (Claymore). And then there’s Miss Alexis Tipton (Rideback) as Kasumi’s twin sister Shizuku. Not gonna lie, I thought this was Jamie Marchi at first. It was nice to see a relatively new voice actress play one of the crucial characters in the film. I hope to see more from her. Overall, the dub was decent, just stop the forced accents please.

By the end of the dream, King of Thorn has good ideas that are executed fairly well. The story has a good premise, the characters are interesting, and the dub is pretty good. On the down side the animation flip flops way too much, the music is kinda corny, and the ending just leaves you a bit confused. Is this film worth your time? Absolutely! It’s very different then from what I’ve seen as of late, and it may make me want to find the out of print manga from Tokyopop just to see more of the details cause we all know there’s more to this story then the film gives us. I will say, however, that this may not be a film for everyone due to the amount of violence, gore, and course language. So, if you’re under 18, be warned cause you’re parents might not let you have it.

That’s it for me. Next time we take on some interesting folklore that is truly horrifying. Until next time, otaku on my friends.


  1. King of Thorn sounds interesting - shall definitely be checking this one out.

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