Blu-ray Review: King of Thorn

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Is Manga UK’s Blu-ray release of King of Thorn a rose for perfection or is it an eye-sore like a weed? Find out in our Blu-ray review of King of Thorn.

Synopsis:

Humanity’s last hope Panic spreads worldwide as the Medusa Virus – a fatal pandemic that solidifies the body to stone – threatens to wipe out the human race. One-hundred and sixty infected individuals are selected to be cryogenically frozen while a cure is developed. Kasumi is one of those chosen for the experimental program. Forced to enter without her twin sister, Shizuku, her distress multiplies when she awakens to find the facility overrun with thick, thorny vines and ravenous monsters. As Kasumi and six others fight a losing battle to escape this labyrinthine nightmare, questions cloud her distorted mind. Where is her sister? Why did their only salvation mutate into a deathtrap? If they survive, how much longer do they have to live? (via Fetch Publicity)

Our View:

The year is 2012 and a deadly virus named ‘Medusa’ is sweeping the world, whereby if infected that person will eventually turn to stone, to combat this ever growing situation a private military-based organisation named Venus Gate Corp has created a plan that will hopefully solve the problem. The solution is to cryogenically freeze a randomly selected amount of infected people, which include men, women and children of different ages and cultures, these people would then only be woken up once a cure was found, or if the sytem’s AI, named Alice, was to fail.

This is the starting point of the film, King of Thorn, and three years later its where we are introduced to our main protagonist of the film, a teenage girl named Kasumi Ishiki, along with her twin sister Shizuku Ishiki. While Shizuku isn’t infected with the Medusa virus she does play a vital role within the films ever developing story. Along with Kasumi and Shizuku we are introduced to other notable characters including prisoner Marc Owen, Australian police officer Ron Portman and Australian women Katherine whom throughout the film quotes references to her book, Sleeping Beauty, each of which play an important role in things yet to happen.

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The facility which houses these infected people is what you’d call a good plan gone bad, as shortly after being put to sleep all members of the facility awaken to find that the complex has been overrun with thorny vines, worse still the complex is now occupied with human hunting monsters (each with their own unique design and style of killing). It then ends up as a race for survival as Kasumi, along with her new-found-companions, work together to escape the facility, however in the process dark pasts and secret agendas are discovered that inevitably cause dangerous results for everyone that was involved.

Extras:

The king of Thorn Blu-ray disc comes packed with a variety of extra content, including two interviews, one of which is with the director, a pilot film and a variety of different trailers.

As previously mentioned the King of Thorn Blu-ray includes two interviews, one of which was filmed at the ‘Sunshine Ikebukuro Cinema’ whereby we see the Director (Kazuoshi Katayama), Producer (Yasumasa Tsuchiya) and original manga author Yuji Iwahara discussing the film on-stage in front of a private auidience. The second interview is solely with the director, yet again revealing more behind the scenes info on the film. Both interviews combined together give you an additional 40 minutes worth of viewing time, but more importantly gives you an idea on the film they were trying to produce.

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The Interviews will most likely be the highlights of the extra content , however a special mention must go to the inclusion of trailers for other anime shows. Under the ‘previews’ option viewers will find High Definition trailers of Puella Magi Madoka Magica, Eden of the East: Paradise Lost, Bleach: Fade to Black and Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood: OVA Collection, all of which are currently distributed by Manga Entertainment UK.

Tech Specs:

Media: BD 50 x1
Running Time: 1:49:18
Video: MPEG-4 AVC
Audio: Dolby TrueHD 5.1 / 48 Khz (English & Japanese)
Resolution: 1920 x 1080 (1080p)
Aspect Ratio: 16:9 Widescreen
Frame Rate: 23.976 fps

Overall:

King of Thorn is a movie adaptation of the six volume manga created by Yuji Iwahara, with it depicting, in a round about way, the story of twin sisters Kasumi Ishiki and Shizuku Ishiki in a world plagued by the Medusa virus, whereby Kasumi wants to escape this monster-infested facility in order to be reunited with her sister, Shizuku. From the offset King of Thorn may seem like a simple action movie, whereby the main cast of characters must survive and escape the facility by killing anything they encounter, however in reality it’s a more complex, confusing movie that provides hidden desires, dark secrets and a complicated ending.

My highlight of this release was the overall outstanding quality of the film, both in visual and audio quality, as not only was the film animated using traditional 2D Anime style, but it also uses 3D CGI Animation and mixes the both together. It’s something I’ve only seen done in the first Berserk movie, whereby during slow paced scenes its 2D anime, but for the more fast-active fight scene its CGI Animation. The difference between the two animation styles is easily noticeable, as some characters are styled differently, however it fits the atmosphere and allows for an intense fight to be played out on screen, better yet both styles of animation look visually stunning in High Definition.

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Continuing on with the overall quality, the Audio is presented in Dobly TruHD 5.1 Surround Sound for both the Japanese and English Language tracks, both of which are clear and crisp that deliver a true cinematic experience when using a Surround Sound Kit. It’s also worth noting that the American voice actors try to pass themselves off as Australian, English, Scottish, German (etc) civilians by actually acting with their voices and while initial reactions are laughable they quickly grown on you and eventually sound like the norm.

Overall King of Thorn is guaranteed to offer an enjoyable viewing experience, but at the cost of loosing your sanity with the questions that remain unanswered, however if you enjoyed puzzling films like Evangelion and action horror titles like the Dead Space films then you’ll most likely enjoy King Of Thorn.

Score: review-stars-4

Loups=Garous will be available on DVD & Blu-ray from the 22nd April 2013.

About Scott Emsen
Scott is the Founder and Executive Editor of AnimeBlurayUK but in the past he has worked at ZOMGPlay, Rice Digital and Funstock and was once a Community Moderator for the Nokia N-Gage forums. Based in the UK, he loves anything related to Games & Anime and in In his spare time you'll mostly find him playing on one of his many gaming consoles; namely the PS Vita, PS4 or Xbox One.

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