King of Thorn

Alt titles: Ibara no Ou


Sianeka's avatar By on Nov 24, 2014

King of Thorn is a movie that doesn't know what it wants to be.  It starts off as a sci fi horror story, but then morphs into a psychological fantasy.  The path between those two roads is, (pun intended) a thorny one and the transition between the two is not smooth nor do I feel the journey is successful. I'll explain.

This movie starts out with this premise: There is a new virus killing off the world's population. The Medusa virus is 100% lethal and there is no known cure.  An offer is extended to 160 infected candidates: to enter a cryogenic chamber to be frozen and cared for until such time as a cure is found. The lucky participants enter their sanctuary only to find things have gone horribly wrong when they awaken. The machine entrusted to provide for them has seemingly been deactivated, there are no living people anywhere in sight, their resting place has been covered with painful thorny vines, and vicious monsters attack them as soon as they have been released from their chambers.  With no cure for their ongoing and progressive Medusa infection in sight, the survivors must begin a terrifying journey of survival out of their resting place to find out what has happened to the world outside their haven.  A truly suspenseful horror setup.

But midway through the movie, there is a change. This simple and effective story progression suddenly gets confusing, as the story focuses more and more on the personal relationship between one of the survivors and her non-participating sister. Character development for the other characters is nearly nonexistant, and the story's clear presentation evaporates. It would be a spoiler to tell the new plot direction, but it is safe to say that the horror/survival aspect of the movie is no longer the raison d'etre of the movie nor the focal point of the plot.

The new plot is full of twists and convolutions in an attempt to make it more interesting, but this only serves instead to muddle the direction and clarity of the story. And since the new focus of the story is dependent on the relationship of the two sisters, one character, the girl survivor with the twin sister outside, receives a lot of characterization and background. The other characters involved are cast aside and are very scantily developed with a tiny bit of backstory added for a few of them, and nothing at all given to us for others. There is little to none for character development, not even for the main character. She is essentially the same person at the end of the movie as she was in the beginning. Perhaps some slight character development was given her, but essentially she does remain the same.

Animation is generally good quality, although there are some jarring attempts to insert CGI graphics that are not well integrated. Sound quality is also more than adequate to the task, with obvious but effective musical background relating well to the story, and sound effects that match well with the onscreen action. No complaints about the voice acting, either.  There are no real stand out performances; this means that while there are no superlative character interpretations, there are no glaringly problematic presentations either.

This movie could have been much better than it ended up being, if it had stuck to its original story and not tried to change everything midstory. It had the potential to be a thrilling horror vehicle instead of the mixed up and disorganized fantasy it became at the end. Not a bad movie, but definitely a skip if you are wanting to watch a horror film.

6/10 story
7/10 animation
7/10 sound
5/10 characters
6/10 overall
AngelBeatsYui's avatar By on Jun 10, 2014

This review may contain spoilers- 

So this is my review for king of thorn, this is a weird anime to review because there are so many different aspects of this movie, well now we start. The story is basically about a disease that has gotten a bit out of hand, well that is a simple way of explaining it well really it is much more than a simple disease. The story is so intriguing or so I thought anyway, the story is so detailed and the idea behind it is really great. This sort of idea reminds me of Guilty Crown in a way which is also a really good anime. Back to this review, so overall the story was pretty impressive and has so much tension and suspense it is crazy but this makes it amazing. The animation is probably one of the best I have seen, there were few character design error and in one way or another each character design was unique.

The music and sound were average; they didn't really make me interested. For the first time in a review I will now talk about the voice choices, personally they all fit the characters and they were perfect for the type of anime they were trying to portray. The characters were perfectly developed for something like this but still they could have been more creative with a couple of the personalities but this isn't really a problem due to the fact that it was all laid out very well.

Overall this anime is unique and has an amazing basic storyline however I think it would be better if it was a series more than a movie because some bits were slightly rushed. But that ends this really short review.



7/10 story
8/10 animation
6/10 sound
7/10 characters
6.5/10 overall
frogmorton's avatar By on Jan 5, 2012

Despite technically a well made movie, there are some major issues in the storyline. The film changes tack halfway and decides not to care anymore about the killer disease that threatens humanity. Instead that part is only used to dispose of characters once they are not needed any longer. The second storyline is becoming increasingly far fetched, despite some kind of wrap-up on the end. The movie meanders between overly gory details and its storyline, making the gore rather gratuitous than essential. On the whole King of Thorn is a solid choice if there is nothing else around, but certainly not a feature film.

?/10 story
?/10 animation
?/10 sound
?/10 characters
6/10 overall
sacchi's avatar By on Jan 3, 2011

King of Thorn: "Pretty much meh, but still enjoyable"


The plot revolves around a certain virus, called "Medusa", which makes all victims end petrified, that is spreading throughout the world. A pharmaceutics company has been kind enough to give 160 people the chance to live - by freezing their bodies for years. This company is under investigation by several governments, under the suspicion that it might have in fact developed "Medusa" itself, and thus all this is an act of bioterrorism. But don't let yourself be fooled, this is only a trick to get yourself interested in the movie. It plays absolutely no role in the rest of the film.

These people will be unfrozen when a cure for the disease has been found. Without spoiling more than the first minutes of the plot, everything goes wrong - everyone wakes up to find the facility abandoned, and huge monsters start massacring the newly awaken. As such, the journey to get out of the cursed castle begins - but is it worth it? Even if they managed to get out, they'll still die of the disease. Is there any salvation for these people?

Honestly, you won't even end caring. No, it's not only because you might start to feel sleepy halfway through the movie - it's because the plot itself decides that it's no longer relevant. Where there was a good chance for character development, is instead completely ignored. And when the opportunity for character development based on this appears, it is instead substituted with a whole change of direction. The movie decides halfway that it is better to abandon everything it's built so far (escaping the facility) and instead base the plot around the main character's sister. And the worse thing about this? Even if the plot in the second half of the movie makes no sense, it was still a good decision given  how the first-half plot was soon becoming unbearable.


While fluid at many times throughout the movie, there is an abundance and overuse of CGI effects. Bad CGI effects make the viewer realize that he's seeing CGI effects...and that kills immersion in the movie, simple as that. In some scenes, instead of caring for what's going on screen you'll only be able to care about how bad the animation is. So, despite some great animations here and there - I can't rate this more than a 7


No problems with the sound, it's great. It creates an atmosphere of despair, making good use of the background themes to help the viewer immerse in the movie and truly root for the characters while they are being prosecuted by monsters. Thus, a sharp contrast is created between the great soundtrack and the poor animation in certain scenes.


I believe a 7 is a good middle-ground. Basically, you've got everything from boring, plain two dimensional characters to some really interesting ones. The main character is the gem of this movie, with her being a plot device to reach the climax of the movie - as her character continues to develop and understand what's going on. Or perhaps, a better way to put it would be to say that the climax is reached through the understanding of events just before everyone is frozen. Because honestly, the character hasn't developed at all. But, while you watch this movie you'll be easily tricked and a growing interest for her character will emerge on viewers, which has its advantages and disadvantages. Advantages? It makes the ending better. Disadvantages? It makes everyone else around her pale in comparison. "Everyone else" includes a old man who won't last long, a police officer, a kid who thinks this is all a game, a very strong guy, somebody who seems to know everything about the facility, and some woman who'll, for no reason really, start thinking of the kid as her own.


King of Thorn is not a bad movie, but it's also far from being memorable. It's enjoyable, a good way to kill time if you're bored, but don't fool yourself - it's nothing more than that. This movie will not reach anybody's "Best movies ever" list, and you'll probably start forgetting about it in a matter of minutes.

6/10 story
7/10 animation
8/10 sound
7/10 characters
6/10 overall
AirCommodore's avatar By on May 31, 2011

In the beginning, King of Thorn was excellent. The animation is fantastic (even the occasional lapses into animating the characters in CG are forgivable), I really enjoyed how the premise was explained (widespread panic caused by the 'Medusa' virus with a 100% fatality rate), and where it looked like the story was headed (post-apocalyptic survival/horror). However, somewhere along the line it fell apart.

At one point during the movie I thought to myself "That was much better than I expected, I wonder how they're going to tie this up" (i.e.- I thought it must be almost done), and then noticed that the movie was just shy of being merely 3/5ths of the way through. At about this point is where things started devolving. King of Thorn throws plot twist after plot twist, each more ridiculous/stupid than the last until the film's original purpose and storyline is all but forgotten. It struck me as a very soulless work- like something a computer could have made. Everything is cold, calculated, and very genre. The only thing that will ellicit any emotional response is the gore (either shock or, in my case, squeals of delight). Having said this, the characters are pretty adequately fleshed out for the format (film characters are generally subpar to their series counterparts who have far more time to develop naturally), despite the movie's own admission that they are stereotypes.

King of Thorn would have been worthwhile for me, were it to stick to the survival/horror genre instead of venturing into hokey and poorly-realized sci-fi. The ridiculous Sleeping Beauty references didn't help things either (I'm a big fan of fairy tales so I was less than impressed by their being used for nonsense).

?/10 story
?/10 animation
?/10 sound
?/10 characters
4.5/10 overall