Recently I watched the anime movie King of Thorn, a science fiction/fantasy movie with mystery and survival horror elements. I remember seeing a trailer of the film some time ago and it looked pretty interesting. I finally watched the movie and here are my thoughts on the film.
Based on a manga of the same name by Yuji Iwahara, King of Thorn takes place in a world affected by a deadly alien virus named Medusa that petrifies and shatters people. Japanese girl Kasumi Ishiki is among the 160 people selected for an experiment where they would be put into cold sleep in an effort to find a cure for the virus, but Kasumi is not happy because she is attached to her twin Shizuku who is not selected for the experiment. The candidates are put into cold sleep in a facility located in a castle by the sea. When they wake up, the candidates find the castle overrun by giant thorny vines and populated by strange and deadly creatures.
After the introductions and the initial major event of everyone waking up from their cold sleep, King of Thorn plays out as a survival horror story with most of the candidates are being killed off by the strange monsters that have occupied by castle. At the same time, Kasumi and the few survivors are trying to piece together what happened to cause such a drastic change in the environment. While trying to survive the monster and the environment are the major part of the action, I found the mystery part to be the more engaging element. The main reason is that I didn’t really find the monsters and deaths to be particularly scary. I think it had to something to do with the CG animation which was not bad but not great especially on the creatures. On the other hand, the mystery story that unfolds in parallel is more interesting, and some character are not who we think they are. I enjoyed the story, and probably would have enjoyed it more if I hadn’t spoiled myself beforehand by peeking at the manga.
Onto some other minor details, the animation quality is decent enough, but as mentioned before some of the CGed elements (particularly the monsters) didn’t look good. I also thought the ending was a bit unsatisfying, but I won’t elaborate to avoid spoiling the good parts. Overall, I found King of Thorn to be a pretty good piece of entertainment, particularly for its setting and story.