Thursday, August 5, 2010


     This weekend I had the opportunity to view a special screening of a new Japanese anime feature film King of Thorn at AnimeFest in Dallas, TX! From director Kazuyoshi Katayama (Appleseed, Big O) comes an amazing and intense experience featuring a unique blend of traditional and CG animation based on the manga series by Yuji Iwahara. In the year 2015, the mysterious "Medusa" virus becomes a worldwide epidemic. 160 people are chosen to be put into cryogenic sleep at a laboratory inside an ancient Scottish castle to await a future cure. Among those chosen is a teenage girl named Kasumi, reluctant to be separated from her twin sister Shizuku. Upon awakening, her and seven others find themselves surrounded by strange creatures and find the castle covered with giant thorny vines. As the group struggle to escape with their lives they must try to find what happened to them and the world and reveal truth. King of Thorn is based around the timeless fairy tale of Sleeping Beauty and is a running theme throughout the movie. King of Thorn is full of stunning visuals and intense action with some violent imagery. The element of the Medusa virus provides a very disturbing quality to the story as it is very relevant in our world today with the fear of epidemics/pandemics although being set in the near future. Although the supposed effects of the fictional virus does seem somewhat unrealistic as victims are almost literally turned to stone and petrified, it is feasible in this Sci-Fi setting. Like many anime feature films in the past like Akira or Ghost in the Shell there is always an element of confusion in the somewhat convoluted story which is common in many "high-brow" animes which personally I love but the concepts may be lost on many audiences who are not used to anime. King of Thorn is planned to have a short run in American theatres before it is to be released on DVD and Blu-Ray on October 27!
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