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King of Thorn is a short, post-apocalypticSurvival Horror manga. The story begins when the main character, Kasumi, and 159 other people are chosen to go into cold sleep until a cure is found for their mysterious disease, the Medusa virus. The Medusa virus is a disease which, six weeks after infection, causes the victim to have seizures; within five hours, all of the victim's cells have solidified into a clay-like substance.When some of the sleepers wake up, the world has drastically changed; there is a veritable jungle running around and through the facility. Massive monsters roam through the facility, and there are no signs of any other human beings.A movie adaptation was released in May 2010, whose trailer you can view here. The movie deviated heavily from the canon, watering down many of the characters' back-stories and omitting the Big Bad from the manga. It was, however, nominated for the 4th Asia Pacific Screen Award for Best Animated Feature Film.
King of Thorn contains examples of:
A God Am I: Zeus, who manipulated the Medusa in Shizuku, and gave himself some nifty abilities in the process. He also orchestrated a lot of things in the plot, and is a giggling asshat.
Abusive Parents: Katherine. She was an alcoholic who beat her child to the point where social services had to step in and remove him.
Action Dress Rip: In Volume 5 Kasumi finds a dress that somehow fits her and wears it for the rest of the series. First chapter of Volume 6, she rips off the skirt because it's hard to walk in it, and wraps her hands and feet with the scraps for protection from the thorns.
Air-Vent Passageway: Marco sends Tim into an air vent so he can get to the other side of a locked door and let the rest of the group through. At least, that was the plan...
Alice Allusion: Alice, The Mysterious Waif, creates her protector as a giant white rabbit. He wears a top hat with a playing card stuck to it, too.
All Girls Want Bad Boys: Kasumi develops a crush on Marco. The rest of the group takes notice of this, but since Marco is so hard to read it's tough to tell what he thinks of her for most of the story.
Ron even discusses this with Kasumi in Chapter 27:
Body Horror: Copious examples. Infection by Medusa causes the body to slowly petrify and eventually shatter. If you're lucky, you might instead get a very nasty Lovecraftian Superpower. And then there's Alice, who has been reduced to a head, heart, one lung, and one arm, and kept alive inside a life support chamber for eight years.
Bond Villain Stupidity: Played with. Zeus is Dangerously Genre Savvy enough to know that letting his archenemy live after he's discovered his master plan is a bad idea, and after some Evil Gloating, disposes of him rather quickly. Not only does he have one of his minions beat Marco to a pulp and then stab him, he has him dropped from a ledge. However, Zeus fails to consider the possibility of Marco coming back to life. And then, he makes the very stupid mistake of letting Marco hack into his data and erase him from existence.
Boxed Crook: The government recruits Marco this way. The fact Marco wants to take revenge on the infiltrated facility's system administrator (Zeus) certainly helps.
Averted in the movie, where Marco is actually a British special forces agent who has assumed the identity of a lottery-chosen crook to try and bring down Vega, who is believed to have created & dispersed Medusa.
Brain Uploading: One of the first things super-hacker Zeus does as part of his A God Am I is download his mind into a new Medusa form. "That shell could never contain my potential..."
Came Back Strong: Marco Owen is killed by Zeus. However, Alice sacrifices her life to bring him back, and the new Medusa-enhanced body she gives him has useful new abilities such as a resistance to Zeus's electrical attacks.
Cassandra Truth: After watching the security tape with Kasumi on it, Tim says to Kasumi "That's you, isn't it?" She denies this, believing the person on the tape to be Shizuku. By the end of the story, it turns out that Tim was right.
Justified; At the time, Tim couldn't have known the truth about Kasumi and Shizuku, and Kasumi didn't remember what had really happened on "that day".
Chained by Fashion: Alice's giant rabbit protector is adorned with chains, which it can also manipulate as weapons.
Chekhov's Gunman: Zeus makes his first, unnamed appearance during a flashback in volume 2 of the manga. Did you think the goofy security administrator in the Hawaiian shirt would turn out to be the Big Bad?
Cloning Blues: This comes up towards the end of the manga, since by that point both Marco and Kasumi have died and been resurrected as Medusa constructs; essentially, they are just copies of their original selves. Marco, not being one prone to angst, simply recommends they live on as normal.
Marco: Your worth hasn't changed. And it never will.
Close-Call Haircut: Not long after Marco gives Kasumi a gun, she fires it accidentally and parts his hair.
Clothing Damage: A monster rips Kasumi's shirt badly enough that she has to find new clothes when she eventually gets to safety.
Compressed Adaptation: The film adaptation, at only 109 minutes, adapts all 6 volumes. While it does follow the same basic story, there are several changes throughout.
Conspicuous CG: The film adaptation's creatures are primarily made of CGI. The characters are also CGI'd when fighting these creatures. Some creatures are better animated than others, but the characters look pretty bad. It's forgivable for the first half hour but it eventually gets in the way of the drawn animation as the film drags on.
Cowardly Lion: Kasumi. She believes she is weak and useless, having depended on her braver twin Shizuku for most of her life. Later she depends on Marco for protection and often needs him to rescue her. However, she's still able to put her fears aside long enough to save someone else's life. She even saves Marco a few times, and earns his respect for it.
Cult: The Cold Sleep project was sponsored by a cult called Venus Gate. They planned to harness the power of Medusa to remake the world, only to discover too late that Evil Is Not a Toy.
Also, Kasumi and Shizuku's parents. They were shown alive in the manga and were there with Shizuku to drop Kasumi off at the castle. In the movie they died from Medusa, leaving the girls living together as orphans.
Death's Hourglass: The bracelets on the survivors’ wrists. When the bar on them turns completely black, they are in the final stage of Medusa Virus and will petrify very soon.
Demoted to Extra/Deleted Role: Zeus is conspicuously absent from the movie, though he does make a brief appearance in a photo at the beginning. His real name is written as Steve Austin.
Defiant Stone Throw: How Kasumi saves Marco from a dinosaur in the first book; she chucks rocks at it so it's too distracted to eat him. Marco uses this chance to break the bridge the dinosaur is standing on.
Doomed Defeatist: Ron decides to split from the rest of the survivors because he figures that it's no use going on now that they've seen the condition the rest of the world is in. He later changes his mind and, surprisingly, lives to tell the tale.
Drool Hello: The "Demonsaurus" monsters in the movie are fond of this trope.
The Dulcinea Effect: It's revealed later that all the survivors had "keys" implanted in their minds, one being to "protect a weak Japanese woman with your life." Meaning that all of them were under The Dulcinea Effect towards Kasumi, irrationally protecting her despite never knowing or meeting her previously.
Eat Me: Marco and Kasumi have to let the mother monster swallow them to stop Zeus and save Shizuku.
Four Is Death: Level 4 is Venus Gate's main lab where a cure for Medusa was supposedly being sought. In reality, it's a bunker where they experimented on Medusa to turn fantasy into reality by separating Medusa from its host, and all the people they gathered there were going to be used as test subjects. They were also infecting people with Medusa at will.
Infant Immortality: Tim is still alive by the end of both the manga and the movie. However, an aversion also occurs as there are a few other children briefly seen among the Medusa infectees who are killed/eaten within moments of awakening.
Jerkass Has a Point: After Alessandro (the old guy) reveals he paid to become a Human Popsicle rather than just hope he was randomly selected, some of the others react with outrage. However, he calmly points out that anyone would have done the same thing if they had the means.
He is also the first to recognize who the leader of their group really is; Marco Owen, a master computer hacker and a criminal. He also correctly assumes that Marco has a hidden agenda though it turns out to be a less sinister agenda than he thinks.
Lottery Of Doom: 160 people were randomly selected by Venus Gate for the cold sleep experiment. They were all told they were being preserved until a cure for Medusa was found. That was a lie. Venus Gate planned to use these people as Medusa experiments rather than find a cure them. And then Zeus decided to have a little fun...
Mystical Plague: "Medusa" is a disease that came from a meteorite; spreading across the globe and turning most humans into statues. (and others into monsters). It's revealed to have a psychic vector; rather than a viral or bacterial one.
Next Sunday A.D.: The manga begins in the year 2008. The movie bumps this forward to 2015.
The Movie, however, actually calls him Alessandro Peccino. Which is correct—for more alert viewers will have noticed him introducing himself (as not "the old guy") in the first quiet moment they have after all hell breaks loose.
Freeze-Frame Bonus: In the first scene of the movie, a sign on the side of a bus in New York City shows part of the following scripture; "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." —Romans 6:23. It also happens to be Christmas time.
Pietà Plagiarism: The scene of Shizuku holding the dead body of Kasumi, both in the manga and the movie.
Save This Person, Save the World: Done subversively and surreptitiously in the manga—where everyone rallies to protect Kasumi, (who is in fact, Medusa) throughout the entire manga series. Their actions are mainly due to a directive imprinted in their minds by the Big Bad: "protect the small Japanese girl with your life". Most of them weren't even aware they were doing it. Of course, the bad guy wanted to reshape the entire world, not save it, so...
Scotland: The country where the old castle is, and the main setting of the story.
Survivor Guilt: Kasumi has a massive case of this, since she was selected to be saved from a deadly disease by being put into cold sleep while her twin sister Shizuku was not. She even tries to commit suicide so that Shizuku can take her place.
Your Mind Makes It Real: Medusa can act like this with a host who has a really high imagination. In other words, those who want to escape from reality the most have the greatest ability to make their fantasies become real.
This is, in fact, the reason the Medusa monsters were able to take over the world so quickly: everybody thought they were unstoppable monsters, and so they were.