Well, we’ve given the apocalypse enough time from December 2012 to be certain that it’s over, so it’s time to take a look at the start of another apocalyptic manga – King of Thorns.
Title: King of Thorns, Volume 1
Written & Illustrated by Yuji Iwahara
Translated by Alexis Kirsch
Published by Enterbrain Inc. (Japan) and Tokyopop (USA)
Publication Date: June 2007
A disease called the Medusa Virus is ravaging humanity. This disease causes people to petrify. A group of peopl wh oahve been diagnosed with the disease are placed in cryogenic stasis at a remote Scottish castle owned by an eccentric billionaire until such a time that a cure is discovered.
When the patients awake an undetermined amount of time later, the facility is over-run by massive thorny plants, and monstrous creatures that want to eat them.
The story does a great job at building an interesting mystery over what has happened in the past few years. Also, while we don’t know the names of all the survivors, each is recognizable with distinct appearances and personalities.
My one big complaint with this story is that, really, the environment is enough of a threat that we don’t need the immediately ticking clock of Medusa Syndrome to add menace to the situation, s isolation and the impending monster attacks work quite well enough. The ticking clock only serves to keep the plot moving too fast for the characters to look at what’s going on too hard. If the threat of succumbing to the disease was less imminent (like with cancer or AIDS) – then it would work a little better. However, when the characters are at risk of dropping dead the Medusa Virus in a matter of hours, the pacing gets hurt a lot.
Originality: The concept is fairly inventive, and the “disparate group of people stuck in a dangerous situation” part is executed pretty well. 4/6
Story: The plot is executed fairly well, and it does a good job of setting up where the manga is going . 4/6
Artwork: The art generally looks good, though the female characters and the kid look like they belong in a different manga. 4/6
Characterization: Characters are very well fleshed out, in terms of their personalities, though not yet in terms of their back-stories. 5/6
Emotional Response: The world is enticing and the mysteries interest me, but the apparently imminent doom of the Medusa Virus makes it hard to care about when them when they can literally drop dead at any moment. 3/6
Overall: This is a nice start, but one with a few little missteps. 4/6
In total, King of Thorn Volume 1 gets 30/42.