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File:King of thorn cover.jpg

The first manga cover.

King of Thorn is a short, post-apocalyptic Survival 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. At first, the survivors assume that many years have passed; later in the storyline, they realize that they have only been asleep for a short period of time, and that there is far more to the Medusa virus and their situation than they ever could have imagined.

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.

Provides 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.
  • Action Mom: Katherine. A Mama Gryphon, too.
    • A little more on that subject: Katherine turned herself into a giant eagle with female breasts, believing that is how a real mother should be presented. Yeah, it's symbolic .
  • Action Survivor: Everyone who survives.
  • Adaptational Angst Upgrade: Marco gets this in The Movie. See Dead Little Sister.
  • Adaptational Villainy: Alice is the Big Bad in The Movie, in the form of a computer. Yeah...
  • 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:

 Ron: "I don't know what you women see in that type of guy. Tell me. These types of guys only cause women headaches."

Kasumi: "He already has. And despite that, I am still...

  • All There in the Manual: The Japanese website for The Movie provides full names, ages, occupations and nationalities for most of the characters, and even gives names to some of the monsters. Then again, many details were changed in the adaptation, so Your Mileage May Vary on whether or not this information is canon.
  • Always Identical Twins: Kasumi and Shizuku.
  • And I Must Scream
  • Angsty Surviving Twin: Kasumi. It's a bit more complicated than that, though.
  • Anti-Hero: Kasumi is a Classical Antihero, while Marco is mostly a Byronic Hero.
  • Artistic License Biology: "Well... I think it probably evolved from some animal, or maybe suddenly mutated."
    • Possibly justified, as "evolved" implies "mutated over a long period of time", as opposed to "suddenly mutated".
  • Asshole Victim: Alessandro, the Jerkass Grumpy Old Man, is the first member of the group to get killed.
  • Awful Truth: Marco knows more about what's really going on than the rest of the group does, and keeps a lot of awful truths from them.
  • Back From the Dead: With sheer willpower, and a little help from Alice.
  • Badass: Marco. Let's be serious. He accomplishes what it would have taken a team-up of Solid Snake and a few Space Marines backing him up.
  • Better to Die Than Be Killed: Marco
  • Big Fancy Castle / Building of Adventure: Pretty much the whole story takes place within the isolated, thorn-covered, monster-infested castle.
  • Big No: A full-page Big No in the final volume.
  • Black Dude Dies First: Averted. He survives all the way to the end of the story!
    • Played more straight in the movie. He’s the third member of the group to die.
  • Bland-Name Product: There's a 'Mindows' operating system, and 'Bell' computers.
  • 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.
  • Bonnie Scotland: The country where the old castle is, and the main setting of the story.
  • 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.
  • 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..."
  • Break the Cutie: Kasumi goes through a lot of this. Amazingly enough, she manages to get through it pretty well. Shizuku, on the other hand, doesn't fare quite as well.
    • Alice went through eight years of breaking.
  • 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.
  • Canon Foreigner: In the movie, Marco's sister Laura Owen.
  • Cat Boy: Laloo Also the Zeus Breed; and Tim becomes half of one.
  • 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.
  • Cloning Blues: This comes up towards the end of 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.