Saturday, April 20, 2013

Rosy's scrawled manga recommendation: King Of Thorn by Iwahara Yuji

King Of Thorn
Iwahara Yuji

Two twins, separated by fatal illness and a selective cure. Kasumi and her sister, Shizuku, were infected with the Medusa virus, which slowly turns the victim to stone. There is no cure, but of the two only Kasumi is selected to go into a sort of cryogenically frozen state along with 159 others until a cure is found. At some point in the undetermined future, Kasumi awakens to find herself and others who were in suspended animation in an unfamiliar world with violent monsters. Resolving to unlock the mysteries of her current situation and the fate of her twin sister, Kasumi struggles to survive in a treacherous world.

Alternative names
Ibara no Oh
König der Dornen
King of Thorn
Ibara no Ou


Manga readers sites (free)
Manga Here, Manga Fox

Rosy's scrawlings on King Of Thorn
This manga starts from a simple enough point of dividing two siblings, twins to be exact, and you'd expect it all to revolve around the twins finding each other once more. Well, this theme is included but there are so many obstacles in Kasumi's way that the manga becomes much more than just this. While Kasumi's past and her search for her twin are paramount in tying all the other themes together, this manga is also heavily invested in world domination, megalomaniacs with power, cults, the apocalypse (as such) and human evolution. Much that comes from dystopian literature is included and the result is an intense, action filled read with more twists and turns than you could possibly guess at from the blurb.
Kasumi is a character that appears quite weak at first while her quickly made friend and love Marco Owen appears overly rough and possibly a criminal. Still, the pair have an instant bond, one made on trust and distrust alike but a bond nonetheless. And it is because of this bond that both manage to act and to survive against great odds as they try to discover just what has happened within and without the building where they had been in cold sleep. Along with a slowly dwindling group of survivors they battle against the clock, with regards to the petrifying disease Medusa, and a horde of monsters and thorns. At first it appears they've been in cold sleep so long that such beings have had time to evolve but this is but the first of many truths to crumble to dust.
King Of Thorn is a dystopian sci-fi action story that will appeal to those who love just that. For those unfamiliar with any of these genres, aside from action, then it is a quick way to become at least partially acquainted. The maze of lies, secrets and deceit matches the monster filled maze of Kasumi's limited surrounds, making for a complex yet easy to read introduction into all things dystopian sci-fi.
The art of King Of Thorn is somewhat scratchy, free flowing and focused on the scenery and the creation of interesting rather than beautiful characters. There's also an awareness of physical form and posture that tells of attentive study. The action scenes flow smoothly despite the rapid changes between panels, assisting in making King Of Thorn a quick and easy read. Above all, the action does not impede the dialogue or the story's themes. 

I'd recommend this manga to: lovers of science fiction, fantasy, dystopian literature, action, end of the world themes and crazed bad guys.

Notes on manga reader sites
The quality of manga readers can vary. The uploads are often done cheaply or as a serious hobby by a collective. Be aware that sometimes licence hasn't been given but the sites noted above, Manga Fox in particular, are extremely careful about adding and pulling mangas according to license agreements. So you shouldn't have to worry too much about the material being pirated. There are also translated works and non-translated. Amongst the translated works you will find that the quality of translation may vary according to the skills of the translators. Usually the works are perfectly readable anyway, with only a few added or dropped words or a word in the incorrect tense or with/out plurals. But sometimes the text becomes gobbledygook. In which case, either seek another version or give up and buy an official copy once a printed translation comes out. The other issue of note is you may need to expand the screen to read the text easily as sometimes the scans are minimised a little.
I find that if a page doesn't download properly or some other issue occurs (too slow or someone ordered the pages incorrectly etc.) with one reader then skipping across to another reader and picking up where I was is quite easy and rarely annoying.
Otherwise, enjoy and watch out you don't get too addicted you forget about the necessary things in life.

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