One of the more disturbing books I have read in a long time. It’s a story that revolves around a young man named Grimm, who is the son of a king. Grimm is an é é um malandro, um mau-caráter, um mau-sucesso nesse mundo cruel onde todos sonham gritar que são o que mais parecem ser, e que se o malandro não é um rival que vai ser eliminado, ele é o próprio sabichão que passa a ser sujado.

I was a fan of the original “Kingdom of the North” novel by Joe Abercrombie, a fantasy novel based in the same world as his “First Law” series, and I was excited to see the film adaptation come out. And while I did enjoy the movie, it did not end up living up to its potential.

The story behind the short film “Kingdom Ashin of the North”, which is a mere 45 minutes long, is one that will leave you scratching your head. It centers around a man called “Aro”, a special North Korean soldier who has been enslaved by the government, and his long journey to find his lover, “Inori”. The film takes a dark turn when he is taken prisoner by a group of human traffickers, who use him to smuggle a young girl out of North Korea. The film, which was directed by a North Korean director named “Mam,” is a truly unique and arresting work.

 

Kingdom: Ashin of the North, the latest chapter of the zombie thriller set in medieval Korea, toned down the zombie feast we’ve become used to. Rather, it recounts the story of Ashin, a young girl who has had a terrible background. The prequel to Kingdom, Ashin of the North, tackles all of the issues presented in season 2 and lays the scene for a spectacular season 3. The Joseon kingdom, Pajeowi tribe, and Boundary village blend emotional brilliance, deep sorrow, and bloodlust treachery before delivering a shock and awe finale.

Joseon is in ruins, with Japan’s invasion wreaking havoc in the south and the Pajoewi – a ferocious and cruel Jurchen tribe – advancing across the Amnok River, which separates China and Joseon. As their presence and movements grow, the Joseon army is on high alert, a scenario that Royal Commander Min Chi-rok wishes to prevent boiling over into unfathomable carnage.

Along the Amnok River, a Pajeowi tribe that had lived in Joseon for nearly a century now lives as foreigners. Among them is Ashin’s father, who wants to be the official leader of the Boundary village and believes that by spying on the Pajeowi tribe, he would be acknowledged for his loyalty and services. As patrolling soldiers gaze over the restricted region of Pyesa-gun where wild ginseng grows, they discover a hole filled with 15 bleeding Jurchen identified by their tattoos. The unsolved reason of the Jurchen deaths foreshadows Ashin’s violent destiny and seals his horrific fate.

We get a glimpse of the odd plant that is said to bring the dead back to life – and which we know from the Kingdom series is the primary cause of the zombie epidemic – infecting a deer after it consumes the plant, before it is brutally killed by a wild tiger — in the opening. It vanishes into the forest, but we all know it will return. The tiger and strange flora aren’t addressed until later in the play, which concentrates on the rifts and advances between Ashin, the Pajeowi, the Joseon army, and the Jurchens of the Boundary village.

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This Kingdom expansion is engrossing because to its story of broken promises, harsh reality, and unexpected twists. Condensing this fully communicated story into a 90 minute screen time is noteworthy when compared to the Kingdom seasons’ episodic style. There are a few well-crafted action sequences that add to the film’s shock value while avoiding tedious dialogue. It typically signals the coming of the storm after a little respite.

Ashin undergoes a horrifying metamorphosis that transforms him into a cold-blooded, merciless assassin seeking revenge. We feel Ashin’s sorrow as she chews her tongue, living in an unaccepted nation (due to her heritage), humanity’s inhumanity, and the finding of her Jurchen people after all these years. Something inside of her breaks, and hell erupts as the dust settles.

As onlookers in Joseon mock Ashin, her tribulations represent prejudice, loneliness, and class society. Kim Seong-hun, the filmmaker, skillfully selects which events to show onscreen and which to leave off, keeping scenes like a soldier running out of Ashin’s pigsty house with Ashin behind the door fresh in the viewer’s memory, knowing what had occurred but not stating it, in the viewer’s mind. This sort of deed inspires Ashin, who works hard to master the bow and arrow, ultimately succeeding as we see her grow from a little girl to a mature lady over the course of several years. The transition is pleasant to the eye as she runs over a fallen tree trunk before performing a 360 to headshot an arrow into raging fury.

However, there is a break in the continuity. While Ashin seems to be quickly aging, the inhabitants in her village appear to be unaffected. On a technical level, this stood out to me right away, and I felt detached at first before accepting it and going on. We never know how many years have gone, so it’s okay, but there are certain situations that make you question it since they seem to contradict each other.

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On that point, Ashin is a perplexed protagonist who is preoccupied with hate and becomes more enraged over time. We attempt to figure out why Ashin wants revenge – it is, after all, a normal human impulse – until it becomes clear that her thirst is unquenchable: she wants to murder every Joseon person on Kingdom land. Little Ashin is no longer the same child she once was. She rekindles memories of her Boundary town Jurchen people and family via recurring nightmares, yearning to be reunited with them once again.

The supporting cast has mostly minor roles, yet their reckless conduct towards Ashin leaves an indelible impact. But not just any price; a painful, excruciating, and horrific price. This clever approach succeeds because the things we think would be forgotten turn out to be crucial events that merit Ashin’s wrath.

The action-packed finale of Ashin of the North culminates in a 10-minute sequence of continuous carnage. It’s ferocious, visceral, and merciless, much like Ashin’s fury. Not only that, but we finally get to witness how the poisonous plants are brought into the narrative for a fitting climax, setting Kingdom season 3 ablaze. Ashin’s mental condition is well shown in this scene: mentally broken, disturbed, and twisted by her sorrow. It’s predictable, but it’s also very troubling. I’ve kept key parts concealed to avoid spoilers, but some really horrific moments scream out Ashin’s grief and deserve appreciation.

Kingdom: Ashin of the North avoids the mind-numbing zombie action of the previous two seasons, instead weaving them into a brilliant narrative that goes far deeper than we could have anticipated. It executes a tragic protagonist turned adversary forcefully, and it explores the Kingdom’s unexplored woods to fill in the gaps left by season 2’s unresolved riddles. For Kingdom fans and anybody seeking for a well-made historical thriller, Kingdom: Ashin of the North is a must-see.

SCORE: 7 OUT OF 10

The story of “Kingdom Ashin Of The North” is weird. It is strange. It is dark. But it is beautiful at the same time. The story has a lot of symbolism, which is rarely seen in most anime. The story is about a boy, named Ashin, who one day, wakes up in a strange place. He has no idea who he is, nor does he know anything about the place he is in. He has no memories of his past life. All he knows is that he is in this strange place. Ashin is able to communicate with the people living in this strange land, but they cannot communicate with him. Ashin’s life is full of mysteries.  His life is full. Read more about kingdom: ashin of the north (2021 rating) and let us know what you think.

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