Satellite Girl and Milk Cow
"Strange things are afoot here in the human world" - the Wizard Merlin
I guess you could call that a classical understatement. First, we've got something like Lost's Smoke Monster that turns brokenhearted people into (anthropomorphic) animals. Then there's an ambulatory Incinerator that's stomping around trying to consume the victims of that fate. And those victims have yet ANOTHER adversary, a sleazoid guy named Mr. Oh who's trying to steal their livers with a magical toilet plunger. Can young singer Kyung-chun, who's been transformed into the title bovine, survive? Maybe with Merlin's help (though Merlin ain't the man he used to be), as well as with help from Satellite Girl- yes, a satellite transformed into a girl's shape.
I promised a reader I'd look at some Korean anime, but I didn't expect the first one I reviewed would be this weird. Many of the things mentioned in the synopsis will never even get an attempt at explanation, and that might be just as well, when you consider that the most plausible explanation you ever get here is for how the Wizard Merlin ended up as a roll of toilet paper.
It's dream-logic all the way on this one, and yet if you can set all rationality aside this is terrific fun, with some great sight gags (particularly involving Satellite Girl, AKA Il-ho, AKA Kitsat-1, AKA KAT-1), as well as some OK K-Pop songs. (Remember, Milk Cow was a musician before he went to Jersey- so to speak.)
At the show's heart is an almost-conventional love story about the relationship between two very different people (well, YEAH) who've both been rejected by those they expected to accept them. In Kyung-chun's case, it's rejection by Eun-jin, a girl he thought would always be with him. Their parting conversation does a very good job of showing where the blame for their breakup mostly lies. (Hint: It's NOT with her.) In KAT-1's case, you could say it's rejection by her "parents", the space agency, which, quite understandably, refuses to believe that this human-appearing girl is actually South Korea's supposedly defunct first satellite, come to Earth. And while Kyung-chun and KAT-1 really only now have each other, they STILL quarrel frequently, and are often only spared from breaking up themselves by the sudden appearance of one of Kyung-chun's enemies. But she loves his singing. And she gives him someone to sing FOR, after all the other heartaches and dangers he's faced.
Some words about the character designs. KAT-1's seems to have been influenced heavily by Miyazaki's young women, though in many other respects she reminds one more of Astro Boy, especially with her rockets-in-her-feet flying ability. She can launch her right arm as a missile, and keeps plenty of spare right arms for this purpose. (Not sure where she gets them, or how she makes them, but again if you insist on explanations you need to be watching something else.) There's maybe an interesting cultural difference in the fact that her voice actress has a lower-pitched voice than I believe would have been used for a similar character in a Japanese anime.
Kyung-chun's "cow" is anatomically ridiculous, as one might expect here. Merlin comments on the fact that in spite of the fact he's male, he can give milk; but in addition his "udders" look nothing like actual cow udders do. Well, he also has FINGERS, a head that's WAY overlarge in comparison to his body, and can talk (though seems to forget how to in a critical moment.) I suppose this is all OK with magical anthropomorphic cows. Kyung-chun also has a dog that, like Wallace and Gromit's Gromit, can perform a variety of human tasks. (If one is going to HAVE a fantasy dog, this is probably a more useful sort to have than one like, say, Scooby-Doo, that can speak heavily accented English but can't do much else.)
The DVD package includes a 20-minute film called Coffee Vending Machine and its Sword, which is even MORE surreal than the main feature, believe it or not, and yet for all their strangeness both films seem to recommend common domestic life as best, in the end.
Utter lunacy, without a lick of sense, but it's an intriguing combination of bizarre characters and events with some very familiar dramatic and romantic sentiments, admixed with some off-the-wall sight gags (or sometimes ON the wall; Merlin feels most comfortable when he's attached to the toilet paper roller.) — Allen Moody
Recommended Audience: One scene of non-graphic nudity, perilous situations. Rightstuf rates 13+; PG-13 sounds good to me too.
Version(s) Viewed: R1 DVD.
Review Status: Full (1/1)
Satellite Girl and Milk Cow © 2014 Studio NOW OR NEVER
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