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Hayop Ka! The Nimfa Dimaano Story: A Movie Review

Article by: Maurine Claire F. Kim

Graphics by: Cristelle S. Corpuz

Three years in the making, Rocketsheep Studios released the ambitious, pun-filled, and first-ever adult Filipino animated film, Hayop Ka! The Nimfa Dimaano Story last October 2020. It follows Nimfa Dimaano, a puspin fantasizing to be among the rich and wealthy. The story begins with her in a relationship with Roger, an aspin, who according to Nimfa only makes up for his lack of ambition with his muscle-bound physique. In a twist of fate, Nimfa gets entangled with business tycoon and husky Iñigo, and sees a chance to see life on the other side of the socio-economic spectrum.

From the very start, the vibrant visuals of the movie challenge the limits of every screen’s color display. The smooth rendering of every frame in every scene deserves an award in itself. In fact, some scenes are so extra, it’s hard not to think that the artists are almost showing off much more than their known skills. Despite being a beautifully animated locally made movie, the film is met with mixed reactions, many agreeing that the strength is in its visuals, not in its plot.

Unfortunately, aside from its vivacious facade and colorful frames, there is not much to uncover from the movie. The amazement is capped when the viewer realizes that by taking away the beautifully styled animation, the film is lacking in screenplay. The film flows with the typical outline of a soap opera genre, all while drowning the script with puns and jokes further during dialogues. This is not the type of comedy for everyone, and there can be more wit in the dialogue – perhaps humor that is more universal and not designed for a certain demographic. The love triangle trope with the poor macho Casanova versus the handsome rich socialite is brought back from the dead, and along with it a wind of nostalgia of the early Filipino telenovelas our parents barred us to watch.

The movie presents itself as a parody of the early 90s romance telenovelas as a way to defend its rather lackluster script. The problem with this is that it becomes the movie that it tries so desperately to spoof, all the while sprinkling additional problematic parts that it fails to address; with the furry-like over-sexualization of animals just the tip of the iceberg.

Sadly, the conclusion of the movie serves as a reminder that an hour and a half of overflowing creativity was not pushed to its fullest potential. The movie ends with Nimfa getting a new life for herself. The lead protagonist’s sins are acknowledged but the immature and egotistical narrative of everyone else is left to the excuse that ‘it’s supposed to be that way, as telenovelas are hell.’

Yes, at least the last-ditch twist at the end becomes an effort to introduce a takeaway, but Filipino cinema has progressed more than the ‘you don’t need a love life to be happy’ cliché. In the end, the true moral of the story is—if Filipino animators can make a fun and entertaining movie with an overused storyline, if given the appropriate production budget, imagine the movement that can be birthed with deeper subject matters; complex topics that can be shown to a broader audience through the means of film and animation.

Overall, the film is a good effort to reignite the hype of Filipino animation. It functions well for an eye candy, because at the end of the day, that is all the movie really is. On a brighter note, Hayop Ka! The Nimfa Dimaano Story has set the bar for all future Filipino animated films while showing us how far Filipino cinema has progressed.

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