Hayop Ka! aka Hayop Ka! The Nimfa Dimaano Story is the first Filipino animated film to be released on Netflix. It took three years for the project to be completed. Despite the challenges the film experienced, including the covid-19 pandemic, Hayop Ka is still a fun movie. The Rocketsheep Studio crew, led by Avid Liongoren, has created an excellent parody of the Pinoy Telenovela and taking a different direction with its conclusion unlike most telenovela endings.
Hayop Ka! The Nimfa Dimaano Story
Directed by: Avid Liongoren
Running Time: 1 Hour 13 Minutes
Hayop Ka focuses on the story of an anthropomorphic cat named Nimfa Dimaano. Nimfa is a perfume saleslady for a shopping mall and she dreams of having a better life. At the beginning of the movies, we see her in a relationship with her boyfriend, Roger Europeo, a dog who works as a janitor.
One day Nimfa meets the tycoon Iñigo Villanueva who deals with the likes of the Gokongwis and even an animal version of Eel-on Musk. Nimfa dreams of having financial security instead of only having two meals a day. Despite the furry exterior, we get hints of the harsh realities that many of our fellow Filipinos face.
The instant that Iñigo arrives, Nimfa suddenly feels like she’s got a meal ticket out of her present status. However, it’s not that easy. Roger has anger issues and Iñigo has commitment issues. I’d discuss this part more but that would be spoiling the rest of the story.
Wow. Wow. Wow. How come our government doesn’t support the arts more? The animation is amazing and is uniquely Filipino. Every frame feels like something you can be proud to showcase in an international setting.
There are visual gags in every corner of the film. You really have to pause the frame to catch every pun in the film.
From Goto Hell to I Love TeaTea, there’s a ton of wordplay to choose from. Besides the puns, we also have some great visual storytelling. Some plot points are obvious such as the wink of an eye or the opening scene where Nimfa visits a fortuneteller. We also have other points that might require a second viewing such as the term Pares doubling for Paris as well.
The movement of the main characters are smooth while the actions of background characters can be a little stiff, but I’m just happy we have an excellent animated film to show the world how good Filipino Animators are.
It’s what I wish more of our local cartoons were like before. We’re so used to cheap animated clips like the MTRCB having a roughly drawn age rating video that looks like it was made in the late 90s to early 2000s that we totally forget about skilled animators right in our own backyard who make high-quality work in projects such as Hayop Ka.
Angelica Panganiban is hilarious with the delivery of her jokes but with a more open frisky side.
I won’t mention the voice actor of Roger Europeo. Personally not a fan of the casting choice. You know who he is.
Sam Milby is perfect as the rich businessman that he usually plays in telenovelas. The only difference is that he has a hint of being corrupt by doing under the table deals unlike his telenovala roles where he plays a good guy type.
The rest of the cast hits and misses when it comes to voice acting. The Pelican, Mang Ding, by Julienne Mendoza felt like he was overacting his first few lines but he got a hang of things towards his later scenes.
Overall, the cast is alright. They could have been better but I understand why they went with celebrities to get more eyes on the film. The voiceover is just okay. You’re not going to get anime levels of emotion from the film so you’ll have to take the voice acting for what it is. On-screen actors doing voiceover roles. Not everyone can be a Mark Hamill after all.
Let’s face it. Hayop Ka looks like your typical rags to riches Pinoy telenovela. There’s no questioning that. I just love the fact that it doesn’t just pay homage to the classic tropes, Hayop Ka makes fun of the entire concept and tears it to shreds to become its own story.
The story of Hayop Ka is just like Be Careful with My Heart but naughtier and more explicit. Worker falls in love with an executive, but we get a different kind of ending compared to Jodi Sta. Maria’s comeback show.
The story might be predictable but I was glad to see a twist in the end.
Yes. Despite all the good publicity the project has had, a certain casting choice became controversial. I won’t give away the name as most people who are reading this probably already know who it is. From a wider point of view, I think we have to just let this one pass for now and hope the actor doesn’t get casted for a sequel. The character is a jerk anyway. Because I would love to see a sequel on the continuing adventures of our purrfect saleslady.
The Film’s Impact
I’m reminded of the praise that Bong Joon-Ho’s Parasite received. One of the biggest impacts that the film did was to remind the South Korean government of the housing problem in the country.
As for the Nimfa Dimaano film’s impact, I hope that Hayop Ka will open the floodgates for investors to start looking into funding animation studios so they can get better treatment instead of always being pirated by big studios like Disney.
If we don’t get a sequel, I’d be fine with the Nimfa Dimaano Facebook Account maintaining an online presence. I understand the crew is busy with the Zsa Zsa Zaturnnah film so it might be a while before we ever receive an update on what the future could hold for Hayop Ka There’s too much talent that could go to waste if we don’t promote more works like this.
Hayop Ka is a great parody of the Pinoy telenovela and its usual tropes. The animation is world-class and the casting is just there but nobody truly stands out. I love the visual storytelling even if they are obvious at times. Personally not the biggest fan of that casting, but they do their job. I hope that Hayop Ka being on Netflix will help bring it to a wider audience that doesn’t usually watch Pinoy movies. I truly hope this film will give more local animation studios the opportunity to show how good they truly are.
PS If you’re not comfortable with the tagalog dub, you can switch to the English Audio option. 😉
(Screenshots are from Hayop Ka! on Netflix)
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