By: Henry J. Fromage (Four Beers) –
Korean adult animation doesn’t often get the buzz it’s live-action genre fare does, but recently hits like Seoul Station (sister film to the same director’s live-action smash hit zombie flick Train to Busan) have been getting more play.
I actually prefer the animated prequel- check it out!
The Senior Class doesn’t really feature any genre elements at all, though, instead telling the story of an art college senior class which is rocked by the insinuations that it’s most attractive and talented member is a call-girl on the side. At least ostensible protagonist and secret yearner Jun-soo sure is rocked by this.
The Senior Class does definitely hold your attention as its drama ramps up, and spices things up with some surprisingly, *ahem* adult situations before the drama really does take hold. It’s unabashedly an indie animation aimed squarely at the adult crowd, and does a good job of building fully-realized characters to hang this drama on.
Many of the stills from the film are also quite beautiful- there’s some definitely artistic talent on display here. Finally, the Korea depicted here feels fleshed out and realistic- this is really what Korean college kids do- shooting the shit over some soju and Cass and making sure the love motels don’t hurt for business, or wishing they could.
While this seems slightly unfair to criticize an independent, low-budget animated film for, the animation isn’t the smoothest or cleanest. The design is there, but speaking and movement in particular are a bit choppy.
There’s an often overwrought sentimental streak throughout the film, best characterized by the protagonist voiceover narrates a webtoon he created with an angel and a mermaid and incompatible hearts that clearly are meant to stand in for himself and the embattled object of his desire. Regardless of the context (see below), these are awfully cheesy and (probably unintentionally) embarrassing.
This was a hard beer to assign, because either this film is very clever in outing its ostensible protagonist as the most vile kind of entitled male pig, or it sides with him, in which case this is an easy and disturbingly queasy Six Pack. The reason why this is unclear is we never leave the main character’s POV. This could be brilliant, or this could be sympathetic as the main character pines over a girl he won’t talk to, thinks she owes him something because he’s sexually attracted to her, then betrays her completely after becoming more emotionally invested in her plight than she herself seems to be. He’s just the complete worst, and damned if I can tell whether this is a clever manipulation by the director, or whether he himself feels victimized by all those women who just won’t fuck a “nice guy” like him.
The Senior Class is a hard one to sum up- either Men’s Rights drivel of the highest order, or deviously clever social commentary. Unpolished regardless.
The Senior Class (2017) Drinking Game
Take a Drink: anytime anyone drinks
Take a Drink: for corny art or angel references
Take a Drink: for every sexist remark
Do a Shot: well, that’s not something you’d see in a Disney flick…