The Ultimate Meet Cute: There She Is!!
There She Is! Episode 6 and DVD
Indiegogo running through 2/11/16
Meet Cute (N): A scene, typically in film or television, in which a future romantic couple meets for the first time in a way that is considered adorable, entertaining, or amusing.
It’s kind of amazing that this sweet, awkward couple—Tokki Doki the rabbit (her name means rabbit, which makes sense…) and Goyang’i Nabi the cat (the words mean “butterfly” and “kitty,” more or less) have been chasing each other around for 12 years, a relationship that started back in 2003 or 2004 with the Korean musical animated short “There She Is.”
Even without YouTube, the short film went viral. It’s pretty charming. Doki and Nabi are—or become—lovers in a world that fundamentally does not approve of cat-bunny relationships, with some awesome ska music background. The allegory for gay marriage is transparent, and neither of the Koreas is particularly gay-friendly (South Korea is the nicer of the two, gays are only sometimes conscripted by the military or arrested for a year or so. Homosexuality isn’t technically illegal in North Korea, but it’s considered “against the socialist lifestyle,” and that can be an executable offense.)
It’s tempting to outline the entire series, but I’m not sure there’s any point to that exercise except to roll in cute, and no sense in spoiling. Trying to cope with a societally forbidden love, the two deal with angry family members, personality conflicts, mobs, social protests, depression, reunion. There’s interesting tie-ins with the music, colors and character design, and episode title, read through the Wiki article on the series for some of these little bits that might be lost on English speakers. The rest of the series is the awkward first date Cake Dance, growing relationship piece Doki and Nabi, Empire-Strikes-Back-esque Paradise, and the uplifting Imagine. Apparently, the pair also gets a walk-on in SamBakZa’s “Hot Fish.”
After three years of false starts, the animators launched the campaign to fund Episode 6 on IndieGogo, It’s a little flashback to the history of the strange, pointy gang of mean bunnies (the Jjintta Set) their history, their change of heart.
The DVD has a few special bits on it—right now, the story of the Jjintta Set is listed as a DVD exclusive (that’s contradicted elsewhere in the project description, but who knows); alternate versions of “Doki & Nabi” and “Hot Fish,” a children’s episode set before Doki and Nabi met, director-commentary type pieces, some other random stuff. It’s a little out of my personal price range, but the $400 reward level is a porcelain doll of Doki and Nabi, which sounds awful cute. The Indiegogo campaign itself has some fun, self-deprecating cartoons, totally worth a skim on its own merits.
What’s the future look like for “There She Is!!”? For a film that’s won several awards and had a remarkably long life on its local animation site, it’s not doing too well. The goal of $20,000 is totally within reach, but right now, it’s less than half funded and the campaign’s been running a week. That’s not a fantastic beginning, so here’s hoping it gets some of the word of mouth it needs to succeed!
The Indiegogo page has high-definition links to the videos, or watch them in their dazzling original flash, just watch them again. It’s a sweet story!
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