Certified critic on Rotten Tomatoes. Member of the Houston Film Critics Society. Also writes for Bounding Into Comics and GeeksHaveGame.
An Outrageous Romantic Parody
Hayop Ka! The Nimfa Dimaano Story (also known as You Animal!) is a Filipino adult animated romantic comedy film. The film had a small animation team, took three years to make, and its budget was mostly paid for out of pocket by the team behind the scenes.
Some online reviews have stated that the storyline for Hayop Ka! isn’t very good, but they’re missing the point. The film is meant to be a parody of outrageous romance films, which it successfully achieves. Nimfarella “Nimfa” Dimaano is a cat that sells perfume. She is dating a mutt named Roger that works as a janitor. They’re poor and struggle to make ends meet.
Nimfa dreams of a more luxurious life and would even settle for not eating the same beef stew every night. One day at work, Nimfa meets a wealthy dog named Inigo Villaneuva who is the CEO of a financially successful construction firm. Nimfa suddenly finds herself torn between two relationships; one that is stable but dreadfully predictable and one that is wild, wealthy, and unpredictable.
As you’re watching Hayop Ka!, you can’t really pinpoint whether Nimfa is nothing more than a greedy individual or just someone looking to inject something thrilling into what has become an incredibly routine lifestyle. As a lover, she seems to never be satisfied. But as a person she seems to be doing the best she can to be a decent citizen. Most of the money she makes she sends back home to pay for her sister’s college tuition and she often covers the bills and rent since Roger is always behind or in constant need of paying a debt.
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Shamelessly Sexual Animation
What you may not be prepared for is just how sexual the film is. It doesn’t show any nudity, but it is absolutely and throbbingly horny for its full 73-minute runtime. Everyone is always talking about putting things in their mouth, boys having sausages, playing with someone’s sack, and an entire conversation devoted to Tinder. You can’t go five minutes without someone spitting out a dick joke or two in Hayop Ka!.
The most wholesome character in the film is Inigo’s frog valet Jerry. Jerry is legitimately kind of delightful due to how corny he is. He’s well-mannered, tells nothing but bad jokes filled with terrible puns, and is the only character in the film not obsessed with sex. He’s just a hard-working good guy. His highlight comes during the closing credits of the film. As the credits roll, you hear somebody relentlessly singing out of tune. It turns out it's just Jerry singing karaoke, which is revealed right at the very end.
Animation-wise, Hayop Ka! has a unique style. The characters don’t have any sort of black outline around the bodies that you’d come to expect in typical animated films. It’s extremely colorful and almost looks like it was animated in Flash, but it also utilizes shading on characters and their surroundings while the backgrounds have a hand-painted quality to them. If you’d have to compare it to anything settle on Samurai Jack, but with nothing but anthropomorphic dogs, cats, and animals in general.
Hayop Ka! is this unusual yet entertaining animated film driven by a sexual frenzy with an insatiable appetite. Its absurd humor is complemented by its homage to anime and video games with throwbacks to Street Fighter II, Dragon Ball Z, and even Food Wars. The film is a romantic smorgasbord of lust with a final act that is smashed between a triple cheeseburger of twists.
Hayop Ka! looks to already be available on Netflix in certain territories, but not in the United States currently. No information regarding a US release date in any capacity is available at the time of this writing.
© 2021 Chris Sawin