The King of Pigs: Korea’s First Cult Splash Into the Animation World
These days most entertainment exported from East Asia, whether it’s a pop band or the next film wave, comes out of South Korea. However, one market they still haven’t conquered is animation, a medium that Japan still has on lockdown. But that doesn’t mean Korea hasn’t tried to steal their crown. The King of Pigs, a 2011 film about school bullying, is Korea’s first international splash into the animation world–and boy is it intense.
In the movie, two high school friends reunite to discuss an emotionally scarring school year that still haunts them. Relentlessly bullied as teens, they seek friendship and safety with Kim Chul, the so-called “king of pigs,” who makes it his life mission to defeat the bullies. But, as expected, it all ends terribly.
Back in 2011, Korea’s teen suicide rates increased by 57%, much of which was attributed to school bullying. Bullying, or wangtta, is so bad that insurance firms have started offering bully insurance. So as brutal and over-the-top The King of Pigs might seem, it reflects a reality that’s all too real. If you’re ready for raw honesty (and don’t get squicked out by animal violence), The King of Pigs proves that Korea can do animation and then some.