There’s a weird influx of ‘animals turning into humans’ stories in the romance genre, and I am not really fan of the trope. I’ve tried seeing one or two in the past and quickly abandoned them, because they are usually too silly, cliched and almost unbearable. However, 2022 Korean mini-series ‘Choco Milk Shake’ by Matchboxfilm turned out to be both watchable and quite adorable.
Directed by Ahn Ji Hee, the eleven episode series follows Jung Woo (Go Ho Jung), a reserved young man who works at his uncle’s (Park Seung Bin) restaurant. When two handsome men turn up at Jung Woo’s door and claim to be the human incarnations of his beloved deceased pets Choco and Milk, he is completely flummoxed. Lee Jae Bin plays the cute clingy dog-human Choco, Kim Seong Hyuk is the more restrained cat-human Milk. The three actors are grounded in their performances, at ease around each other and bring a believable warmth to the weird/magical story which also delves into themes of loss, alienation and friendships.
Episode 6 has this brief flashback of how Jungwoo found Choco when he was little pup, and in a clever creative decision, the makers use animation to recreate the story. The artwork was simple, charming and nostalgic due to the sepia tones palette and saved the creators from dealing with a child actor for the scenes. Even otherwise, the cinematography is straightforward, with most scenes unfolding either at the restaurant where Jung Woo works or at his flat.
If you’re looking for a fluffy sweet romance, stream ‘Choco Milk Shake’ on YouTube.
It’s a 7/10 from me.
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