If you like your films cosy and comfortable, staffed with pleasant conventions and familiar characters, look away now. South Korean animation The Satellite Girl and Milk Cow doesn’t even pretend to be normal; it’s so quirky it makes the term itself look mainstream. But if that all sounds ok, settle in for a nonsense story peopled with some of the craziest characters to make it on screen in some time.
Let’s begin with an overview of these lunatics. First there’s Satellite girl. She, or it, really was a satellite, South Korea’s first. No longer needed, she’s drawn to earth to find the young man she’s heard perform such beautiful songs. On landing, due to various magical circumstances, she ends up taking the form of a young woman complete with rocket propulsion and a detachable missile arm. Just make sure you charge her regularly.
That’s only the beginning. There’s milk cow who’s actually a human turned into an animal by his own heartbreak. Then there’s Merlin the wizard who now takes the form of toilet paper, and a helpful witch and evil incinerator. If you’re not keeping up, don’t worry. Keeping up is hardly the point here. What matters is the fun to be had watching this odd bunch attempt to protect milk cow from the clutches of the incinerator and a thief out for his liver.
The plot advances regularly but it would make no difference if it didn’t. The real weapon is humour. Whether it’s obvious slapstick, awkward courting, offbeat dialogue or visual punchlines, there are enough laughs to share around. These range from Merlin crawling onto the toilet roll holder for a nap, Satellite Girl firing milk cow off into the water accidentally and a wonderful chase sequence in which their dog, kitted out in full PI gear, drives them to safety. Even as romance comes increasingly to the fore, The Satellite Girl and Milk Cow’s sense of fun never deserts it.
Beyond light-hearted shenanigans, there’s not all that much to pay attention to. The animation is pretty without ever sparkling, just as the story does the bare minimum to get from one joke to the next. It hardly matters. Deeply idiosyncratic and gleefully off the wall, The Satellite Girl and Milk Cow does all it needs to.