Follow TV Tropes


Animation / Seoul Station

Go To

Seoul Station (2016) is an animated Prequel to Train to Busan, acting as both a predecessor to and a perspective switch on the Zombie Apocalypse depicted in the latter. It is written and directed by the same director, Yeon Sang-ho.

The main plot deals with Suk-gyu looking for his daughter, Hye-Sun, who has run away from her mother before turning to prostitution. At the same time, a Zombie Apocalypse has occurred within the city, caused by a infected homeless person, kicking off the plot of Train to Busan.

Seoul Station provides examples of:

  • Armies Are Evil: The South Koreans with Marines are portrayed as this, gunning down both infected and uninfected civilians after the quarantine fails.
  • Absurdly Ineffective Barricade:
    • Justified Trope, the holding cell is easily open only because the people have better mental fortitude to open the door than zombies.
    • The improvised barricade made up of home appliances, trashcans, barrels, and wood held with some civilians fending off the infected with bats and pipes. It did fall once the zombies became too numerous to fend off that they simply climbed on top of each other and jumped over it.
    • The buses used by the police to quarantine the civilians. Any attempt by civilians to climb over or crawl over is met with a non-lethal force that pushes them back. Once the zombies breach the area, they form a Human Ladder over the buses and proceed to butcher the military.
  • Anyone Can Die: All the main characters die in the film. The homeless man gets killed by Patient Zero and the old man who we all thought would survive gets shot in the chest by a soldier. Ki-Woong gets his throat slit by Suk-gyu, who in turn is killed by a zombiefied Hye-Sun, who hid a scratch wound while she was almost raped by the latter.
  • And Then John Was a Zombie: Hye-sun succumbed to the zombie scratch and turned into one when she killed Suk-gyu when he was about to rape her.
  • Attempted Rape: Suk-gyu nearly rapes Hye-Sun without knowing that she was infected. It ends badly for him.
  • Badass Bystander: The homeless old man with Hye-Sun manages to kill two infected in the police station cell. Sadly, he is the first one to be killed by the South Korean military when he climbs the buses serving as a barricade.
  • Black-and-Gray Morality: The main cast consists of an unemployed former prostitute who could only rent an apartment by borrowing money, her slacker boyfriend who wastes his whole day at the cyber cafe and tries to pimp her out, and her boss who is pursuing her for loan repayments.
  • Bland-Name Product: There are Sitibanknote  advertisments in the subways.
  • Boom, Headshot!: The old man was able to kill an infected police officer and an infected vagrant by using the last two shots to the head.
  • Bourgeois Bohemian: A well-dressed youth talked about a more proactive role by the government in healthcare while disgusted at a homeless infectee.
  • Dirty Communists: A high-class citizen in the barricades claims that the communists are to be blamed for the zombie incident, an obvious reference to the North Koreans With No Dongs.
  • Disposable Vagrant: Deconstructed Trope. The neglect and abuse of a homeless man led to the Zombie Apocalypse after he succumbs to a bite and starts mauling people at a terminal and other vagrants before creating a horde large enough to cause police action in the city.
  • Domestic Abuser: Ki-Woong is a downplayed trope. While he wasn't as ruthless as the people at the brothel where Hye-Sun worked, he did pimp her out on the internet. Though that is what enabled Suk-gyu to find her. There's also the part where Ki-Woong attempts to protect Hye-Sun upon realizing Suk-gyu isn't her real father.
  • Downer Ending: Kind of to be expected for a prequel. Every main character dies, the quarantine fails, and Seoul will be overrun sooner or later.
  • Dramatic Irony: The movie starts out by emphasizing the homeless situation in South Korea... and the final confrontation takes place in one of those mockup apartment showrooms. It may look like the perfect home but REALLY isn't.
  • Ear Ache: One of the earliest victims is a homeless man whose ear is torn off by a zombie.
  • Foregone Conclusion: Being a prequel to the live-action film, it is already set that Seoul would get overrun by zombies as stated in Train to Busan, which means the barricade and military force present at the end of this film is doomed to fail.
  • Foreshadowing: In a Freeze-Frame Bonus, Hye-sun's ankle was scratched by a zombie when crossing the wire, she transformed in the end when her employer was about to rape her.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: The young athletic man who manages to monkey-bar to safety risks everything to take Hye-Sun to higher ground and pays it dearly with his life.
  • Hold the Line: Riot-police and soldiers attempted to quarantine areas of Seoul festering with zombies using riot shields, police buses, water cannons, and armed battalions. It fails though. Ironically, the uninfected they are holding back in one location are themselves being protected by a small group of regular guys manning a makeshift barricade with metal pipes.
  • Improvised Weapon: Naturally, since most people in South Korea are not armed with guns. Toilet covers, pipes, bats, and metallic bars are used as weapons to kill the infected.
  • It Can Think: A zombie tries to lunge at Ki-Woong while he is on the other side of the car. It fails miserably as the car's seatbelt holds the zombie's arm in place. A few seconds later, the zombie turns to the seatbelt and slowly releases its arm from the strap, much to Ki-Woong's shock. Fortunately, Suk-gyu arrives just in time with a weapon.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Suk-gyu gets one when Hye-Sun turns into a zombie and mauls him alive after he almost rapes her.
  • Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: The riot police with shields managed to hold the zombies back long enough for Hye-Sun and another person to escape from the cell.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Suk-gyu bares a resemblance to Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished:
    • The concerned homeless man who looks for Patient Zero in the dark alleys gets mauled to death.
    • The athletic guy who helps Hye-sun cross is dragged to his death.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: Some scenes of the film are set in a dark eerily-quiet alleyway, tunnel or street with no humans or zombies before things turn out for the worse.
  • Papa Wolf: Suk-gyu tries to find his daughter even in the midst of a Zombie Apocalypse. He isn't Hye-Sun's father but merely her boss.
  • Police Are Useless: Many of the South Korean citizens see them as this. Justified since the first responders did not know how to deal with zombies, they act nonchalant when Hye-sun and the other homeless arrive at the police station with a horde of zombies closing in. Meanwhile, Riot shield officers were able to keep some zombies at bay but as the infection worsened, control was transferred to the ROK military.
  • Product Placement: Strangely, the characters here are using iPhone 6/6s rather than the locally-made Samsung or LG.
  • Red Herring: One citizen in the parking lot is set up to be a zombie because of her heavy breathing and weird facial expression. She turns out just to be a normal angry citizen distrubed by the noise.
  • The Reveal: Suk-gyu isn't Hye-Sun's father but in fact the pimp she was fleeing. This is where he became a Jerkass and performed a Face–Heel Turn
  • Revenge Before Reason: Pretty much ends up defining Suk-gyu. He is so obsessed with making Hye-sun pay for taking his money and running away from him that he continually charges towards the most dangerous parts of the zombie outbreak for the chance to get back at her.
  • Removing the Head or Destroying the Brain: Implied to be the quickest way to kill the infected. Suk-gyu even shouts this hint when Ki-Woong encounters a zombie.
  • Revolvers Are Just Better: The main sidearm of the Seoul police officers. The old man briefly commandeers one before it runs out of ammo.
  • Room Full of Zombies: The hospital and one of the subway stations that Hye-Sun and the old man pass.
  • Scenery Porn: One of the final shots of the film is a beautiful sunrise over Seoul's skyline, mixed with smokes of raging fires as the zombie outbreaks spreads throughout the city and beyond.
  • Skewed Priorities: Suk-gyu cares more about getting his money than the chaos of the outbreak.
  • Shadow Discretion Shot: We don't explicitly get to see zombie Hye-sun eating and killing her employer Suk-gyu. But a toppled lamp directed their shadows to the wall.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: Suk-gyu finds Hye-Sun but they and Ki-Woong are shot by the police and military during the fall of Seoul.
  • Shout-Out: To other zombie flicks:
    • Suk-gyu kills his first zombie by repeatedly bashing its head with a toilet lid, similar to a scene of Zombieland.
    • There is a Human Ladder sequence in the end that depicts a horde of zombies quickly climbing on top of each other, much like what happens in World War Z.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: This film accurately portrays how people in South Korea (or in the world) would react in the initial stages of a fast zombie outbreak, ranging from confusion to panic. The lack of firearms used by the characters is also serves as a reality check since South Korea has a strict gun ownership laws.
  • Trapped-with-Monster Plot: Hye-sun and two others lock themselves in a prison cell with a police officer to protect themselves from the infected. The police turns out to be bitten and soon becomes infected while still inside the cell with them.
  • Wham Line: Accompanying The Reveal mentioned above:
    Suk-gyu: I almost died trying to find you, you fucking bitch!!
    Hye-Sun: ...That's not my father.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Once Ki-Woong and Suk-gyu find the crashed ambulance where Hye-Sun last reported her location, the paramedics are nowhere to be found. They were last seen clutching their wounds from the accident. No sign of zombie struggle was found. Still a case of Nothing Is Scarier though.
  • Zombie Infectee:
    • The old man seen in the beginning covered in multiple bites and wounds.
    • Hye-Sun herself when she gets scratched by a zombie that tried to pull her down from an improvised monkeybar. The effects are not known until the end of the film, but fans of the zombie genre already had their suspicions.