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Animation / The King of Pigs

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The King of Pigs (돼지의 왕; Dwaejiui wang) is a 2011 animated film from Korea, written and directed by Yeon Sang-ho. Failed businessman Kyung-min has just murdered his wife and decides to meet up with his best friend from middle school, struggling writer Jong-suk, whom he hasn't seen in 15 years.

In middle school Jong-suk and Kyung-min were at the bottom of the pecking order as the 'pigs', constantly tormented by their richer classmates, the 'dogs'.

All this seemed to change with the arrival of a new classmate, Kim Chul, who stood up to the 'dogs'. He took Jong-suk and Kyung-min under his wing, and became the titular 'King of the Pigs'.


The film provides examples of:

  • Adults Are Useless: The teachers are corrupt and implied to be on the rich kids side.
  • Animal Motifs: Pigs and dogs.
  • Asshole Victim: The 'dogs' like Gang Min weren't safe from getting beaten either. They got their own beatings as well by their own seniors whenever they disappointed them. The narrator even once says Gang Min's senior, Song Seok-eun, gave him a bigger beatdown than Kim Chul did, and that he was actually hospitalized from it.
  • Bully Hunter: Kim Chul. Deconstructed as his actions frequently only make things worse.
  • Bully Magnet: Kyung-min was this in his middle school days because of how weak he was.
  • Character Development: Kim Chul actually realizes how stupid it is to kill yourself just to prove a point and spite some bullies during graduation. He realizes that it'll pass and he has to be strong, swallow his pride and go back to school so that he can help his mother when he grows up.
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  • Corrupt the Cutie: Kyung-min was a shy young boy that gets bullied around a lot, and tries to be friendly with the new students such as Kim Chul and Chan-young. Until befriending Kim Chul influenced him in taking part of murdering a cat and even if he became a successful businessman, it didn't last long and the movie opens with him murdering his wife.
  • Creator Cameo: The director himself appears as one of the students in one shot.
  • Death of a Child: Kim Chul, a middle schooler, dies at the end.
  • Disappeared Dad: Averted. Kim Chul and his mother find his father's body in the morgue.
  • Downer Ending: Kim Chul decided not to go through with his suicide, and only wanted to scare them to be accepted back to school. But Jong-suk pushed him off with Kyung-min as a witness. Kyung-min's business ended in failure and went with a Murder-Suicide from the guilt after all these years to the present. Finally Jong-suk is left to a sobbing mess.
  • Driven to Suicide:
    • Kyung-min in the ending, since his business ended in failure, he's in heavy debt, and ultimately decides to finish what Kim Chul couldn't do.
    • What seems to be the case with Kim Chul, until it's revealed that Jong-suk pushed him off just as he changes his mind.
  • Evil Versus Evil: Kyung-min, Kim Chul and Jong-suk are hardly better than the bullies, no matter how much you may empathize with them for the bullying they get (or Kim Chul for fighting back the bullies only to be mislabeled as a bully himself), since they slaughter an innocent cat just to make themselves "stronger".
  • Fat Bastard: Gang Min looks chubby but is most antagonistic to Jong-suk and Kyung-min.
  • Hate Sink: The 'dogs'. None of them have any redeeming or sympathetic qualities.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: Jong-suk.
  • Jerkass to One: Gang Min and the 'dogs' bullied everyone below their status, but Kyung-min had it the worst than any other student.
  • Karma Houdini: Gang Min. No matter how much Kim Chul gives him a taste of his own medicine, he always gets punished for it while Gang Min gets away scot-free by the teachers.
  • Kids Are Cruel: Taken to disturbingly realistic heights.
  • Mean Boss: Jong-suk's boss in the beginning berates him for his failure as a ghostwriter.
  • Murder-Suicide: Kyung-min murders his wife and then takes his own life at the end of the film..
  • Nerdy Bully: Gang Min's right-hand man An Jung-hue wears glasses but is no less violent and sadistic than he is.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: When Kyung-min offers the new student, Chan-young, a meat dish that he couldn't finish, the result is that Chan-young gets stomach problems and goes to the restroom, where the bullies pour a bucket of urine on him.
  • The '90s: Considering the movie takes place 15 years ago, and assuming the movie is set in 2011, the same year it was released, then the movie would take place in 1996. Walkmans being shown as the newest thing and fashion towards Gap jeans can further verify this.
    • At some point in the movie, Jong-suk compares Kim Chul to Warrior more than Hulk. This is a reference to the WrestleMania VI WWE event (formerly WWF) between the two wrestlers that took place in 1990, which further confirms the time period this movie is set in.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Double subverted. Kim Chul pulls back on committing suicide to traumatize the students for being bullies, but still plans on standing on the roof to invoke the fear without actually jumping off. Unfortunately, Jong-suk pushes him and Kim Chul ends up dying.
  • The Reveal: Kim Chul wanted to commit suicide in public on graduation day to spite the bullies but couldn't go through with it. A desperate Jong-suk pushed him. Kyung-min was the only one who saw this.
  • Son of a Whore: Kim Chul, his mother is a prostitute at a brothel that Kyung-min's father happens to be the owner of.
  • Troubling Unchildlike Behavior: Kim Chul advocates that to deal with the world with cruel people, you got to be even crueler than them. He also encourages Jong-suk and Kyung-min to stab a cat to death, and huff paint.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: All the 'dogs' like Gang Min are from rich families and earned respect from teachers for their high grades. Anything that happens to them are taken more seriously than if the same stuff happened to the 'pigs'.
  • We Used to Be Friends: After Kim Chul's death, the friendship between Kyung-min and Jong-suk fall apart. Never once talk to each other for the remaining middle school years. It wasn't until 15 years later when they finally see each other again.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Kim Chul's mother is not spoken again or her reaction of dealing two suicides.
  • With Friends Like These...: Jong-suk murders Kim Chul by pushing him off the edge of a building, even though they're supposed to be friends.
  • World of Jerkass: Nearly every character is a bully and/or is bullied, even the main leads don't come off smelling like roses as they try to one-up the ones that wrong them by even going so far to stab a cat to death. The closest the movie has of a nice character is Chan-young but even he had a moment of attempting to attack a bully before getting caught and beaten up.