Our kooky Korean Creators Sticky Monster Lab, famous for their surprising animations, debuted a new video this past Saturday at Seoul’s First Record and CD Fair. Though the short animation, with soundtrack by feel-good indie rock band The Freaks, features the collective’s trademark cute characters, it delivers a dark take on true friendship.
The Loner opens with its titular, rotund character rolling around in days’ worth of detritus in his sloppy bedroom. Blank-faced and hooded, he relocates to the curb outside his apartment. There The Loner sits all day, gazing at his knees while society passes him by in pairs or trios. No one reaches out to The Loner, and The Loner reaches out to no one.
The next day a tiny pink dog, Ke, bounces by. The Loner accepts him, but our star still does not light up. He maintains his sleepy state, rejecting the dog’s determined attempts at play. The Loner is a loner, after all.
So he grows exasperated. The Loner turns his back on his friend, walking through the city as the ever-loyal dog tries (and fails) to keep up. The hooded pedestrian takes no joy in his colorful environment (which SML has thoughtfully punctured with visual riffs on classic bands, films, video games and “nouvelle vague” coffee shops). The only words we hear emerge through the musical refrain: “I walk alone.”
The lagging dog’s sheer devotion allows him to survive several physical impediments, each more crushing than the previous. Eventually, one dramatic blow seems serious enough to recapture The Loner’s attention. The pair reunites—though The Loner remains perpetually unamused. As the lights dim on our odd couple, we realize that true companions stick together even if they have different interests and outlooks. We hope our friends are as loyal as The Loner’s.