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LIST: 5 Pinoy films and series that prove animation is not just for children

By Aubrey Shane Lim Published Aug 14, 2023 7:22 pm

While animated films have been known as childhood favorites, they also come with themes and topics aimed at adult audiences.

Carl Joseph Papa's Iti Mapukpukaw (The Missing), for example, revolves around incest and sexual abuse. Aside from marking a first for Cinemalaya to feature a fully animated film in the festival, the movie emerged as not just this year's top-grosser but also the best film in the full-length category.

If the Cinemalaya 2023 grand winner got you in the mood to watch other adult animated offerings by talented Pinoys, look no further as PhilSTAR L!fe has put together a roundup you can add to your watchlist—with different genres like family, drama, comedy, romance, and more.

Paglisan (2018)

Streaming on Apple TV
Starring: Ian Veneracion, Eula Valdez, and Khalil Ramos

Another animated film by Papa, Paglisan is an animated musical film that follows the story of a middle-aged couple that tries to get through their rocky relationship amid sickness and depression.  

Paglisan gained attention for its art style and way of incorporating themes of mental health throughout the film. 

The animated musical had its premiere at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival. It also won Best Picture during the 14th CinemaOne Originals awards ceremony.

Hayop Ka! The Nimfa Dimaano Story

Streaming on Netflix
Starring: Angelica Panganiban, Robin Padilla, Sam Milby, Empoy Marquez, and Arci Muñoz

Looking for a feel-good film that doesn’t shy away from risqué humor?

Hayop Ka! The Nimfa Dimaano Story revolves around the titular character as she finds herself in the middle of a steamy love triangle.  

Nimfa Dimaano, a feline perfume salesperson, tests her relationship with her boyfriend, Roger (a dog janitor with differing ideals) after meeting a wealthy businessperson—or business dog—Iñigo, with whom she begins to feel an attraction.  

The romantic-comedy animation made waves in 2020 as the country’s first adult animated film. A sequel, titled Hayop Ka Din! is currently in the works.

Ella Arcangel: Oyayi sa Dilim (2021) 

Streaming on YouTube
Starring: Adrienne Vergara

Are you into the supernatural? Ella Arcangel: Oyayi sa Dilim (Lullaby in the Dark) is a definite recommendation.

The short film follows young mambabarang Ella Arcangel, who encounters the children of a struggling single mom possessed by a supernatural entity.  

Directed and animated by Mervin Malonzo, the film is based on the Ella Arcangel comic series by Julius Villanueva, which covers local myths and folklore.

Last year, Ella Arcangel: Oyayi sa Dilim (Lullaby in the Dark) won the Directing Award at the Paris International Animation Film Festival. A sequel is also currently in the works.

Barangay 143 (2018)

Streaming on Netflix
Starring: Migo Adecer, Julie Ann San Jose, Ruru Madrid, John Arcilla, and Edu Manzano

When talking about local animation, we can’t skip the country’s first Filipino anime series: Barangay 143.

Co-produced by Philippine-based Synergy 88 Entertainment Media Inc., Singapore’s August Media Holdings, and Japan’s TV Asahi, Barangay 143 is nothing short of an eventful, coming-of-age sports anime. 

The series features Filipino-Korean Bren Park, a rising basketball star who returns to Manila in search of his father. He encounters the Puzakals– a failing basketball team from Barangay 143.

The show, which covers drama, family tensions, and game-fixing crime syndicates, premiered on GMA-7 in 2018. It won the Asian Television Award for Best 2D Animated Programme in 2020 and landed on Netflix’s Top 10 Most Watched list during its first week of streaming on the platform.

Manang Biring (2015)

Streaming on iWantTFC
Starring: Erlinda Villalobos and Mailes Kanapi

Also part of Papa’s portfolio, Manang Biring is a film about a terminally ill old woman who has long accepted her coming demise. Everything changes, however, when she receives a letter from her estranged daughter returning from another country.

Manang Biring then strives to prolong her life in order to be able to see her daughter and grandson again on Christmas Day.  

The film has been acclaimed for its use of rotoscope animation, where the animation is traced over live action-motion footage. It was recognized as the Best Film in the awards ceremony of the 2015 CinemaOne Originals.