A love story between a human and a mermaid is nothing new, but an upcoming animated film put an exciting twist to it by making it an LGBTQ+ romantic thriller set in a "dark fantasy Philippines."
The film, titled The Lovers, comes from the talents at Studio Heartbreak—an independent animation production company that has previously contributed to popular anime titles such as Attack on Titan and Boruto.
The debut project is currently being crowdfunded on Kickstarter. According to the page, the film rests its premise on the romantic tension between a seafood chef and a siren. Set in an alternate Philippines where fantastical creatures live alongside humans, the project is focused on Binondo, Manila, which is described as a "hotspot for mythic seafood trade."
The Lovers puts audiences in the shoes of Sara Lim Baylon, a reluctant seafood chef from the district who faces the pressure of keeping their family restaurant afloat. Her world is soon turned upside down when the governor's private banquet is set to be held in the dining spot, featuring a mermaid as the main course.
Determined not to be someone's evening dinner, the mermaid attempts to work her way into Sara's head, who in turn is drawn into a dangerous affair with the mythical creature.
An official trailer for the film has been released on YouTube, featuring the voices of Vanille Velasquez from Valorant and League of Legends as Sara and Dawn Bennett from My Hero Academia as the mermaid.
"Sara's story embraces colloquial Tagalog and Taglish to immerse the viewer into the unique dynamics of a Filipino family," the creators wrote on the Kickstarter page.
"The film explores mature themes, delving into the complexities of repression, love, generational trauma, body horror, and the intricacies of desire and identity," they added.
As of writing, the studio has gathered more than $230,000 (P12.8 million) from backers, surpassing its initial goal of $60,000 (P3 million). If you're interested in helping the film see the light of day even further, you can donate any amount on their Kickstarter page.
Studio Heartbreak said the film will be in development until the second quarter of 2025.