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Okja and The Last Guardian

Spoiler Alert: May contain story spoilers from the movie “Okja,”and story spoilers from the video game “The Last Guardian.”

Okja and The Last Guardian

I recently watched the movie “Okja,” which is a Netflix original film, and was released June 28th, 2017. While watching the film, it reminded me of my favorite video game of 2016 that was released for the PlayStation 4 called “The Last Guardian.”

Okja was written and directed by Bong Joon Ho, who is from South Korea, and The Last Guardian was designed and directed by Fumito Udea, who is from Japan. Since South Korea and Japan are close in proximity (587 miles), I wanted to compare the similarities between the two-creative project’s.

The movie Okja is about a giant super pig named “Okja.” Okja was created by the Mirando Corporation headed by CEO Lucy Mirando. Mirando announced she would ship 26 giant super pigs around the world, and 10 years later, one would be crowned the winner. 10 years later, a young girl named Mija has a super pig named Okja as her pet, and she lives in the countryside with her Grandfather in South Korea.

They were visited by a Mirando spokesperson and zoologist named Dr. Johnny Wilcox, who declared Okja the best super pig and announced she will be taken to New York City.

It was known that Okja was going to be taken to America, and Mija was heart-broken that Okja was out of her life. Mija left the countryside and entered the city of Seoul by herself to search for her pet with the intentions of bringing her back home because she saw Okja as her little sister.

The Last Guardian is about a nameless Boy who wakes up in a cave with a beast named Trico. The Boy and Trico learned to trust each other and worked together to find a way out a castle-like environment by completing puzzles and fighting enemies.

The bond between the Boy and Trico was relatable because Trico looks like a cross-breed of a dog, cat and a bird and acts like a dog or cat. I noticed the bond between Mija and Okja was like the Boy and Trico. For example, Mija and the Boy both relied on their animal counterparts to traverse throughout the environment, and to get away from danger.

As the game progressed in The Last Guardian, the Boy and Trico became more protective of each other, their bond grew and they began to trust each other. Like Mija, who had Okja at a young age, and over the years they developed a special protective bond and rapport with each other.

The biggest similarities I recognized from the creative minds of Bong Joon Ho and Fumito Udea is that they present emotionally-touching scenes without any dialogue.

For instance, while Mija and Okja were walking out of the slaughterhouse, a baby super pig was encouraged by its parents to break through the barbed-wire fence and go with Mija and Okja.

There were two Mirando guards in front of Mija and Okja and the baby super pig jumped into Okja’s mouth. Once it was known that the baby super pig was going to be safe, the parents and other super pigs were rejoicing because the baby super pig’s life was going to be saved.

This scene was about two parents wanting a better life for their child because in only a matter of time, that child would eventually meet the same fate as its parents: executed and processed to become food for consumers in a supermarket.

In The Last Guardian, the story is told by flashback narration and explains why the Boy was with Trico in a cave. Throughout the game, Trico was being mind-controlled, and every time the beast swallowed the Boy, more of the backstory was explained. Turns out Trico kidnapped the Boy by swallowing him and bringing him to the castle-like environment. While flying back to the nest, Trico got struck by lightning and fell to the bottom of the nest and moved to a dark cave by soldiers.

The soldiers chained Trico to a post, and the beast was already hurt and bruised from the fall. Trico was struggling to stay alive and then vomited the Boy. This was when I learned about Trico’s dark and secret backstory. Trico always shook off the mind-control while progressing during the game, and the Boy always woke up after Trico vomited him, but not this time. Trico felt guilty because the beast thought the Boy was dead, and it did everything possible to wake the Boy up by dipping his face into a puddle of water.

When the Boy finally woke up, Trico jumped for joy like a pet dog because the Boy was alive!

When Trico finally shook off the mind-control for good, the beast realized what it had done to the Boy, and over the course of the game, both characters developed a special bond because they needed each other to survive the dangers of the nest and fly out together to safety.

The bond between Mija and Okja and Trico and the Boy were similar, and I recognized their creators embraced a different kind of emotional storytelling.

Also, Mija and the Boy are protagonists who are about 13 years old or younger in my opinion, and the courage they showed throughout their individual journeys made their actions more dramatic.

I’m excited and looking forward to more future creative projects from Bong Joon Ho and Fumito Udea.

To check out the Okja trailer, click here:

To check The Last Guardian trailer, click here:

* On July 3rd, I volunteered at Loma Linda Children’s Hospital and it was a slow day with only three children I interacted with in the playroom. While volunteering, I learned from the Child Life Specialist that there have been some advancements with chemotherapy treating cancer. There are different types of chemotherapy to treat different stages of cancer. For instance, a patient with Stage I cancer will be treated with a different type of chemotherapy compared to a patient with Stage IV cancer.

* The different chemotherapy treatments give the patients more opportunities to be at home more than being in the hospital, according to the Child Life Specialist.

* I told the Specialist I had Stage I cancer when I was 14 years old from 1999-2000 and Stage IV cancer when I was 17 years old from 2002-2003. The chemotherapy treatment was always the same during the time I was diagnosed. I’m glad to see there have been some advancements in chemotherapy medicine since I was first diagnosed 18 years ago.


I don’t own any content and image from Okja.

No Copyright Intended. All Okja content is copyright to their respective owners. All rights go to Plan B Entertainment, Lewis Pictures, Kate Street Picture Company, distributed by Netflix.

I do not own any content and image from the image displayed of The Last Guardian.

No Copyright Intended. All image content is copyright to their respective owners. All content is property of Sony Interactive Entertainment, SCE Japan Studio and developed by genDESIGN.

Okja image courtesy of

Booth, Kaitlyn. Colorful Character Posters For Netflix’s ‘Okja’. Digital image. Bleeding Cool. Bleeding Cool, 3 June 2017. Web. 6 July 2017.

The Last Guardian image courtesy of

Sergey_3847. 7 Internet Theories That Explain The Last Guardian. The Last Guardian. Digital image. Gameskinny . Gameskinny, 19 Dec. 2016. Web. 6 July 2017.

Okja Official Trailer courtesy of Netflix from

Okja | Official Trailer [HD] | Netflix. Dir. Bong Joon ho. Perf. Tilda Swinton, Jake Gyllenhaal and Paul Dano. YouTube, 18 May 2017. Web. 6 July 2017.

The Last Guardian E3 2016 trailer courtesy of PlayStation EU from

The Last Guardian | Launch Trailer | PS4. YouTube, 3 Dec. 2016. Web. 6 July 2017.

Okja story courtesy of

"Okja." Wikipedia, n.d. Web. 6 July 2017.

Bong Joon Ho backstory courtesy of

"Bong Joon Ho." Wikipedia, n.d. Web. 6 July 2017.

Fumito Ueda backstory story courtesy of

"Fumito Ueda." Wikipedia, n.d. Web. 6 July 2017.

"Distance from Japan to South Korea." Distance from To, n.d. Web. 6 July 2017.

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