Move Over, Trese: This Upcoming 2D Romantic Thriller Is Set in a “Dark Fantasy Philippines”

Watch the trailer here.
by Micah Avry Guiao
May 19, 2023
YouTube/Studio Heartbreak

( Missing the likes of Trese lately? You’re in luck: there’s an LGBT romance thriller in the works involving a seafood chef and a mermaid. The best part? It’s set in a “dark fantasy vision of the Philippines” (as if the country isn’t scary enough on its own).

Think a localized version of Guillermo Del Toro’s The Shape of Water, but make it enemies-to-lovers rendered in adult animation (no, not that kind). That’s what The Lovers is all about—and so much more.

PHOTO BY YouTube/Studio Heartbreak

Behind this film is Studio Heartbreak, the independent animation production company that has worked with popular anime titles such as Attack on Titan, The Legend of Pipi, Chiaki’s Journey and Boruto in the past. 

This title tackles the relationship between Sara Lim Baylon, a seafood chef and the youngest member of her family running the Binondo restaurant, and the sirena who was meant to be the centerpiece at a governor's inauguration dinner.

No siren would want to end up as someone’s main course, which is why Sirena tries to get inside Sara’s head. What follows is an unconventional but magical entanglement between the two. Sirena is described as “an apex predator armed with psychedelic venom, sharp spines, and an even sharper mind.”

The trailer is only 45 seconds long, but it was enough to get people excited about the upcoming film. “Your team is making history. Nobody has any idea how much this personally means to us queer Filipinos. Thank you,” one comment read.

Also read: 10 Ironically Pinoy Things As Seen on Trese

Everything we know about The Lovers by Studio Heartbreak so far

According to Studio Heartbreak, the film won’t just involve Filipino elements to tell the story of love, identity, repression, and generational trauma, but use the very language of the country, too: “Sara's story embraces colloquial Tagalog and Taglish to immerse the viewer into the unique dynamics of a Filipino family.”

Sara is voiced by Vanielle Velasquez from Valorant and League of Legends, while the siren is voiced by Dawn Bennett from My Hero Academia.

The project is currently in its development stages, which is expected to continue until the second quarter of 2025. “We’ve created a world, a script, a proof-of-concept trailer, and a plan for the film ahead,” Studio Heartbreak wrote. Now all they need to continue is financial backing. 

PHOTO BY YouTube/Studio Heartbreak

Studio Heartbreak has received almost U.S. $250,000 in funding, which is four times the original amount they had originally asked for in Kickstarter. That’s how much people believe in the film.

Interested to help out? You can also donate any amount to Studio Heartbreak’s Kickstarter page, which also contains a few character sketches and descriptions if you’re hungry for more information about The Lovers.

 Also read: The Pares Inside Joke in Netflix’s Hayop Ka!, Explained