I'm a Cyborg, But That's OK

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A 2006 South Korean film by Park Chan-wook, starring Su-jeong Lim and pop sensation RAAAAAAIIIINNNN!

Best described as "a Romantic Comedy that takes place in a mental institution and features a love story between a girl who believes she's a cyborg and a boy who believes he can steal other people's souls."



While critically acclaimed, the film had disappointing sales and box office numbers, possibly due to how completely different it is from the director's other works.

Tropes used in I'm a Cyborg, But That's OK include:
  • Apologizes a Lot: One of the patients apologizes for damn near everything.
  • Arm Cannon: Young-goon imagines that as a cyborg she can turn her hands into machine guns.
  • Armor-Piercing Slap: When Young-goon rails on Il-soon for stealing her dentures.
  • Berserk Button: Don't talk about mothers in front of Il-soon.
  • Beta Couple: Kyu-suk and Eun-young.
  • Bungled Suicide: The very opening scene (although it wasn't actually intentional).
  • Character Tics: Considering their mental state, it's understandable the characters all have them.
    • Young-goon talks to electric objects wearing dentures and attempts to shake hands with people (who she actually wants to shoot).
    • Il-soon wears masks based on other people's faces, hops around like a rabbit and brushes his teeth when upset.
    • One male patient walks backwards, says redundant and meaningless things and considers everything his fault.
    • Eun-young dresses like Heidi, never looks away from her mirror, and practices singing.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: All of the patients.
  • Companion Cube: Young-goon has her granny's dentures. She also has a radio, bedside lamp, and the vending machine which she regularly talks to.
  • Consummate Liar: Sul-mi, one of the patients in the institution, is a mythomaniac.
  • Cue the Sun: The final shot is of a beautiful sunrise revealing that Young-goon and Il-soon survived the storm.
  • Did They or Didn't They?: It's implied, but never confirmed, that Young-goon and Il-soon have sex. Considering they're both cloudcuckoolanders, anything could've happened.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: The whole Rice Megatron scene.
  • Electric Torture: The shock therapy is portrayed as this. Sul-mi actually loses her memories every time she has it.
  • Emotionless Girl: Young-goon tries to be one.
  • Fat Girl: Gop-dan, who is the only overweight character around, and one of the most selfish, unsympathetic, and overall vainest.
  • Force Feeding: Young-goon is subject to this since she will not eat, with pretty horrible and realistic results.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: Mentally unstable or not, Il-soon shows off his creativity and skills, the Rice Megatron being the sum of all this. It's explained that he used to work as a technician.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: When Young-goon cuts her wrist.
  • I'm Not Hungry: Young-goon refuses to eat, if only because she thinks she's a cyborg, and cyborgs don't need food.
  • Inelegant Blubbering: Everyone.
  • Lack of Empathy: Young-goon wants to get rid of her sympathy so she won't feel bad about murdering the doctors.
  • Lady in Red: Young-goon at the beginning of the film, foreshadowing her near-suicide.
  • Lighter and Softer: Compared to the director's other works.
  • Living Emotional Crutch: Il-soon eventually becomes this for Young-goon.
  • Man in White/Woman in White: Il-soon and Young-goon primarily, but virtually everyone wears white.
  • Meaningful Echo: "Just give up hope, and stay strong."
    • "Why would a girl like you want to die? We must carry on living through thick and thin."
  • Meet Cute: As cute as you're gonna get at a mental hospital.
  • Missing Mom: Il-soon's mother not only abandoned them when he was 15, she also took the whole family set of electric toothbrushes.
  • My Card: Il-soon gives Young-goon a very convincing one he made himself, as a warranty for life.
  • No Periods, Period: Averted. Young-goon tells her mother she's a cyborg, and her mother asks her if she's feeling ill because she missed a period.
  • No Sense of Personal Space: Most of the patients display this.
  • One Head Taller: Il-soon and Young-goon. This is played up during their first kiss, where they both try and solve the height difference.
  • Only Sane Man: The doctors, quite literally.
  • Parental Neglect: Young-goon's mother is too busy/ashamed to seek help for her, and Il-soon's parents ignored him so much he thought he could turn invisible.
  • Reading Lips: Il-soon is shown to be quite good at this when interpreting a distraught Young-goon. It comes in handy later.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Young-goon goes on an imaginary one against the "white-coats" for incarcerating her and her grandma. It may not be real but it's pretty disturbing while it lasts.
  • Rule of Funny: See Willing Suspension of Disbelief below.
  • Toplessness From the Back: Played with. When Young-goon takes her top off in front of Il-soon you'd certainly expect fanservice, however instead we get to see how thin and frail she has become. Il-soon is clearly distressed, although he still touches it for good measure.
  • Shiny Midnight Black: Young-goon's hair often looks blue in the light.
  • Shirtless Scene: It's Rain! Would be a complete waste not to let him take his shirt off at least once.
  • The Sociopath: Il-soon, who has schizophrenia and kleptomania. That is, until he steals Young-goon's sympathy...
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: A light hearted waltz plays during Young-goon's bloody killing spree.
  • Stepford Smiler: Doctor Seul-ki may be this. It's understandable that working in a mental hospital would take its toll on her.
  • Surreal Humor
  • Take Off Your Clothes: When Il-soon pretends to install a device in Young-goon's back, he asks her to do this. Subverted as he's the only one who realises how awkward the request sounds.
  • Tin Can Telephone: Il-soon uses one to communicate with Young-goon while in solitary confinement. He then sings her a song about Yodel Land.
  • Troubled Fetal Position
  • Unusual Euphemism:

Young-goon: "Anyway, let's just take off our wet socks."
Il-soon: "More than our socks are wet..."