Watermelon: A Cautionary Tale is an animated short film following a story of a boy who eats a slice of watermelon together with its seeds. The seeds proceed to take root in his stomach and sprout through his orifices, as the boy turns into a watermelon over the course of the film. In July 2020, the short film became viral online, with users comparing it to body horror genre and setting the video to various anime soundtracks.


On July 2nd, 2018, Ringling College of Art and Design students Kefei Li and Connie He uploaded a short animated film Watermelon: A Cautionary Tale, their student project, to YouTube. The three-minute film follows a story of a boy named Jimmy who eats a watermelon slice together with its seeds despite his mother’s warning not to. The seeds take root in Jimmy’s stomach and sprout through his nose and ears, with Jimmy’s body slowly transforming into a watermelon over the course of the film. The film ends as fully transformed Jimmy falls onto the ground and breaks apart into chunks, which are then eaten by other children.

The original June 2nd, 2018, YouTube upload of the film received 173,000 views in two years while its February 4th, 2019, reupload by CGMeetup received over 24.7 million views in 18 months.

In 2018 and 2019, the film received awards from 32 film festivals worldwide.

The short film did not see use in memes until on July 4th, 2020, Twitter user @Oddy_ posted a sped-up version of the video set to “UNRAVEL,” the opening theme of the Tokyo Ghoul anime series. The edit received over 1.2 million views, 24,000 retweets and 56,200 likes in one month (shown below).


— Oddy (@Oddy_) July 4, 2020


Starting on July 4th, the video received viral spread on Twitter. On the same day, Twitter user @TomatoSS41 posted the sped-up version of the video accompanied by “Shao Nian” by Meng Ran (shown below), with Twitter user @spacepatrolnick reposting it on the same day. The repost received over…

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