Directed by Lee Sung-gang/Produced by Kang Han-young & Oh Min-ho/Written by Lee Chang-dong/Music by Yang Bang-ean/Starring Son Ye-jin, Gong Hyung-jin, & Ryu Deok-hwan
Yobi is a spritely forest creature, the sort you only see usually in old folk stories, a five-tailed fox. For a hundred years she’s lived with her friends, a group of fuzzy bug-like aliens who crashed their ship into her forest. However, when one of the aliens gets captured by the humans at a nearby school for troubled children, Yobi goes undercover as a human girl to rescue her friend. Never could she have known what fun it would be to play with human children. Nor the price it would cost for her to stay. . . .
Yobi, the Five Tailed Fox was quite an enjoyable movie to watch. In a lot of ways, it reminds me of Miyazaki’s movies. It has an appreciation for nature, a spunky main character, and an unexpected cast of side characters ranging from random bug-aliens to an autistic little girl to a guy made entirely of shadow. The plot is interesting, somewhat roaming, but sweet and poignant; I’d almost call it a tragedy, except that I think Yobi would be satisfied with how it ended, if that makes any sense. The Korean cultural influences were definitely visible–some of them seemed a bit strange, but I found them on the whole enjoyable. They make the experience broader and more fun! The art in this movie is quite pretty, although the English dubbed version that I found was rather poor quality, so I didn’t really get to enjoy it as much as I would have liked to. (Someone really needs to get a proper high-quality DVD English dub out in the States!) The music is nice also–it’s not Joe Hisaishi by any means, but it sets the mood well. I particularly enjoyed the ending theme; I actually discovered this movie through a cover of that song, and it’s really pretty. In any case, for those who enjoy Asian animated movies, I think Yobi, the Five Tailed Fox is a pretty, fun story that you would enjoy.