Tale of the Nine Tailed is not like your typical gumiho story. It’s a love story, yes, but there’s no liver eating foxes in this drama. This drama is based on the folklore about the mountain spirit and Imoogi, the evil sea spirit.
In this drama, the mountain spirit called Lee Yeon (played by Lee Dong Wook) falls in love with a human during his mountain spirit days but leaves his position when his love died so that she could be reincarnated.
Present day, Lee Yeon lives as a nine tailed fox and meets Nam Ji Ah (played by Jo Bo Ah), who’s a documentary director on the supernatural and has the same face as the woman Lee Yeon loved in the past. Lee Yeon soon finds himself battling Imoogi and stuck in the same disposition as he was in the past – save himself or save Ji Ah.
When I first started watching this show, I know many people had their reservations because they were afraid this was going to end like Hwayugi.
I won’t be talking about the ending here, but the concept was pretty similar. Lee Yeon is a nine tailed fox – he’s immortal and Ji Ah is only a human being.
They were never meant to be together but nine tailed foxes only mate once for life aka they only have one lover, which is why Lee Yeon is constantly pursuing Ji Ah.
I never had anything against Hwayugi – maybe it didn’t end as I wanted it to, but the whole plot was great and I can’t deny that. Similarly, Tale of Nine Tailed also had a great plot, although not as funny but possibly more intense than Hwayugi was.
I think what can be improved about this show is its explanations on the folklore. Maybe I wasn’t paying attention when they explained some things but I actually didn’t understand what was going on in the beginning until I reread every episode on Dramabeans. Perhaps I was just the wrong audience for this but I would love to learn more about folklore through dramas rather than reading up on them on Wikipedia. I didn’t exactly know who or what Imoogi was, why this gumiho drama was not about eating livers, and Taluipa’s role the underworld. But despite all this, it’s pretty clear who is the antogonist and who is the protagonist so I guess it didn’t matter all too much.
As expected, every arc ends with either Lee Yeon or Ji Ah in trouble or on the verge of death. All our characters make great sacrifices for each other and learn many lessons along the way. But most importantly, I love that our characters aren’t dumb.
They aren’t really fueled by emotions and can use their brains to trick their opponents. I loved that our main female lead is a smart character and not easily tricked, unlike so many other useless female leads that we see in dramas.
But above all, my favorite character development is Lee Rang’s, Lee Yeon’s brother.
He starts out as a hateful character, fueled by revenge because he was abandoned in the past. In the beginning, I’m like, “ugh, why is he like this?”, but then we learn that he’s just insecure after being abandoned and almost killed but is really just a softie inside. It just takes the whole drama to bring out the best in him.