Tale of the Nine-Tailed (2020) 구미호뎐 : K Drama Series Review

Animation of the scene of Lee Yeon saving a falling Ji-ah on a full moon night

Mythical stories always fascinate me, including tales of gumiho (or foxes). Although gumihos are usually associated with the female, this particular series is an exception whereby the gumiho is a male deity Lee Yeon who gives up his position as the guardian of a mountain to look for his first love – Ah Eum who has been re-incarnated. While waiting for his first love, he works for the Taluipa, who processes dead souls to send them on their way to the afterlife.  

Gumiho in flowing robes & his red embroidered umbrella!

As Lee Yeon discovers the whereabout of his first love who has re-incarnated as Nam Ji-ah, the couple faces their sworn enemy ie the serpent. As the couple re-discovers their love & trust for each other, their adventures bring them towards

  • Investigation of the accident in Fox Hill which led to the disappearance of Ji-ah’s parents
  • Managing the very rebellious, idiotic & clingy brother Lee Rang, who felt abandoned when his brother left as the guardian of the mountain
  • Chasing & outsmarting the scheming serpent who has now invaded a body & grown into a very cute young chap named Terry (who is portrayed by Lee Tae-ri)

Various Characters

Lee Dong-Wook portrays Lee Yeon with flair, with his very bouncy hair & extremely big attractive eyes. Although he looks thin, his physique did not look frail. I like him better in his modern outfits, rather than the odd-looking ancient outfits. Jo Bo-ah portrays Nam Ji-ah, who is very independent on her own and likeable. However, I felt that there is something lacking in their chemistry, which is very regretful. Lee Yeon’s long-lasting love for Ah-Eum/ Ji-ah is well acted but I couldn’t feel the same about Ji-ah’s reactions.

Kissing couple

Lee Rang as the step-brother of Lee Yeon starts off as an extremely unlikable character, who is hell-bent to sabotage his brother at every step. His ah-ha moment came when his brother comes to rescue him (again!) in his dream invoked by the mythical being The Darkness. He cares for Lee Yeon, but seems to have taken the wrong path to cope with his loss of his brother, blaming his abandonment. I love Lee Yeon & Lee Rang’s portrayal of their brotherhood, not too clingy and pretty reflective of real-life banters. Lee Rang has many great encounters which highlights his deep-rooted kind personality – when he saves Yoo Ri the Russian fox and when he saves the little boy Soo-O from his abusive stepfather.

Lee Rang the brother & the Russian fox Yoo-ri

Lee Yeon’s loyal side-kick Gu Sin Ju is a veterinarian, who takes good care of Lee Yeon. When he falls in love with Ki Yoo-ri, the Russian fox cum side-kick to Lee Rang, the scenes are fun with a tint of shyness. I love the fact that Sin Ju decides to cook for Yoo-ri as a way to woo her.

The main villain ie the Serpent or Terry actually looks like a total cute dude, and definitely does not look scary at all. The mind games both Terry and Lee Yeon plays seems to be a little too deep for the rest (including yours truly) to understand until the thoughts are explained. Lee Tae-ri the actor has potential.  

Look at the smiley cute baby face, how can this be THE Serpent?!

I actually like Taluipa’s dresses, conservative but really looks good on her. Behind the stern expression, therein a caring mother figure to Lee Yeon, who is trying all her best to fulfil his wishes.

When watching this series, it reminds me of not one but two series that I have watched earlier. One was My Girlfriend is a Gumiho, starring Lee Seung-Gi & Shin Min-ah which was filmed more than a decade ago and is a rom-com. Another one was Goblin or in Netflix the title is Guardian : The Lonely & Great God, which stars the great Gong Yoo and Lee Dong Wook in a dry-humour comedy. Both series are special and there are funny moments which made me laugh along the series.

The reason to continue watching to the end – Lee Dong-wook

Unfortunately, this series is a little more serious and seems to focus more on the romance, which did not deliver to my expectations. The series also focuses a lot on reincarnation & fate tied to the original relationship. There seems to be many suicides arising from the Serpent’s doing, but life seems to just go on as usual without any intervention from the relevant authorities.

I like the format of the show whereby the first section of each episode is dedicated to tell a part of the history to provide context. I thought some of the best scenes came from these sections.

The brothers Lee Rang & Lee Yeon fighting zombies(?) at Forest of Agwi

Conclusion 7/10

At some point of the series, the series does feel like a drag. The novelty of introducing the mythical creatures & their power falls short after other earlier series. Romance was a bit off. Sentimental feelings wise, I like the relationship between the brothers – Lee Yeon and Lee Rang the best. But then again, who can resist Lee Dong-wook? I can’t, and continued just to swoon over his smiles & bewitched by those big attractive talking eyes. And don’t forget the red umbrella with embroidery on a rainy or sunny day!

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