Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Anime Review: Yobi the Five-Tailed Fox

Yobi The Five-Tailed Fox is a Korean animated movie directed by Lee Seong-kang and was originally released in South Korea by CJ Entertainment in 2007. It follows the tale of Yobi, a magical fox with the unique ability to transform into just about anything but mostly chooses the form of a little girl. She lives with these aliens who have crashed onto earth and have slowly been working on their ship to leave. But as they try to leave one of the aliens runs away and gets discovered by a group of kids who live in a independently ran school of sorts and Yobi decides to start going to this school to try and get the alien back. Yobi lives with the children and forms bonds that she finds difficult to break. She must deal with the issue of growing attached to the kids when she can not truely live among as a human until she takes a soul.  

The plot is easier to follow written down than watching it first hand though. The movie pretty much starts and just slowly reveals itself through dialogue and visuals. It wasn't till close to the middle of the movie I started to understand what was all going on . The movie also relies on you hearing a plot point once and remembering it later. Other movies show you something about three or more times to make sure you remember it but rarely is any fact repeated in this movie. This can be to the movies credit or downfall depending on how you look at it. When it comes to the technicalities, legends or the myths in this movie I was mostly in the dark and I felt confused most of the time. What was also confusing was the school itself. It seemed at first that these kids were taking gym class with a coach, but then we see them sleeping at the school which befuddled me. Later the head of the school explains through dialogue that is was a school for kids for some reason can't go to regular school. this a legal program? I mean can he take these random kids in? And it's obvious that these kids are not orphans so...yeah I'm not sure what that is all about.  Random note, I think one of the kids has a mustache.

Yobi was a difficult character to get into at first. She seemed almost like some sort of evil villain with her scary smile and random laughing. But as the movie progressed I grew to like her. She fancies her self to be better than the humans laughing at the odd things they do but she also takes a great interest in them with such fascination. I also realized that she is not human and therefore her oddness was just the result of her as this magical animal trying to blend in with the humans. One of my favorite scenes was when she is sitting in the office with the man who runs the school (I don't think the term "principal" is correct here) while he is trying to ask her about something. The way she sit there kicking her legs while swaying back and fort with that quaint smile was some how mesmerizing. She does become alot of fun just to watch as she interacts with the world around her. 

There is one thing I have yet to mention about this film. The one thing that I think makes everything work in this film. I may have said something like this before for movies like Summer Wars or any Studio Ghibli film, but I truly mean it here;This is by far the absolute most beautifuly animated film I have ever seen. I mean...WOW! Every movement, every detail, every frame is gorgeous.  The lighting of the scenery, the movement of air through the forest, the ripple of water, the simple way a person's expression changes; It's all perfection. This is also the best uses of 3D CGI imagery in a 2D film I've ever witnessed. There were times that I didn't realize part of the scene was CGI. Everything blends together. Even if this movie had been given a poor story line, terrible voices acting, or bad editing, I would recomend watching this on the visuals alone. If you have ever had an interest in animated movies and making them, this is absolute must-watch.

The ending, which I will not spoil, was a bit predictable but the way it gets there is so sudden and memorable that it makes up for it. I really felt for what Yobi was going through and was moved by what she did to solve the dilemma in the end.  It was a sad but hopeful ending that I think worked well. Yobi, The Five-Tailed Fox has it's faults but it makes up for them with heart and illustration.It may not present it's plot clearly but you'll enjoy the story none the less.


  1. Makes me want to see it. You did not say if it was dubbed in English or not, but that is a small point. If it is good enough I will gladly read the dialog.

  2. This movie was very confusing. It was very interesting and fun to watch, but not clear on the majority of scenes in the. It doesn't even tell us what happened to the aliens at the end of the movie.

    1. Exactly. What happened to the Aliens?!?