One night many, many years ago, long before anyone lived nearby, a very strange thing happened -- a flying saucer crash-landed into a hilltop, which happened to be the home of a curious young kumiho, or fox spirit. Today, even as the city crawls up the side of the mountain, they’re still there. And when Mr. Kang brings his class of misfits to a retreat up in the hilltop woods, the aliens from the saucer can’t resist giving them a scare, while the mischievous, shape-shifting kumiho, Yobi, can’t resist investigating the kids. In fact, she finds herself falling in love with one boy in particular, Geum-yee. Yobi’s masquerade is a barrel of fun, until a fierce and implacable hunter crashes into everyone’s lives. Things are about to get even stranger in Yobi’s world. And when the truth about her fate becomes clear to Yobi, maybe heartbreaking as well.
Director Lee Seong-gang’s first animated feature film, the gorgeous, meditative My Beautiful Girl, Mari, was the Grand Prix winner at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival in 2002, the first Korean film to receive that honour. With Yobi, he steps back to a more conventional style of animation, in terms of design and tempo, and openly echoes the tone and iconography of Japan’s master of family-friendly anime, Hayao Miyazake. Which isn’t to say that Lee has held back even a drop of his bold and big-hearted imagination, which pumps life into the impressive technical design and distinctive visual quirks of the film. A sweet and perceptive study of the trials of adolescence, as much as a wild, comical melange of myth, magic and sci-fi, Yobi the Five-Tailed Fox offers laughter, thrills, a few tears and many a moment of wonder and amazement.
Director: Lee Seong-gang
Screenplay: Lee Chang-dong
Cast: Son Ye Jin
Ryu Deok Hwan
Gong Hyung Jin
Producers: Kang Han-young, Oh Min-ho
Distributor: CJ Entertainment