Yobi, the Five-Tailed Fox

 
Beautiful Korean anime with confusing storyline.
  • Review Date: July 17, 2013
  • Rated: NR
  • Genre: Fantasy
  • Release Year: 2007
  • Running Time: 85 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

This movie encourages kindness and compassion toward those who are different from what society deems as "normal."

Positive role models

Kang is a teacher who sees the good and the potential in students that the rest of society has deemed "problem children."

Violence

Vicious attack dogs pursue a girl who the dogs' owner believes is actually a five-tailed fox. The female bunkmate of a girl in a special school taunts Yobi because she is jealous of the relationship that is starting to develop between Yobi and the handsome Geum-ee. The bunkmate also slaps and punches Yobi in one instance.

Sex

Mild teen flirtation, as characters come to grips with puberty and first feelings of love.

Language
Not applicable
Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Yobi, the Five-Tailed Fox is a Korean anime from 2007. While the animation is beautiful, and the movie's overall message of practicing compassion toward those who are different is worthwhile, the complicated and muddled storyline itself, coupled with the fast-paced subtitles, make this best for tweens and older who are already fans of anime. Some of the humor gets literally lost in translation -- a "gas-powered" spaceship is actually powered by flatulence, for instance, or an aspiring teen comedian's material consists solely of a truly bizarre song about the Sphinx. For fans of anime, this almost certainly bears repeated viewings, as much of what's happening is difficult to keep up with while watching for the first time.

Parents say

Not yet rated
Review this title!

What's the story?

Yobi (Ye-jin Son) is a five-tailed fox who can shift-shape into any life form she pleases. One hundred years ago, aliens landed near the hilly terrain on which she lives. Now, in modern-times, as Yobi is beginning to feel the first feelings of puberty, the aliens try to fly back to their home planet, only to crash land, and to lose one of their aliens, who ends up captured by the students of a nearby school for troubled kids. In the hopes of rescuing the alien, Yobi changes into a young teen girl who starts attending the school. It is there that she meets Geum-ee (Deok-Hwan Ryu), a handsome boy in the school. Before, Yobi had always considered humans to be silly creatures, but now, after getting to know Geum-ee and the other kids in the school, she yearns to be human, but the only way she can be human is by stealing a human's soul. As this is happening, Yobi is being pursued by a fox hunter obsessed with finding the mysterious five-tailed fox, and a Shadow Man also pursues her in the hopes of stealing a soul of his own so he can have substance again. Yobi must avoid being discovered by the hunter, and she must protect Geum-ee's soul from being taken away.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

There's no denying that the animation in this Korean anime is beautiful, but what keeps YOBI, THE FIVE-TAILED FOX from being better are the overly complicated storylines. The first 30 minutes are completely disorienting -- scenes with flying scarecrows, of spaceships powered by the flatulence of nail-eating aliens, of a five-tailed fox on the cusp of puberty, a mysterious "shadowman." It all, somehow, plays into the overarching message of kindness and compassion for those deemed "different," but so much of the complexity seems so, well, complex, that it's hard to tell who to root for early in the movie.

The movie is at its best when it focuses more on the relationships between the kids in the school. It's in those scenes where a simple universality prevails, one that transcends all cultural differences. This, especially the relationship that develops between Yobi and Geum-ee, is what tweens and older are most likely to latch onto.  For younger viewers, the difficulty in the confusing storyline, coupled with, for non-Korean speaking audiences, the clunky subtitling, makes this a difficult movie to focus one's full attention.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about anime. How is this movie similar to and different from other anime films?

  • What cultural differences did you see in terms of the movie's humor? What similarities did you see? Was the depiction of first love and school similar to representations in American films?

  • Did you find the movie's storylines difficult to follow? Why?

Movie details

DVD release date:January 25, 2007
Cast:Deok-hwan Ryu, Hyeong-jin Kong, Ye-jin Son
Director:Sung-gang Lee
Studio:Sunwoo Entertainment
Genre:Fantasy
Topics:Misfits and underdogs
Run time:85 minutes
MPAA rating:NR

This review of Yobi, the Five-Tailed Fox was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Kid, 11 years old September 1, 2014
age 10+
 

Beautiful and Touching, With Hints of Romance

This was a wonderful movie. I watched it at a sleepover with my friends, without tissues. BIG MISTAKE. The end will leave you wondering and wishing you had watched it in your room by yourself, or at least brought along a stuffed animal to snuggle and cry with. Yobi is a cheery, bubbly girl without the typical I-won't-listen-to-you-just-leave-me-alone teen attitude displayed in most movies, though she does get angry when her alien friends whisper between each other that she's getting moodier because of puberty. Things to watch out for are the discussions of female puberty, although they are only focused on mood changes and DO NOT incorporate periods, hair, breasts and the like. Yobi also has an innocent crush on a boy, and the romance is very subtle, only going as far as them laughing and talking together for about three minutes of the movie. Yobi also does sacrifice herself for the one she loves, but it's more sad than scary. Overall, this movie is great but may be hard to follow if you own the subtitled version,
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much sex

Poll

Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?
Thanks – we appreciate your feedback!

Digital Compass