Well, so I finally managed to find this Korean animated movie: Yobi – The Five-Tailed Fox, otherwise known as the impossibly named “Chonnyonyeouu Yeouub”. At first sight, it’s yet another children’s adventure: mystical girl (in this case, a fox spirit) meets regular boy, the two fall in love, the two fight some sort of evil, ended with a Deus ex Machina. However, this movie makes up for the bland premise through its execution, and not just because of its nice graphics.
First and foremost, it’s a really enjoyable movie to watch. The cast of characters is full of quirky characters that at the same time don’t exaggerate their quirks, yet deliver them with subtlety. A lot of the movie is spent on diverse characters, just having fun, and the movie-budget animation did wonders in making them come alive. While it’s not the best animation you’re going to see in a movie, it definitely does the job in portraying lots of non-verbal communication between the different characters through their gestures and way of moving, and that was for me without a doubt the most enjoyable part in this movie.
Also the premise is also about the only thing generic about this movie. It’s a shame that all family-movies seem to need to follow these same rules (especially that deus ex machina ending remains annoying), but outside of that you can see a lot of creativity in the storytelling: the situations the characters are put in are very imaginative, the locations have a lot of ideas put into them, and the background art is absolutely gorgeous in their portrayal.
There are problems with the animation at times though: the characters’ expressions sometimes look a bit too much like clay figures at times, and you can see a bunch of lazy frames in which the characters are drawn cell-shaded in CG. And granted, at times some events are introduced a bit too sudden, and we still don’t know why Yobi finds humans silly, yet she walks around in a human form most of the time. Overall, it’s perhaps not the best movie to come out of Korea; they’ve done a story better with Oseam, and better-looking graphics in Wonderful Days, but nevertheless Yobi is a very enjoyable family movie with an excellent characterization.