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Series / My Girlfriend Is a Nine-Tailed Fox

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Mi Ho and Dae Woong

My Girlfriend Is a Nine-Tailed Fox is a 2010 Korean Drama written by The Hong Sisters about, well, a guy whose girlfriend is a nine-tailed fox.

Dae Woong is a rather irresponsible film school student who basically lives by mooching off his rich grandfather. After being tricked into freeing the Gumiho [nine-tailed fox] from a painting where she was bound for 500 years, Dae Woong falls down a cliff in a panic and mortally injures himself. The Gumiho saves his life by giving him her fox's bead, and so now, Dae Woong is stuck doing everything she asks or he will die from having the bead removed.

Of course, this doesn't stop him from trying to find ways to get rid of the fox ("Mi Ho"). Too bad she's fallen in love with him and won't go away.

Not to be confused with the 2021 drama My Roommate is a Gumiho, though you can probably guess what they have in common.

My Girlfriend Is a Nine-Tailed Fox provides examples of:

  • Art Imitates Art: Min Sook takes a header off a gym balcony. Director Ban dashes across the gym floor and catches her, and they wind up in a pose exactly the same as the iconic Gone with the Wind poster—which happens to be hanging on a wall directly behind them.
  • Art Initiates Life: How Dae Woong frees Mi Ho from the painting.
  • Asian Fox Spirit: Mi Ho is the nine-tailed fox of the series' title. Specifically, she's a gumiho, a fox spirit from Korean folklore.
  • Audience Surrogate: Dae Woong can't believe that he and Mi Ho go from only one can live to separate-to-survive.
  • Auto-Tune: Many of the pop songs in the show use this.
  • Back Story: Dong Joo has lived for centuries hunting non-humans, including Gil Dal, his past love who looks exactly like Mi Ho.
  • Bait-and-Switch: In an otherwise sad scene, Dae Woong and Mi Ho meet after their breakup. Mi Ho gives Dae Woong an invitation to her wedding, which he promptly returns, saying he doesn't need it. Turns out she gave him a makeup voucher.
  • Beta Couple: Dae Woong's Director Ban and Aunt Min Sook
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Hye In. She even pulls a Wounded Gazelle Gambit, dropping a drink on her dress.
  • Boy Meets Ghoul
  • Brutal Honesty: Dong Joo doesn't lie to Mi Ho; he even tells her that he hadn't told her the whole truth.
  • Call a Rabbit a "Smeerp"/The Nicknamer: Mi Ho calls Dae Woong "Woong," Dong Joo "Teacher," the Chicken Lady "Fashionista," and her favorite soda "bubbly water"—among other things.
  • Callback:
    • Because she no longer has her fox bead, Mi Ho tells Dae Woong that she's afraid of large bodies of water. So where does he take her to abandon her? A boat.
    • When it rains while the sun is shining, it's called 여우비 in Korean, lit. "fox rain." Mi Ho says that's because somewhere a fox is crying. After Dae Woong abandons Mi Ho on a boat, he's caught in a sunshower.
  • The Cameo
  • Catapult Nightmare
  • Cell Phones Are Useless: Subverted. At the temple, Dae Woong's having bad phone reception, though his main problem stems from the fact that he doesn't have his own phone and therefore doesn't have anyone's numbers.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Mi Ho, to a degree.
  • Contrived Coincidence
  • Could Say It, But...: To summarize Dae Woong, "I won't say it but I spent all night taking care of you while you were sick."
  • Creator Thumbprint: Once again The Hong Sisters' hero is afraid of pigs.
  • Cringe Comedy:
    • Mi Ho encounters a toilet for the first time — and decides that it must be a well. And that she's thirsty.
    • When Aunt Min Sook meets Dir. Ban Doo Hong for the first time, they're alone in the elevator. And then someone farts.
    • Dir. Ban's pee is enough to collapse a wall.
      Dir. Ban: It wasn't even pee I was holding! It was normal pee.
  • Cut Apart
  • Death's Hourglass
  • December–December Romance: Director Ban/Aunt Min Sook
  • Distracted by the Sexy: The villagers can't pay attention to their work when Mi Ho walks by.
  • Driven by Envy: Hye In
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Mi Ho's constant references to "eating" Dae Woong
  • Epunymous Title: Gumiho = nine-tailed fox. The show's name can be translated as "My girlfriend is a nine-tailed fox" or "My girlfriend is gumiho." Also, the main character is called Gu Mi Ho for most of the drama.
  • Exact Words:
    • "If I'm not with that girl, I'll die!" sounds like a love-addled teenager's confession, but Dae Woong actually needs Mi Ho's fox bead to live.
    • This is also Played for Comedy in another scene, when he climbs a rope to get away from Mi-Ho and he gets a cellphone call (which due to it falling to the ground, is intercepted by her). The grandpa asks "Where's Dae Woong?" and she says, "He's on top of me."
  • First-Name Basis: Dir. Ban's daughter Sun Nyeo calls him by his first name, which leads to Aunt Min Sook mistaking Sun Nyeo for Dir. Ban's lover.
  • Gasshole: Aunt Min Sook has a habit of passing gas when she is nervous or worried. In fact, she and Dir. Ban Doo Hong first met when he took the blame for her passing gas in the elevator.
  • Heroic Vow : Dae Woong and Mi Ho to each other - "I will protect you."
  • I Just Want to Be Normal/Who Wants to Live Forever?: Mi Ho (a gumiho) just wants to be human and will go on any lengths to ensure that she will get it.
  • Identical Grandson: Mi Ho is not Gil Dal, Dong Joo's past love, but the show hints at a possible relation.
  • Improvised Umbrella: Dae Woong in the first episode gets out of a truck in the rain and holds up a leaf umbrella.
  • In Touch with His Feminine Side: Dae Woong pays awful attention to his skin and hair.
  • Innocent Innuendo: Mi Ho tells Dae Woong that she has given him something very precious (her bead) and he should take responsibility. Naturally, his friends overhear and make sexual assumptions.
  • Just Friends: Byung Soo and Sun Nyeo - although Byung Soo would like a Relationship Upgrade
  • Kubrick Stare: Mi Ho can be pretty creepy.
  • Leitmotif: Both Mi-Ho, Dong Joo, and Ban have one. Mi-Ho has "Fox Rain", so it gets played all the time, but the others' leitmotifs can take some time listening before noticing.
  • Life Energy: Mi Ho's bead, which heals Dae Woong and makes him invincible.
  • Locked Out of the Loop: Dae Woong's aunt and grandpa. Lampshaded when he says he's just living with Mi-Ho for awhile rather than planning to get married (and gets slapped for his trouble).
  • Lost in Translation:
    • Mi Ho calls Hye In "akpul", which basically means "cyber attacks" / "malicious trolling." The "Heavens Subbing Squad" translation makes Mi Ho call Hye In "The Hater."
    • When Mi Ho is mad at Dong Joo, whom she calls "teacher," she calls him "dog teacher." This is a pun on his job (he's a vet) and the Korean way of adding "dog" to a word to make it a curse.
  • Lovable Coward: Dae Woong, in the first two acts of the series.
  • Magical Girlfriend: Arguably, Mi Ho is one, but Dae Woong thinks of her more as a curse than anything else.
  • Manic Pixie Dream Girl
  • Meaningful Background Event: When Ban catches Aunt Min Sook in midair, look at the poster. It's a Gone with the Wind picture of Scarlett being held the same way.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • Gu Mi Ho is a... Gumiho. To be fair, Dae Woong came up with it on the spur of the moment as part of a rather weak fib.
    • The "구" (Gu) in gumiho is the number "nine." Later in the show, when Dae Woong is asking how many tails Mi Ho has, he says, "What's your last name?"
  • Missed Him by That Much:
  • Multiple-Tailed Beast: Gumiho is a nine-tailed fox spirit.
  • Nice Guy: Dae Woong knows most of his friends are using him for his money, yet remains kind to them.
  • Our Monsters Are Different: Our Gumihoes Are Different: In most legends, the nine-tailed fox [gumiho] is a shape-shifting fox who seduces men and eats their livers. Mi Ho exploits this trope to get Dae Woong to do what she wants. In fact episode one reveals that the belief that gumiho kill men and eat their livers, not to mention that they need to eat 100 livers to become human, was born of malicious rumors spread by the women living around the temple who didn't want to let any of their sons marry Mi Ho, even if that meant she would stop being distracting to all the other men (the goddess Mi Ho was a servant of wanting to marry her off properly). With no potential spouse showing up, the goddess had to cut all nine of Mi Ho's tails off so she couldn't come back to the human world and seduce men.
  • Romantic False Lead: Hye In.
  • Red Pill, Blue Pill: Red Vial, Blue Vial: Dong Joo gives the choice to Mi Ho.
  • Retraux Flashback: When Aunt Min Sook thinks back to all the times she has had her heart broken, each flashback is accompanied by a popular love song from the era while the characters are shown in appropriate dress.
  • Reveal Shot: After Dae Woong steals his grandpa's fish and runs into traffic, we cut to the hospital where Grandpa is begging the doctor to save him ... then we see Dae Woong with just a band-aid on his head. Grandpa has been pleading for the fish's life!
  • Runaway Fiancé: In Mi Ho's backstory, her fiance was afraid of the rumours that she would eat his liver, so he bails out.
  • Shout-Out:
  • So Beautiful, It's a Curse: Multiple, because Mi Ho is so unearthly beautiful that men couldn't work when she was present:
    • Which led to all the women clamoring to have her locked away.
    • The mens' wives came up with the tale of the Gumiho (Korean for nine-tailed fox) eating peoples' livers as a way to become human so that everyone would avoid her.
  • That Came Out Wrong:
    Grandpa calls Dae Woong and Mi Ho picks up.
    Grandpa: Where's Dae Woong!
    Mi Ho: Dae Woong?
    Dae Woong grunts and breathes heavily.
    Mi Ho: He's on top of me.
    She forgets to mention that he's actually a few feet in the air, hanging on to a rope and trying to escape.
  • That Liar Lies:
    Mi Ho: You must be a liar.
  • Toilet Humour: With a bit of Cringe Comedy: When Aunt Min Sook meets Dir. Ban Doo Hong for the first time, they're alone in the elevator. And then someone farts.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Dae Woong who, despite rejecting any responsibility in the first two acts, would rather die than let Mi Ho die by the third act.
  • Total Eclipse of the Plot: One brings Mi Ho and Dae Woong together at the end.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Dong Joo believes humans are selfish, but cowardly Dae Woong teaches him otherwise.
  • Villainous Crush: Dong Joo, a gumiho hunter, is in love with a gumiho, who looks exactly like his past love.
  • Wire Fu: In-Universe. Director Ban uses Wire Fu for his action scenes, but after he sees Mi Ho's ability to do all that leaping without Wire Fu, he wants to cast her in his movie.
  • Yandere: Double Subverted. Mi Ho, at the start of the series, acts like a Clingy Jealous Girl who is possibly willing to kill her beloved (though not with a weapon) if the romance goes south. But then, the plot flashbacks to their first meeting, and explains that this is largely an act to scare Dae Woong into staying close to her and protecting her bead. Later on though, she probably would be willing to kill the competition for Dae.