It’s going to be very difficult for me to articulate just the level of impact My Girlfriend is a Gumiho left on me.
I’ve waited a full week to really gauge my feelings on this drama. I loved this one so much that I wanted to take a step back and make sure I wasn’t wearing blinders. But even after that time has passed, My Girlfriend is a Gumiho still makes me giddy. When a drama is everything it’s supposed to be, you can’t help but feel victorious.
The story is centered around the very selfish and spoiled college student, Dae Woong. At a young age, he lost both of his parents and was raised by his doting grandfather (This is like a modern day reversal of Shopping King Louis’s situation with his grandmother). Dae Woong has never “wanted” much of anything because an endless stream of money has always been at his disposal. His dream is to be an action star. Sadly, he doesn’t start out as the most likeable guy, but Lee Seung Gi can charm the pants off of anyone with his cute smile, so it’s not much of a stretch to give his character, Dae Woong a chance. It isn’t the easiest of roads as it takes some time for Dae Woong to break bad habits and act like a halfway decent human being, but we get there eventually. Hurrah, hurrah!
Our female lead, Mi Ho, is a Gumiho — a nine-tailed fox from Korean mythology. After being trapped in a painting for 500 years, she scares Dae Woong into drawing nine tails on the fox, which releases her from the painting. Mi Ho’s story is quite tragic and sad, and if I were in her shoes, I don’t know how I would’ve handled 500 years of being trapped. It’s the definition of a crap shoot, and my heart bleeds for her. Nonetheless, she’s a fun and feisty, meat-loving Gumiho. There’s nothing she wants more than to be human, which means she has to stick close to Dae Woong for help. She has a very bright and sunny disposition, which Shin Min Ah sells perfectly.
Things take an interesting turn when Mi Ho becomes entwined with No Min Woo’s character, Park Dong Joo. He has a really sharp and edgy hairdo. Sadly, even as he’s promoted as the villain, the roughest and sharpest thing about him is his hair. He’s really more of a petulant child in an adult body — that and he wields fantastical weaponry.
Within the first five minutes of screen time, I’ve already had enough of him. By series end, I felt a twinge of sadness for Dong Joo. Things have not been easy for him, either, but this drama made it nearly impossible to sympathize with him most of the time. A little too much too late.
He deceived Mi Ho from the get go by not explaining that her efforts to becoming human is going to kill the one person she cares about most — Dae Woong. Hey Dong Joo, total dick move! I can safely say I never had a single moment of second lead syndrome him. I never really connected with his character, either. He was just kind of there — getting in the way and filling Mi Ho’s head with half truths. If I’m to get on board with the second male lead, I assure you, that’s not the way to do it.
Dae Woong and Mi Ho clash a lot as they live together under the pretense that they’re dating. Initially, he’s petrified of Mi Ho and is often cowering or staring at her like a monster. (But Dae Woong freed Mi Ho and she, in turn, saved him. Their lives become entangled from this moment on.)
While Dae Woong is recovering from his life-threatening fall (thanks to Mi Ho’s fox bead healing him), he has to stay close to Mi Ho. As time passes, Dae Woong ends up holding the fox bead for 100 days so that Mi Ho can become human. (The whole time I’m grumbling under my breath about Dong Joo’s lack of discretion here.)
It’s during these 100 days that our leads start to naturally grow closer and more fond of the other. Dae Woong develops sincere feelings for his cute gumiho, but it’s not full steam ahead. We’re temporarily thwarted by Dong Joo, Dae Woong’s grandfather, and his Noona — Eun Hye In. You know, those blasted, typical k-drama hi jinks. Thankfully, they don’t disrupt our leads too much. And yes, ‘too’ is really the operate word here as I hated every moment that anyone tried to separate these two.
After a few hiccups, the cutest k-drama characters of all time finally get together. I’m screaming “daebak” at the top of my lungs and sharing my elation on social media. I’m running to photoshop and making cute art because how can I not when these two are so damn cute? But even in the throes of euphoria, there’s that niggling little fact: someone is going to die when 100 days are up. Plus, Mi Ho finally gets Dong Joo to disclose on the total truth of what the fox bead is doing to Dae Woong, so their happiness is tainted and officially on borrowed time. I knew this time was coming, but when it finally came, all of the preparation in the world couldn’t prepare me for the tears. Oh, the ugly crying. If I’m going to be crying my eyes out over k-drama characters, there better be a satisfying ending. I’m an eternal optimist and hopeless romantic — I feed off of my k-dramas.
Thankfully, the drama gods serve us a happy ending. But, if you want my advice, keep tissues on standby and maybe one of your drama BFF’s. The last thirty minutes of this drama will resort to really, really ugly crying. It’s heartbreaking when Mi Ho disappears for real. This is a devastating blow to Dae Woong. But more than that, I sorely miss Mi Ho’s presence–that’s how stellar Shin Min Ah’s acting is here.
Fast forward to a year later and Dae Woong has hit it big as an action star. Sadly, he’s still heartbroken over Mi Ho being gone. As if the Hong Sisters feel we’ve reached our threshold of emotional pain, they throw us a bone. (Because as cute as Director Ban and Dae Woong’s aunt’s kid is, he’s still not the cuteness level of Mi Ho and Dae Woong. Sorry, not sorry.)
Through a solar eclipse, Mi Ho makes her grand return. I don’t care why or how it’s happened, but the universe has granted Mi Ho and Dae Woong a second chance to really be together. And I don’t know about the rest of you, but it was just a satisfying ending that left a smile on my face.
My Gilfriend is a Gumiho earns an A. In my book, this is Hong Sister’s gold. Their classic touches are all over this drama. As a bonus, there’s a happy ending. Although, I have to admit, I was sweating it out there in the end. Some dramas really make you work for that happy ending.
If you’re looking for a drama that promotes pure, selfless, unwavering love, My Girlfriend is a Gumiho will not disappoint. In fact, it knocked it straight out of the park for me. I’m more familiar with Lee Seung Gi’s work (who I adore), but this drama really made me love Shin Min Ah. I thought she was great in Oh My Venus and I could relate to her character so much, but there’s just something about her acting and work here that really makes Gumiho stand out for me. 5 stars, Shin Min Ah!
P.S. If you’re trying to diet, you may might to binge-watch this one in moderation. The characters are often eating a lot of food, especially Mi Ho. Whether it was meat, chicken, or side dishes, this girl could probably eat her own weight in food.
P.P.S. Before I leave, please enjoy the cutest freaking moment in k-drama history (for me at least).