Gumihos are mythical creatures, and legend has it that it’s a fox that has lived for thousands of years. In Korean myths, gumihos are usually depicted as a beautiful seductress, who would prey on human liver to survive.
It is also said that gumihos get their source of power from their own marble beads found inside their own body. This mystical bead gains power from the energy that it absorbs from humans.
If you’re looking for gumiho-themed dramas to binge on, here are 6 dramas that you can watch!
1. Forbidden Love (2004)
Yoon Shi Yeon (Kim Tae Hee) is a nine-tailed fox who lives undercover in the human world. During the day, she is an employee at a natural history museum. By night, she’s a top-ranking woman warrior in the Nine-Tailed Fox clan, in charge of preserving the delicate balance between man and fox.
Her world was shaken when an atrocious serial murder – where the victims have had their internal organs were taken out of their bodies – is uncovered.
Detective Kang Min Woo (Jo Hyun Jae) takes on the case and suspects that the murders may be related to the organ trafficking trade due to the similar patterns. So he goes undercover in a seedy organ smuggling ring. When Min Woo’s cover got blown, it was only through Shi Yeon’s intervention and the Nine-Tailed Fox warrior Moo Young (Jun Jin) that he was able to survive. However, this allowed Min Woo to discover the true identity of the Fox tribe.
The tension between Min Woo and Shi Yeon’s group was grounded on the long-held belief that human beings and foxes cannot co-exist. But as their worlds collide, the Min Woo and Shi Yeon spend more time together and eventually lines start to blur allowing feelings between them to flourish.
But when a fox woman warrior falls in love with a human police detective, how can their forbidden love last?
2. My Girlfriend is a Gumiho (2010)
Cha Dae Woong (Lee Seung Gi) is your typical college student. But his life was about to take an interesting turn when he accidentally releases a gumiho (a nine-tailed legendary fox) that was trapped inside a painting. When he tried to escape, he got into a very bad fall which would have cost him his life, if not for the gumiho who gave him her “fox bead”. When Dae Woog gains consciousness, he finds that the beautiful woman before him is actually the gumiho (Shi Min Ah) in human form.
Having known the folklore surrounding gumihos and their propensity for men and their livers scared Dae Woong to the core, the gumiho took advantage by staying by his side. Giving in to her persistence and driven by fear, he lets her tag along and names her “Mi Ho”. To avoid any chance of becoming her next meal, he keeps her full and satiated by buying her beef.
Mi Ho desires to be a real human, while Dae Woong always wanted to be an action star. So, they strike a deal—she will lend him her mystical bead which can increase his speed and strength for when he does the difficult stunts. In exchange, he will help her become human. Things seemed to run smoothly until Park Dong Joo (No Min Woo) entered the scene. He’s part human and a supernatural being disguised as a veterinarian. He tells Mi Ho that she can turn human if she drinks his blood and places her fox bead inside a human’s body for 100 days. This will gradually empty away her gumiho energy, and while her bead is inside its human host, it will suck his energy which will be ready for her to claim when she takes back her mystical bead.
Since it sounded so simple, Mi Ho complied while Dae Woong also agreed to the plan. However, Dong Joo deliberately withheld a crucial condition—this process may be legit but it can result in the human’s death.
Mi Ho and Dae Wong, who has now fallen in love with each other, blindly thought that this would be a way for them to live a normal life as a couple. But little did they know that the success of their plan would cost Dae Woong’s life. But on the other hand, Mi Ho will die if the bead isn’t returned.
3. Grudge: The Revolt of Gumiho (2010)
In the Joseon Era, a beautiful gumiho named Gu San Daek (Han Eun Jung) leaves her husband after she endures 10 harsh years of marriage in order to become a human. However, her husband breaks his promise the night before the ten-year mark.
Utterly betrayed, San Daek leaves him and takes her 9-year-old daughter Yeon Yi (Kim Yoo Jung), who has inherited her ability. San Daek feels disillusioned with human society so she tries to make a new home in a cave, but Yeon Yi has a hard time adjusting to it. So, the desperate mom decided to stay in a human village until Yeon Yi became fully grown since she would develop her gumiho abilities by then.
Yoon Doo Soo (Jang Hyun Sung), is a former official whose daughter Cho Ok (Seo Shin Ae) fell sick from a mystical disease, and the only way to save her was to feed her the liver of a girl of the same age. When he realizes that San Daek and her daughter have nowhere else to go and that Yeon Yi is the same age as his ailing daughter, he takes them in with a plan in mind.
While awaiting for a chance to strike, Doo Soo remained the graceful host. Unexpectedly, he starts to fall for San Daek, which causes Cho Ok to envy the attention his father gives their guests. Meanwhile, Yeon Yi turns ten-years-old, which marks the start of her physical transformation.
In a cruel twist of fate, Yeon Yi was murdered and had her liver taken. Now, the vindictive mother Gumiho begins her revenge.
4. The Thousandth Man (2012)
Mi Jin (Gang Ye Won) is a gumiho just like her mother (Jeon Mi Sun) and younger sister Mi Mo (Hyomin), but after consuming the livers of 1000 men they already became human. Meanwhile, Min Jin is only one liver shy of achieving the same transformation herself, but she only has 3 months left to do it. If she is unable to find that final liver, it will be the end of her.
Unfortunately, getting these livers is not as simple to get because she just can’t get any liver. She has to get the men to fall in love with her first. But then, luck strikes as she meets a man who resembles her past lover on the flight back to Korea. This kicks off a whirlwind love story which just might leave Mi Jin in a heartbreaking position.
5. Gu Family Book (2013)
Choi Kang Chi (Lee Seung Gi) is a gumiho whose mother is Yoon Seo Hwa (Yoon Se Ah), a human, who fell in love with Gu Wol Ryung (Choi Jin Hyuk), the guardian god of the Jiri Mountains. Chased by their enemies, Seo Hwa sends Kang Chi in a basket down the river so that he will not be captured. The Choi family finds baby Kang Chi floating in the river and raises him. He was brought up as the informal protector of the Park family and their home.
When Kang Chi found himself hunted by soldiers after he was being wrongly accused of murder, one of them slices off his beaded bracelet which used to contain his powers. This caused him to transform into a half-human half-beast creature who can easily defeat his enemies.
When Kang Chi discovers his true identity by chance one day, including the mystical and elusive Gu Family Book, which holds the secret to becoming fully human, he becomes determined to turn into one.
However, he is forced to face the burdens of being what and who he is, and how his identity affects his relationship with the people close to him. Kang Chi’s humanity is put to the test when he meets Dam Yeo Wool (Bae Suzy), a martial arts instructor who helps him discover what it means to truly be human.
Can Dam Yeo Wool, a master martial artist and archer, help him in his quest?
6. Tale of the Nine Tailed (2020)
Lee Yeon (Lee Dong Wook) is a gumiho who abdicated his position as the mountain spirit of Baekdudaegan to wait on the reincarnation of his one true love Ah Eum (Jo Bo Ah). He followed her soul up to the Samdo River and gave her the fox bead as her mark when she was reborn again.
Meanwhile, Lee Yeon’s half-brother Lee Rang (Kim Bum) was left alone, and it also left the mountain unprotected. With its guardian gone, humans were able to exploit the mountains which resulted in a fire that caused Rang to flee. He vowed to exact revenge on human beings, including the innocent ones, through various killings.
When the brothers reunited, it was only for Yeon to execute the order to punish Rang by death, but he managed to escape with some mysterious help. Since then, he held a deep grudge against Yeon.
On the other hand, Yeon worked under Taluipa (Kim Jung-nan) to get rid of supernatural beings that threaten the mortal world in exchange for Ah Eum’s reincarnation. Yeon encountered several lookalikes over the centuries but they don’t have the fox bead.
In the present day, Yeon lives in the city and continues his search and mission under Talupia, while Rang continues to harm human beings as a way to pester his brother. While out on one of his missions, Yeo came across Nam Ji Ah (Jo Bo-ah), who sort of resembles Ah Eum but does not seem to be her reincarnation at first. But when the fox bead appeared on her after Yeon saved her from an accident, he swore to protect Ji Ah at all costs so she could live longer in this lifetime.
7. My Roommate is a Gumiho
Based on an original webtoon, the story starts with a 999-year-old gumiho named Shin Woo-yeo (Jang Ki-yong), who longed to become human. To fulfil this life-long desire, Wo-yeo must collect “human energy” through his red fox bead until it turns blue. To his horror, his precious bead was accidentally swallowed by Lee Dam (Lee Hye-ri), a university student whom he met by chance.
Desperate that nothing will happen to his fox bead, he thought that Lee-dam should move in with him temporarily so he can make sure that it was safe. Lee-dam was hesitant at first knowing how dangerous a gumiho is. But Woo-yeo seemed to be different as he was very kind and gentle.
So the two made this unconventional arrangement, and it was here that Lee-dam realised that he is different from the gumiho she read in the books. Woo-yeo tries everything to keep her safe, and as time goes by, the two grew closer.
Woo-yeo proved to be a caring friend who supports Lee-dam in anything. However, there’s a fear that hangs over this friendship because Lee Dam can only carry the marble for a year, or she would die if Woo-yeo is unable to take it out from her. The two grew weary of what might happen, especially now that their friendship has grown into romance.