My Roommate is a Gumiho Review

My Roommate is a Gumiho is a 2021 kdrama about a non-human entity, gumiho, which is a nine-tailed fox that after living a thousand years become gumiho and has powers of transformation. In this series, the male lead is the gumiho. He is at the 999-year mark of his 1000-year life span. In this final year of there are only two options – he either turns human or disappears forever when he reaches 1000 years. He wants to turn into a human being and over the years he’s planted his energy bead into human women to tap their energy and turn the bead blue, a step in becoming human. He meets a bubbly college student and she accidently swallows his energy bead. He decides she must live with him so he can protect the bead. He reveals that he’s a gumiho and shows himself in his natural fox form complete with billowy tails. She moves in with him (separate bedrooms), comes to terms with his reality and their relationship begins. He is a conservative loner and finds her positive spirit engaging. Her love of history is a perfect match for his long lifespan and stash of artifacts. They find themselves drawn to each other. Obstacles – human and non-human – thwart their path to a relationship. It’s all for naught if he doesn’t turn into a human. Will he meet the criteria and evolve into a human? Can she help? Or are they doomed to a one-year relationship?
What I liked

Leading man & gumiho, Shin Woo Yeo (Jang Ki Yong) learned during his long life that relationships are transient. He is aloof and doesn’t engage his heart. This guardedness turns out to be an obstacle to his ultimate goal of becoming human. Then he meets Lee Dam. She bursts into his life with a sunny smile, love of drink & food, and the ability to share her heart. He can’t resist. But their relationship doesn’t guarantee he will become human. Jang Ki Yong had the heavy lift in this series, as the character that evolves. He is easy on the eyes, and his character has a twinkle that appeals. Jang Ki Yong first resonated with me in the 2019 action drama Kill It where he was a brooding killer focused on protecting those he loved (review). As the 999-year-old gumiho, Jang Ki Yong gave his character a sparkle with the right mix of sexy, broody vulnerability that appealed. If I hadn’t been rooting for this character to reach his goal, the series would not have worked.

Leading lady, Lee Dam (Hyeri (Lee Hye Ri)) was the typical kdrama perky positive leading lady. I liked this character’s honesty. She had two gorgeous men interested in her. Once she decided Woo Yeo was the one for her, she didn’t dither. She wanted him and only him. Lee Dam was innocent young adult women experiencing her first love. Hyeri acquitted herself well in this role though she had the easier job of the two leads.

Appealing couple. Woo Yeo and Lee Dam shifted from bead protection into romance as the series progressed. The writers addressed their age gap clearly were mindful of her young adult status. Their relationship went deeper than expected. The chemistry between Jang Ki Yong and Hyeri worked. I wanted him to become human so this couple could find their happily ever after. The final episode packed an emotional punch and didn’t resolve whether or not Woo Yeo would reach humanity until the end.
What I didn’t like

This was a cute drama with limits. Writer Na wrote the webtoon My Roommate Is a Gumiho this series is based on. Writers Baek Sun Woo and Choi Bo Rim took that webtoon and fashioned a 16-episode series that never lost focus of Woo Yeo’s wish to become human. The story was filled with standard kdrama characters who were kept in limited development boxes. The second leading man, the appealing Bae In Hyuk as Gye Sun Woo, was squandered. The tie of fate between Lee Dam and Sun Woo could have been a plot point that mattered but she had already chosen Woo Yeo and didn’t waver, therefore Sun Woo had no chance and became irrelevant. I enjoyed sprinkle of guest stars throughout the series such as Go Kyung Pyo as the mountain spirit who revealed the blue bead wasn’t the lynchpin to becoming human.
Did I like the OST?

The official nine vocal songs of the OST were appealing, it’s hard to choose a favorite. The first song “Door (Your Moon)” sung by Jung Se Woon was lovely and the sixth song “Next To You” sung by Yang Da Il had emotion. Shout out to the tenth song, Eldon’s “Pink cheeks” featured in the series. The album:

Would I recommend My Roommate is a Gumiho?

If you want a light and fun gumiho drama, this one can work for you. When the series was focused on Woo Yeo’s quest for human status with Lee Dam’s determined support, it worked. This couple was more than the sum of the parts. She gave him a fresh perspective on life and he became her first love. They had odds to overcome if they could be together forever. What’s not to like about that?
Was this my favorite gumiho kdrama?

I’m partial to the gumiho story with 2010’s My Girlfriend is a Gumiho my favorite (review) followed by the well-crafted and acted Tale of the Nine Tailed in 2020 (review).

Asian drama fan. I watch and blog dramas on https://kjtamusings.wordpress.com/.

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Posted in My Roommate is a Gumiho
3 comments on “My Roommate is a Gumiho Review
  1. DramaDazed says:

    Very pretty people. My watch scale is a maybe, if I wanted something on in the background. Lee Dam/Hyeri was honest and direct but the little girl voice style undermined her character for me. Jang Ki-Yong is charming and he has been in a few dramas I have seen.

    I agree with all your characterizations kjt, thanks for the review, I just finished the show yesterday.

    Today I finished Sell Your Haunted House.

    Cheers.

    Like

    • Very pretty people. My watch scale is a maybe, if I wanted something on in the background. Lee Dam/Hyeri was honest and direct but the little girl voice style undermined her character for me. Jang Ki-Yong is charming and he has been in a few dramas I have seen
      I can understand this drama being a maybe. I took a look at the webtoon after the the series was done to gauge if the kdrama writers were inspired by or followed the webtoon story. Hyeri has a limited range. Seeing Jang Ki Yong smile after seeing him grim faced during Kill It was a welcome. I didn’t realize he could crank the charm like that. More please!

      I’ve started Devil Judge which I’d intended to blog in July but work interfered. Three episodes in and I’m enjoying it.

      What was your take on Sell Your Haunted House?

      Liked by 1 person

      • DramaDazed says:

        I’m with you on the More, please kjt. Kill It hasn’t even appeared on my radar.

        I don’t watch many ‘dark’ dramas but I am a fan of Jang Na-Ra, and Sell… is a tour de force. Jung Yong-Hwa* was… ok… but that might have been the role. I would watch it again. The exorcisms had a good intention that balanced the creepy ghosts factor and Jang’s styling made it exotic. Special kudos to Ahn Kil Kang for being really really evil after being a nice guy in Tale of the Nine Tailed. (He sure works a lot, his works list on asianwiki is long and varied. )

        Devil Judge is on my watch list but I am doing Chinese at the moment, after trying a few Japanese.

        *I was bummed when CNBlue canceled KCon LA. I would have gone to that concert.

        Liked by 1 person

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