Time and time again, a classic island ghost story where K-Drama meets Anime: Tale of the Nine-Tailed vs. Summer Time Rendering

So the story goes, a person is drawn to an island off the coast of a city. Once there, they start to discover an eerie secret plaguing the town. Our protagonist finds themselves in the middle of an ancient curse filled with ghosts and death in a timeless story that never truly ends. I, Star, couldn’t help but point out some similarities I found while watching a K-drama I saw a year before. Although the the K-drama managed to tell the story in 2 episodes I found this anime to be particularly interesting because it was given more time. Now before we get to into the conception of the stories, I believe that this is something of an urban legend where the story is interrupted based on the history of the island and the culture of the storytellers.

So for those of you that haven’t seen Tale of the Nine-Tailed or Summer Time Rendering, I advise you stop reading here. I will go further in-depth with the plot points and twists of the stories which will spoil some of the magic that makes these stories great. Without further ado, I’m going to jump right in.

The best place to start is the setting. Because it’s on an island a lot of the shots in the anime and k-drama are shared in a weird way. When the story is told it’s always a small lightly populated island. Known for only a few things to attract tourists but ultimately a quiet community. In both stories, there were lush forests that got dark and dense in some areas rumored with spirits or hauntings. In a way, the island feels as though it was functioning outside of time. While both stories revolve around time, the K-drama has a frame story that focuses on time and relationships made through time. While its inner plot on the island, extends to the frame story, the anime fully focuses on time that restarts and gets going again.

One of the biggest themes (next to time) was death. With disappearances, monsters, and insanity in both stories there is a significant amount of gore. It is a true psychological thriller in that aspect. Character and plot elements were definitely reflective of one another. From siblings to shrine priest/priestess. As well as a child’s life lost or stolen from the sea.

The big bad of both were connected to the past, and in some way the heart & soul of the community. Being that both were entities choosing to live off of the life of the people on the island as their food source. I found it interesting that both stories manages to mask their villians using tradition and religion, creating a false sense of safety for the characters. I love a good story with a wolf in sheep’s clothing, which both shows did pretty well. Although the K-drama is 1hr and 30mins episodes and this plot spands about one and a half episodes that’s about 2 hours. Where the anime has a few hours on the K-drama. So the anime naturally has a lot more time to develop the world, setting, magical time traveling mechanism to the very basic story of the mysterious deaths.

I also enjoyed the parallels of the actions and frames in the story. Since the settings are the same and the era is the same it’s easy to match. I tried my best to find moments that were equivalent in each series visually but the K-drama is on lock down for screenshots. But there are some pretty pheonominal shots especially of the forest that was particularly beautiful. Some of the same settings and scenes even reflected actions but with a twist, like a person getting hurt. Given, the anime had a lot more characters but the relation stayed mainly the same.

There was still a brother, a monster, a love interest, a detective, an supernatural-aid that helps the hero of our story discover the nasty truth and stop the chaos before it devours everyone whole. The fun part was trying to match which character was in what role. The brother and sister shared a body in the anime where there were two opposing brothers in the K-drama and the beginning of the body sharing plot starts in this island arch of the drama and becomes a huge problem later on in the story.

Anyways, I realy enjoyed both shows. Even though the two had similar plots they were will different and exciting to watching. Maybe one day I’ll explain how I think the frame story to Tale of the Nine-Tailed is exactly the same story Kamisama Kiss. 😛




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