HBO's Lovecraft Country is a wild ride of H.P. Lovecraft-inspired darkness, mixed with the terrors of injustice in America's segregated past. With that kind of premise, it was pretty surprising to see Lovecraft Country's latest episode take a hard left-turn into anime territory - but that's exactly what happened. Lovecraft Country episode 6 introduces a new monster into the series - a nine-tailed fox beast, just like Naruto's Kurama! But with Lovecraft Country's horror themes, as well as HBO's adult maturity rating, this version of the Nine-Tails was so much more disturbing than what Naruto fans are used to!
Warning: Lovecraft Country SPOILERS follow!
In "Meet Me in Daegu", Lovecraft Country finally provides some much-needed backstory for its mysterious character, Ji-Ah (Jamie Chung). We knew from previous episodes that Ji-Ah was a Korean woman that the main character Atticus Freeman (Jonathan Majors) fell in love with during the Korean War. The two had a volatile breakup, and now we know why.
As it turns out, Ji-Ah was actually the corpse of a girl that had been horribly abused by her adopted father. The mother, enraged, used a shaman to fill the dead girl's form with the spirit of a "Kumiho," which is Korea's version of the Nine-Tailed Fox. The Kumiho has but one mission: seduce and consume the souls of 100 men, in order to become human. How she does this is pretty gruesome: while in the throes of passion with a man, the Kumiho has nine tails protrude from its body (including from the rear end, mouth, and both eyes!) which it uses to penetrate the male victim in equally gruesome places. The Nine-Tails allow the Kumiho to see everything in the man's soul and then consume it. The remaining boody is then torn to shreds by the nine tails, leaving behind the kind of mess that needs to be mopped up.
Lovecraft Country's story of the Nine-Tailed Fox is thematically similar to Naruto in a lot of ways. The episode sees Ji-Ah find a reason to keep the beast at bay (her love of Atticus), but struggles intensely to do so. While she hasn't yet jumped into battle or used any kind of jutsu, Lovecraft Country's opening sequence has hinted that Ji-Ah could indeed play a pivotal role in some big Apocalyptic event that's about to unfold in the series. Just like Naruto, Ji-Ah may need her Nine-Tails power to help save everyone.
Lovecraft Country airs Sunday nights on HBO.