Voice of Fox Series Review

Voice of Fox Episode 1

Singing, Lies, Rumours, and Social Media – You’re Always On Stage

Voice of Fox is one of those short anime that comes out that very few people seemed to pay attention to. And it kind of makes sense. The Autumn anime season was full of some amazing titles and you can’t watch everything. A short anime that adapts a Chinese Manhwa about a kid wearing a fox mask and wanting to make it as a singer probably isn’t high on people’s watching priority list. Still, there was something about the first episode that drew me in and I’m really glad I strapped in for the ride. While Voice of Fox isn’t a ground breaking masterpiece that must be watched, it is a solid effort at telling a reasonably interesting story in a fairly short run time given episodes are only around ten minutes long.

Voice of Fox Episode 6 Hu Li

Where Voice of Fox works is the tight focus on a very small pool of characters who interact within a larger social setting. With idols and stars making up a large part of the cast, social media and the internet play a huge part in this story as public perception sways and changes with events, rumours, apologies, and performances. While at times the public opinion seems to veer far too strongly too quickly, it is a good look at the pressure of anyone living in the public view and who relies upon fans and an audience for their livelihood. Hu Li also explored the idea of being independent or being part of an agency and the difficulties in getting yourself out there alone vs what a large company can achieve.

Where it falls down is that too many of these characters are either good people with poor luck getting trod on by an uncaring system or they are ruthlessly ambitious with very little in the way of actual human emotions. The characters who are set up as the antagonists don’t get to be anything other than star hungry and while the anime does attempt to give Kong Que (the guy who Hu Li is the ghost singer for) some sort of angsty back-story, it is one of the moments that is a bit rushed and the emotional impact is minimal. It also is quickly forgotten when you realise that despite what has happened to Kong Que he is still pretty ready to throw Hu Li or anyone else under a bus for just a scrap of fame so he’s not exactly a nuanced character.

The story largely focuses on the events around a reality idol show searching for the Rising Star of China, at least for the first half. The filming is rocked by scandals as singers get sick, power outages occur mid-performance and Kong Que is revealed as a fake and Hu Li as the real voice. This section of the story is really quite focused and driven and while there are some comedy moments that don’t quite stick their landing, by and large it is highly entertaining.

Voice of Fox Episode 6 Hu Li

The second half, where we explore the characters and their motivations a bit more and wait for their final decisions, is a little less well handled. It does come back to the competition and we do get a satisfying ending, but there’s a little loss of momentum in the second half.

There’s also a lot of singing in this. I really enjoyed the music including the OP and ED but I also really just liked the performances. If the music doesn’t work for you, that is possibly going to be a deal breaker because all of these characters are on stage at some point and singing.

Voice of Fox Episode 3

I’d recommend giving this one a go. It was one of those pleasant surprises of the Autumn season and I really wish more people had watched it because it would have been fun to discuss it more each week. Not a perfect show by any means, but one that I could definitely get lost in and just go along for the ride.

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Karandi James
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Anime Kitsune no Koe -Voice Of Fox- Original Soundtrack
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It’s Never As Simple As Follow Your Dream

Voice of Fox Episode Review Title

Voice of Fox Episode 10 Review

Chuyun’s emergency call at the end of last week turned out to be a sick pianist and guess who she has in mind to replace him. Of course, this being Voice of Fox, this is all some elaborate set-up to try to promote Hu Li and have him find his love of music again, but the positive change in Hu Li is pretty extraordinary to watch.

Voice of Fox Episode 10 Chuyun

I think what makes this really special is for once the childhood friend isn’t getting shafted by a narrative. Chuyun originally had little presence but now her story and her struggles within her group are every bit as important to the overall narrative as Hu Li’s. These two are great together and for each other and each one of them has inspired the other and helped them when they are down. It is a great dynamic and one that I’ve found really impressive throughout the series.

Voice of Fox Episode 10 Chuyun and Hu Li

Also, Chuyun’s song was amazing.

However, when someone rises up there’s always someone who wants to bring them down. It’s too bad that in this case it is Chuyun’s own group members. Another round of dealing with social media fallout later and things seem like they are on track. But there’s another character in this story who has yet to have his last hand played so I guess we’re throwing one more obstacle onto Hu Li’s path and I guess we’ll see how that goes next week.

Voice of Fox Episode 10

Episode 10 did however find its pacing again which is good news after episode 9 kind of packed in more than it could actually deal with. 

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Karandi James
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Anime Kitsune no Koe -Voice Of Fox- Original Soundtrack
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Rumours and Lies, Tragedy and Triumph

Voice of Fox Episode Review Title

Voice of Fox Episode 9 Review

This week finally reveals the accident that put Hu Li’s mother in a coma and gave him the ‘burn’ on his face. I know that is supposed to be a scar but honestly it mostly looks like a tattoo or poorly applied make-up. Anyway, for the first time I really felt they rushed over what should have been a fairly emotional note in the story. And it is no wonder. Given they also crammed Kong Que’s angst-ridden back story into the same episode.

Voice of Fox Episode 9 Hu Li

Now both of these things are important given Hu Li has to overcome his tragedy if he’s actually going to take to the stage and that Kong Que is getting involved in some scheme with his father that is sure to be bad news. However, given the build up, the rushed through delivery, while serviceable and getting the idea across, wasn’t exactly getting the emotional impact across with it. Which is a real shame given so far Voice of Fox has done a relatively good job at building up and conveying emotional moments despite its short run time.

Voice of Fox Episode 9 Kong Que

Yet if you think they were stopping there, think again. They also crammed in an interview with Chuyun where she essentially gets fans back on board despite her knowing about Hu Li. This enrages her group member, who is more or less just consumed with jealousy at this point and has some really poor reasoning skills, and so a rumour is started on social media that Chuyun is going to go solo. In the midst of the social media fallout from that Hu Li receives a call from Chuyun and then the episode ends.

Voice of Fox Episode 9 Chuyun

It’s a lot for an eleven minute episode and a lot of the nuances don’t quite hit their mark this week. That said, I’m fully on board with this story at this point given the build up so far so I’m just hoping this isn’t a sign that they are going to self-destruct in a rush to get to the end.

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Do These Characters Have The Courage To Face Their Ghosts?

Voice of Fox Episode Review Title

Voice of Fox Episode 8 Review

Even as Hu Li thinks it is all over, a surprise is headed his way when Hetian challenges him in the finals. Caught by this surprising announcement, Hu Li is taken even further by surprise when he is literally carried away in a sack. Once again the drama of this show is slightly ill-balanced against its more humorous moments and Hu Li getting rolled out of the hospital and knocked silly in the process wasn’t exactly the best this show has had to offer, even if it did transition us smoothly to the next part of the show.

Voice of Fox Episode 8 - Crowd

We’ve finally been given a motive for Sky’s actions as well as the reasons for certain other characters acting suspicious. The one thing we don’t have is clear confirmation as to who Sky is, though the suspect list is pretty low at this point in time so I’m kind of thinking my earlier thoughts are correct. I’d happily be proven wrong but I’m pretty sure we’re out of time for another twist in this story.

Voice of Fox Episode 8 Hu Li

However, in order to take up Hetian’s challenge, Hu Li is going to have to get over his sense of inferiority and that idea that he doesn’t deserve to be on the stage or live his dreams. It might seem pretty straight forward but Sky was not the only ghost haunting Hu Li and a lot of the drama that has unfolded has been entirely of his own sub-conscious-es making. I’m hoping he does get over it because Voice of Fox has taken me on an emotional ride and I really want Hu Li to have his moment even if he doesn’t win.

Voice of Fox Episode 8 Kong Que

That said, Hu Li isn’t the only character with ghosts to face. Kong Que is coming to terms with the fact that it was he who needed Hu Li and that without a ghost singer, he might as well be a ghost, and he isn’t taking it well. It certainly sets up a rocky future and I’m thinking this isn’t the last we’re going to see of the now dumped idol.

Still, the preview for next week looks like it is going to delve into the past of these characters and I’m hoping that then clears the way for a final run to the end with more singing and less angst. Not so much because the drama hasn’t been fun, but more that I’m ready for these characters to get a little bit of happiness and want them to get a happily ever after. Or at least an ever after.

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Karandi James
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Why Strong Competition Caused The Need For Contemplation

Tsurune Episode Reviews

Tsurune Episode 7 Review

Tsurune took a turn this week with the team heading to their first competition. This shook up some of the characters, forced others to face things they’d sooner forget, and the pressure most definitely pushed other characters over the edge. While this is certainly good for ongoing character development, it most definitely damaged the calm feeling the anime has portrayed up until now. That isn’t to say it suddenly dove into full competitive sports anime mode, because it definitely retained its languid story feeling, but it definitely constructed tension and awkward moments for the characters and the audience to endure.

Tsurune Episode 7

And that’s really a solid move. While it isn’t the feeling Tsurune has been giving us up until now, what it does is force the audience to realise just how much they’ve come to love these characters in six short episodes, and to love the dynamic they’ve built in their dojo. Leaving it and facing the other schools, being exposed to the mocking of the twins, the pressure of competition and unpleasant memories was hard on the team and the audience.

Tsurune Episode 7 The Twins

The twins are an interesting addition to the cast of the show as they’ve really been the only source of real contention between characters outside of Onogi. It is hard to really dislike them, but so far they’ve acted pretty bratty and have generally been deliberately unpleasant. It was fun to note that the person most riled up by their antagonism was Onogi and realistically Onogi’s character is going through some growth right at the moment so the tension is just pushing that along. Or pushing him to self-destruct. I guess we’ll see which.

Tsurune Episode 7 Shu

However, the highlight meeting of the episode was Shu and Minato. In typical Tsurune fashion, and in a way that pointed out that no matter how different this episode felt it is very much the same show we’ve watched all along, this meeting was ultimately a very low key affair. Few words were exchanged and the meaning of a lot of the meeting is yet to be fully realised by the audience, but there’s certainly plenty to consider. 

Tsurune Episode 7

I’m really looking forward to next week when the team event is on. As much as there were some uncomfortable moments watching this week, it was a feeling I enjoyed because it just spoke of how much I’ve come to care for these characters.

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Karandi James
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The Fallout From A Fox’s Shattered Reputation

Voice of Fox Episode Review Title

Voice of Fox Episode 7 Review

Last week saw the dramatic conclusion of Hu Li’s career as a ghost singer when his presence was revealed live on TV. This week, idol fans do what they do best in this sort of media (and unfortunately occasionally in real life), they went a little crazy. Threatening to beat him up, stalking him on social media, and generally being as unpleasant as humanly possible, Hu Li is driven into a corner thick and fast.

Voice of Fox Episode 7

And does the company who hired him do anything resembling damage control? Yep. They fire him, charge him for damages, fire the actual performer too (and I’m guessing he’s the board of director’s son or something from that exchange), and pretty much hang them out to dry. But that’s cool. They have a plan. Hu Li will be desperate for money so he’ll come back and write music for them again.

Voice of Fox Episode 7

Of course, that’s assuming he doesn’t take a header off the roof and as we return to where the series began you seriously wonder if he will or not. What I liked was that he wasn’t feeling excessively sorry for himself. It was more he felt like he was causing trouble for those around him, including his friend Chuyun, and he had run out of options to improve the situation. So while it might be accused of melodrama, Voice of Fox feels like its built up to this moment sufficiently to carry the scene.

Voice of Fox Episode 7

And then, because it isn’t the end just yet, Sky sends Hu Li another message (why Hu Li keeps talking to Sky or paying him any attention is beyond me at this point). Of course, this is where the episode ends leaving us wanting the next part of the story as they intended and I don’t really know that this is needed at this juncture. I’m hooked. I don’t need these to be continued baited endings to keep me coming back.

Still, this one remains one of my surprise hits for the season and while it may not be able to go toe  to toe with some more notable titles, it remains fairly impressive for what it is.

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Karandi James
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Anime Kitsune no Koe -Voice Of Fox- Original Soundtrack
Anime Kitsune no Koe -Voice Of Fox- Original Soundtrack

The Downfalls of the Pursuit of Perfection

Run With The Wind Episode Review Title

Run With The Wind Episode 8 Review

Contrary to my expectations that Kakeru would attempt to leave the team or quit running again, Run With The Wind has taken a different path. It seems the track meet has served only to light a fire underneath him and make him incredibly impatient. He wants to train harder, improve sooner,and he’s become even more critical of his less experienced and able team-mates driving tension through the roof.

Run With The Wind Episode 8 Kakeru

While Kakeru might be on a path to self-destruction, and it certainly seems that way with an ominous near miss with a cyclist because he’s got tunnel vision, excessively driving his body and not letting his muscles rest, and even the pan down to Haiji’s leg where we know he has an interesting scar that has yet to be fully explained, the writing is more or less on the wall unless somehow Kakeru manages to turn things around I suspect it isn’t going to end well for him. Then again, if Kakeru actually sustains a major injury that more or less ends Haiji’s dream of Hakone so I suspect the power of teamwork, or maybe one of his teammates finally having enough of his dribble and punching him, may solve the problem (or at least I hope so because while Run With The Wind might be 23 episodes, I don’t want to get to the half-way point without this being resolved).

Run With The Wind Episode 8 Haiji and Kakeru

But let’s look at those teammates. For once, Haiji didn’t do a single actual obnoxious thing for the whole episode. It isn’t enough to make me forget that he essentially coerced all of these guys into the situation so everything, including Kakeru’s potential crash-and-burn is ultimately his fault. Kakeru had abandoned running and Haiji was the one who talked (and more or less bribed and threatened) him back into competing. So any fallout there is going to be laid on Haiji.

Run With The Wind Episode 8

However, the rest of the team are now fully on board. Some to the point where they are also driving themselves too hard and others are just now not resisting Haiji’s drive and training. With no more attempts to escape being a part of the team, the dynamic has shifted into one of concern for key members.

Run With The Wind Episode 8 Prince

Still, as always the MVP is Prince. Tired of being asked to run outdoors, particularly when it might rain, he begins to look for a treadmill. In his words, if he has to run, he’d like to be able to read manga while he’s doing it. Prince is golden and every scene he is in is just perfect.If you have no other interest in Run With The Wind (which would be a shame because it is very good), you should definitely check it out for Prince.

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Karandi James
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