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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The Final Face-off For The Fox

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Voice of Fox Episode 12 Review

Voice of Fox has simply come to an end (or rather it concluded the current crisis and then gave a potential tease at the end for more of Hu Li’s journey but honestly I’m happy enough with this as an ending). Hu Li and Ji Hetian finally face off in the Rising Star of China competition. Everyone watches with some of the more villainous characters of the season smirking to themselves about how they are going to be the next big thing anyway, and everyone else being reduced to tears by a song. It’s a little bit overly simplistic but it fits the story up to this point and to be honest it was kind of nice seeing Hu Li have his moment.

Voice of Fox Episode 12 Ji Hetian

Less nice was realising Hu Li hadn’t figured out who Sky was. Really? I kind of thought that had already been resolved and now I’m convinced Hu Li is actually an idiot. Great singer, nice guy, but complete idiot. And actually that makes a lot of his choices earlier in the season make more sense. He definitely needs a manager to help him make better choices.

Voice of Fox Episode 12 Hu Li and his brother

The singing was nice, the story is drawn to a close, but really I can’t help but feel that this episode didn’t quite bring the emotions and drama of earlier ones. It really did feel like it was going through the motions and while all the elements were there for a solid emotional conclusion I just didn’t really feel it. Which is a shame given this anime has been one that I’ve consistently enjoyed because of the emotional drama it has carried through.

Voice of Fox Episode 12 Hu Li sings

Anyway, for a short anime, it has done what it needed to do and I really had fun with it. I’ll get to a series review of it and hopefully a few more people will give this one a go. While it isn’t perfect it is certainly a fun watch.

Voice of Rumours VS Voice of Reason

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Voice of Fox Episode 11 Review

With one episode to go we knew that things wouldn’t wrap up this week and with the cliff-hanger from episode 10 it was pretty clear that they were planning on one last dramatic push before we could finally get to a conclusion. Still, the way the public opinion whips around in this has gone from charmingly similar to social media waves in the real world to just outright insane as they seem to instantly change their mind about Hu Li based on whatever is said most recently.

Voice of Fox Episode 11 Fangirls

What I really wanted to know is how Kong Que and his record company think they will get away with what they’ve just said given the clear paper and money trail that would show them up for lying in an instant. And even if the public does accept their story, how does Kong Que think that will actually help him. All it has done is admit that he can’t sing well enough to debut so his career is dead regardless, unless he wants to try for soap opera actor because he’d be pretty good at that.

Voice of Fox Episode 11

Meanwhile Chuyun is also up the creek with her own group member black mailing her with a photo to get the solo debut. Again, I don’t know how the malicious member thinks it will help her in the long run given she’s nowhere near popular enough to get a solo debut. Even if she does debut, and the company still haven’t agreed, it is unlikely to go well.

Voice of Fox Episode 11 Hu Li

And just in case all this drama isn’t enough, let’s throw in Hu Li’s mother taking a turn for the worse just as Hu Li has found his resolve to sing in the competition. Next week is going to be full of drama and I can’t help but want things to end well. This story is cheesy as anything and yet it is working and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed following along with Hu Li.

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Karandi James
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It’s Never As Simple As Follow Your Dream

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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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Rumours and Lies, Tragedy and Triumph

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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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Karandi James
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Do These Characters Have The Courage To Face Their Ghosts?

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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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The Fallout From A Fox’s Shattered Reputation

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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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