Can Hu Li Actually Conquer Sky’s Terribly Twisted Challenge?

Voice of Fox Episode Review Title

Voice of Fox Episode 5 Reivew

I’m a little torn here because I do genuinely feel for Hu Li. He needs money for his mother’s hospital bills and he is clearly working hard having signed a contract that gives him almost no advantage other than the money to pay those bills. However, at the same time, I kind of feel a lot of his current troubles have been brought on by his own actions. He did in fact violate the terms of the contract (terrible terms though they may be) and now he’s on the edge of being revealed because of his individual work that he’s been posting and while Sky is definitely a factor, Hu Li could have been a lot more careful.

Voice of Fox Episode 5 - Hu Li

Still, he’s young, he’s passionate, and he was also clearly desperate. And this is where the torn factor comes in. Voice of Fox does an excellent job of making you want Hu Li to succeed while at the same time gives you plenty of reason to doubt his character has the strength to succeed. That makes it even more of a tense watch because while the villains of the piece seem obvious, the question becomes whether Hu Li would actually succeed even without the restrictions he’s been dealt.

Voice of Fox Episode 5 - Sky

I’m wondering if the identity of Sky is supposed to be obvious, or if we’re being given a red-herring. It seems like it is clear who it must be at this point and yet that feels like it would be too cheap and trite in the end. That, and it wouldn’t be much of a reveal at this point. I’m kind of hoping something happens next episode to make it clear that we’ve been being mislead and make us reconsider the options, but part of me doesn’t feel like this show is really going for that.

Voice of Fox Episode 5

All things considered, Voice of Fox remains a very solid character driven drama. And while the drama might be melodrama at times and there has been a lot of contrivance to get us to this point, there’s sufficient deft handling of the emotions of Hu Li and he comes across as a reasonably believable teen well in over his head that it remains pretty compelling viewing.

Here’s hoping it does something cool next week and in the meantime I’d love to know your thoughts on this one if you’ve been following it.

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Karandi James

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Voice of Fox Episode 4: Is Hu Li Losing His Resolve?

Voice of Fox Episode 4

This week we see that Sky’s provocations have gotten under Hu Li’s skin far more than it might have seemed at first. Whether he is in the classroom or performing, he can’t get the his conjured image and voice of Sky out of his head and it is having an impact on his performance.

Fox4a

While they may have scraped the victory through this round, it wasn’t by Hu Li’s voice. This time the credit is entirely on the fact that the opponent suddenly lost their voice mid-performance and while it was pretty obvious why even before they revealed it, it is a pretty scummy move. The only question is how many people are in on the current conspiracy and how high does it go.

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As for Hu Li, he has bigger problems because his confidence is a little shaken and he’s becoming increasingly paranoid. Not to mention, his friend from school who also happens to be an idol, has kind of outed his mysterious online persona so it all seems like things are going to get messy.

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I’m still having immense fun with this one. It isn’t perfect but for a weekly short it works well enough and I’m genuinely intrigued. It would be nice if they sang a different song given round after round singing the same thing has to get boring even for the audience, but apparently we’re just sticking with what we know.

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Karandi James

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Voice of Fox Episode 3: Relying on Coincidence, Mishap and Luck

I’m just going to admit I really had fun with this episode even though realistically for a thirteen minute episode quite a bit of this was wasted time. We catch up with Hu Li trying to sneak into the venue for the whole competition thing and the whole time he was doing this, I just had to wonder why the company didn’t take pains to get him an actual pass as one of the crew or something else. It seems ridiculous to expect him to find his own way in and avoid security. And it lends itself to a lot of silly moments that just kind of eat up screen time and rely very much on coincidence and the absurd for things to work out.

Voice of Fox Episode 3

Kong Que on the other hand is a character I’m getting to dislike more and more. While I can kind of accept the whole ghost voice thing for an idol, the fact that he can’t even manage an amusing or entertaining stall is just kind of sad. He cracks so quickly under the pressure of Hu Li not being there and has no back up plan and insufficient charisma to really do anything.

Voice of Fox Episode 3
This guy is the judge and he’s asking a lot.

Naturally though, Hu Li does eventually get to the stage at least and due to a nicely timed black out (not sure whether that was the mysterious SKY or someone else who arranged it but again, good work with the coincidence) Hu Li manages to stand behind Kong Que to perform. Without the microphone or back-up music. And I must say it was a very nice performance before he quickly ran away and the lights came back on.

Voice of Fox Episode 3

So while I still am having a great time with this, the story plausibility keeps going down and while that isn’t really a problem, it also means that you just kind of end up hand waving a lot of points and so the actual ability for this story to leave a lasting impression is diminishing. Still, fun enough for thirteen minutes a week.

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Karandi James

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Voice of Fox Episode 2: It Isn’t Paranoia When They Are Watching

Voice of Fox Episode 2

There isn’t anything overly new here and the story plays out this week more or less as expected after the introduction last week. We learn a bit about Hu Li’s tragic back story though the specifics are still not clear giving them plenty to lean into later should they choose to. We also learn more about how he ended up in his current Ghost Singer arrangement, and could they make the company and the contract seem any creepier.

Voice of Fox Episode 2

But more than that, we see Hu Li going about his day and realise that the blue haired girl from last week knows him so I guess it is pretty easy to see how she figured out what was going on, not that she said anything but that’s neither here nor there. What is interesting is how many blue haired characters are in Hu Li’s life as he searches for his mysterious online stalker Sky. They are probably all red-herrings and the Sky person is probably a red-head but it was still plenty entertaining.

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Like the first episode, this one packs a lot in and covers as much ground as most shows to in twenty minutes in twelve, which means there isn’t a lot of down time and subtlety is a little lacking. Still, it is pretty solidly entertaining and as they expand on the cast and concepts I anticipate this being a lot of fun.

Voice of Fox Episode 2

One downside this week, almost no singing. That was kind of a shame.

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Karandi James

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Voice of Fox Episode 1: Curiosity

Voice of Fox Episode 1

I have to admit I was curious when I read the description of this one on MAL and then the date it was said to come out came and went and I just assumed nothing I used was going to get it and moved on. Then an episode popped up on Crunchyroll. I’m kind of glad it did because while I was curious about it, I probably wouldn’t have tracked it down after the season was over so watching Voice of Fox now is probably the only way I would have ever seen it.

Voice of Fox Episode 1

I caught zero character names during this first episode but I was still pretty fascinated by the characters. Sure they do that annoying thing where they start with the protagonist at some terrible moment before we go back to see how they get there but that is swiftly forgotten as the fairly solid OP starts and we begin to get a look at the characters in the actual beginning.

Voice of Fox Episode 1

Let me just say, for 13 minutes, this first episode packs in a lot and there is almost no direct narration or exposition to get ideas across. Instead, we see the characters in action, whether that is singing, washing dishes, tripping security staff or whatever else they are doing and it all paints a picture of who these characters are and their role in the story to come. Admittedly, they do hit us with exposition at the end of the episode, but still this was a fairly solid effort and I was pretty caught up in the story.

Voice of Fox Episode 1

While I can’t say I’m totally hooked on any of the characters given I can’t even remember their names, I really liked the set up, I took the hook with the whole ‘this message started everything’ melodrama, and so far the music has been really great. I’m going to stick with this one for a bit and see how it goes.


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Karandi James

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Tuesday’s Top 5: Songs From Yuri on Ice

Tuesday's Top 5

No surprise that between the Yuri on Ice rewatch and running various polls about the routines, music and characters on Twitter, that I decided I wanted to look at my Top 5 songs from the series. I will definitely be doing a Top 5 Yuri and Victor moment list once the rewatch is completed, though that may very well turn into a top 10 list the way I’m going because it seems like every encounter between them brings something to the table.

Wait, I wasn’t supposed to be fangirling about Yuri on Ice, I was supposed to be introducing this list. Okay, so these are my personal favourite songs from Yuri on Ice and it was very hard to narrow down because there were some truly fantastic music selections in this anime. However, I would absolutely love to know your picks so be sure to leave me a comment below.

By the way, I’m linking to YouTube so you can listen to the songs if you don’t know them.

Please note, there will be spoilers below.

Honourable mention: Still Alive (no idea why I like this song given we only heard it the once in the background for a skater that wasn’t overly important, but something about it grabbed my attention).

Number 5: Yeah Yeah Yeah

Yuri on Ice Episode 10

It took me forever to figure out what the name of this song was, but I remember that I thought it was absolutely perfect when they used it in the anime. Now if you don’t know, this is the song playing when we finally get to see why Victor got it into his head that he should coach Yuri. Yuri had apparently gotten very drunk and challenged Plisetsky to a dance off and all of the skaters apparently documented the occasion on their phone (though a dance off was not the only thing going on in those pictures and where the poll came from is anyone’s guess). Still, the song is incredibly catchy and perfectly fits the sequence.

Number 4: Yuri on Ice

Yuri on Ice Episode 7 - Yuri on Ice

No surprise this song made the list. I’m probably more surprised it is only number 4, but there’s so many great songs in this anime I guess it isn’t that surprising. Still, this song was written to express Yuri’s relationship with skating and his career and it does indeed perfectly capture Yuri. It is a good thing this song is amazing because we hear it quite a number of times but each time it just draws you back in.

Number 3: Minami’s Boogie

Yuri on Ice Episode 5 - Minami

Okay, you have to love this one. Minami is such a great character considering his short screen time and this song perfectly captures his fun and energetic nature. It is very fun background music though it definitely makes you want to get up and move. Really fun song and it was coupled with a really fun routine. Really enjoyed this one.

Number 2: You Only Live Once

Yuri Only live once.jpg

I’ll confess, I’m an end credits skipper for almost all shows. If there’s something after the credits I’ll skip ahead and if there isn’t I’ll usually just cut the show when the credits roll. There are a few anime that manage to do something interesting in their end credits or change the music up sufficiently that I’ll stick around, but it is rare for me to like a song enough that I’ll watch the end credits every single time. Yuri on Ice and You Only Live Once succeeded right from the first episode. It is a perfect combination of the music feeling like it perfectly fits the shows and the characters and the visuals feeling like they perfectly complement the story and the characters. But just listing to this song by itself is pure joy. It really is the feeling of the show captured in one song and I love it.

Number 1: History Maker

Yuri On Ice Title

No points for picking that this was going to be my number one. I’ve made no pretence of the fact that from the very first time I heard this song I was hooked. I started Yuri on Ice expecting nothing, the opening scene was interesting enough but it was this song starting and the OP that hooked me and made this show something I would pay attention to. The rest of the first episode did a fine job reinforcing that impression, but it is amazing what a great OP will do for a show. Even now, whenever I’m feeling a little down, clicking through YouTube and finding History Maker is enough to make me smile. A friend of mine learned how to play it on the violin and played it for me one day and I was positively skipping for hours. This is a song that truly hit its mark for me and much like You Only Live Once, it perfectly captures the spirit of the show.

Okay, I’m now turning it over to you: what were your favourite songs from Yuri on Ice?


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Karandi James

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Yuri on Ice Sheet music
Official Sheet Music Collection

Fuuka Episodes 1 + 2

Overview:

Yuu has just moved to Tokyo when he has a chance encounter with Fuuka Akitsuki (who just happens to be in the class he transfers into). She loves music but doesn’t know what she wants to do with her life.

Review:

I’m just reviewing episodes 1 and 2 together here but so far this has seemed like a fairly generic high school set-up and we’re still kind of meeting the characters and learning about them. Though it is very generic in the events that have so far occurred it is enjoyable. At times the animation is a bit off (when the characters are walking and we’re just seeing their heads and shoulders it just looks kind of strange) but mostly it is pretty enough.

Yuu works as a protagonist. He hasn’t got a lot of personality but he has enough and I loved this sequence after he butted into an argument that he should have left alone.

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I think we should mail that information out to most anime protagonists. What makes it particularly funny is that he pretty much ignores his own advice almost immediately.

Fuuka is okay as a character. She’s certainly vibrant and energetic but I get the feeling she might end up annoying me if she doesn’t settle a bit. I particularly disliked that she didn’t even pay to repair his phone after she broke it. Finding the loaner phone really isn’t enough given you first crashed into him, then falsely accused him of photographing you, then broke his phone and slapped him. Anyway, after the initial violent moments she gets a bit more tolerable as a character and hopefully she will settle.

fuuka2

Otherwise, there’s some good music going on here and that’s about it. The story is pretty standard. We’ve had at least a half dozen panty shots, a bathroom sequence, and three sisters who seem to take any excuse to not be dressed, and none of these other than the initial panty shot which was the catalyst for Fuuka and Yuu meeting has seemed necessary.

So far, entertaining enough but not amazing. Will keep watching for now.

Fuuka is available on Crunchyroll.