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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The Final Face-off For The Fox

Voice of Fox Episode Review Title

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.

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Karandi James
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What Were The Best Anime of Autumn 2018?

Dakaichi Episode 13 Takato

No doubt about it, Autumn 2018 gave me a lot of anime that I personally enjoyed. It also gave us a lot of anime that were technically pretty solid creations and between these two groups of anime that meant I ended up having a lot to watch and enjoy.

Even anime that weren’t particularly well made managed to be delightful to watch and while it won’t show up on my best of list anywhere, I’d still like to give a shout out to Xuan Yuan Sword Luminary. As a fantasy with a vaguely historical setting, the story is kind of good (okay, cliche driven but what else is new). I’d really recommend giving it a look if you are into fantasy and want a non-isekai title for a change.

Xuan Yuan Sword Luminary Episode 7 Zhao and Yin

However, that isn’t getting on with the list.

I tried something different this season and actually ranked the anime I watched each week so that when I got to the end of the season I wasn’t just blown away by a shiny ending and forgot about all the other issues an anime had. The system isn’t entirely without flaws and there’s a few changes I’m going to make for next season. But it means that I really am looking at the whole season rather than the last three weeks when I pick my favourite.

Alright, let’s get into this. Like every season, I’ll go through my favourites first and then I will announce the reader’s choice. The poll for best of the year where the top 3 picks from each season will go head to head will open on the 1st and will run for two weeks closing on the 14th.

Favourite Story – Voice of Fox

While this might seem random, it actually makes perfect sense in my head. There are so many anime I love this season but I love the characters, the emotions they make me feel, the visuals… for one of the first seasons ever plot has taken an extreme back seat. The few anime where it is the potential plot keeping me invested are running into next season so not even sure where the plot is actually going to go. Voice of Fox tells a simple but solid story about Hu Li struggling to make it as a singer, becoming someone else’s ghost singer and the ensuing scandal when it is revealed. While we still haven’t seen the conclusion yet, I’m really looking forward to it. Voice of Fox may not be a masterpiece by any one’s standards, but its been great fun and for a short anime it has really managed to tell a solid story and I think it definitely deserves some recognition.

Voice of Fox Episode 8 Hu Li on phone

Favourite Visuals – Bloom Into You

There was never any doubt with this one. The direction of this has been brilliant and the use of colour has been amazing. Bloom Into You is one of those anime I really appreciate for how well it is being put together even if it isn’t really my kind of story. I’m actually surprised by how much I’ve ended up getting drawn into it, and part of that is the characters have really been fleshed out to feel real, but a lot of the appeal of this one comes from how it has been visually presented and while I was pretty disdainful in episode one when I said it was ‘very pink’ I’ve come to really love how much thought has gone in to each and every scene.

Bloom Into You Episode 9 Yuu and Nanami

Favourite Opening – Bunny Girl Senpai

Alright, I’m still not the biggest fan of the animation for this opening, but in terms of distinctive and memorable openings, Bunny Girl Senpai has to win. When I was looking at this category, the first few bars of the song just started playing in my head and drowned out any other opening from the season I tried to think of. Except Skull Face Bookseller Honda-San. That opening was distinct, and amusing. Worth checking out. Anyway, if you are one of the few people who hasn’t already checked out Bunny Girl Senpai please do or at least listen to this opening.

Favourite Character – Takato

I couldn’t help it. Alright, no denying Dakaichi as an anime has its issues but also no denying that I’ve seriously enjoyed Takato this season. Part of it is definitely shallow and the fact that he is a very good looking, non-teenage, male anime character, but a lot of it comes down to how interesting his character is and how much I enjoy seeing him in different situations and how he handles it. Okay, I could write all day about Takato, or I could explode the rest of the post with Takato screen caps, but I think I’ll just leave it here by pointing out Takato has been awesome and I’m going to miss seeing him each week.

Favourite Anime of Autumn 2018

Right, so this one I kind of know the answer to but I’m going to go back to my ranking system that I tried this season and take you through the whole list. Each anime I watched got ranked each week and I averaged these ranks for a final score. It was interesting and watching something like Release the Spyce go from ranked tenth on the list to third was kind of bizarre but it does make me think about the shows that have really grown in strength and those that lost momentum as the season progressed.

Scores were based on enjoyment and technical merit and so balancing shows each week where I liked an episode but it had some rough edges compared to a story that was a bit slower but was really well done made for some interesting internal debates.

  • Conception = 1.25
  • Jingai-San no Yome = 2.33
  • Skull-Face Bookseller Honda-San = 4.09
  • Xuan Yuan Sword Luminary = 4.77
  • A Certain Magical Index (dropped) = 4.91
  • Release the Spyce 5.33
  • That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime = 6.54
  • Sword Art Online Alicization = 9.42
  • Goblin Slayer = 9.82
  • Dakaichi = 10.69
  • Run With The Wind = 10.64
  • Voice of Fox = 11.00
  • Tsurune = 12.70
  • Banana Fish = 12.91
  • Bloom Into You = 14.58
  • Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai = 15.69

There’s some interesting results. For instance, That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime has really grown on me and I’m personally enjoying it more than SAO right now. Xuan Yuan Sword Luminary is another title I personally enjoyed though in terms of quality it is probably in the right place on the list.

However, my favourite for the season, Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai did manage to come out on top even though Bloom Into You did have a number of weeks where it took the top spot. Rascal was full of great dialogue and characters and while the ending may have been a little weak it was definitely a title I looked forward to each and every week.

Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai Episode 3

The Reader’s Choice

For the first time this year, the reader’s choice and my choices line up really well and the best of the season as voted by my readers isn’t something I dropped or didn’t watch. Yay. Okay, no further delay. This vote was the most decisive of the year with a clear victor determined fairly early on.

You guessed it, Bunny Girl Senpai.

Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai Episode 6 - Sakuta and Tomoe

However, Banana Fish and Bloom Into You as the runners up will still go into the poll for best of the year. I was interested to see how well Run With The Wind went in this poll. If it maintains the same quality in the second half it might very well win the poll next season (though I guess that depends on what else comes out).

However, that is it from this poll so now I’m turning it over to you. What did you vote for? What were your favourites this season? Let us know in the comments below.

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Karandi James
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Voice of Rumours VS Voice of Reason

Voice of Fox Episode Review Title

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

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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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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