Kitsune no Koe or Voice of Fox is definitely one of major highlighters for this anime season. It’s got great music, an interesting plot and is definitely not boring. So to start off, I’ll begin by reminding everyone about the basic plot before going into the recap and my impressions of the episodes.
“Kitsune no Koe (Voice of Fox) is an adaptation of the Chinese manhua of the same name by Hong Kong-based female artist Ray Chan. The manhua follows 16-year-old Hu Li, who dreams of becoming a popular singer. However, he has neither good looks nor the financial means to pursue his dream, so Hu uploads his singing online using a fox avatar.”
Okay, so the series starts of with Hu Li (Kengo Kawanishi (Mikazuki Augus (Gundam IBO))) walking to the edge of a high-rise building as if he is about to commit suicide, wondering how his life became so messed-up and mentions how he isn’t able to sing anymore. Suddenly, he remembers about a email he received and as his fox mask falls off, he begins to recall what happens. The show then flashes to an earlier time when Hu Li was just a regular 16-17 year boy working multiple part-time jobs to get by, while Kong Que (Hisayoshi Suganuma (Beul (100 Princes)) is already a celebrity who does photo shoots for magazines and interviews on news programs. During one particular broadcast, Kong Que talks about how there are people who have talent and how there are “chosen ones” in the world. As Hu Li walks home after work, he catches sight of Kong Que’s interview on a huge public screen and when he hears Kong Que talk about how happy he is that he was blessed with such talent, Hu Li scoffs at it, puts on his headphones and heads straight home.
The next day, at a TV studio, the studio is filming a music program to introduce the candidates for the ‘Rising Star of China’ competition with stars like Lin Ruijia, Yuki, Ji Hetian and the idol quartet, Love Seasons, appearing on it. At the same time, Hu is delivering flowers to a dressing room. Knocking on the door, the room’s owner lets him in and it is revealed to be Ji Heitan (Satoshi Hino (Yuji Sakai (Shakugan no Shana))), the three year ‘Rising Star of China’ champion. Getting a little bit starstruck, Hu Li delivers the flowers and starts having a little freak out once he is outside of the room. Once he is done with his little freak out, Hu decides to get down to business and ditches the florist’s cap, before pulling over his hood over his face while getting ready to do some no good.
Back on the music program, the host introduces Kong Que who greets his females fans. In another part of the studio, Hu watches the program on a screen and mocks him a little before running off again. Back on the music program, Yuki is talking about her latest song, while the members of Love Seasons are waiting for their turn. Noticing Chuyun (Arisa Kouri (Chiho Kagari (Akkun to Kanojo))) listening to something, one of the other members asks her what she is listening to and notices that she is listening to ‘Night Fox’ which another member explains is a popular artist who regularly posts his own original music onto the internet. Irritated, the red-haired member asks what Chuyun is doing and Chuyun tells her that listening to Fox’s music relaxes her.
Meanwhile, Hu is running through the TV station heading to some unknown destination when he accidentally bumps into a guard who tries to catch him as he suspects that Hu is up to no good. What ensues is a funny chase scene which ends when he bumps into someone who tries to hire to him for his agency and he ends up helping Hu out by tripping the guard (albeit at the cost of him getting beat up by the guard instead). Racing through the hallways as Kong’s performance is about to start, Hu makes it to his destination barely on time and enters a room where his and Kong’s team gets ready to hijack the broadcast. As his manager tells Hu to get ready, Hu dons his fox mask and gets ready to perform in the sound booth. What follows is a stirring performance Kong Que is on the stage lip-syncing and dancing while Hu’s voice comes through on the microphone.
Right after the performance is over, Kong Que waves to his fans while Hu removes his mask in the sound booth and reminds himself that he is Kong’s ghost singer and that he can only sing in the shadows. Meanwhile, backstage, Chuyun watches Kong waves to his fans and quietly calls him a “liar.” Later on, after the filming is over, Hu meets up with Kong in his dressing room with the team. Kong furiously yells at him for almost being late to the performance, but Hu rebuts that he had a bit of a part-time job to do. Kong just yells at him to quit his part-time job and constantly stay on standby for him, but Hu refuses since he can’t afford to with his lifestyle and argues that he made it on time anyway. This gets Kong Que even more furious at him and reminds him that he wouldn’t be where he is without him. Hu mockingly repeats the same thing to Kong and they soon end up fighting after arguing some more which irritates their manager and causes her to yell at them to cut it out.
Later that night, Hu arrives home with food and calls out to his brother Hu Xi saying that he brought dinner for him. But, Hu Shi doesn’t respond, so Hu Li tells him that he’s leaving at his door and heads into his own bedroom. As Hu Li leaves, Hu Shi opens his door and angrily glares at his brother’s bedroom. In Hu Li’s bedroom, Hu Li heads over to his computer and opens up his website which is revealed to be “Night Fox.” As Hu Li checks over the responses for his new song, Hu Li gets a new message from someone with the handle ‘Sky’ saying that they are “Always watching.” Opening the attachment, Hu Li is shocked to see a picture of himself leaving the dressing room and wonders if his secret has been blown. The episode with Hu Li thinking that this email was the start of everything.
I’m going to apologize in advance here for being a bit biased and freaking out, but I absolutely love Kitsune no Koe’s songs! From the exciting *doki doki* heart pumping opening theme song to the passionate, heartbreaking insert song to even the lovely romantic ending song, I fell in love with the music from this series from first viewing. Hu Li’s voice actor, Kengo Kawanishi, has got such a heavenly singing voice and you really tell that he is pouring his heart out in that episode because there is a lot of emotion in that voice. The insert song is probably the first song to have literally moved me in a while, ever since the first ending song of Akame ga Kill! I also really like kano’s singing too because it really puts Chuyun’s feelings for Hu Li into words.
Okay, phew! Calming down now. Just from the opening and the ending sequences, they are pretty much out right suggesting that Chuyun from Love Seasons and Hu Li are gonna be shipped as the main romantic couple, which is fine because I don’t hate either character so far. Chunyun seems to be alright, she is one of those kind, gentle characters, but she isn’t annoying and I genuinely liked how she can instantly tell that Kong Que was faking his singing. Ji Hetian looks to be the celebrity who everyone admires, but may have a dark side, however not much can be told of his character beyond that for now. But, as of right now, Hu Li is definitely my favorite character, not only because of his cool character design, but because of his cool, immature, cocky, but serious personality, his singing voice and of course, his hilarious interactions with others (it also doesn’t hurt that he reminds me of Yuichiro Hyakuya from Seraph of the End).
Actually, most of the characters for this show looks pretty interesting and I’m looking forward to finding out more about them. As for Kong Que, the idol for who Hu Li ghost sings for, it’s still too early to judge him right now because we didn’t get too much of his underlying character, but for now he seems to be your standard slightly boorish celebrity idol with sexy but charming looks. Though I did find it humorously ironic that he was talking about chosen ones and having talent when he was using Hu Li as a ghost singer, but I also liked the way he butted heads with Hu Li, so he doesn’t appear to be a completely dis-likable character. The contrast between the two boys lifestyles is also interesting because the audience really gets a sense of how different these boys lives are.
Animation and plot-wise, the animation was really nice. The plot and the mystery elements are really interesting especially with the mysterious stalker bit and the pacing wasn’t so bad in this episode. Compared to most of the shows that I’ve been watching for the past couple of years, which have been mostly action, fantasy and mechas and female idol shows like Aikatsu for the most part, this anime is really a breath of fresh air due to its pure music show vibe with some slice of life elements. I honestly didn’t think that I would be this interested in a Chinese anime since the ones I did see weren’t really my thing, but I’m really enjoying this series. I’m also kind of interested in the relationship between Hu Li and his brother, Hu Xi, since his brother really appears to despise his brother for some reason. I really, no, definitely insist on watching this anime to anyone who will watch it even if its just for the songs!