Hey guys, I hope you enjoyed your weekend! Sorry for the delays, we had some internet outages in our area. But, here is the next episode review for Koe no Kitsune (Voice of Fox)!
The episode opens up on the next morning after Hu Li discovers the picture from his mysterious stalker, where Hu Li is visiting his comatose mother in the hospital. Watching his mother from outside the room, Hu Li recalls when their father died and how his brother Hu Xi angrily blamed him for what happened to their parents and labelled him a murderer. Back in the present, Hu Li touches his scar and thinks to himself that though it is frustrating, it couldn’t be helped and thinks again that the only thing that he can do is to do what he can for now. Saying goodbye to his mother, Hu Li goes to leave when he notices that somebody has left flowers for his mother.
An hour later, Hu Li is on his way to school. As he walks, Hu Li thinks about how everything was arranged from his life to the hospitalization for him since that day. He then recalls how he was recruited by President Kim (Sho Hayami (Muraki (Descendants of Darkness), Captain Rommel (Gundam Build Divers)) of the music company. In the flashback, Hu Li has been brought into President’s Kim office and has been offered the job as a Ghost Singer. Confused, Hu Li asks what he means by that and President Kim explains that since his company highly values his rhythmical sense and his musical and singing abilities, they want to use his voice to debut Kong Que as a singer. Shocked, Hu Li replies that he can’t, but President Kim tells him that he is aware that his family is in financial trouble so offers to save his family in exchange for his voice. Upset by this revelation, Hu Li asks why he should become Kong Que’s ghost singer and Kim asks him whether he wants to do it or whether he wants to be popular with him singing and Kong Que standing on the stage. As a drop of sweat slides down Hu Li’s face, Kim suggests that he should know the answer to that.
Back in the present, Hu Li is at a crosswalk thinking to himself that he knows that keeping his identity a secret is an absolute condition of his contract but wonders how much does the mysterious “Sky” know and whether he knows about him being a ghost singer while looking down on his phone. Panicking mentally, Hu Li thinks about how much trouble he is in if his secret is leaked. Suddenly, a hand taps Hu Li on his shoulder causing Hu Li to scream and as he turns around to see Su Lan who asks him why he is making such a fuss in the morning. As the crossing lights turn green, Su Lan declares that they should hurry otherwise they’ll be late for school and as he heads on, Hu Li sighs.
At school, Hu Li is seen in the middle of his maths class. As Hu Li is taking notes and listening to the teacher who is scribbling formulas on the math board, he wonders if SKY is watching him now, but quickly dismisses the idea. Suddenly, the class becomes dark and Hu Li sees one of his classmates turn around and declare that he is always watching him. The other classmates all do the same and Hu Li begins freaking out when his math teacher turns into President Kim who charges him 10 million as punishment for breaking his contract. Angry, Hu Li tries to declare that he can’t possibly pay that amount, but Kim tells him that its too late as him and his brother will wander in confusion while his mother will die. Suddenly there’s a sound of his mother’s life support falling and Hu Li wakes and screams to find that it was all a nightmare and that he has been sleeping in class with his classmates now staring and giggling at him.
Suddenly, Hu Li’s math teacher calls him out and asks if his class was that boring. Flustered, Hu Li hastily apologizes and bows, reasoning that it was because he was working at his part-time job till late at night yesterday. However, the teacher grumbles that while he sympathizes with his circumstances, it doesn’t have any implication on his school work, causing Hu Li to humbly apologize again while his classmates giggle, gossip and pity him in a mocking tone. All of the sudden, the door opens and Chuyun walks into the room. Immediately spotting her, all the male students and even their teacher (excluding Hu Li) start fawning and drooling over her, while the other girls stare at her in disgust. As Chuyun greets the class, she apologizes for being late because she had work. The teacher immediately fawns and gushes his sympathies on her and kindly asks her to take her seat (what a difference!). As Chuyun starts walking towards her desk, a trio of girls mutters how unfair it is that Chuyun gets preferential treatment because she is a celebrity. Taking advantage of the situation, Hu Li sits down at his desk as Chuyun walks by it and takes her seat. In his seat, Hu Li thinks to himself that he can’t drop his guard for a second even at school, for SKY might be watching him while Su Lan worriedly watches him from a distance.
During their lunch break, Hu Li is on edge and starts getting paranoid over his stalker. Sensing someone watching him, Hu Li freaks out and starts looking around discovers no one is watching him. He continues onward, but it is apparent that someone is watching him from behind the classroom door. As Hu Li moves through the hallway, he starts acting weird (for example, snatching a girl’s phone and shouting at a girl who was taking a selfie) and eventually gets so paranoid…….that he accidentally walks into the girls’ bathroom and gets attacked by the girls there (sigh).
Running straight out, Hu Li decides to hide out in one of the science rooms and hides behind one of the desks. Angry, Hu Li squeezes hia fist and whispers that everything is SKY’s fault. Suddenly, the door opens and as Hu Li peeks out from behind the desk, he sees Chuyun entering with the trio who was secretly insulting her earlier. Confronting Chuyun, the girls declare that they know that she can get them tickets to the ‘Rising Star of China’ event and demands that Chuyun fork over a ticket because they absolutely want to see Kong Que’s performance and they will even pay her for it. Putting on a fake smiling persona, Chuyun asks the girls if they really want it that badly and the girls declare that they do. Dropping the persona, Chuyun declares that even if she did have one, she wouldn’t give it to them. Aghast and angry, one of the girl yells at Chuyun to not be such a snobby arrogant idol and shoves her, only for Chuyun to be caught by Hu Li in a sparkly romantic manner.
Turning her head, Chuyun sees Hu Li and calls out his name. Seeing this display, the girls tell Hu Li to butt out and get lost. Pretending to go along with their suggestion, Hu Li happily says that he will. Grabbing Chuyun’s hand, Hu Li shouts out a goodbye to the girls and runs with Chuyun. The girls give chase, but stop at the door when they realize that they won’t catch them and choose to give them death glares instead. As Hu Li and Chuyun run through the hallways up to the roof, Chuyun smiles and holds Hu Li’s hand harder.
Up on the roof, Hu Li and Chuyun quickly burst through the door and stop to catch their breath. Noticing that he is still holding her hand, Hu Li breaks their handhold and teases Chuyun that he probably shouldn’t be doing this because if someone saw them then it will become a scandal, even though they are childhood friends. Chuyun coldly rebuts that even if someone did see them, they wouldn’t get that idea. Laughing, Hu Li nostalgically comments that Chuyun has always been like this and teasingly suggests that she should probably start choosing her words better, otherwise, she will just increase her enemies. Chuyun sarcastically rebuts that she doesn’t want to be told that by someone who was scowled by the teacher. All of a sudden, the two of them start laughing and the pair gradually moves into a nice quiet chat. Leaning against the fence, Hu Li mentions that she (Chuyun) has been quite busy with Love Seasons lately and remarks that its incredible that she became their main vocalist and that he is glad that she was able to have her dreams granted. Shyly looking away, Chuyun asks about when Hu Li’s dreams will be granted and Hu Li shyly responds that he is way too busy with work for stuff like that.
Watching Hu Li, Chuyun pulls out a ticket from her pocket and gives it to Hu Li. Hu Li asks what is it and Chuyun explains that its a ticket for the ‘Rising Star of China’ competition. Surprised, Hu Li recalls President’s Kim explanation of the event. In the flashback, President Kim is explaining the ‘Rising Star of China’ competition is a competition to determine who the best young singers in China are, and that whoever wins it, can greatly get a leap forward down their chosen career path. Kim continues that so far their company, Star Entertainment has “allowed” Ji Hetian to win the competition for the last three years, but they must win it this year. Twirling a lock of his hair, Kong Que boldly declares that’s it is in the bag and that they will obviously reach the top, but Hu Li looks down dejected. President Kim then “kindly” reminds Hu Li what will happen if he loses the competition, causing Hu Li to stare at him in fear. Back in the present, Hu Li is spacing out when Chuyun calls out to him and nags at him to take the ticket.
A not-so-shy Chuyun boldly explains that there is no special meaning to it, its just that she didn’t want those other girls to get the ticket. Hu Li thanks her for the ticket, but explains that he can’t go because he has work. Curious, Chuyun asks what kind of work and Hu Li gets flustered and explains that its basically odd jobs here and there. Not believing him, Chuyun asks if it is something criminally dangerous and Hu Li says in a slightly panicked tone that it isn’t and teases her that if she makes that kind of face then her chances of becoming a bride will be gone. Completely furious, Chuyun storms off. As she closes the door of the roof, Chuyun leans against it and sadly calls both Hu Li and herself, an “Idiot,” before walking away.
On the school rooftop, Hu Li turns away from the door and sadly apologizes to Chuyun when he suddenly senses someone watching him. Faking a stomach ache and collapsing, Hu Li pretends to be sick to lure out the stalker. All of a sudden, the door of the rooftop opens and someone starts walking over to Hu Li. As the person gets closer, Hu Li quickly grabs the person’s legs and pulls them to the ground. Suddenly, the person asks Hu Li, “What the hell are you doing?” and Hu Li looks up to see that its Su Lan. As Su Lan asks if he is into these kinds of hobbies, Hu Li sighs in relief and angrily yells at Su Lan asking if he was the one watching him. Standing uo and patting down his pants, Su Lan tiredly says that he was, after all, that was the job that President Kim gave to him; to make sure that Hu Li didn’t break his contract. Surprised, Hu Li asks since when did he start watching him. and Su Lan replies that it was ever since Hu Li signed the contract with the president of the music company.
Slightly irritated, Su Lan asks if he had never realized that and Hu Li replies, “Never.” Sitting back down, Hu Li mutters that he thought he was SKY, causing Su Lan to ask about them. Realizing his mistake, Hu Li quickly replies that its nothing. Suddenly, Hu Li gets another message from SKY saying that everyday must be so tough for him with a picture of a flower basket attached to it. Staring at the picture, Hu Li immediately realizes that the flowers are the same flowers as the ones in his mother’s hospital room and wonders to himself, how much SKY knows about him and what sort of person they are.
Okay, so this episode was a pretty fun episode which explained about Hu Li’s living situation and circumstances and a general idea of how he became a ghost singer. We learned that at some point in time, he was involved in a accident which scarred his left eye, killed his father and left his mother in a coma. I imagine that the hospital bills left them pretty much broke, hence the financial troubles and that his brother is angry at him and pretty much blaming him for their deaths. Around this time, he is then recruited and virtually blackmailed into being Kong Que’s ghost singer in exchange for having their financial problems resolved and being able to attend school and live together with his little brother and that he must win the Rising Star of China competition, otherwise, the president is just gonna ditch them and leave them for broke. We also learn that he’s been friends with Chuyun since they were little kids and they have subtle romantic feelings for each other (more so on Chuyun’s side).
Now, what I like about this episode is that it is heavily drifting away from the original source in terms of characterizations while still keeping certain scenes. In the comics, the story was full of comedy and slice of life stuff; and Hu Li was portrayed as a lot more of a teaser and goofball who had cute chibi moments and rarely took things seriously and was much more of a comedic character who had a secret lonely side. I couldn’t read a lot of the comics because I didn’t (and still don’t) know Chinese, but from the images, there was just a lot of character shipping and bait teasing in it and the plot was more focused on Hu Li branching out and becoming his own singer while having a growing romance with his childhood friend, Chuyun. The whole blackmail thing with President Kim was pretty much thrown out after one chapter from what I could tell, Hu Li kind of went solo and I don’t think there was a Rising Star of China competition in it, but maybe there was. However, it was very drawn out manga. There were just lots of side characters and Kong Que just disappeared after a couple of chapters and only appeared here and there in a villainous light and they haven’t even reached the main competition arc yet.
However, the main differences between that and the anime is that what I like about it, is that it is much more serious in terms of tone and plot and Hu Li is definitely being represented differently. While he’s still kind, cheerful and a teaser, he is a much more serious character in this one, who has a heavy load and lots of pressure on his shoulders to succeed. Kong Que is pretty much the same between both versions, but I like to see him perhaps getting to know Hu Li and them gradually becoming friends. I also like how the background music reflects the serious and dire tone of the series because if Hu Li’s secret is blurted out, his mother will ultimately pay the price for it and I also like how the stalker arc is being paced more evenly. Its pretty apparent that the competition is gonna be the main focus of the series and I’m not really sure how many episodes are in this series, but there’s probably not going to be a lot of filler in it and they might draw the stalker arc right until the competition perhaps. I was also pretty much shocked that each episode was only 13 ~ 15 minutes, I thought that it went for much longer.
Going back to characterization, Chuyun is definitely being portrayed the same way as Aoi Zaizen from Yu-Gi-Oh VRAINS! She is a celebrity who normally puts on a happy cheerful persona in front of her fans, but in real life, she is certainly a loner and rightfully acts rather cold to the people who try to use her to get something, but she is also really kind to her friends. It does appear that she has a little crush on Hu Li and that she gets along well with him. What I found really funny about this episode was how much of a hypocrite their maths teacher was. It really speaks levels to social class distinction and the differences between celebrities and common folk. I mean……when he was scolding Hu Li, he was basically humiliating him in front of the class and then Chuyun comes in and he practically lets her get away scot-free for being late to class. I’m not upset by it, it’s just a little irritating. As for Su Lan, he certainly is a mysterious character. From what we do know about him so far is that he is a hacker and pretty much the best friend character to Hu Li. His loyalties to Hu Li and President Kim are pretty skewed right now, so its kind of hard to see who he will side with on the grand scale of things, but he’ll probably end up helping Hu Li in the end.
Animation-wise, the animation was pretty good and there was solid pacing and transitions, so I definitely recommend this episode to everyone. I look forward to speaking to all of you next time!