Fruits Basket 2019 First Impressions


It’s finally getting a reboot, but has it delivered on fan expectations?

Another remake of a classic and like previous ones (the Sailor Moon reboot and the Cardcaptor continuation), I cannot help but be excited while at the same time feeling a little wary about what the results might be this time around. I’m pleased to say that episode one retains all the charm of the original anime series, with superior character designs and animation in general, and it even toned down the silliness of the fan club. So, you could say so far so good.

Fruits Basket - The Prince's Fan Club

In point of fact, it is a gorgeous first episode. Very screen capable as it introduces the core cast and establishes their base line relationships. The music and sound should also be applauded as being very affective and overall this is a first episode that manages to deliver for anyone who is already a fan of the franchise and has been wanting to see the reboot.

Fruits Basket - Tohru and Hanajima

What it perhaps doesn’t do so well is have any real hook for those new to the story. The happy girl down on her luck is a trope seen many times (even before the original Fruits Basket anime) and Honda Tohru here works well enough but isn’t charming enough on her own to be a selling point within this first episode, nor pitiable enough to invoke any kind of empathy. Instead she’s very much just being set up in her role which those who know the story will anticipate her growth and development but those who don’t will simply see a fairly standard and maybe not-so-interesting lead character.

Fruits Basket - Honda Tohru

Likewise the mystery of the Soma’s is established here and I’m very keen to see this version of the anime as the original really dropped the ball here (leaving me with a read the manga conclusion which I certainly did but I’d love to see the story actually play out in anime). But again, I’m not certain this first episode really does justice to where this story will go.

Fruits Basket - Yuki and the rats

Is a beautiful but by-the-numbers opening necessarily a bad thing?

Not really. It was a wonderfully pleasant introduction to the series and the conclusion with the ‘reveal’ for the handful of people who didn’t know all works quite well. However, most of my excitement here is still coming from my general anticipation of what is coming rather than what was delivered in episode one. Everything here works but it isn’t anything exceptional.

Fruits Basket - Honda and her mother.

Here’s hoping this adaptation grows into the charming and emotional experience this story could easily become and at this stage I’m still very optimistic. I did however take a lot of screen caps because it is really good looking.

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Karandi James

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Images from: Fruits Basket. Dir. Y Ibata. TMS Entertainment. 2019.

23 thoughts on “Fruits Basket 2019 First Impressions

      1. ya i just finsihed the whole seasson an it is the most cool an cute thing also it had me crying at the last episode an it was the most awsome thing in the whole seasson an it is also funny an i just love it the whole way through it was cute an it dose hit the right tone

  1. I am so excited for this series revamp- Fruits Basket was one of my favourites back in the day, and I’m hoping this remake is just as good 🙂

    I agree that episode 1 was done really well, it was so nostalgic but introduced everything superbly. I’m hoping it continues to meet my expectations!

  2. I wondered too if this would have draw to new watchers. I really hope it does. I liked seeing the comments and it makes me hopeful that this will bring another round of people who find this show.

    1. Me too. This one is up there with Natsume in anime that I just found calming to watch though I had a few issues with the original anime (particularly the lack of ending). Really hoping this reboot captures what I loved about the old anime but improves upon it and episode one was a very nice indicator that they’ve done just that.

  3. “and Honda Tohru here works well enough but isn’t charming enough on her own to be a selling point within this first episode,”

    I feel very awkward having to disagree on this point, but I found her completely charming enough!

    Or maybe the original still influences my judgement. I really enjoyed it all those years ago…

    1. I am just not a fan of the ever optimistic protagonist and that’s really all we get from her on this opening. I get some people will find her utterly charming but I want a bit more from her than this episode gave us.

  4. Of the two reboots I’ve seen… Yamato 2199, a reboot of the classic Uchuu Senkan Yamato is a classic in it’s own right. Sailor Moon Crystal on the other hand was a complete dud.

    But I’ve never seen Fruits Basket (2001) or read the manga, so I’m trying to take it on it’s own merits without being swayed (for weal or woe) by the opinions of those who have. That being said, I enjoyed this ep. It got all the necessary info out without massive exposition/infodumping and that’s quite an accomplishment in it’s own right.

  5. This is my first time watching it, and the first episode was great. I know it’s a mix of happy and sad, so i’ll have to see!

  6. Never saw the original although I’m aware of the basic setup. Liked this first episode a lot though, hook or not- actually the hook for me is that this is obviously made by people who are confident in the strength of the material. Anyway I’m definitely in for the ride.

  7. With how many times I’ve seen the original anime, I noticed a few differences, of course. They introduced the fan club’s leader in the first episode this time, we actually *see* Tohru’s mother (oh, she was a beauty!), we see how Tohru regrets missing a final moment with her mother, a few little tweaks in dialogue and mannerism and such. The overall difference, for the moment, is how it feels much more tender and sweet than comedic and invigorating. Especially that ending scene. I really like how much the first anime makes me laugh, ya know? It’s not really a terrible thing, just… well, lacking the comedy, and lacking the hook, as you mention, it feels rather lackluster, ya know?

  8. The sharp contrast to my own first impression (I didn’t even call it an impression, I’m just not with it lol) mines all over the place I forgot to take screen caps! You are ever the inspiration Karandi!

    (don’t worry, I’m not really putting mine down. I wouldn’t change it if I could, cause its all me!)

  9. I enjoyed the reboot a lot. I loved Fruits Basket as a teen and like 10-15 years later, after watching the reboot, the feeling of nostalgia and love for the anime and manga is still strong. The reboot is incredibly pleasing to the eye and the voice acting is good as well.

  10. I’m totally new to Fruits Basket and I really enjoyed it. There were lots of subtle hints as to the Somas which was fun piecing together. I also like how Tohra doesn’t give up despite all the crap she’s been through. Better than being a damsel in distress type.

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