Waves and Jealousy
Fruits Basket Episode 21
I have to admit, I was nervous about how this episode would go. Despite the exaggeration and over the top humour in the original anime series, Hanajima’s episode dealing with the fan club was one of my very favourites. Probably because Hana is just such an awesome character so an episode focused on her handling things her own way was just delightful. Yet here we are and Fruits Basket 2019 has once again proven it has a good handle on this story and these characters. While this version isn’t quite as over the top as the older anime made it, the humour is still there and the characterisation is far more realistic in tone.
Episodes that focus on Tohru and her two friends, Arisa and Hana, always have a way of hitting you hard emotionally. These three girls all draw strength from one another and their friendship is one that is truly beautiful. Previously, Arisa had a couple of episodes of back story and while we still haven’t got Hana’s history, seeing how she deals with those who would threaten her friends in this episode is fantastic.
However, what elevated this version of the episode is the way the club members were handled. In the original anime these characters were exaggerated to the point of being caricatures and it made it difficult to feel anything for them as they were so far removed from reality. Here, they are still exaggerated in their pettiness in regards to keeping Tohru away from Yuki, but they come across as very real people who might be acting silly but they can be understood.
I particularly liked it when one of them denied being jealous and said they were just mad. They then explained why they were mad and as Megumi, Hana’s brother, points out, what they describe is jealousy. Here however it feels understandable and relatable rather than comical and so when Hana says that she learned something from them you can see where she’s coming from as well and the whole message hits home very cleanly.
Still, the highlight is of course when Arisa and Tohru show up and we get one of those glowing and happy moments with the group plus Megumi. There is another encounter with the fan club at school the next day but it is almost irrelevant by that point as we’ve already gotten everything we need from this episode.
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Images from: Fruits Basket. Dir. Y Ibata. TMS Entertainment. 2019.