A strange calm is settling over the cast of Fruits Basket.
It was kind of inevitable that whatever came after the emotional heights of episode 11 was going to be a bit of a let down. Admittedly, Fruits Basket made a solid attempt at tugging the heart strings this week but this is definitely the start of a long epilogue that won’t conclude until one more episode.
That might be an incredibly cold thing to say about an episode that deals with the final bonds breaking in the zodiac, Akito finally realising an apology is owed but unable to give it, and finally seeing Kyoko’s final moments and words, but Fruits Basket has reached such incredible heights that honestly while this episode provided satisfying continuations and revelations, emotionally I was pretty calm this week.
In case it sounds like I didn’t like the episode, I’d like to say that isn’t true. Episode 12 of this final season of Fruits Basket is every bit as well crafted and cohesive as the rest of the narrative has been.
For me this is just a case where binge watchers have the advantage. They can come straight from the emotional high of last week to getting their denouement and it would be almost cleansing from an emotional point of view. However for those with a week to mull over the previous episode and have distance from those emotions, this ends up being more a Lord of the Rings style epilogue where sure it gives us more information about what is coming next for the characters but it isn’t strictly speaking needed to feel satisfied.
It was nice that Fruits Basket did allow Yuki his moment in episode 12. While the focus has been on Kyo for a fair while now, it is important to remember that Yuki has been in this story since the beginning and his journey is every bit as important.
While a lot of viewers seem to really like Machi and appreciate her as a character, for me Machi has always felt like a late addition that hasn’t quite earned my emotional attachment and so while I was thrilled for Yuki in this sequence as the two were adorkably sweet together, Machi is more just a necessity for Yuki’s ending rather than feeling like a character I’m particularly concerned about.
Likewise, Akito’s appearance this week and reconnection with the other zodiac members (now that they are freed) and then with Shigure, does nicely help to close up any potential loose ends and continues Akito’s redemption arc even if actual redemption is a long way away. However given this path had already been set in the previous episode of Fruits Basket seeing it play out was more just kind of a nice addition rather than a must watch moment, even if I absolutely loved that outfit.
The real emotional power of the episode comes from seeing Kyoko’s final moments from a different perspective. While this is framed around Kyo’s decision about the future and Honda’s desire for him to forgive himself, Kyoko has been a powerful character throughout the whole narrative despite being dead when it really started. Giving her these final moments actually felt like a weighty addition to the story and not just another loose end to be tied.
With one final episode to go it will be interesting to see what note Fruits Basket will leave us on. Will it do a time-skip to reveal the characters further on or will we simply get to the graduation of the main group and have them go their own way? Are there any surprises left in store or is it just waiting it out as this story that has kept me enthralled through three seasons draws to a close?
What I do know is that regardless of what the final episode brings, this is one series I would firmly recommend. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll do both at the same time. Fruits Basket will leave you emotionally wrecked while giving you confidence and hope. The characters will charm you and annoy you and end up feeling like family. At the end of the day, I’m going to miss this show once the final curtain falls.
Images used for review from: Fruits Basket: The Final Season. Dir. Y Ibata. TMS Entertainment. 2021.
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