An ending and a beginning and cycles unchanging…
Can I just say wow?
Or rather, can I just sit here in silence contemplating the episode that just unfolded in front of me?
Episode 2 of Fruits Basket: The Final Season continues to deliver the emotional punches, progressing the character arcs and narrative almost flawlessly at this point and yet still knows when to drop in a silly high school moment of Yuki’s fan-club stealing his paper flowers so we can ease off on the heart-breaking sequences for just a moment before Kyo and Tohru have an exchange that literally causes your heart to feel like someone just crushed it inside your chest even while the fan-girl in me that would love those two to get together is jumping up and down internally with delight. Okay, apparently watching Fruits Basket is bad for my health. It certainly gives my heart a work-out.
While this episode pretty much landed ever scene perfectly as it continues to build on the emotional notes of what has come before it, I think the best way for me to actually review the episode rather than just gush is to break down the scenes that really made this episode stand out for me.
The flower giving.
Now, Fruits Basket has always been a story that likes to deal in contrasts. We’ve always had the people who know the Soma’s secret who are inside and then we have everyone outside. Yuki compared his attempt to get away from his family with Tohru’s efforts in season one. We have Yuki and Kyo and their contrasting personalities all throughout the anime. What episode 2 of the final season gives us is a dramatic contrast between Shigure and Akito with Tohru and Kyo as the two groups go through a very similar sequence.
In the opening of the episode a young Akito tracks down Shigure to confirm his affection for her and he gives her a flower plucked from the garden. A scene, he mocks later in the anime by handing Akito a paper flower he made while talking with Tohru and pretends to have forgotten the words he told Akito then. By the end of the episode, he reveals he hasn’t forgotten at all but he did deliberately pretend ignorance for reasons that are very Shigure, however he says the words again and we once again flashback to the younger Shigure presenting a flower to Akito. There’s so many layers in this scene and so many emotions and motives spun tightly around the sequence that even though the actions seem sweet, there’s a real darkness to the tone that is echoed by the musical choices that underscore the scenes.
This is particularly clear when Shigure gives Akito the paper flower in the present timeline as the room is cloaked in shadows and darkness. It very clearly acts as a counterpoint to the sequence that plays out between Tohru and Kyo.
Tohru and Kyo’s scene plays out as the rest of the group leaves the classroom on a quest to hunt down some stolen paper flowers and Tohru broaches the topic of the curse with Kyo. He cuts her off and then she feels really upset for having been insensitive to him and both fall into awkward self-blame as Kyo feels bad for making Tohru feel bad and she’s feeling miserable about raising such an issue. To stop her crying, Kyo presents her one of the paper flowers and she reaches out for his hand and the flower and then of course the rest of the classmates come back cutting the scene short.
That said, with the sunset colours in the room and the music in this scene, as well as everything we know about Kyo and Tohru and how they see each other, the scene couldn’t be more different to the emotions cast by Akito and Shigure.
With the graduation of the senior’s looming, time running out for Kyo and Yuki if they are going to be free of the Soma curse, and more and more intrigue as other members of the zodiac make their moves, Fruits Basket: The Final Season, is really shaping up to be a very special viewing experience. Fortunately, it is clear from these first two episodes that a lot of time, effort and care have gone in to how this story is going to play out and hopefully the quality we’ve seen here continues for the whole season.
However, just in case you think I’m going in blinded by being a fan-girl, I am going to throw out there that I hated the new OP. I mean, it isn’t the worst song ever but it certainly isn’t doing anything to really sell this season of Fruits Basket and doesn’t seem to really fit with the look or tone of the season so far. Otherwise though, I so far don’t have any complaints about this new and final season.
Images used for review from: Fruits Basket: The Final Season. Dir. Y Ibata. TMS Entertainment. 2021.
supporting 100 Word Anime.
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