Can Haru and Rin Get Their Own Show?
Episode 4 of Fruits Basket: The Final Season, “I’m… Home” has once again reset the scale for how to deliver good drama without just insincerely trying to tug the audience’s heartstrings. The fact that it does this in an episode where Honda Tohru, our usual avatar for hitting us in the feels, is pretty much absent outside of a brief mention and flashback makes this incredibly impressive and once again reminds me of just how strong the supporting cast of Fruits Basket is.
While episode 3 was a little underwhelming and Yuki’s focus left me a little indifferent, this episode that addressed Hiro and Kisa’s progress and then plunged us headlong into finally addressing Rin and Haru’s demons didn’t just leave me moved to tears… it left me stunned and silent and then left me hitting the play button because I had been so absorbed I hadn’t taken a single note or screen cap during the first viewing.
Some episode spoilers in the following.
Fruits Basket has spent the past two seasons showing us Haru as a character. His gentle presence that bolsters other characters, his quiet nature even as he observes those around him and is highly attuned to the pain of others. Also, dark Haru who is more or less violent and out-of-control and will push more or less any barrier you place in front of him. He is seldom at the centre of the episode but he’s been there since early on and he’s a character the audience has been very connected with. So going through this episode with him most definitely hit all the right notes for making me feel more or less everything from truly happy right through to blinding rage and pretty much everything inbetween.
And it felt like it had earned it. Haru as a character has become someone I want to hold out my arms to and give a hug as his world crumbles and I also wanted to punch Akito in the face as she giggled at his anger. When we get to the reunion at the end of the episode I wanted to cry and cheer for Haru simultaneously, though I’m pretty sure the tears won. If asked, I don’t think I would have said I loved Haru as a character, but watching this episode made me realise how attached I am to him and how sad I am when he is hurt.
This episode was full of details and character moments and yet still managed to feel well paced. Hiro’s moment early in the episode didn’t feel rushed and Kisa and Hiro very much had a deserved moment before we moved on to the second act with Haru pointed firmly in Akito’s direction. The confrontation was intense, though ultimately didn’t become as violent as you might have anticipated, possibly because of Kureno’s timely intervention. Seriously, Akito does not appreciate everything that boy does for him, particularly as he isn’t compelled to by the curse.
Again, the conflict hadn’t felt rushed, but we still had time in the episode to witness the lead up to Rin’s incarceration and for Haru and Rin to reunite. And every moment felt like it was delivered with care and precision and not one moment felt like it was stepped on to make room for the next. It was pretty much a perfectly delivered episode, delivery a narrative that built on so many of the story threads that have been being woven through this story since season one and laying out the ground work for where this story has yet to go. It delivered brilliant character moments that felt rewarding for the audience even as they turned our hearts into mush. And it did it all without feeling pretentions, melodramatic or actually depressing.
This episode was superb and one of those episodes that reminds just how good it is to get lost in a well told story. I love these characters and I love being with them as they struggle to find a path that will lead them to a happy ending. Whether they get there or not actually doesn’t seem relevant right at the moment. Where-ever their journey leads I know I will watch until the end at this point. I’m hooked.
And, because I did put a spoiler warning at the start I’m going to include my favourite Haru and Rin picture from the episode here to finish.
Images used for review from: Fruits Basket: The Final Season. Dir. Y Ibata. TMS Entertainment. 2021.
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