Fruits Basket asks: What does the future hold?
You know, if this episode hadn’t come on the back of episode 4, it would have been one of the most emotionally moving anime episodes I’d ever seen. That said, it doesn’t hold up to the extreme emotions from Haru last week, and it isn’t trying to. Instead of the violent emotional turns from episode 4, episode 5 instead gives us a more contemplative episode where emotions run deep underneath every line and glance and the end result is one where it stays with you long after the episode ends.
From the introduction where we see Ayame asking Mine if she’ll stay with him to the ending where Momiji is practically skipping down a road this episode forces each of the Soma characters we’ve been spending time with to really consider their futures and what it is they want. Definitely episode spoilers below.
Lots of characters get screen time this week as we see Yuki attempting to communicate his situation to Machi before being interrupted, Haru just kind of being Haru, Hiro and Kisa visiting Tohru, Kureno and Shigure both continuing to visit Akito, and Kyo being Kyo – and yet it is Momiji who quietly steals the episode.
Momiji has always been an interesting character. He regularly plays the fool and acts as a force of sheer cheerful willpower always bringing energy into a scene, and yet at times he’s demonstrated some fairly profound personal wounds as well as some strangely perceptive insights into those around him. And he’s always been very perceptive of Tohru.
Despite his sudden growth spurt, Momiji on the surface at least is still being Momiji but there’s a lot going on for his character in this episode. I loved that not only is he aware of his feelings toward Tohru, he makes it clear he knows her feelings and he also throws the gauntlet down for Kyo who is still terrified of admitting anything and so that goes nowhere, yet.
But Momiji has always been too good of a character to waste being the third-wheel of a doomed love triangle and so the episode gives him something more. Where last week we were teased by the potential breaking of Hatsuharu’s bond, this week it is in fact Momiji, who seemingly out of nowhere, finds himself suddenly free of the curse. Akito reacts predictably but Momiji isn’t rushing into any action. Instead, he takes some quiet time to contemplate what this might actually mean before confronting Akito and he does it with class.
However, even though Momiji tells Akito he won’t tell anyone, the change in Momiji isn’t going unnoticed by those around him. Once again, Haru proves to be far more perceptive than people give him credit for and even Kyo picks up the difference. And then we see that despite Momiji dealing pretty solidly with everything going on for him that he isn’t above being a little bit petty. He tells Kyo he broke the curse and then claims he was joking.
All things considered, that was pretty harsh and yet Momiji is a teenager who has just undergone a major life-changing event and is also suffering from an unrequited love so a minor moment where he’s less than noble is pretty understandable. It’s also pretty understandable why it is Kyo he chooses to needle.
Fruits Basket The Final Season has events moving along at a good clip now. Where previous seasons had filler episodes or episodes that had the characters just playing around, now every episode has delivered plot development and hard-hitting character moments. The heavier tone would make this one hard to binge watch but it is an amazing experience watching it through and seeing the culmination of all those previous character moments and plot points.
Despite knowing that watching too many episodes of this close together could really leave me a teary mess, I’m desperate for the next episode as I just want to see where these characters go next. Where so many sequels have left me disappointed this year, Fruits Basket is absolutely going from strength to strength.
Images used for review from: Fruits Basket: The Final Season. Dir. Y Ibata. TMS Entertainment. 2021.
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