Fruits Basket Review Episode 11

Let’s Hop To The Hot Springs

Momoji and Kyo

Fruits Basket Episode 11

After a Valentine’s episode tinged with a lot more darkness than I expected we jump a month to White Day and Momiji pops up again with the gift of a hot springs trip for Tohru. It is more or less impossible not to enjoy scenes with Momiji in them. Usually the exuberant younger character would annoy me; however in Momiji’s case it is just impossible. I find him utterly adorable and really just want to give him a hug because all of the Soma’s really need a hung.

The episode isn’t all sunshine and rainbows though as Tohru is in a little bit of financial trouble due to missing a payment for a school trip. Now don’t get me wrong, I like Tohru as a character and the fact that she’s a little bit of an air-head actually works for her, but mismanaging her money and spending so much on Valentine’s chocolates that she couldn’t make a known payment just strikes me as particularly silly and also out of character. Tohru doesn’t like causing trouble for others and missing a payment and having her grandfather notified who in turn notified Shigure is causing all kinds of trouble.

Despite my misgivings about that plot device, now and in the original anime, I loved Kyo’s reaction and seeing how far he’s come in at least an attempt to monitor his own temper where Tohru is concerned. It is one of those brief but truly brilliant character moments that just make you smile because while it doesn’t seem like much, Kyo holding in his temper and telling Tohru to go take a bath rather than unloading on her is a huge step forward.

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Speaking of huge character steps, Yuki was also showing us his softer side this week. The usually expressionless character had more than a few moments of smiling and laughter and they were pure joy to watch even we wonder when things are going to fall apart again for these boys.

Fruits Basket continues to hit us hard in the feels each and every week, playing emotional notes well and rising to the occasion. While the plot and motivations may at times be questionable, this really doesn’t matter to the overall experience of watching Fruits Basket.

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Karandi James
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Fruits Basket Review Episode 10

A Different Kind of Shigure

Fruits Basket 2019 - Shigure

Fruits Basket Episode 10

Wow, Shigure is a much greyer character in the 2019 Fruits Basket than in the older version, and I think I love it. He was always a little morally ambiguous and his motives were never overly clear but he seemed more playful than manipulative in the older anime. However, this episode brings his personality to the forefront for the viewer and it leaves me wanting more.

Fruits Basket Episode 10
We still don’t know what Shigure’s goal is or what his relationship with Akito actually is but they are definitely making me interested.

Underpinning Shigure’s expansion as a character is the silliness of Valentine’s Day and Kagura seeking out Kyo, but as has consistently been the case with this adaptation the humour is down played to allow the drama come through. Kyo’s genuine pain and fear, Yuki’s hesitation, Tohru’s desire to help but not knowing how all get moments to shine. Even Kagura seemed more solid in this episode than in her introduction even though we still had one sequence where she pursued Kyo at the school.

The real victory of the episode is the ground work it is laying down for the future. The Soma curse sits behind everything playing out here including Shigure’s duplicitous nature and the vague threats to Tohru’s future happiness. While nothing specific is revealed yet there is a definite heavy atmosphere hovering over every line of dialogue, every look, and every pause as the Soma’s keep their silence.

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The double date between Kagura, Kyo, Yuki and Tohru was suitably cute and Tohru’s enthusiasm for the idea was adorable to see. I loved the scene at the cinema where the girls got very caught up in the movie meanwhile Kyo and Yuki looked like they’d rather be anywhere else.

But the scene that will really stick with me, and probably most viewers, is Shigure speaking with Akito. They are really building tension beautifully around Akito and I can’t wait to see where they take it.

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Karandi James
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Fruits Basket Review Episode 9

The True Strength Of Words

Fruits Basket - Kyo

Episode 9

Haru has finally properly arrived, tracking down Kyo given the latter didn’t attend the New Year’s gathering and so Haru wants a fight. With the exception of Tohru’s excessive concern about a cold (which isn’t really excessive given her history but of course she won’t bother to say that) this episode is pretty light and more focused on action and gags than heart but it still manages to drive the emotions home hard in the second half.

I’ve definitely come to the conclusion, not just this time round with Fruits Basket, that the biggest issue all of these characters face is that they don’t ever say what they need to say. Yuki is getting sick but instead of turning Kyo down for the race he stays silent even though it clearly wasn’t a good idea to be running around in the cold. Tohru is concerned about Yuki but doesn’t actually try to stop him. Shigure also is aware of Yuki’s condition but does nothing to stop him even though he cautions him that if his body weakens it could be a problem holding his human form.

Fruits Basket - Shigure warning Yuki

Kyo is naturally oblivious to anything outside of the idea of ‘fighting’ Yuki and beating him in the race and it takes a hard face plant orchestrated by Haru to get Kyo to see anything else. I feel a little bad for Kyo in that moment, but we’re quickly diverted by the next situation.

And that situation is Haru.

Haru - Fruits Basket Episode 9

He’s an interesting character even for one of the Soma’s and his personality being broken by the childhood that he bore is one of the more obvious and yet equally one of the more entertaining. Once triggered he turns ‘black’ and it is almost as though an entirely new personality has taken hold of him. While Haru in his normal state is a little bit spacey, almost more directionally challenged than the Red Blood Cell in Cells at Work was, yet relatively polite, Black Haru is arrogant, demanding, and violent and not above using fairly underhanded methods to get what he wants.

Black Haru - Fruits Basket Episode 9
You gotta have some confidence to call Kyo a kitty-cat.

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While the fighting chaos reigns between Kyo and Haru, Yuki finally succumbs to his cold and it is while caring for Yuki that Haru reveals to Tohru why Yuki is special to him. It is such a small thing and yet to a child so damaged it was the life-line he needed. The right word at the right time that saved him. There’s a message in that for all of us really.

Yuki may not have realised its significance, but his words saved Haru.

Then of course we end the episode with a laugh as Tohru, at Haru’s prompting, calls Yuki by his first name and he transforms into a rat. I didn’t even know rats could blush.

It is super adorable though.

Another super cute episode.

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Fruits Basket Review Episode 7

Changing Emotions Like the Seasons

Hatori and Kana - Fruits Basket 2019

Episode 7

The story of Hatori and Kana was one of my favourite moments in the original anime series so I will admit to being both excited and nervous as to how it would play out in the 2019 version of Fruits Basket. Fortunately, this episode was everything I could have wanted and all the characters, Momoji, Hatori, Honda and Shigure just shine throughout their interactions.

Hatori and Honda - Fruits Basket 2019

I loved that this episode gave us a real sense of the size and wealth of the Soma clan. This is something I felt was missing from the original anime and it always felt like we were told about the clan rather than seeing it. However, in a few brief moments and a little bit of dialogue Fruits Basket manages to impress upon Honda just how big the Soma’s are as well as give the audience a sense of the family. The visuals while Momoji and Honda are walking to Hatori’s house begin the process and then as Momoji explains about the inside and outside people the rest of the picture falls into place.

However, the true star of the episode is Hatori. I always really enjoyed his character and his backstory is great. He’s a character I wanted to know more about in the original, because even though we know about his first love there’s so much we don’t know about him and his ability to erase memories that was just never explored in the original anime. I really feel the way he was set-up in this episode was fantastic and I’d love to see more of this Hatori in future episodes.

Shigure’s appearance was timely and amusing as always and the relationship between Shigure and Hatori was delightful to see. With the story so often focusing on the younger members of the clan, seeing Shigure and Hatori and realising that they’ve gone through a lot of the same things that Soma and Momoji are going through was great and I look forward to more of them as well as some of the other characters we’ve yet to meet.

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While this episode didn’t have any explosive moments it focused very much on the family and what Honda’s presence may mean in the future. It gave the whole episode a subdued tone but one that leaves you wanting more. Absolutely lovely episode.

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What’s Wrong With The Spring Anime Season?

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I know the headline is a little dramatic and realistically the Spring anime season isn’t any better or worse than any other, and yet for a lot of bloggers there seem to be slim pickings this season when it comes to creating a review list. With my travel overseas making my start to the season a little late, I kind of expected that I’d have too many shows to catch up and that I’d be fighting to narrow my list down to 15 or 16 titles. Instead I’m struggling to find even 14 anime that I might last the season with.

Hitoribocchi

Now that doesn’t necessarily mean anything is wrong with the Spring Anime season. There are actually quite a number of anime out that people have been anticipating and are excited about. The Fruits Basket reboot being a great example of something lots of people wanted and the first few episodes haven’t really disappointed. While some viewers aren’t thrilled by the toned down comedy, I’m preferring the tone of the reboot and the visuals and sound are miles better than the original series.

Fruits Basket

There’s also the return of Bungo Stray Dogs, Attack on Titan, and One Punch Man that all have their fans and detractors at this point and all of these anime have made a pretty reasonable start to the season, even if Attack on Titan entered the anime season later than I did.

Bungo Stray Dogs

However, this season seems a lot more scattered in how it has been distributed across streaming services. I have subscriptions to Crunchyroll and HiDive, access to AnimeLab a week after release (as well as a Netflix subscription I rarely use for anime viewing) and yet there are still a plethora of titles I’m just not able to watch yet. Carole and Tuesday, Fairy Gone, and Shoumetsu Toshi were all titles I was interested in checking out but they are either locked behind paywalls of services I don’t use or region locked so I won’t be seeing them any time soon. Every season there are one or two shows I just kind of miss out on that I was curious about but this season this has become a larger problem.

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It certainly brings us back to why there is an anime piracy problem still. Access to anime has certainly improved since the early 2000’s but there’s only so many services someone can subscribe to before the cost definitely outweighs any potential benefit. And region locking just feels like people haven’t woken up to the fact that the world is actually all connected these days (okay, I know there are actual legal and political reasons for region locking but it really does feel like something we should have moved on from at this point).

One Punch Man

For me, while I’m mostly feeling this season is weak, is because while there are a number of shows I’m enjoying to watch, when I think about which ones will probably end up on my DVD purchase list, I can’t think of a one outside of Fruits Basket.

Midnight Occult Civil Servants hits all the right genre notes for me but just isn’t objectively very good. That doesn’t mean I’m not enjoying it, but it isn’t the kind of anime you go to watch again. Unless it does something amazing in its second half but to be honest I’ll just be happy if it manages to maintain where it is and doesn’t implode. Demon Slayer might end up being quite good but it is very classic shounen and realistically the only one of those I ever bought the DVD’s for was Bleach. It just isn’t a genre I get super excited about even though the few episodes I’ve watched have been good enough.

Midnight Occult Civil Service

Then there are the school based anime. Hitoribocchi with the shy girl and Senryuu Shoujo with its girl who doesn’t talk gimmick. Both are cute in their own way. They’ve got some good points. But neither is something I’d ever go for a rewatch of. Again, they just aren’t the kind of show I’m likely to remember after they finish airing.

Senryuu Shoujo

While there’s certainly still a few titles for me to try, and I am curious about one or two, I’m definitely finding the spring anime season is coming up a little empty.

Still, I’m sure there are other viewers who have found shows they love this season and as always, another season is just a couple of months away.

Kimetsu no Yaiba

In the meantime, a low watch anime season is an opportunity. It means I get to pick some older anime that I didn’t get to review or watch and fill in some gaps in my anime knowledge.

But that’s enough rambling from me. How are you finding the spring season so far?

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Karandi James
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