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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Up Close – The Expressions of the Soma’s

Something a little bit different this week as instead of looking at one character from a series I wanted to look at the range of facial expressions used by members of the Soma family in Fruits Basket. For an anime that deals heavily with the emotions of its characters it really manages to convey a lot through their expressions and for me it is one of my favourite parts of the episodes. Okay, I might just enjoy seeing Kyo’s face twist and distort as he goes from sulking, pensive, into a mad rage, and then back to contemplative. It is kind of fun.

On that note, let’s begin with Kyo.

I think you’ll agree, Kyo’s expressions are the best. What I like about Kyo as a character and the way he’s being depicted in this 2019 anime adaptation is that he wears his heart on his sleeve. Whatever emotion he is feeling he is feeling it 100%. There’s no inbetween for him and there’s no attempt at building a wall or a facade between what he is feeling right in the here and now and how he reacts.

Now the cause of his emotionally tumultulous nature is something he does not speak about or allow others to speak about, so he does have his secrets. But even then, it is no secret that he is badly scarred by the experience and that scarring is there for all to see even if they aren’t aware of the cause.

However, despite being a volatile bundle of violence and raw emotions, Kyo’s lack of walls and boundaries make him approachable and even when he’s flying off the handle he does draw others to him. He puts himself out into the world and while he might get burned he isn’t backing down.

Gotta love that fiery spirit even if it doesn’t get him very far most episodes.

Let’s next look at Hattori.

Hattori is a bit more of an enigma. He’s older and had loner to pile up secrets than Kyo, and he’s also the living embodiment of the expression ‘still waters run deep’. He’s also had a lot less screen time and focus, though I would still argue that his story has been one of the best so far.

We first meet Hattori at school and Yuki warns Tohru not to be alone with him. His expression is hard and cold and it is almost as though he is sizing up Tohru with his eyes and has found her wanting. It is soon revealed that this is very much a facade he’s built and that he’s pushing Tohru away for what he believes is her own benefit. However, as Hattori himself says, Tohru has a way of softening people and the effect Tohru has had on Hattori in her brief meetings with him is clearly visible in his expressions and manners.

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Finally this week I’ll look at Yuki’s expressions. I would like to get to all of the characters in Fruits Basket eventually but some have had very limited screen time yet.

Yuki is the polar opposite of Kyo. Where Kyo wears his every emotion on his face, Yuki seems to have spent a life-time cultivating a manner that doesn’t reveal his true self and feelings to the outside world. In the beginning we see him being cool and detached, a little bit condescending, and when it came to his manner with Shigure, quite arrogant. However, since meeting Tohru we’ve seen crack after crack in his armour and in episode 11 we are finally rewarded with a true and beautiful smile.

What makes Yuki so hard to figure out is that he’s always thinking about how others will see and action and reacts accordingly. Even when he was complimenting Tohru on the roof of the festival and telling her she would be much cuter in the dress, his expression and words seemed artificial and calculated rather than genuine. As a result, there’s a gulf between Yuki and others that he’s built and maintained as a means of protecting himself. The problem is, it has been there so long he’s more or less forgotten how to close the gap even when he wants to.

Still, when it comes to Tohru, Yuki’s facade has fallen a number of times. She’s genuinely surprised him with her words or actions, or he’s felt genuine alarm for her safety. It is almost sweet watching Yuki and Kyo wearing matched expressions of concern on their faces as they sprint back to Tohru deciding they don’t want to leave her alone for the holiday.

Still, Yuki’s best expression yet.

I really love how each of these characters are being portrayed in this adaptation and I really hope that the quality of the series continues. I’d also like to look at more of the characters in a little bit of depth as the series unfolds. I did skim read the manga after watching the original anime to find answers to a few questions I had when I realised there would be no second season, but I didn’t read it all and I didn’t read it deeply so I’m looking forward to learning more about each of these characters as we go.

However, I’d love to know what your favourite expression has been so far in Fruits Basket or who your favourite character is of the new anime series so leave a comment and tell me your thoughts below.

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Kenja no Mago Review Episode 10

Revenge Gained, Now What?

Kenja no Mago Episode 10

Early in this episode of Kenja no Mago I wondered whether or not we needed half an episode devoted to the antagonist’s back story. The answer is actually yes, though possibly we could have gotten the highlights of the story in a shorter period of time or they could have delivered the early part of his tale with a little bit more oomph. However, the back story sets up a villain whose primary motive was incredibly clear for once and his rage directed.

And he was so optimistic.

See, the terrible past and want to destroy the world villain is all too common. Schtrom is overcoming the standard expectations by having had a clear goal of bringing down the empire that allowed the other nobles to conspire against him and used the commoners, who had betrayed him, to do it. His goals weren’t exactly noble and his means weren’t valiant, but it was incredibly understandable.

As is his genuine lethargy after having accomplished a long strived for goal. He isn’t having ambitions of ruling or taking over. He was revenge for a specific act against a specific country and he got it. Those who follow him are understandably concerned by his apparent lack of motivation now that they’ve arrived at this point. It means that we’ll end up with a conflict between Shin and Schtrom, almost certainly unless they decide to talk it out, but the way we’ll end up there isn’t the usual Schtrom is evil and must die and Shin is the hero and must fight standards that we are used to.

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It is amazing how bothering to put motivation in beyond being evil can make something fairly cliché and trite seem somewhat more interesting.

Of course I’ve just brushed right past the point where Aug gets officially recognised as the Crown Prince and then they all fly off to fight some demonoids who are apparently attacking a neighbouring kingdom, but I suspect that will become more relevant next episode.

So while I still feel they could have done more with the back story to give it more impact, I’m pretty happy with this episode and what it sets up for the final couple of episodes, though I suspect the ending will be somewhat less than satisfying given we’ve only got two more episodes.

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Senryuu Shoujo Review Episode 10

Ghosts and Fireflies

Senryuu Shoujo Episode 10

We’re sticking with the summer vacation theme this week but here we hit the super cute button as the characters make a plan to go to watch real fireflies. Of course the club president isn’t happy just to let it rest with that and makes alternate plans that involve scaring Nanako and Eiji by creating a ghost tunnel. It is the usual summer break silliness from school characters in a slice of life and yet there’s something just kind of adorable about this episode that makes it work and feel memorable.

Part of this is the great chemistry in the cast. Despite each character being a walking gimmick they each bring something cute to the table and together the group dynamics are just kind of perfect. Art girl continues to be a personal favourite (and I promise I will remember her name by the end of the series, though we are running out of episodes) and the fortune teller girl adds enough cynicis to the mix to take the edge off of the sickly sweet.

However, the real highlight of the episode, as is the case most episodes, is the relationship between Eiji and Nanako. The two are very sweet together and whether it is Nanako admiring the bug Eiji caught, their genuine delight at the plan to look for fireflies, or Eiji’s efforts to protect Nanako in the tunnel, they are just too cute to watch.

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I’m really hoping these two become an officially acknowledged couple by the end of the season because it wouldn’t make a lot of sense not to acknowledge what has become very clear from watching these two. They have a genuine mutual like of one another and they are both sweet people. Now if only they would act on it.

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In Case You Missed It 2019 #20

Another week and another round up of anime related blog posts. My apologies for my schedule going a little out. Between One Punch Man not airing for a week and visitors arriving mid-week at my house (earlier than expected) I ended up having to cannibalise posts I had scheduled for next week to keep this week going and now I’m looking at next week and knowing I have to travel for work and I’m wondering if I just accept that I’m going to have to cut down to two posts a day rather than three… Decisions are hard sometimes. Anyway, I’ve had a great week and while I haven’t managed to watch as much as I’d like or write as much (certainly haven’t spent as much time reading other blogs as I normally enjoy), there’s still heaps going on.

However, super important that you remember that voting for the best anime of the Spring 2019 season opened on Friday and will close June 29. Be sure to get in and vote for your favourite show of the season and spread the word because the more votes the more reflective of the community the results will be.

Hopefully you find something fun to read and as always if you have a post you’d like to give a shout out to send me a message via my contact or on Twitter.

Posts from the Community

Lynn Sheridan covered Fruits Basket Episode 10 and as usual for their episode coverage shares their favourite and least favourite moments as well as picks their favourite character of the episode. I like this structure to an episode review because it gives us the main points without providing too much in the way of recap or spoilers. Worth checking out if you are following the series.

A bit of non-anime fun, Thero159 shares their Bookish Life From A – Z and this one was a nice bit of fun. I think I might even take this one on because it just looks like a fun post to read. Anyway if you want to know what book they have 27th on their shelf, what they think the best sequel is, or anything else book related, be sure to check out the post.

Still in a list mood, Merlin’s Musings has 5 Action/Adventure anime worth watching and it is one fun list to read with some great anime being mentioned. Be sure to check this one out and leave some of your favourites in the comments.

Kurumi Shim gives us 5 Reasons to Watch Carole and Tuesday. Now this is an anime I’m not watching this season (no access) but I’ve been enjoying the coverage of it. While some viewers aren’t as thrilled by it, there’s a lot of positive buzz around what Carole and Tuesday has done this season and this post highlights some of the reasons people are enjoying it so much.

Never Argue With A Fish gives us a review of Cells at Work. If you missed this adorable edutainment anime about the directionally challenged Red Blood Cell this is a great post to give you the ups and downs of the series and it will probably give you a push to go check out the anime.

Cells at Work Episode 12 - Platelet

Anime Rants posted some thoughts about Rem from Death Note and how as a death god they fell in love with a human. It is another interesting part of the Death Note narrative and has fairly large implications for the story. I won’t pretend I understand what could possibly motivate Rem in this instance, but it is interesting seeing how the story unfolds because of it. Anyway, this is a great post to check out, though clearly a few spoiler points if you still haven’t seen Death Note.

The Blue Hybrid reviewed season 2 of March Comes in Like a Lion. I guess if you are reading my blog you already know how much I love this series so reading a review of this and seeing the enthusiasm and love of another fan was just fantastic. Be sure to check out the review and watch the anime if you haven’t already given it a go.

Rogue Shogunate shares their thoughts on My Roommate is a Cat and the importance of character arcs. There are some spoilers in this post as it discusses Subaru’s character and the changes he underwent throughout the series and how that serves as a hook for viewers. A great post to read and for those still on the fence about My Roommate is a Cat this might just convince you to give it a go.

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Pick of the Week

Cactus Matt shares his list of ten anime that need a second series. There’s an interesting mix of anime on this list and all of them end somewhat inconclusively or leave the characters with more room to grow – which leaves the audience wanting to know what happens next. Be sure to check out the list and leave a comment sharing the anime you want to have a second season.

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Karandi James
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RobiHachi Review Episode 9

Stealing Childhood Memories

RobiHachi Episode 9

Revisionist history, flash backs and forced memory retrieval… okay, this episode got more interesting than I originally expected. Instead of our usual opening we had a story about the first moon landing and alien contact, though this was an interesting portrayal of those events. Then Robi and Hachi land on an industrial planet where Robi’s ship apparently came from so they can get repairs.

What follows is that Robi learns quite a bit about his family, or seems to actually bother to think about them and realises a few things, and then he goes to the anime fan club that exists on the planet for the anime his grandfather apparently directed. Which seems fine until the crazy fans realise that Robi actually has seen the lost episode and they decide to forcibly extract it from his memory. That comes with a handful of side-effects but no problem.

As usual, this episode doesn’t take itself particularly seriously and despite the shady dealings going on it is difficult to imagine any real danger to anyone. The pursuit of a missing anime episode is a suitably ridiculous goal and the lengths the characters are going to suitably exaggerated. All and all it just kind of works even while it is pretty ridiculous.

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Also as usual, now that Robi and Hachi have visited the world they are blasting off on the next leg of their journey. I wonder if they will ever reach their destination or if Robi will ever actually pay off his debt? Though, honestly that would most definitely be the end of the adventure if it happened. I did start wondering what happened to Hachi’s storyline though. The characters that were pursuing him vanished and have been completely forgotten but I wonder if they’ll turn up before the end.

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Fairy Gone Review Episode 9

A Train Derailment To Set The Story Straight

Fairy Gone Episode 9

After making an assassination attempt against the prime minister dull, I wasn’t expecting much from Fairy Gone despite a certain other blogger’s assurances that things were about to get somewhat more interesting. After 8 episodes of poor pacing, badly timed or irrelevant flash backs, action sequences that look like they should be cool but really don’t pull it off, and having characters that I’ve struggled to care about, Fairy Gone found its groove in episode 9 and managed twenty minutes of actually pretty compelling viewing.

Okay, I like looking at fancy swords.

This is the issue with episodic reviewing. This episode doesn’t make the previous 8 suddenly better. They were pretty tiresome to watch outside of a potentially intriguing premise. However, this episode couldn’t have worked without those previous 8 episodes. Whether or not this is a turning point that means this series is going to go from one that is fairly missable to one that is worth checking out remains to be seen, but there’s suddenly some light at the end of the tunnel.

The political situation in Fairy Gone is pretty complicated with almost everyone out for themselves and running their own agenda. There are so many factions, organisations, and government branches that it really is difficult to keep them all straight. That said, when we get a simple complication such as the transportation of an important weapon and the guys who are clearly trying to steal it, though whether that is because they want the weapon or because they want to undermine Dorothea’s authority remains to be seen, things get a great deal more interesting.

I mentioned in a previous review that I was wondering whether or not Dorothea was actually competent given they don’t seem to have succeeded at much since the start of the anime. This episode, while wonderfully dramatic and tense as the enemy derails the train carriage and rains bullets down upon them before liberally cutting down any sign of resistance from Dorothea, really demonstrated how under powered they are for the job they apparently have.

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The dramatic injury and subsequent death of one of their members kind of pins the severity of the situation but once again, Fairy Gone just hasn’t quite done enough to make me overly concerned about that particular character. More worrying is the impact this will have on Marlya and it is interesting that the flashback we got before the fight broke out (after the train derailed) was of Marlya learning to hunt. For the first time it felt like a meaningful placement of a flashback and one that might have consequences. As such, it felt like the death was less about making us feel sad for the now deceased character, and more about motivating Marlya into some kind of action.

Also, the villain is one of those smug over-confident types who lectures his opponents as he cuts them down and leaves them alive to get stronger to fight again. I hate this kind of villain at the best of times and in this situation it just seemed ridiculous.

However, despite the few complaints, the episode worked. It drew me back into the story and made me wonder what the next steps would be. I also had to wonder what the consequence of this failure would be for the organisation. Fairy Gone isn’t suddenly getting amazing but  this was certainly a much appreciated step in the right direction.

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Karandi James
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