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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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 8

Alone/Not Alone For The Holiday

Yuki and Kyo race home - Fruits Basket

Episode 8

The thing I remembered most about Fruits Basket is that every episode of the original had some part or another that either hit the right emotional note, was utterly charming, or was just fun to watch. I would have been hard pressed to say that the school festival episode was better or worse than the episode where we met Tohru’s family or even the episode where we saw Hatori’s backstory which was a personal favourite of mine.

Fruits Basket 2019 has this same consistent charm.

Arisa and Hana - Fruits Basket

Eight episodes in, and while I’ll still say that Kagura’s introduction wasn’t as great as it potentially could have been with a few minor changes, every episode has given us enough charm and emotion to make the experience as a whole fairly unforgettable and yet individual episodes just kind of blur together as a series of moments in the lives of these characters.

Shigure, Yuki and Kyo - Fruits Basket

Episode 8 of Fruits Basket focuses on New Year’s and we learn early on that Tohru is going to be alone for the holiday as she has turned down the invitations of her friends, not wanting to intrude on their family time, and the Soma’s are returning to the main house and will not be around. Tohru takes this is typical Tohru fashion which, as Yuki points out early in this episode, is fairly inscrutable.

Yuki observes Tohru - Fruits Basket

It isn’t that Tohru is hard to read. She’s pretty obvious. But the problem is given she’s always looking out for others and trying to protect them, calling her a liar when she says she’ll be fine is difficult even for the closest of her friends.

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The episode is full of delightful Yuki and Kyo moments though the MVP of the episode, as it was in the original anime, is Hana.

Hana - Fruits Basket
Definitely the MVP of the episode.

Hana takes it upon herself to guilt trip the other two into abandoning their plans and returning to Tohru for New Years giving us a delightful emotional ending to the episode even if the future implications need to be considered.

Tohru wishes Kyo and Yuki a Happy New Year - Fruits Basket

Fruits Basket continues to be a beautiful and emotional affair and honestly I have very few complaints about how this is progressing. I really enjoyed every moment of the episode even knowing where it was going as this one is all about the feeling it constructs in getting there.

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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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Fruits Basket Review Episode 6

More Somas and Tohru’s Friends

Nothing to look at here, just a guy in a dress with a younger boy sitting on his shoulders.

Episode 6

It isn’t often that I’ll criticise the translation in the sub-titles. Whether they are direct translating or just translating the intent, I kind of expect some changes are going to happen for various reasons and until my Japanese is good enough that I don’t need to read them I’m just going to have to accept them for what they are. Yet episode 6 of Fruits Basket 2019 on Crunchyroll has a ridiculous ‘macaroni and cheese’ line during Hatori’s photo op moment that utterly threw me out of the episode and was mostly a completely unnecessary change. However, that will be about my only complaint for this otherwise beautiful episode of Fruits Basket.

Yuki Soma - Fruits Basket 2019 Episode 6

This episode is a little more fragmented in that we have the school festival that they had been planning for, we meet Momoji and Hatori, Hana and Uo find out Honda is staying at the Soma’ and the girls go for a sleep over, and we cap the episode with Hatori inviting Honda to come see him on the next day off, though invite is probably the nicest way to put it given he implied a threat without actually threatening her. I didn’t even get onto the part where Shigure goes to see Akito.

This is the biggest problem with showing up unannounced, of course.

Yet, despite everything going on, nothing feels rushed, unnecessary, or dull. Every scene and interaction just feels so rich and the episode as a whole was thoroughly enjoyable.

Tohru and Kyoko - Fruits Basket 2019 Episode 6

At the core of episode 6 is Honda. Whether it is her relationship with Yuki and Kyo, her relationship with Hana and Uo, her meeting the other Soma’s, or the flashbacks of her mother, each scene is about the warmth Honda spreads simply by being there. Everyone around her is buoyed by her good nature and optimism and while I really don’t like the overly sweet, good-girl character trope, there’s just no way to dislike Honda. She’s fun to spend time with and I think what really balances her out is that she acknowledges the bad things that happen but chooses not to dwell on them. It is a conscious choice rather than being oblivious to pain and suffering.

Have to agree with Hatori’s assessment here.

Throughout it all, each of these characters got a bit more fleshing out and they continue to be adorable. There’s just no other way to describe it. Watching this show is just so cathartic and fun.

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Fruits Basket Review Episodes 4 + 5

The best and worst on offer.

Fruits Basket - Tohru and Kyoko

Episode 4

Kagura certainly was quite the storm as she blew into Shigure’s house this episode of Fruits Basket. I was never entirely sure how I felt about her in the original Fruits Basket anime and that feeling remains here. On the one hand, she has some truly adorable moments, but on the other-hand she really is too over the top in her absolute destruction of the house and beating up Kyo. Admittedly, I assume the exaggeration is both to emphasise her zodiac affiliation with the boar as well as to be amusing, but I really just find her a bit of an odd character, and let’s be honest, violence as affection isn’t overly funny.

Kagura hits Kyo - Fruits Basket Episode 4
There’s just something off about this.

With the more action and comedic focus early in the episode, the visuals took on a bolder and more cartoonish look at times, but it worked quite effectively with the subject matter and made a nice contrast when it returned to its softer style and we had the night scene with Tohru and Kyo on the roof. There’s very little to criticise in terms of the visuals and as normal for anime they make simple food look absolutely amazing.

Something that didn’t occur to me previously in Fruits Basket kind of stood out as I watched this episode and that is how passive Shigure really is at times. His house was being destroyed but other than a few lamenting comments he barely budged from reading or sitting as the destruction continued. As the token adult in the house, Shigure sometimes offers some great insight and his commentary about Tohru after she ‘figured out’ which animal Kagura is was plenty amusing, but at times you have to wonder what his goal really is and the kids run wild.

However, this episode advances the plot nicely giving us a few more bits of information about the curse, introducing another member of the family, and dropping a hint about Kyo’s storyline. Not to mention the ending of the episode which sets up the next real hurdle for Tohru.

I really can’t complain about this adaptation so far. It has been pretty, sweet, and is conveying the story nicely. Really enjoying it even if it is a fairly laid-back affair.

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Episode 5

This was perhaps my favourite episode so far. Kyo and Yuki are adorable as they mourn Tohru leaving the house and while we’ve only had four previous episodes, the flash backs of the three’s encounters so far were suitably sweet. Also, Fruits Basket gave us some great glimpses of Tohru and her mother, Kyoko.

There’s a very understated manner in the way Tohru both announces her leaving the Soma house and then leaves. It feels very realistic. No big show or fanfare. Just the reality that the reason for her being in the house has passed and so she packs her things away and off she goes. But the hole she leaves in the house is massive and you can see in all three of the remaining residents that Tohru’s absence is keenly felt.

Shigure - Episode 5 Fruits Basket

It was awesome watching Shigure watch Kyo and Yuki. Honestly, Shigure had some great moments in general this episode. Whether he was observing, stirring the pot, or just providing commentary, he’s such a great character sitting behind everything else that happens.

Tohru - Episode 5 Fruits Basket

But, the best of the episode, as with the original anime series, goes to Kyo and Yuki retrieving Tohru and then walking home together hand in hand. It might be cheesy beyond belief and yet it just hits you in the feels and works so well. It was also great to see that even though they have a common ground where it comes to Tohru, that doesn’t help them communicate or work together in the slightest, leading to some fairly amusing results.

Overall, this one was a very solid episode and one I really enjoyed watching.

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Fruits Basket Review Episodes 2 and 3

They’re animals, but very human

Fruits Basket Episode 2

Episode 2

Episode two of Fruits Basket continues the soft and easy charm presented in episode one. Visually it is superior to the previous iteration of the anime in every way and the music for the OP and ED are well matched to the overall tone.

Fruits Basket Episode 2 - Yuki

While Yuki and Kyo’s rivalry feels a little forced and overblown, it did in the original as well, and I know that over time the background will fall into place so for now it is enough to know that the cat was tricked by the rat and so they just don’t get on. Whether you enjoy their antics will entirely depend on whether you find it acceptable to send someone flying with a single kick or not, but if you just go with it, there’s an easy charm to the clumsy interactions between these characters and a lot of the joy in the story comes from the way they slowly learn to deal with one another.

Fruits Basket Episode 2 - Kyo

More of the mystery of the Soma’s is revealed but it is still tantalisingly playing out mostly off-screen with Tohru only really aware of the edges of it at this stage and the audience likewise being kept in the dark. This is definitely helping the story to feel a little bit more interesting than the standard high school rom-com/slice of life even though very little has yet to be revealed.

Fruits Basket Episode 2 - Kyo

Basically, the story is working well at drawing the audience in with slow reveals and setting up interesting characters. With some decent visuals and excellent music, there’s very little to actually complain about with this adaptation so far and the sheer joy of seeing this story again with all the upgrades is still very much working in its favour. Hopefully it can continue to charm and I’m really looking forward to seeing the story unfold.

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Episode 3

For those using the three episode rule, episode 3 of Fruits Basket will indeed make or break it as we get into the sickly sweetness that is Tohru Honda’s personality. As she learns more about Kyo and Yuki and tries to reassure both of them that they are kind people, it is almost cavity inducing and yet there’s something about this show and these characters that rings true even when it goes into pure saccharine mode.

Fruits Basket Episode 3 - Tohru Honda

The clear contrast and yet similarities between Kyo and Yuki are well displayed during the early parts of the episode and their interactions at school. I’m enjoying how the classmates and Tohru’s friends are slowly developing in the background and the school scenes continue to be lively and entertaining.

Fruits Basket - Episode 2 - Kyo and Tohru's friends

The other thing episode three does well is introduce two additional characters without actually introducing them. Tohru encounters one at her work and then at the end of the episode another character shows up at the house. This definitely gives us something to look forward to.

Fruits Basket Episode 2 - Tohru Honda and her mother

Visually, this adaptation of Fruits Basket continues to be superb and the music is fantastic for the tone of the show. Three episodes in and there’s little to complain about as this story rolls out and I’m very much looking forward to meeting more of the characters. If there was anything to complain about this episode it might be that Shigure was barely in it, but even that would be a petty complaint when there was more than enough going on with the characters we had.

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