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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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 2019 First Impressions

It’s finally getting a reboot, but has it delivered on fan expectations?

Another remake of a classic and like previous ones (the Sailor Moon reboot and the Cardcaptor continuation), I cannot help but be excited while at the same time feeling a little wary about what the results might be this time around. I’m pleased to say that episode one retains all the charm of the original anime series, with superior character designs and animation in general, and it even toned down the silliness of the fan club. So, you could say so far so good.

Fruits Basket - The Prince's Fan Club

In point of fact, it is a gorgeous first episode. Very screen capable as it introduces the core cast and establishes their base line relationships. The music and sound should also be applauded as being very affective and overall this is a first episode that manages to deliver for anyone who is already a fan of the franchise and has been wanting to see the reboot.

Fruits Basket - Tohru and Hanajima

What it perhaps doesn’t do so well is have any real hook for those new to the story. The happy girl down on her luck is a trope seen many times (even before the original Fruits Basket anime) and Honda Tohru here works well enough but isn’t charming enough on her own to be a selling point within this first episode, nor pitiable enough to invoke any kind of empathy. Instead she’s very much just being set up in her role which those who know the story will anticipate her growth and development but those who don’t will simply see a fairly standard and maybe not-so-interesting lead character.

Fruits Basket - Honda Tohru

Likewise the mystery of the Soma’s is established here and I’m very keen to see this version of the anime as the original really dropped the ball here (leaving me with a read the manga conclusion which I certainly did but I’d love to see the story actually play out in anime). But again, I’m not certain this first episode really does justice to where this story will go.

Fruits Basket - Yuki and the rats

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Is a beautiful but by-the-numbers opening necessarily a bad thing?

Not really. It was a wonderfully pleasant introduction to the series and the conclusion with the ‘reveal’ for the handful of people who didn’t know all works quite well. However, most of my excitement here is still coming from my general anticipation of what is coming rather than what was delivered in episode one. Everything here works but it isn’t anything exceptional.

Fruits Basket - Honda and her mother.

Here’s hoping this adaptation grows into the charming and emotional experience this story could easily become and at this stage I’m still very optimistic. I did however take a lot of screen caps because it is really good looking.

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