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 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 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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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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Yona of the Dawn Volume 1 Manga Review: The Story Begins

This is a manga I’ve been recommended endlessly and I’ve actually really wanted to give it a go because the anime just kind of left me wanting the rest of the story. That said, there’s a long way to go before I get to anything new so how does volume 1 go at making me want to read on?

Anime Review: Akatsuki no Yona

Review:

Shoujo isn’t really my style and while there are a handful of romances near and dear to my heart, it isn’t exactly a genre I go out of my way to track down. Yona of the Dawn as an anime I found interesting, but I’ve never been the die-hard fan so many have become and in terms of red-headed heroines I would have taken Shirayuki over Yona any day. The reason for this I outlined quite clearly in my anime review. The story wasn’t finished. What we got was a very long introduction into what seemed like an amazing tale and then we never found out where it went. That kind of soured m overall enjoyment of it as it all just felt incomplete.

That issue isn’t solved by reading volume one of the manga and I knew I was committing to a far more long term project when I decided to try this manga but I don’t think I was prepared for how little would be covered in this first volume.

We meet Yona, Hak and her father and all three of these characters are as interesting as they came off in the anime and their relationship is interesting to see in action before Su Won comes along and pretty much crushes Yona’s world in an instant. It’s great to read and visually this manga is really quite gorgeous to look at, one of the few times I actually think I prefer the visuals here to the anime as there is a real richness to the detail in so many of the panels that seemed lacking in the anime.

Yona2

However, the first volume ends and we’ve barely seen Yona and Hak escape the palace and they haven’t even really gone anywhere yet. This pacing may very well kill my enthusiasm for finding out what lies beyond the end of the anime if it continues this slowly. Then again, it isn’t as though the book feels empty.

The anime did an excellent job of bringing these characters to life, but like with the visuals, there’s just a little something extra in the manga. A more nuanced approach to each character that makes them feel a little more real and a little more grounded, and all and all it was quite the pleasure to read.

If I had any disappointment it would be the book ended and I kind of felt I hadn’t got very far into a story I really do want to reach the end of at some point. Of course, if I’d read this without knowing the anime, I’d probably be equally disappointed in the heroine. She doesn’t come off looking all that great in this volume. And while I know that she is going to undertake a fairly wonderful tranformative journey, this starting point might have seriously put me off if I hadn’t gone in with the knowledge that this weak Princess was going to grow.

Hak on the other-hand comes off as a great character from the word go and Su Won remains a character I am endlessly intrigued by. I’m really hoping future volumes flesh out both of these characters more than the anime ever did as I really am keen to know more about them.

That said, I should thank everyone who has pushed this title at me as to be honest I’m pretty sure I will love reading forward. I have the second volume already though I haven’t read it quite yet (I have quite the stack of reviews to get through first of other books I’ve read), and depending on how that goes I might try to get two or three more volumes covered by the end of the year, but again, I’ll see how it goes.

I’d love to know your thoughts on this manga but please don’t spoil future volumes for me as while I’ve read heaps about this story already I’m trying really hard to take each volume as it comes.


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Karandi James

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