Dr Stone Review Episode 2

Stand Back: He’s Going To Try Science

Dr Stone Episode 2

They have an opportunity to rebuild the world but do they want to rebuild the world they had? It is an interesting question that comes up at the end of this second episode and one that certainly builds a lot of tension going forward as the more people Senkuu and Taiju wake up the more opinions they are going to have to deal with.

Episode 2 of Dr Stone has the duo setting out to wake up Yuzuriha, Taiju’s potential love interest. However, Taiju hesitates and decides they need to take her back to camp and make sure they have clothes for her before they do that. Naturally this then opens up opportunity for them to be attacked by lions. I’m really glad Taiju asked why there were lions in Japan because I was a bit confused by that one as well.

On the run, the two wake up another student instead, one that Taiju believes will be good at fighting. Turns out he is excessively good at it and takes the lion out in one punch and spends most of the rest of the episode pummelling wildlife. However, as I said before, more people mean more opinions and Shishiou has some big opinions about the world they left behind.

One thing I noticed while collecting a few screen caps this week is how many scenes look very much the same. I know we only have a few characters so far and the backgrounds so far have either been forest or beach but the number of close to medium shots of one of the characters with a generic foresty background behind them is a little absurd.

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Then again, we have a guy who punches lions, another guy who tears around the beach collecting shells like he’s some kind of robotic vacuum cleaner, and a guy who is smart enough to go from shells to soap and concrete almost in an instant so I’m guessing they aren’t super huge on realism even if a lot of the explanations make sense.

Of course, Senku’s slip-up, or decision to withhold one of the uses of the shells from the others seems fairly prudent given the situation, but it doesn’t seem like our new human society is off to a good start if three people can’t see eye to eye and are already keeping secrets from one another.

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Fruits Basket Review Episode 15

A Walk By The Lake

Fruits Basket Episode 15

I think this is the first time when I genuinely preferred how the episode was handled in the older anime compared to this one. While this anime has taken a slightly different approach, for the most part I’ve found the changes are in the story’s favour however this week I found the episode somewhat lacking and I can’t even really figure out what was really missing.

Shigure decides they should go on a trip for Golden Week and cons Tohru into agreeing so naturally Kyo and Yuki are coming along. Hattori is coming as the driver and they are all off to the lake. While it might seem like Shigure is being nefarious, and he does kill several birds with one stone here as he’s messing with his editor and manipulating the younger generation but he’s also demonstrating that he does genuinely look out for Hattori.

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The return of Hattori’s situation with Kana is quite welcome and by far the strongest part of this episode as with Aya’s arrival at the cabin we see the three old friends together and both Aya and Shigure support Hattori as best they can. There’s a nice contrast of the old generation and the new and the hopes they have that Kyo and Yuki won’t end up emotionally broken however what Hattori has taken out of all of this is hope and trust in Tohru.

The less interesting parts involve Kyo and Yuki as they walk Tohru to the lake and bicker. Something felt lacking from these scenes and overall nothing really came from the situation. After the emotionally wrenching episode last week this one really lacked punch and while in a binge watch it will certainly serve as a nice breather, as a stand alone episode it just doesn’t have the strength of other episodes Fruits Basket has delivered.

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Fruits Basket Review Episode 14

Memories and Regret

Momiji

Fruits Basket Episode 14

We begin the second cour of this series with a new OP and a fresh reminder of the tragedy at the heart of the story with reminders of Tohru’s grief as well as the pain inside each of the Somas. It is an episode that isn’t letting up to lighten the mood as it wants the melancholy to sink deep and for the most part it hits the mark.

Which is what makes the new OP even less welcome. The original anime series had an OP that was so incredibly languid and heartfelt. The first OP of this reboot I initially had reservations about but a few episodes in and I realised how well it fit the tone of the show. This new OP is way too upbeat  and when you couple it with the content we got this episode it just feels plain out of place.

Not something a child would ever forget his mother saying about him.

Still, once that was out of the way, this episode gave us a glimpse at Momiji contrasting his antics at school where he plays and runs around with the deep pain he carries after his mother chose to forget him. She couldn’t cope with having given birth to a member of the zodiac and was resorting to self harm but there’s something really cold about a father asking a child to let his mother forget him for her own good. The scars that must leave will run deep.

Not content with one tear fest within the episode we then jump to a grave visit for the first anniversary of Kyoko’s death. Tohru, Hana and Arisa are there as are Kyo and Yuki. We learn a little bit more about Kyoko but more we learn about how each of the four characters accompanying her view Tohru. She remains the beating heart of Fruits Basket and this episode shows that clearly.

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The final few minutes of the episode do give us some indication of future developments with Yuki seeing the hat in Tohru’s room and Kyo getting quite close to Tohru while she was sleeping with his actions left deliberately ambiguous and him whispering an apology in her ear.

Kyoko back in the day.

Fruits Basket continues to be a pleasant and emotional watch each week and it remains one of the most consistent anime in terms of quality that I’ve seen in a while.

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Fruits Basket Review Episode 13

Ayame Slithers Onto The Scene

Yuki holding Ayame in snake form.

Fruits Basket Episode 13

The introductions are coming thick and fast with Ayame, Yuki’s older brother showing up this week in Fruits Basket. Much like the original anime, Ayame is a larger than life character who certainly takes a bit of getting used to. His incessant prattle fills a lot of the episode but in-between the absurd stories and recollections there’s a genuine attempt at an older brother trying to make a connection.

The rift between Ayame and Yuki.

It is characters like Ayame that prevent Fruits Basket from feeling too trite. As much as he wants a relationship with his younger brother, Ayame is who he is, and his personality is pretty much incompatible with Yuki regardless of his desire. Even when he’s trying to bridge the gap he manages to unintentionally dig a deeper hole between them.

Fortunately, it isn’t game over. This is a starting point where Tohru meets him and sees the current state of the relationship. Ayame is reflecting on it and by the end of the episode Yuki has also begun to move. While they aren’t exactly building a bridge and getting over all their baggage, there’s at least the first stage of planning being put in place for future discussion.

Tohru with Ayame in her dress.

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Another positive is the way this scenario helped to reinforce Haru’s relationship with Yuki. While he only appears in two short scenes, his actions off screen play a significant role in how the episode plays out and Yuki thanking Haru at the end and Haru’s genuine delight is a heart-warming sight to see. The episode also establishes the relationship that exists between Ayame, Shigure and Hatori fairly solidly even though we only see all three characters together very briefly toward the end of the episode.

There’s a lot of set up here for future developments and so as an episode, this one felt somewhat lacking, and yet it has given us so much room for growth. I really enjoyed seeing how this played out in this version of the story.

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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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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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