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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.