Fruits Basket The Final Season Series Review – Bring Tissues and Someone To Hug

Fruits Basket The Final Season
Crow's World of Anime has sponsored reviews of Fruits Basket The Final Season in 2021.

Fruits Basket The Final Season has brought Tohru’s emotional journey to a close.

For some of us, the journey to Fruits Basket The Final Season has been a long time coming. I don’t know when the manga became available for people to read but I do know that in the early 2000’s I stumbled upon a bright supernatural shoujo anime with a bit of comedy and fell in love with Tohru and the members of the zodiac and then the series ended and there was nothing more.

Fortunately, 2019 saw a reboot of Fruits Basket with the first season of three launching and telling the story again. There were changes between the original series and the reboot but the sentimental feelings remained the same and these characters made me fall in love with them all over again and want to give them all a hug.

While there were some aspects in the second season that felt a little weaker, such as the introduction of the student council that Yuki would work with, overall everything was needed because Fruits Basket The Final Season brings all the threads together, stirs the viewers emotions, and leaves us with a story that you really do have to experience.

Frutis Basket The Final Series Episode 4
See, even Hiro is crying.

As always, the strength of Fruits Basket The Final Season remains the characters and their emotional journeys. Whether we like these characters or not, we can empathise with them and what they are going through and the story guides us gently through their trauma, to the stirrings of finding hope, to finding a resolution and then looking toward a new future.

That it does this again and again and somehow manages to feel fresh each time and for each character is a real testament to how this story has built up its cast over the prior two seasons.

Whether we are watching the more innocent antics of Kisa and Hiro, the more passionate Hatsuharu and Isuzu, seeing the more malicious and darker relationship between Shigure, Kureno and Akito, the awkwardness of Yuki with Machi, or even focusing on the endlessly adorable Kyo and Tohru all of these characters stir an emotional response in the audience and have made us invested in their outcome.

Kyo and Tohru - Fruits Basket The Final Season Episode 6
They are just too adorable.

However it isn’t just tears. Fruits Basket the Final Season will take you through the full range of emotions.

You will get angry, at Akito most definitely but even at some of the other characters. You will feel joy and smile like a fool. You will be concerned and curious and at times just feel drained. The emotions on screen are portrayed well and the visuals and music perfectly accompany them to move the viewer, but more than that, they feel earned.

None of these events have sprung up out of nowhere just to tug our heartstrings. They are the culmination of some fairly carefully crafted story work over three seasons of anime and I found Fruits Basket the Final Season was wildly successful.

Fruits Basket The Final Season
Finally, some answers.

The series was not just relying on the ‘feels’ to keep viewers invested. Clues about the nature of the ‘curse’ and how the Soma family came to be were dropping throughout Fruits Basket the Final Season and these both added to and slightly changed what we knew about the situation before leading us to the final reveals.

While the plot overall isn’t usually the driver of Fruits Basket, with the characters and their feelings taking front and centre, the curse has been the underlying problem throughout the whole series and is responsible for the distorted relationships and upbringings that have caused so much of the character trauma that we’ve witnessed. So for the ending to really feel satisfying, the curse needed to be addressed and I’m very happy with how this plays out.

They don’t move us away from character drama for an exposition dump. Rather the information comes through character interactions, choices, and one or two flash back sequences that tell us more about character relationships while moving the plot forward.

It’s highly effective and leaves you feeling like the journey really has come to a close.

Fruits Basket The Final Season Episode 13
They finally made it.

If I was to offer a criticism of Fruits Basket The Final Season, it would be more a personal preference. As a weekly watcher of this anime, the final two episodes felt like they were dragging the epilogue of this story out. I know that on a rewatch, when you binge episodes 11 through to 13 together it will actually feel kind of beautiful, however the climax really is episode 11 and so the final forty minutes of episodes 12 and 13 are really wrapping up all the loose ends.

And I do mean all the loose ends.

While Fruits Basket hasn’t been weighed down by its large cast previously, seeing every single character’s epilogue and seeing all of them end up with a more-or-less happily-ever-after (or at least the potential to reach one in the future) definitely felt like overkill.

Admittedly, who would decide which characters to leave out? Fruits Basket the Final Season is the end and so we won’t see these characters again and every character has fans.

For me though, it was a little much and I’d have happily settled for a slightly shorter conclusion to this story.

Fruits Basket the Final Season Episode 2
Yep, Shigure is a bit of a downer this season.

Ultimately though it is a petty complaint. Fruits Basket The Final Season is beautiful.

The animation, the use of colour, the characters… It is a real joy to watch. Everything really just fits the purpose for really moving the audience to the right emotional tone.

Likewise, the use of sound continues to really complement the story. That said, I will put one more criticism out there: I really didn’t like the OP. Most Fruits Basket openings I have really enjoyed but this one I tried three times and then just skipped it.

Fruits Basket The Final Season Episode 1

However, for anyone who has watched Fruits Basket at all, Fruits Basket The Final Season is a must watch. Bring the tissues along and ensure you have someone or something to hug because you are going to need it (particularly if you try to binge watch).

This is a really beautiful anime with a beautiful story with characters I am sorely going to miss (at least until I rewatch it).

Images used for review from: Fruits Basket: The Final Season. Dir. Y Ibata. TMS Entertainment. 2021.

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Karandi James

Fruits Basket: The Final Season Episode 13 Impressions – The Long Epilogue of a Narrative Continued

Fruits Basket Final Season Episode 13 Review
Crow's World of Anime has sponsored reviews of Fruits Basket Final Season in 2021.

Fruits Basket delivers yet more epilogue.

It seems such a petty complaint when I consider the dizzying emotional heights this final season of Fruits Basket has delivered, but realistically after episode 11, both 12 and 13 have felt kind of anti-climatic. Part of me almost wishes they’d just made episode 11 a forty-minute special and truncated the content of these final two episodes. Because waiting a week in between each one to just get more wrap up feels a little… well lame.

Binge watchers will have a definite advantage here because to be blunt, they can ride the emotional high from episode 11 and be swept through these final two episodes and left with that final happy smile of joy at a sickly sweet conclusion in which everyone gets a happily ever after. For seasonal viewers, Fruits Basket’s ending lacks any kind of meat and two weeks is a long time to trail out an ending of saccharine sweet smiles.

But Tohru and Kyo - Image from Fruits Basket the Final Season
Not that they aren’t still adorable.

And you know, it doesn’t undermine my overall love of this anime. Three seasons of Fruits Basket and it has told a beautiful story and part of me is really happy that the characters are working toward their happy ending and we’re seeing what happens next. However as an episode to review my impressions of I’m left with the unmistakable feeling that pretty much nothing happened other than the slow demonstration that all the characters are moving on and making sure we know they got to happily ever after.

That doesn’t leave you with a lot to say and the few moments of comedy offered up by Hanajima really don’t give much to discuss either.

Hanajima really enjoys messing with Kyo.

Though, this episode does make a point of touching base with all the key characters and couples and we see their reactions to Tohru leaving (with Kyo). There’s lots of sighs and wistfully staring off into a future and then there’s the plans they make for themselves.

Probably the one that made me happiest was seeing Hatori making plans to travel. He’s lived a longer time in the clutches of the family and had never really rebelled against it. Unlike Ayame and Shigure he stayed in the main estate and did what he was asked to do so seeing him planning to go somewhere and maybe have his own life for a change was actually a pretty touching moment in amongst a lot of similarly played out sequences in this episode.

While the future for many of the kids is ambiguous, they make it clear they are all moving on with their lives and relationships.

Oh, they are being super cute - Fruits Basket Final Season.

I will get to the full season review of Fruits Basket: The Final Season soon but really I think I need to binge watch the whole season. While week to week was fine, the emotional roller coaster makes it difficult to really be objective as a whole. I do know that Fruits Basket really did do something special and this final season has been a brilliant conclusion, even if the final episodes have felt like they are dragging just a little bit.

Images used for review from: Fruits Basket: The Final Season. Dir. Y Ibata. TMS Entertainment. 2021.

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Karandi James

Fruits Basket: The Final Season Episode 12 Impressions – The Long Epilogue of a Narrative

Fruits Basket Episode 12
Crow's World of Anime has sponsored reviews of Fruits Basket Final Season in 2021.

A strange calm is settling over the cast of Fruits Basket.

It was kind of inevitable that whatever came after the emotional heights of episode 11 was going to be a bit of a let down. Admittedly, Fruits Basket made a solid attempt at tugging the heart strings this week but this is definitely the start of a long epilogue that won’t conclude until one more episode.

That might be an incredibly cold thing to say about an episode that deals with the final bonds breaking in the zodiac, Akito finally realising an apology is owed but unable to give it, and finally seeing Kyoko’s final moments and words, but Fruits Basket has reached such incredible heights that honestly while this episode provided satisfying continuations and revelations, emotionally I was pretty calm this week.

Kyo and Ayami - Fruits Basket Final Season Episode 12
Okay, my reaction was a lot better than Kyo’s was.

In case it sounds like I didn’t like the episode, I’d like to say that isn’t true. Episode 12 of this final season of Fruits Basket is every bit as well crafted and cohesive as the rest of the narrative has been.

For me this is just a case where binge watchers have the advantage. They can come straight from the emotional high of last week to getting their denouement and it would be almost cleansing from an emotional point of view. However for those with a week to mull over the previous episode and have distance from those emotions, this ends up being more a Lord of the Rings style epilogue where sure it gives us more information about what is coming next for the characters but it isn’t strictly speaking needed to feel satisfied.

It was nice that Fruits Basket did allow Yuki his moment in episode 12. While the focus has been on Kyo for a fair while now, it is important to remember that Yuki has been in this story since the beginning and his journey is every bit as important.

Yuki and Machi
Image from Fruits Basket Final Season.
Yuki distracted from Machi.

While a lot of viewers seem to really like Machi and appreciate her as a character, for me Machi has always felt like a late addition that hasn’t quite earned my emotional attachment and so while I was thrilled for Yuki in this sequence as the two were adorkably sweet together, Machi is more just a necessity for Yuki’s ending rather than feeling like a character I’m particularly concerned about.

Likewise, Akito’s appearance this week and reconnection with the other zodiac members (now that they are freed) and then with Shigure, does nicely help to close up any potential loose ends and continues Akito’s redemption arc even if actual redemption is a long way away. However given this path had already been set in the previous episode of Fruits Basket seeing it play out was more just kind of a nice addition rather than a must watch moment, even if I absolutely loved that outfit.

Akito tries a new look.
Image from Fruits Basket Final Season.
A different look for Akito.

The real emotional power of the episode comes from seeing Kyoko’s final moments from a different perspective. While this is framed around Kyo’s decision about the future and Honda’s desire for him to forgive himself, Kyoko has been a powerful character throughout the whole narrative despite being dead when it really started. Giving her these final moments actually felt like a weighty addition to the story and not just another loose end to be tied.

With one final episode to go it will be interesting to see what note Fruits Basket will leave us on. Will it do a time-skip to reveal the characters further on or will we simply get to the graduation of the main group and have them go their own way? Are there any surprises left in store or is it just waiting it out as this story that has kept me enthralled through three seasons draws to a close?

The gods and zodiac animals bid farewell.
Image from Fruits Basket Final Season.
The banquet is over.

What I do know is that regardless of what the final episode brings, this is one series I would firmly recommend. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll do both at the same time. Fruits Basket will leave you emotionally wrecked while giving you confidence and hope. The characters will charm you and annoy you and end up feeling like family. At the end of the day, I’m going to miss this show once the final curtain falls.

Images used for review from: Fruits Basket: The Final Season. Dir. Y Ibata. TMS Entertainment. 2021.

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Karandi James

Fruits Basket: The Final Season Episode 11 Impressions – An Unforgettable Episode

Fruits Basket Final Episode 11
Crow's World of Anime has sponsored reviews of Fruits Basket Final Season in 2021.

Tohru and Kyo…Fruits Basket…Words are now failing me.

Episode 11 of Fruits Basket the Final Season is an emotional watch and if the YouTube reactions I found after watching it were anything to go by I’m not alone in feeling that way. While the episode is titled ‘Goodbye’ my initial thoughts were pretty bleak but honestly this episode manages to be aww inducing cuteness followed by contemplative and cathartic. Overall there’s a sense of resolution as the banquet is finally demystified and finally we are left with a sense of relief.

As always, watching Fruits Basket is akin to going multiple rounds of emotional boxing and I’m just not all that well equipped for having my emotions rocked like that.

Incidentally, spoilers below.

Kyo gets his serious face on.
Image from Fruits Basket Final Season 2019.
Kyo, when you look at me like that…

I do know that after watching this episode I am going to have to go an rewrite my list of top 5 anime confessions. Seriously, this one has to absolutely be on that list. I’d put this one on par with the confession in Dakaichi in terms of intensity but given that confession came out of nowhere at the beginning of the story (before we knew either character) and this one between Kyo and Honda has been so long coming…

Yeah, to be honest, the emotional payoff here was just brilliant. Fruits Basket absolutely nailed this moment and honestly if this final season leaves us with nothing else in its final episode, episode 11 has already given me everything I needed to be happy. Sure there are still some unanswered questions but most of what I wanted from this season has been revealed and then some.

I am curious about whether the characters will continue to live at Shigure’s house or whether they will return to the main Soma estate. Will the main Soma estate even remain after all of this? Or are they all going to go and find their own ways. I will admit, I never read the very end in the manga. Once I found out enough about the curse and where the characters were going in Fruits Basket to satisfy my curiosity I put this story away until this rebooted anime.

This post may just be an excuse for pictures of Kyo.
Image from Fruits Basket 2021.
Kyo, sometimes Tohru makes us all feel like that.

One thing I am happy season 3 of Fruits Basket has fully resolved is the question of whether Tohru would end up with Kyo or Yuki. From the start of this season it couldn’t have been clearer and honestly, that made this moment all the sweeter. If there had still been some doubt, or if Yuki hasn’t been so clear with Kyo in episode 10, there would be that ongoing awkwardness that usually results when a love triangle resolves.

However, this episode actually had a lot more in it than Kyo and Tohru being utterly adorable. And actually, a lot of it was pretty important. The problem is, that Fruits Basket began its episode by giving me the fan moment I’ve been waiting for forever and so it was a little difficult to focus on the rest while I had my inner fan-girls dancing a conga-line through my brain for the rest of the day after watching the first part of this episode.

God and the cat.
Image from Fruits Basket 2021.
Okay, onto the more serious side of things.

So most of the rest of this episode of Fruits Basket really looks at God’s relationship with the animals in the zodiac. We see this through Akito’s genuine pain as the bonds most definitely break. However we also go back to the original story that we were told about god holding the banquet. Only this time, we get a lot more about what happened before the first banquet and unsurprisingly it involves God’s relationship with the cat.

It isn’t at all surprising that a story passed down through generations and between incarnations had become quite distorted and details that should have been remembered were forgotten. The relationships between god and the zodiacs and the zodiacs and the cat became symbolic and chains, mimicking their original connection but the purpose being quite forgotten.

Akito cries.
Image from Fruits Basket the Final Season 2021.
Akito’s finally going to be on her own.

Letting go of these bonds, being alone (truly alone) for the first time, is painful and not just for Akito. As we saw from Kureno and others who broke free of the bond previously, it isn’t exactly a happy moment initially. But, if any of these characters are to move forward it is a necessary step.

Honestly, I’d really have been happy with this as an ending. Sure it will be great to see next steps and have a few other questions answered, but in terms of this narrative I kind of feel like this is going to be the emotional peak for me. Fruits Basket episode 11 was incredibly satisfying viewing and will perhaps remain one of my favourite resolutions in anime (I really should do a top 5 list of those).

Images used for review from: Fruits Basket: The Final Season. Dir. Y Ibata. TMS Entertainment. 2021.

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Karandi James

Fruits Basket: The Final Season Episode 10 Impressions – Yay!

Fruits Basket Final Season Episode 10
Crow's World of Anime has sponsored reviews of Fruits Basket Final Season in 2021.

Will Kyo admit it? Fruits Basket Final Season Episode 10 asks the question.

There’s a change in the air this week with Fruits Basket. Tohru is absent for most of the episode given she’s still in the hospital but her presence and her actions hang over everything. That said, there’s almost a sense of release occurring and while emotions for the characters are still running high as a viewer I felt that this week’s anime episode was almost a breath of fresh air. Definitely spoilers below.

Admittedly we are closing in on the end of the road now with MAL giving this season of Fruits Basket 13 episodes. I’m not sure I’m ready for it to end even as it seems the journey is definitely coming to a close. I mean, having watched the original anime and then investing in the remake since 2019, Fruits Basket and the characters have been a part of my viewing life for a very long time now.

Yuki in the student council office.
Image from Fruits Basket Final Season episode 10 (2021).
Not even the student council can believe this is going to come to an end.

But I digress. Episode 10 has Yuki trying to sort through his emotions, as many of the characters seem to be. They are coming to terms with what has transpired and trying to figure out where they now stand. Whether it is Hiro and Kisa, Kureno and Arisa, or even Akito, there’s a definite sense that they want to move to somewhere, they feel they can move, but they are all kind of hesitating and unsure about what is coming next.

The level of uncertainty makes sense given most of these characters have felt, long before the events in the anime started, that their lives were predetermined and they had no other options. Forging a new path sounds exciting but it’s pretty terrifying when the moment finally comes. That said, there’s one character in Fruits Basket who still seems very much locked in place.

Yuki is going to have some words with Kyo.
Image from Fruits Basket Final Season anime (2021).
And Yuki has had enough.

Yuki and Kyo’s relationship has never been good (understatement). The two have violently clashed again and again and about the only point they’ve ever agreed on is that they needed to look out for Honda Tohru. However, Yuki now has some clear advice for Kyo and he rams it home with both fists and a few violent kicks to Shigure’s long suffering house.

I think Kyo received the message.
Image from Fruits Basket Final Season Episode 10 (2021).
This was definitely advice giving. Not a fight.

I have to admire this moment. Even as angry as Yuki was he still made it clear to Kyo. The two finally communicated and realised, probably for the first time, that the envy they feel for the other is reflected right back. That said, Yuki told Kyo what he needed to hear and that was that he made Honda happy simply by being near her. The power of Tohru’s smile should not be underestimated.

The upshot of all this advice is that Kyo leave Shigure’s house however he doesn’t head straight to the hospital and Honda. At first I thought this was a foolish move but then we realised who he went to see. Kyo was seeking some closure of his own as we near the end of this final season of Fruits Basket and had decided it was high time he spoke with his father.

Honestly, it doesn’t go well but I don’t think the viewers of Kyo expected it to. But it did give Kyo what he needed. The chance to stop running from his feelings of guilt and to face the past that he had always shut away. Despite how dark this scene became it didn’t change the feeling that somehow shackles were being released and everything was moving once again.

All of that alone would have made for a solid episode of Fruits Basket. However, they had one more treat for us. Kyo confessed (at least in his own head) that he loved Honda Tohru. As he approaches the hospital the words resound in his mind again and again and if you are anything like me you are cheering like a crazy idiot at your laptop and anyone else in your house is wondering just what happened.

Kyo sees Honda.
Image from Fruits Basket Final Season anime 2021.
And then the moment arrives…

In true Fruits Basket fashion the tone then shifts as Honda sees Kyo and then flees. He chases after her screaming that she shouldn’t run right after leaving the hospital and the episode ends while I’m left with a ridiculously cheesy smile on my face. So yeah, perfect. Plus the most perfect final shot of Arisa and Hanajima. Love those two.

Anyway, Fruits Basket is almost at its end. I am going to miss it.

Images used for review from: Fruits Basket: The Final Season. Dir. Y Ibata. TMS Entertainment. 2021.

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Karandi James

Fruits Basket: The Final Season Episode 9 Impressions

Fruits Basket Final Season Episode 9
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My prediction last week that it would all end in tears proved far too true.

Fruits Basket is one of those anime that time after time reduces me to tears. The thing is, not all of those tears are sad tears. Some of them are as we learn about the tragedies in each of the characters’ back stories. However a lot of the tears I’ve shed for this anime have simply been overwhelming emotion or warm tears of joy and relief. Episode 9 of the final season of Fruits Basket manages to make you cry every kind of tears for and with the characters and while the end result of the episode might seem a little on the trite side given how dire things seemed to get, you can’t fault the journey we took to get here.

Absolutely spoilers below.

Fruits Basket Final Ep9 3
I’ve longed for someone to wipe the smug look off of Akito’s face. Events this episode finally did.

So much of this final season has been around the various members of the Zodiac finding themselves and in the process moving away from the eternity Akito longed for. Tohru, on finally realising that at heart Akito is just lonely and pathetic, did the usual Tohru thing and reached out to hug the knife wielding maniac. There’s nothing out of character in her actions and while the same action by another protagonist might have me rolling my eyes toward the heavens, it was so expected of this character and so established that this is exactly what she would do that all I could do was hope she didn’t end up eating the knife.

Fortunately, Akito had clearly had their fill of stabbings and after being loved past the point of tolerance she ran away. Now if only Tohru had let her go things may have played out quite differently but I’m not sure we’d ever get to the ending we need. Instead we have a confrontation of Akito’s rejection of kindness versus Tohru’s absolute conviction that she can reach anyone if she just tries hard enough playing out on the dirt cliff that collapsed back in episode 1, all those years ago, burying Tohru’s tent and current home.

Knowing the cliff collapsed under rain then more or less sets up where this scene is going to go but there’s still tension as Tohru has her back to the edge and there’s a genuine question of whether Akito will snap again and give her the little push that would send her over.

Fruits Basket Final Ep9 5
They both look a little worse for wear here.

One thing that was certain though, Tohru was always going over that cliff. It was basic Chekov in action. Here’s a crumbling cliff known for landslides in rain back in episode one and here we have two main characters have an emotional outpouring at the top of that same cliff.

Once again, Fruits Basket isn’t reinventing the wheel or doing anything revolutionary with its narrative. But it has solid fundamentals in character and narrative structure and there’s an absolute certainty in where it is headed. While some might argue this makes it a little predictable, I’m fine with that as I watch the scenes play out because while it isn’t trying to do anything new it is ensuring that each scene strikes the exact emotional chord they are aiming for.

I don’t feel sorry for Akito but the face they make after Tohru goes over is probably the best moment of character redemption ever. For the first time Akito is made human through their horror over what has just happened and we see as the episode plays out that the weight of all their actions are settling upon them. They still don’t fully own these actions and are still calling those who forgive them idiots but its at least a first step.

I don’t think the audience of Fruits Basket is supposed to forgive Akito (which is a good thing because I don’t think we ever could) and Momiji is the perfect vehicle to show this. Not vindictive in any way, Momiji merely pushes Akito to continue pursuing their current path without actually forgiving them for prior actions. I will admit, Momiji is definitely becoming one of my favourite characters as these final episodes play out.

Fruits Basket - Akito's distress
Akito cannot believe that just happened.

But what of Tohru and Kyo and everyone else? Well… I guess we’ll wait and see what the outcome is next week.

Images used for review from: Fruits Basket: The Final Season. Dir. Y Ibata. TMS Entertainment. 2021.

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Fruits Basket: The Final Season Episode 8 Impressions

Fruits Basket Final Season Episode 8
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It will all end in tears…

Although perhaps that is a redundant thing to say given most episodes of Fruits Basket in this final season have been reducing me to tears. That this latest episode keeps you on the edge of tears from start to finish and then leaves you with the absolute certainty that a tragedy is about to befall all of the characters is perhaps a testament to the control of emotions this story has.

After the episode ending last week that really should have been show-stopping, it is nearly forgotten as episode 8 draws to its dramatic close leaving us with a cliff-hanger that will most definitely haunt our dreams until the next episode.

Episode spoilers for sure.

Fruits Basket - Kyo and Honda
Convenient rain for emotional sequences – check.

For those who have followed my episodic coverage of Fruits Basket so far, you will know that I love this adorable awkward pairing with Kyo and Tohru both so absolutely clueless at romance and yet so utterly needing someone in their lives to love.

Fruits Basket is masterful at bittersweet.

That this whole episode is Kyo largely outlining the reasons why Tohru can’t possibly love him and should never forgive him before she smacks his reasoning flat in a single line means that the audience gets the heart wrenching experience of seeing one of our favourite characters belittle himself and cast himself in the worst possible light while re-experiencing the real tragedies that have shaped his character up until this point. It really does hurt to watch and that is more or less exactly what is intended.

Fruits Basket Final Ep8 5
Tohru, please give him a hug. I know he’ll transform, but do it anyway.

And yet, if you believe that Tohru cutting through Kyo’s reasoning would lead to a happy outcome, you’ve clearly been watching a different anime to me. Cornered by Tohru’s refusal to simply accept that he is unlovable or that he is to blame for everything bad that has literally ever happened, he runs. And it is such a Kyo thing to do. He’s been running and avoiding since season one and that was hardly going to change right at this moment.

That Yuki chooses to pursue the fool and leaves Tohru alone in the rain is simply plot convenience so that the final scene can be established before the audience is left wondering whether the worst possible outcome is about to occur.

Fruits Basket Final Ep8 4
Now Kyo, you didn’t really think she’d just accept your explanation.

What I do love about this episode is how neatly it ties our plot back full circle. The boy with the hat, Kyoko’s death, Kyo’s training in the mountains and his over-the-top anger at Yuki during season one. We had seen Yuki’s memories and Tohru’s to a point but now Kyo’s perspective has been layered in on top and once again changed the way we see each sequence and how the characters have reacted.

It also makes Arisa’s earlier comments that she wished Kyoko had met Kyo as she’d probably love to tease him all the more prophetic. Kyoko did meet Kyo and she did have fun teasing him when he was younger before he chose to break off contact. Once again, Kyoko’s reach is felt despite her having been dead prior to the events of season one.

Fruits Basket Final Ep8 3
Kyo and Kyoko – these two would have made a fine pair if Kyoko had lived.

I don’t know if I’ll ever be emotionally ready for the next episode. I don’t know if I’m really finished processing episode 8 of Fruits Basket. What I do know is that I was mesmerised and I’m almost sure I barely breathed during the entire run-time and now I’m wishing the minutes away until I get the chance to watch the next episode.

Images used for review from: Fruits Basket: The Final Season. Dir. Y Ibata. TMS Entertainment. 2021.

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Fruits Basket: The Final Season Episode 7 Impressions

Fruits Basket Final Season Episode 7
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The empty promise, the empty hope, the empty box.

Fruits Basket does a deep dive into tragedy this week and in the case of truly tragic characters there seemingly a moment or a choice where each one potentially had a chance to avoid the domino of events that is now leading to all of their tears and emptiness and yet someone missed that moment or deliberately turned their back on it.

While many of the faults lie with an older generation that seemingly set things in motion through greed and jealousy, the younger generation need to own their decisions as well as they’ve been participating in the farce that is the god’s banquet all along. Incidentally, there will be a major episode spoiler toward the end of this post so count this as the warning.

Fruits Basket S3 E7 1
Poor Kyo doesn’t get a break even in his dreams.

Of course, a character isn’t truly a tragic character unless their own decisions and choices have in some way contributed and that without that decision they might have somehow been saved or a redeemable character. I mean, sure they might be a pitiful character or a very sad one to watch, but without some hope that they might not have ended up in that current state they really aren’t agents in the story and are merely being swept along with events.

Fruits Basket often leaves the characters feeling powerless even when they aren’t.

While Kyo, Yuki and the others have certainly been swept along at times, all of these characters have at different moments had pivotal points where a choice has been made and all of their choices up until now have kept them bound to the curse.

Arguably, they may have chosen differently if a certain Kureno had actually bothered to share the fact that he had been freed from the curse. That dangling hope may very well have been a catalyst for inspiring different choices or even being able to really believe in another path. Instead, what we see now is a family with darkness compounded by darkness and a mother, jealous (ridiculously) of a father’s affections for a child, who more or less twisted that child into the paranoid and hate-filled creature that is Akito.

The whole thing is ridiculous when you consider that her claim is that everything of the father’s belongs to her and that she treasures his everything and yet she treats his child (and hers) as something that is very much in the way and disposable.

Fruits Basket S3 E7 3
This is a pairing that would have been toxic beyond all measure.

None of that excuses Akito’s life-time of abuse and crimes. Claiming no-one ever gave her a different path sounds like she would like to frame herself as a tragic heroine. While her mother certainly has a lot to own up to, as do the servants of the house who also didn’t provide any kind of buffering to protect the child, Akito also needs to take some responsibility for the choices she has made and the consequences they have wrought for others.

Terrible mother or not, pushing someone off a balcony isn’t going to be excused because you were a little bit confused. Nor is partially blinding someone in a fit.

Actually, the real question is how much money do the Soma’s have because clearly they have paid off literally all the authorities or there would be one big investigation into a whole range of human-rights abuses going on in that compound.

Fruits Basket - Akito
Can someone give that child a hug right now so she doesn’t grow up to be the single worst person ever?

It’s hard to even argue with Akito when she confronts Kureno at the end of the episode (BIG SPOILERS COMING IF YOU HAVEN’T WATCHED).

It is too late for him, the older of the two to suggest a different path. Kureno doesn’t have the luxury of excusing his complicit nature on the curse because he has been freed for some time. Instead, he has chosen to stand by Akito as she has become more and more possessive and hurt the others and he’s comforted her rather than tried to in anyway deter her actions.

So Akito’s accusation to him is not an empty one but rather quite justified. Of all the characters in Akito’s life, Kureno is the one who had the most chance at perhaps guiding her in a different way but chose instead to accept her exactly as she was (which is hugely broken).

While Akito’s next action may infuriate some, it actually makes a lot of sense and honestly, if Kureno had walked out of this narrative without getting a taste of some of the pain he’d allowed to continue that probably would have left a bad taste in my mouth. It is tragic and awful but within the context makes sense. Kureno is punished for his role in allowing the tragedy to continue and whether this punishment is ultimately lethal or not is left ambiguous by the episode and I suppose we’ll find out later whether he survives it (it doesn’t look like he should be who knows).

Frutis Basket - Akito stabs Kureno
The only part of this that caught me off guard was that Akito stabbed him in the back and not the front. Almost like she was avoiding owning the action whereas with the others she openly hurt them.

Let’s be real: Episode 7 of Fruits Basket: The Final Season is all of the darker elements of this story without any of the humour and light, and it needed to be. As we see small hopes of more characters freeing themselves from the curse we see others being dragged down and now they are hitting rock bottom. The only question that remains is how many will still have the strength and will to claw their way back to the light by the time this is all over.

Images used for review from: Fruits Basket: The Final Season. Dir. Y Ibata. TMS Entertainment. 2021.

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Karandi James

Fruits Basket: The Final Season Episode 6 Impressions

Fruits Basket Final Season Episode 6
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I promised…

Where do you begin with an episode like the one Fruits Basket just delivered?

Reveals about the curse and Shigure’s thoughts, often concealed behind his flippant attitude, come thick and fast in the first third as he and Isuzu discuss her most recent misadventure. However, Tohru walks in on the conversation and then it is her thoughts and feelings toward Kyou that take centre stage as we go back through both of their tragic histories and watch each individually work up to their interaction on the roof at Shigure’s house that would be enough of an emotional climax but then we get one final kick in the gut before credits roll.

Kyo and Tohru - Fruits Basket
Please, let me just hold onto this image forever and smile through tears.

It is no mystery that I am seriously in love with Fruits Basket at this point.

This rebooted version of Fruits Basket has done a seriously impressive job at moving me though the Soma’s drama and I absolutely loved this episode. That said, it feels very late in the piece to be bringing in additional drama and problems even if they are closely tied to unsolved mysteries around our protagonist. I wonder how the latest reveals will play out going forward or whether we might end up feeling like these final episodes are a little over filled.

There’s little I can actually say about the episode without feeling like I am just retelling you a story that would be better watched. The episode is beautifully paced with each third giving the time needed to its moment before we transition to the next part.

About the only critique I’d have for the episode was the brief attempt at Kagura bringing some levity to a fairly heavy episode as it fell pretty flat, but even then I suspect it was supposed to. Kagura knew very well what needed to happen and was largely just playing at being foolish to hide her own heart-break and while I’ve never much liked her as a character the way she is stepping back and letting Kyou go is actually making me think she’s a little bit classy, at least when this issue is concerned.

Fruits Basket Final Ep6 6
Sunsets and these two just kind of go together.

It was interesting to see Kyoko coming back as a central player in Fruits Basket. While season one had Tohru endlessly talking about her mother and quoting her, the deceased mother took more of a back seat throughout season two and has barely been mentioned this season. The realisation that Tohru is moving on and it is breaking her heart was particularly well played out in this episode and makes her emotional state as she tries to reconcile her current feelings with how she believes she should feel fascinating to watch. The added complexity of Tohru’s father, who we still haven’t really seen, and her reaction to his death has just made it all a little more interesting.

Fruits Basket Final Ep6 5
Kyoko becoming but a memory and a faded one.

But ultimately it all comes back to the Soma’s. It comes back to the curse that may or may not be breaking on its own, though even if it does it will, as Tohru knows, be too late for Kyo. Shigure’s cold and cruel statements to Tohru weren’t out of character but were a lot more blunt than he usually is and it makes me wonder just what his end game is right now. Previously he at least made some attempt at concealing his motives and the darker aspects of his personality from the girl but now he seems to be placing them on full display. It makes me wonder if he is trying to push her into acting rashly.

Fruits Basket Final Ep6 3
Shigure, you are a jerk. I love you. But you are a jerk.

Ultimately, it really does feel like an ending of sorts is approaching as character arc after character arc seems to be coming to a head and all the threads are becoming intertwined. It is great watching each episode of Fruits at the moment and seeing the next pieces of the puzzle slotting into place and honestly my only complaint is that I end up in tears each and every weekend when the next episode is watched.

Images used for review from: Fruits Basket: The Final Season. Dir. Y Ibata. TMS Entertainment. 2021.

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Karandi James

Fruits Basket: The Final Season Episode 5 Impressions

Fruits Basket Episode 5 Review
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Fruits Basket asks: What does the future hold?

You know, if this episode hadn’t come on the back of episode 4, it would have been one of the most emotionally moving anime episodes I’d ever seen. That said, it doesn’t hold up to the extreme emotions from Haru last week, and it isn’t trying to. Instead of the violent emotional turns from episode 4, episode 5 instead gives us a more contemplative episode where emotions run deep underneath every line and glance and the end result is one where it stays with you long after the episode ends.

From the introduction where we see Ayame asking Mine if she’ll stay with him to the ending where Momiji is practically skipping down a road this episode forces each of the Soma characters we’ve been spending time with to really consider their futures and what it is they want. Definitely episode spoilers below.

Fruits Basket S3 Ep5 1
Wouldn’t it be super-cute if these two got together?

Lots of characters get screen time this week as we see Yuki attempting to communicate his situation to Machi before being interrupted, Haru just kind of being Haru, Hiro and Kisa visiting Tohru, Kureno and Shigure both continuing to visit Akito, and Kyo being Kyo – and yet it is Momiji who quietly steals the episode.

Momiji has always been an interesting character. He regularly plays the fool and acts as a force of sheer cheerful willpower always bringing energy into a scene, and yet at times he’s demonstrated some fairly profound personal wounds as well as some strangely perceptive insights into those around him. And he’s always been very perceptive of Tohru.

Despite his sudden growth spurt, Momiji on the surface at least is still being Momiji but there’s a lot going on for his character in this episode. I loved that not only is he aware of his feelings toward Tohru, he makes it clear he knows her feelings and he also throws the gauntlet down for Kyo who is still terrified of admitting anything and so that goes nowhere, yet.

Fruits Basket - Kyo is not in the mood for Momiji
If looks could kill…

But Momiji has always been too good of a character to waste being the third-wheel of a doomed love triangle and so the episode gives him something more. Where last week we were teased by the potential breaking of Hatsuharu’s bond, this week it is in fact Momiji, who seemingly out of nowhere, finds himself suddenly free of the curse. Akito reacts predictably but Momiji isn’t rushing into any action. Instead, he takes some quiet time to contemplate what this might actually mean before confronting Akito and he does it with class.

Fruits Basket S3 Ep5 8
This may be the first time Momiji’s ever been able to look down on someone.

However, even though Momiji tells Akito he won’t tell anyone, the change in Momiji isn’t going unnoticed by those around him. Once again, Haru proves to be far more perceptive than people give him credit for and even Kyo picks up the difference. And then we see that despite Momiji dealing pretty solidly with everything going on for him that he isn’t above being a little bit petty. He tells Kyo he broke the curse and then claims he was joking.

All things considered, that was pretty harsh and yet Momiji is a teenager who has just undergone a major life-changing event and is also suffering from an unrequited love so a minor moment where he’s less than noble is pretty understandable. It’s also pretty understandable why it is Kyo he chooses to needle.

Fruits Basket The Final Season has events moving along at a good clip now. Where previous seasons had filler episodes or episodes that had the characters just playing around, now every episode has delivered plot development and hard-hitting character moments. The heavier tone would make this one hard to binge watch but it is an amazing experience watching it through and seeing the culmination of all those previous character moments and plot points.

Fruits Basket S3 Ep5 9
Leaving the past where it belongs.

Despite knowing that watching too many episodes of this close together could really leave me a teary mess, I’m desperate for the next episode as I just want to see where these characters go next. Where so many sequels have left me disappointed this year, Fruits Basket is absolutely going from strength to strength.

Images used for review from: Fruits Basket: The Final Season. Dir. Y Ibata. TMS Entertainment. 2021.

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Karandi James