Fruits Basket celebrated a big comeback this year with a new anime adaptation! The series is based on a very popular manga by Natsuki Takaya, which was released in many different languages worldwide and has a big global fanbase. A first anime adaptation aired back in 2001, but as the manga was still running during that time there are many developments that are different from the original manga. This series instead was promised to follow the manga as closely as possible. This turned out to be true and as a result, Fruits Basket (2019) will have more than one season. The first season started airing in Spring 2019 and aired for two seasons with 25 episodes. I was able to write weekly reviews for it, you can find the first episode here:
Tohru Honda recently lost her mother and moved to her grandfather’s. When the house is being renovated, they ask her to stay with a friend temporarily, but Tohru just can’t bring herself to disturb her only two friends for such a length of time, which is why she ends up living in a tent in the mountains. The land she sleeps on, however, belongs to the Sohma family, to which the school’s prince Yuki Sohma belongs. He lives not far from her tent with other members of the clan, Shigure and the wild Kyo. When the family finds out that she lives in a tent during a rainstorm, they bring her back to their house. The next day they come back to her tent, been buried under a landslide. The family decides to take her in as a housemaid in turn for a room, but things aren’t as easy as they seem. The family has a dark secret. If some of its members are hugged by someone of a different gender, they turn into an animal…
Plot & Story
The manga is a masterpiece and many people love it. But does an anime have to follow a manga to become a masterpiece as well? To be honest, there were bits in the story that provided great background information to other characters, but sometimes I felt a bit lost with the episodes dragging on outside of Tohru’s story. Of course, I am – as a longtime fan – totally fine hearing more about all the other characters I came to love. It just makes me wonder how other viewers, who might not know the manga or the previous anime series, would feel about these episodes.
The story, in general, is a lot of fun and taught me a lot about the Chinese zodiacs and their characteristics. It inspired me in many ways since all the characters – and I really mean all of them – have things they struggle with and fight. But nobody gives up. Especially in these episodes it seemed like they always tried to have a funny part and a sad part mixed into it, so one moment I would tear up about something and the next I would laugh or scream from happiness. It was a good balance and always had me glued to the screen. I would give it roughly 8 out of 10 because I think the original creator, the mangaka Takaya, could have let the scriptwriter a bit more freedom to arrange things fit for an anime. While some things work perfectly fine in a manga, they might be boring or hard to push through for anime. That’s why I deducted two stars.
This series manages to do something that only a few manage to do: you love all the characters in some way or at least understand them. There is no black and white, there is a lot of gray and characters that understand each other but don’t necessarily accept each other. Each of them has developed. It starts with Tohru and her friends and stretches all the way to Yuki and Kyo and the rest of the Sohmas. Some characters already show development, others will do so in the next season to come if they keep following the manga. This series definitely deserves 10 out of 10 for its awesome handling of characters!
Favorites and Dislikes
Character development is perfect
First opening and ending theme
Lots of dokidoki for female viewers
Badass girls like Uotani and Hanajima
Too many tears
Extreme stories that are a bit unrealistic
Tohru is sometimes too good
Second ending theme (at least compared to the first)
Starting from the second episode I always crowned a dokidoki barometer winner. The character that made my heart beat faster (made it go dokidoki) would get a point and now we are here to see who things turned out! Of course, this is only my personal ranking and barometer, but I think it was fun and if everybody could crown their own winners!
As expected, I did give many points to Yuki. He ranked first place with 9 points. I think this might also be because his story is stronger at the beginning of the series. He has an easier time forming a connection with Tohru, he interacts more with her, while Kyo is too shy and busy being a brat. I can already guess that he would win a lot more in the second season. Kyo was in second place with 5 points and in the third we have a tie between Momiji and – surprisingly – Uo-chan! I knew that Momiji would rank high. He is my favorite character after all and I enjoy every second of screen-time he has. If I gave him all the points, he’d end up with 6 instead of 3, which probably is also the number of episodes he appeared in for more than one line… Others who received points were Hatori (2), and Ayame, Ritsu, and Megumi (1).
The biggest surprise was that Uo-chan had three whole points. I guess I think she is even cooler than I realised. The hardest week was episode 19, where I didn’t really know who to give the point to. I don’t really love Ritsu and the other characters didn’t do much in that episode, so I didn’t know who to choose. Looking back at the episodes I was proud that I did try to be fair and didn’t give Momiji the win in the onsen episode, but instead gave it to Yuki. How he gave Tohru the present was worth every point he received, even if Momiji was sooo cute trying to sleep at Tohru’s side.
So congratulations to our winner, Yuki-kun! Who was your winner?
Comments and Conclusion
I’ll be honest, I am totally biased when it comes to Fruits Basket. I loved the series when I was younger, I loved the old anime, and I really was happy when I heard about the new adaptation. There might be things I am not too happy about – like the missing Momiji song in the onsen – but I really could fully enjoy it. The best thing is, that I couldn’t remember everything about the manga which made the anime so much more enjoyable. There are some things I think that might have been better to fit for the format of an anime instead of sticking to the original manga, but overall I think back to the first season and am happy and delighted. To me, this was a masterpiece.