I’ve always believed it is good to always keep your expectations fluid, and be ready to adjust them when something ends up being different. I was almost about to drop Kaguya Sama: Love is War, but when I decided to re-adjust my expectations of the show, I did a complete 180 degree shift on it. Now it’s my front runner for anime of the year.
Now some time later, I find myself in the exact same situation with another anime. I came in with a set of expectations and after re-adjusting them, I’ve found a new love for the show that, at first, I didn’t have. After the cut let’s take a dive into the second half of the 2019 remake of Fruits Basket.
I, like I assume many fans of this series, had been told that Fruits Basket was a series dripping with angst and melancholy, that the show was infamous for having bad parents, and the characters all having some crisis to get over. While that is in fact true for the series, I was surprised when, after a few episodes of the series, it wasn’t the grief marathon I was expecting to be. I chalk that up to preconceived expectations, a common thing when something as famous as Fruits Basket is being bandied about. Some people might have a dropped the show because of it, but I decided to stick around and continue watching.
I’m glad that I did, because the second half of Fruits Basket is absolutely stellar, building on the solid first half and maintaining everything that makes it just great. There is a reason why Fruits Basket is considered a landmark shoujo series, and I can happily say that everything people have said about it is true. It’s just a damn good series, with wonderful characters, fantastic music, heart-wrenching sadness and goofy comedy all mixed into one. Love and dedication creep out at every single frame and expression and it is obvious that the creator and show runners have pour their heart and soul into this piece.
The story itself can basically be boiled down to the same central theme I keep harping on about on this blog: the effect of the main character’s life on the rest of the cast. Tohru Honda’s entry into the Sohma’s world is the stone that will forever change their lives for the better, and force the characters to confront the cruel and unusual fate the zodiac curse has been placed on them. Over the course of this first season, Fruits Basket has done a good job on slowly telling viewers that the Zodiac curse is not just a comedic thing, but something that has massively crippled and hurt this family, and the effects of Akito on several of the characters is as evident as it is uncomfortable.
If there is one thing I can knock Fruits Basket for, is that it suffers very much from the “Bleach Problem” in which the secondary cast are infinitely more endearing and fun compared to the main characters. While Kyo, Yuki and Tohru are all good characters, they feel very much like cutouts of classic shoujo tropes (which they are). The supporting cast is just plain better at this point, with far more interesting stories, better designs and some of the best moments so far. Saki, Arisa Hatori, Momij, Kagura, Ayame, Hatsuharu, all of them are just wonderful and remain in my mind far more than the central three. Tohru at this point feels very much like little miss perfect, with no real depth to her aside from being a plot point to move the story along. However I doubt this will remain the same, and the story is already starting to show hints that is there more to our three leads than meets the eye, especially Tohru.
Fruits Basket 2019 is an absolutely fantastic series, and it’s just getting started. With a second season coming next year, and the staff committed to finishing the full story, I am sure that this will follow the legacy of Full Metal Alchemist in delivering the best possible adaptation of a beloved work. Now that I’ve re-adjusted my expectations for this series, I’m fully on board, and I can’t wait to see what happens next. If you’ve never watched a shoujo before, then start watching this series, it doesn’t get much better.