Note: Review copy supplied by Manga Entertainment
Title: Fruits Basket Season One Part Two
Anime Studio: TMS/8PAN
Publisher: Manga Entertainment
Genre: Slice Of Life / Reverse Harem / Supernatural
Released: March 2nd, 2020
Language: Japanese / English
Every day with the Somas brings new surprises, and Tohru s resilience shines through it all! Her mother s beautiful lessons slowly reach everyone, from Yuki s self-absorbed sibling to a tiny, timid tiger. Even Tohru s childhood friends were changed by the kindness of the Crimson Butterfly. But for Kyo, is any heart big enough to accept his deep dark secret?
Much of what I said in my review for Part One of this release still stands, at the very least as it pertains to the technical aspects of the series. The background work and animation are still excellent, that voice cast continues to shine, and the general soundtrack is beautiful. Where this release differs is in the story itself.
With the brunt of the cast already introduced, this release avoids the slow-paced introduction aspect of part one. Instead, we mostly get two-episode arcs that focus on individual characters and concepts. This was so wonderfully put together because it struck a good balance in what the episodes revealed.
By that, I mean that they primarily focused on fleshing out the characters we already know. The arcs about Arisa, Saki, and the true form of Kyo’s animal spirit were all designed to give those characters a little more backstory and reiterate their current place in the world, and they do that brilliantly. At the same time though, the stories always manage to come back to our lead, Tohru. We see not only how her friends view her and how she has affected them, but also see how Tohru relates to their issues and grows as a person alongside them.
To be perfectly honest, if the episodes had focused entirely on the principal character for each arc, they would still have been fine. The way it all ties together though marks this as something really special. Meanwhile, the pacing is still fairly casual when placed alongside more action-heavy series, but it never slouches. If anything, these discs actually felt a little quicker than the first two, which made it an easier watch.
The humour that litters the episodes is very good-natured, and always seems to at the very least raise a smile. From a wannabe gang of youths trying – and failing – to be intimidating, to characters freaking out about Saki and her brother Megumi, it all feels gentle in just the right way. That’s a good thing too, because the more emotional moments succeed in hitting hard, sometimes without being too overt. The scenes where characters remember how Tohru’s mother affected them, for example, are framed as positives, but still feel bittersweet in a very authentic sort of way. Then, the ending makes it clear that something big yet to come. It’s a cliffhanger, but one that makes you want more rather than leaves you frustrated, largely because the series has done such a good job of not leaving more loose ends hanging than necessary.
All in all, this felt like a stronger release than part one to me. Equally as capable of making bringing a smile and tears to your eyes, Fruits Baskets combines great characters, high-quality storytelling, and strong aesthetics to create a must-own series. 5 out of 5.