Tooru Honda has always been fascinated by the story of the Chinese Zodiac that her beloved mother told her as a child. However, a sudden family tragedy changes her life, and subsequent circumstances leave her all alone. Tooru is now forced to live in a tent, but little does she know that her temporary home resides on the private property of the esteemed Souma family. Stumbling upon their home one day, she encounters Shigure, an older Souma cousin, and Yuki, the "prince" of her school. Tooru explains that she lives nearby, but the Soumas eventually discover her well-kept secret of being homeless when they see her walking back to her tent one night.
Things start to look up for Tooru as they kindly offer to take her in after hearing about her situation. But soon after, she is caught up in a fight between Yuki and his hot-tempered cousin, Kyou. While trying to stop them, she learns that the Souma family has a well-kept secret of their own: whenever they are hugged by a member of the opposite sex, they transform into the animals of the Chinese Zodiac.
With this new revelation, Tooru will find that living with the Soumas is an unexpected adventure filled with laughter and romance.
On November 12, 2018 last year, I woke up to a string of Twitter feeds and news alerts. Fruits Basket got announced for a new anime based on the manga. During that same week, I pinched myself several times and realized it’s not a dream. It’s a reality. Fruits Basket, one of the most celebrated shoujo manga series in North America, is making a comeback after all these years. And to my delight, we also got the announcement that the new Fruits Basket would adapt the entire manga. That’s right, all 23 freaking volumes of them.
There’s one thing for certain: Fruits Basket is a best-seller
in the West. Whether you’re a fan of shoujo genre or not, the series has a large fan base that still exists today. As a fan myself, I’ve read the series many years ago and have seen the first anime adaptation. Coming into the new Fruits Basket feels like a trip down memory lane. Only this time, we have enhanced visuals updated to more modern quality and a commitment to bring a full adaptation. For an emotional story and character driven show, Fruits Basket is a classic.
It’s 2019 and bringing a show from the past isn’t that simple. The biggest question on many people’s mind revolves how many episodes will the new season consist. With the actual amount of content from the manga, it’s not enough for just 25 episodes. Hence, it’s labeled as “first season” serving as a remake continuation of the franchise. However, something else came to my mind with its staff and cast. Fruits Basket’s characters are significant and to bring their personalities on the TV screen would need an A+ level of talent. Luckily, there’s no need to worry as the voices in this show are able to step up to the plate. Tohru Honda’s VA has changed for the new adaptation but her personality remains relatively the same. For those new to the franchise, she is the main female protagonist and an incredibly kind high school girl. While her character introduction may cause some heads to turn away (I mean, who would be impressed by an orphan living in a tent?), there’s no doubt she is a selfless person. She is loyal and often optimistic about her life. There’s many times in the show where she treats others with respect and is well known for her kindness. At the same time, Tohru’s weakness shows in her personality with her being too forgiving of others. Her character growth this season is slow but should be respected as the anime wants to flesh out her personality as much as possible. Most importantly, the show establishes her as an iconic shoujo character.
Meanwhile, we shouldn’t forget about the other main cast. Fruits Basket is a shoujo after all and isn’t complete without important male characters. These consist of members the Soma family. Most prominently, there’s Kyo and Yuki. The characters themselves are based off of the Eastern Chinese Zodiac with 12 animals. Strangely enough, Kyo himself is not part of the Zodiac although he is still a member of the family. He is portrayed as a young man with a short temper who often gets into pity arguments with Yuki. Their rivalry is relentless with battle of words, contests, and occasional physical fights. However, their rivalry is more about Kyo trying to prove himself and whether he truly can be accepted as a member of the Soma family. In other words, it’s not really some blood feud with lives at stake. Plus, a princely guy like Yuki isn’t the type that would want to harm others. His gentle and reserved personality at school earned him many fans, including his own personal fan club. Despite this, Yuki is portrayed as a distant man who isn’t easy to make friends with. Throughout the show, he develops a unique bond with Tohru as the two understands each other more. It’s also important to realize the season occasionally shows cryptic parts of his darker past. We don’t see it often but there are windows of moments where he shows insecurity and fear. Any new fans would no doubt be curious to learn more about Yuki. And as the more episodes progresses, the more complicated his character gets.
On the other hand, the more you look at Kyo, the more you can probably realize he’s growing a deeper affections towards Tohru. There are some episodes that shows his curiosity about her and even transforming into a genuine friendship. From a character relationship perspective, their chemistry evolves surely, although slowly. Tohru herself also begins to see his true character, beyond that of a hotblooded youngman. It’s important to know that outside of the Sohma family, she has close friends such as Arisa Uotani and Saki Hanajima. It’s noticeable that the anime dedicates time to focus on all three of them ranging from when they first met to how much they deeply care about each other in the present timeline. Similarly, Tohru has a deep devotion for her deceased mother. Known for its flashbacks, Fruits Basket both shows and tells a story about the importance of family. It’s a tear inducing story once you truly understand how much Tohru’s mother cares about her. At the same time, Tohru inherits characteristics from her mother as being a selfless woman who isn’t afraid to protect her friends.
The more I watched this new version of Fruits Basket, it made me wonder how they can introduce the other characters properly. Remember, there are 12 animals of the Chinese Zodiac and outside of the two main guys, there are at least 10 others. Shigure Sohma is introduced early on after taking in Tohru in as a house guest. Being much laid back than others, there’s not much we understand about him although he is a man with a word of wisdom. Unfortunately, this season doesn’t fully explore his character so anime fans will have to wait a bit longer. Others such as Kagura, Momoji, Hatsuharu, Hatori, and Ayame are also introduced in various episodes. While not being prominently featured as the main cast, they do have value in the show despite some portrayed as being very childish. Kagura and Momoji are key examples of this with their behavior. I mean, who can forget about the episode with Kagura practically jumping herself into Kyo’s arms? Indeed, while Fruits Basket often carries a melancholic mood, there’s many comedic moments. There’s even a running gag in the show with the guys losing their clothes after being hugged and transforming into animals. Now that’s a curse to really be careful of. But perhaps one of the most mysterious character is someone named Akito. This character is mentioned many times by the main cast, most prominently by Yuki. Just who is Akito? What’s this character’s purpose? And why does Akito make Yuki react in such fearful ways? If you want answers, you’re going to be in for a long ride.
TMS Entertainment is honestly a studio I have mixed thoughts for. They do have a history of producing shoujo anime such as Kamisama Kiss and even bringing back long running franchises like D Gray Man a few years ago. After seeing the promotional material for the anime, I’m thankful to say there’s no need to worry. The animation quality lives up to modern standards with the vibrant and colorful character designs. They’re faithful to the manga on most parts with updated quality compared to the 2003 version. The setting itself presents a youthful field of decorated visuals full of life. And of course, the ladies will be in for a treat with the guys getting the bishounen makeover.
The fact that I’m even talking about Fruits Basket in 2019 is amazing by itself. Not too many franchises gets the golden treatment of having a complete remakes these days especially for the anime medium. Fruits Basket is a great example of a show that deserves this continuation for the 2003 version didn’t truly live up to its expectations. Here, we have the beginning of a beautiful journey and a reminder of why certain franchises deserves to be revived.
I know that's an unpopular opinion as the author and manga readers despised the original anime for dropping the ball in terms of adapting the manga but I thought it was a pretty good show, despite its flaws.
When Fruits Basket 2019 was announced around late 2018 I was very excited as I finally got to experience this tragic tale in complete form.
I went into Fruits Basket 2019 with very high exceptions as I expected the series to deliver it's promises and fortunately the series managed to meet and surpass my high exceptions as Fruits Basket 2019 is only
the best anime I have ever encountered but it's easily the best Shoujo anime I have seen from this decade.
Watching Fruits Basket 2019 story unfold was like picking up light hearted fairy tale book only to find out that the fairy tale book that picked has a lot of dark and mystery elements in it. That's Fruits Basket 2019 plot in the nutshell. It's a dark and intriguing story that was disguised as a fluffy and light-hearted story.
One of the things you begin to notice while watching the first couple of episodes was how it simply got straight to the point. The series wastes no time establishing its characters, themes and mystery elements to the viewer. It felt like a proper introduction and the way the show did was astounding.
Naturally this is an anime remake and the whole point of an anime remake is not only to fix the flaws were presented in the original adaptation for that particularly series but to also tell the present the classic story again to newer anime fans. This is Fruits Basket 2019 second biggest strength.
You can clearly tell that the Fruits Basket 2019 director Yoshihide Ibata had passion, respect and ambition towards this remake as he made sure it was accurate to the manga from story elements, themes and characterisation and it shows especially in the second half where the original anime went out of bounds.
Before we talk about Fruits Basket 2019 biggest strength I want to talk about the other aspects that it does well-staring with the well handed tonal shifts. One of my biggest issues I have with modern anime is how they struggle to have a consistent tone and many anime that shall be nameless end up being bad.
Thankfully Fruits Basket 2019 doesn't suffer from this as it knows how to use its tonal shifts and it never feels out of place due to the show understanding pacing.
Speaking of pacing that's an another aspect that Fruits Basket well. The plot moves at the smooth and consistent pace that never bores the viewers. The smooth pacing also gives characters as its mystery and plot elements enough time to shine. Which leads me to Fruits Basket biggest strength theme exploration.
The series explores the themes of child abuse, family, bullying, memories, pain, love, accepting your true self, guilt child abandonment and discrimination. I loved how the series was able to execute and present its theme to the viewer without feeling forced or hamfisted thanks to great writing and direction. This was in retrospect absent in the original anime.
Obviously a well-written story like this is nothing without strong and likeable characters and fortunately the characters are just as great as the well written plot.
Thoru is one of the best Shoujo protagonists I've ever encountered in a long while. I know you guys are thinking right now. But you called her a great character already in your original Fruits Basket review.
It is true that I called Thoru a great character in my review for the original anime however the reason why she was not one of my favourite Shoujo leads period is that she a bit of a Mary Sue. 2019 Thoru is not a Mary Sue whatsoever she a caring but mentally damaged person.
Throughout the series we see trying her best to break the Souma family curse by getting to know the Souma family as well not losing her cool in life due to her tragic past that damaged her mentally as a person. She also a nicely developed character as she changes through the plot with each new Souma counter.
In the original anime Momiji was my character in series however in the remake Kyo is my favourite character. I just low how aggressive and caring he is when interacting with other characters. Kyo is also a well-developed character as he goes from an angry individual who hates everyone especially to a friendlier person who is able to his peers. Kyou strong characterisation is only better with his sad and well-written backstory.
Yuki is an another character that I really liked. I loved he's clam, charming and mysterious personality when he talks to other characters in the series. He also develops through the anime as he goes from an isolated individual who has a hard time communicating to his peers due the Souma family curse in him to a more spoken individual who is able express his feelings towards others.
The supporting characters are just good and well-written as the main characters.
In the original series Saki and Arisa were mostly comedic relief characters that only embraced the comedy nature of the original series.
They were hardly relevant in the original plot minus a few key scenes notably episode 25. The remake turns Arisa and especially Saki into more serious and relevant characters and it was honestly for the better.
Seeing them properly characterised in this remake put a smile on my face as my wish for the now defunct season 2 of the original anime was granted. They finally became more than just tools of the plot as both Arisa and Saki as just as interesting as the Souma family.
This is not to say Saki and Arisa aren't funny characters at all they still retain they gags and personality quirks that never fail to make the laugh their asses off.
The other Souma members are also great. Every Souma member is unique in terms of personality and seeing them interact with Thoru and the other Souma members was fascinating due to Fruits Basket 2019 outstanding character chemistry. The series also manages fantastically characterise every Souma member to a point where you can sympathise with them including the some of the more loud and bizarre members like Kagura and Hrio.
If there was one word to describe Fruits Basket 2019 it would be gorgeous. Studio TMS did an outstanding job at bring the show to life with the smooth and sharp character designs that were only the enhances by the smooth bright and vibrant colour palette.
The background scenery is bright, well-detailed, and the lighting is spot on. As for actual animation it's pretty good. Character movement is smooth and there's hardly any still frames used.
The series may not be visually stylish as Demon Slayer and March Comes in Like a Lion but it makes up by great direction and shot competition especially towards the final 4 episodes.
Fruits Basket 2019 soundtrack is for the most part very good. The soundtrack features an upbeat, cheerful and melancholic score that perfectly the tone of the anime.
The first opening theme Again by Beverly is a beautifully composed song that perfectly captures the tone of the series.
The second opening theme Chime" by Ai Otsuka is an upbeat and sparkling song that captures the more light-hearted elements in the series.
The first ending theme Lucky Ending by Vickeblanka is one of my favourite animes ending themes of all time due it's calming and beautiful bass. Fun fact the singer who did the ending theme for this also did the famous kickass third opening theme for Black Clover Black Rover.
The second ending One Step Closer by INTERSECTION may not be as great as Lucky Ending but it's still a pretty solid song.
The voice acting is strong in both languages but if I had to pick between the original Japanese audio and the Funimation English Dub I would easily pick the Funimation Dub. Not only the dub was very well-acted, but the audio quality was top notch. Returning voice actors Laura Bailey, Jerry ewell and Eric Vale absolutely blew the Seiyuus counterparts away.
The new voice cast for certain characters is also very good. My favourite newcomer for the dub is Mikaela Krantz who did a great job of portraying the bubbly Monoji especially with that German accent.
Overall its personal preference but I suggests giving the English Dub a shot.
Watching Fruits Basket 2019 reminded me why I love this medium. It is a fantastically written and charming series that screams passion and love.
Compared to FMAB and Hunter x Hunter 2011 where you have the opinion to check the original adaptations for more detailed versions of earlier arcs there's little to no reason to watch the original anime as this remake from head to toe did everything better.
Sure the original series may have nostalgia factor but nostalgia is only as good as it's overall quality and that where Fruits Basket 2001 unfortunately falls flat on that regard.
Fruits Basket 2019 is not only great it's the type of great that makes you laugh, smile, cry and happy.
Studio TMS and Yoshihide Ibata thank you for bringing this classic story to the modern day.
Disclaimer : I didn’t watch the first fruits basket anime and neither did I read the manga. So this review will be purely on Fruits Basket (2019). Second review ever and French reviewer, sorry if bad english, gambarimasu.
I’ll go through each point that made me love this anime that didn’t please me as much in the beginning. Firstly, let me tell you that this anime is perfect for shoujo lovers, BUT I’ll try throughout my review to interest the people who skip this only because it’s categorized as a shoujo.
Fruits basket is a simple shoujo story as we could have seen at first sight. Our
main girl, Tohru Honda helps certain people affected by a curse that makes them transform temporarily into a cute animal of the zodiac when they hug someone of the opposite sex. What is the big deal you would say?
Yeah doesn’t mean much as a problem for me also when I started this anime. The beginning is what you expect from a typical shoujo show. A cute and simple girl flirting with handsome males that makes jealous others random female students at school. And she starts to live with them from the very first episode! In the first episodes, you could find that all is going well without any strong pressure and you will probably think: “Ah, another shoujo/slice of life anime without interest”.
You could’ve never been so wrong.
As the anime and the story advances, you will discover a very dark and mysterious story behind all the characters, and it doesn’t limit at the mains ones! That’s one of the strongest point of Fruits Basket (2019), the characters are really well written. Theirs backstory are roughs, deeps, unpleasant, frightening but also sometimes happy and they made them as they are today. All their interactions with the other members of the cast are coherent and really well thought taking into account their own experiences, traumas, etc… even if the spectator doesn’t know them yet.
From a certain point in the anime, the mysteries about the past lives of some characters start to be revealed. And it’s done in a magnificent way. Trust me when I say you will need more tissues than you usual jerking week routine. More seriously, the way this anime conveys the feeling is incredible and is on par with Violet Evergarden as an example. Those few episodes really hit the spectator because for some characters, all the pressure built during the anime releases suddenly as a flow of beautiful flashbacks, hidden memories and sickening past situations that explain a lot about how they are behaving today. Even for the characters that were not hinted to have a dark past, we do get some breathtaking moments that will stay on your mind for a while after.
I also must highlight that Tohru is one of the strongest characters I’ve seen in this genre of anime. Being able to put on the truest smile you’ve seen and being constantly a flurry ball of cheerfulness for everybody she met while staying reasonably true is something truly admirable if we consider what she has been through.
Enough about the characters, the music/sound in Fruits Baskets (2019) serves perfectly its role. Accentuating the emotional moments when it should and give a relaxing tone when the story goes on. And God I love the endings, they did a really good job, the songs are very emotional and remind us at the end of every episode the feels that went through during the last 24-min (If you saw episode 24, you know how powerful it can be haha). Moreover, they are meaningful both in their lyrics and in their visual.
F-yeah we could do a complete review on the second opening about how Tohru is giving hope and peace for all the characters as we see the cast bring down their umbrellas one by one while the rain stops and the luminous sunrays lightens up their faces.
For a remake, the animation of Fruits Basket (2019) is so worth it. Not much to say about it, it’s just beautiful. The sceneries are great, the movements are fluid and the expressions on the characters faces really feel authentic and is giving a lot to the spectator.
Overall Fruits Basket (2019) is close to a masterpiece of its genre. A story of love, friendship but mainly a story about life itself. The hard times that we all had once at least can be found and reflected in this anime. Thus, the spectator can easily relate to the various tragic event and it’s so well done that even if he didn’t encounter them in his life, they will still get through him. As Tohru brings peace and joy to the people she loves, Fruits Basket (2019) brings us tears of understanding and a very strong feeling of compassion that makes us want to take into our arms every single character of the show (and it’s not because we only want to pet them after!).
If you loves shoujo or you seek anime like Violet Evergarden with strong emotional moments with beautiful music and smooth animations, you should 100% go for it RIGHT NOW.
And if you are not particularly interested by shoujo nor slice of life anime, why not give it a try? You might be surprised by how moving an anime about simple things in life can be!
Perhaps the difficulty of understanding yourself is equal to the amount you feel alive when doing so. Fruits Basket understands this. Character driven and dramatically told, it is able to embed its most important themes inside of the story and characters.
What starts as a girl finding out a secret quickly becomes understanding the reality they shoulder.
The Souma zodiac secret, transferring into one of the zodiac members when hugged by the opposite sex, is a means to tell a story. Of course Honda Tohru wouldn’t have forged a relationship with them without discovering it, but more importantly it contains single-handedly the most important theme the show
pertains—People are born with burdens. Each and every Souma carries some form of ache. But surprisingly enough, their issues are not foregin to what are real problems that real people have to overcome. Having no place to belong, holding resentment towards others because of one's own uncontrolled circumstances, parental issues, losing loved ones, not being able to get along with others. Each of these complications get conceptually visualized through very unreal means, but at their core are not unreal problems. It is this balance between a larger than life setting, but with a core focus on reality, that gives the show its charm.
Fruits Basket is about many things, however, and probably just as important as having burdens is about how to live and move on from them. This is mostly presented through a character, Honda Tohru. To the Soumas, she is exactly what they needed. Inspired by her late mother, Tohru is driven to be compassionate with a way of words. She learns to understand all of them because she understood her wonderful mother. She's kind, caring, and always seems to know what to say to them. She can inspire them with her words or actions, and manage to crack all of their shells to become friendly with all of them. Is she too perfect to be believable? Well, that is sort of her point, because she is in fact vulnerable and flawed, it just isn’t necessarily clear. Her “perfection” in a way feels its adding another layer to the show. Honda Tohru is extremely romanticized as a person, but that doesn’t mean she has no core issues. We learn she is naive, absent-minded, and often forgetful. But the show doesn’t necessarily present these flaws as a means to simply make her cuter. They are real with real consequences. She wants to believe the best in everybody, she wants the moments she loves to last forever, out of fear of not having a place to belong, again. This is only to a fault, because eventually—like everybody else, she will have to face reality. This is best displayed when she is called back to live with her Grandfather. But more important than any one issue the the show gives her is how she views herself. Even though most of the characters in the show (and probably most viewers) can admit she is doing all the right things, she doesn’t necessarily think she is living up to those expectations herself. This excerpt was one of my favorite moments of the show, an analogy Tohru uses to cheer up Kyo:
“If a person is a rice ball and what’s great about the person is a pickled plum, than maybe your plum is on your back! Maybe everyone is the world has plums on their backs, of all different shapes, colors, and sizes. But since they can’t see their backs, they can’t see the plums they have. They think they don’t have anything—that they’re just plain rice. Even though that is not true at all—even though they really do have a plum there. Maybe the reason we get jealous of others, is because other people’s backs are easy to see.”
It’s almost like this was written to describe how Tohru is projected to others. It's an important lesson, however, that we all have doubts about ourselves, no matter how perfect we may come off to others. This is how dynamics between characters in the show are formed. Through both understandings and misunderstandings about one another. Characters hiding things about them, or not being totally honest to themselves or others. It is surprisingly realistic.
The original Fruits Basket TV anime aired 18 years ago, so this rendition surges greatly in its animation/art/sound quality(though not necessarily the music pieces themselves can be compared, however). I can imagine, however, that there will be some loyal towards the original (just like some people are more loyal towards the original FMA and not Brotherhood) If you are looking to watch the series modern day and haven’t watched either, it is hard to not recommend the 2019 version. It is important to mention that just like the original Furuba, the way its assed will likely be polarized. Of course, like most drama anime, this series isn’t free from melodrama, or black/white conflicts every now and again. Not every character is well put together, and not every episode contains something special. But what I found always consistent about the show is how it remained faithful to its wonderful themes.
Fruits Basket is an impressively layered show. It manages to be both character driven and contain a relevant plot, all while never losing focus on its core themes. The characters, while possessing supernatural phenomena and having issues arise in a rather unusual way, contain familiar troubles that are very real. It's in that way the show tries to tell you no matter how distant a person feels from you—we all have to carry the burdens we get for simply existing.