I enjoyed the original Fruit Basket anime.
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 Shoma 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 Shoma 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 Shoma 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 Shoma 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 Shoma members are also great. Every Shoma member is unique in terms of personality and seeing them interact with Thoru and the other Shoma members was fascinating due to Fruits Basket 2019 outstanding character chemistry.
The series also manages fantastically characterise every Shoma 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 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.