Fruits Basket (2019) – Ep. 8

Maybe it’s just me but it’s a little odd how Fruits Basket went straight to New Year’s and skip Christmas entirely. New Year’s is admittedly the far more important holiday in Japan but still, I would love to see how Tohru and the Somas spend their Christmas. Imagine Yuki and Kyo struggling on finding the right gift when Tohru is the kind of the person who just wants to keep on giving. That’s one anime-original episode I wouldn’t mind seeing but I get why the 2019 adaptation is unlikely to take such a path. The original story is already long and evocative enough. Well, that and taking too many liberties is kind of why Takaya pressed the reboot button in the first place…

Anyway, it’s New Year’s and apparently, the Soma family celebrates it in lavish fashion, gathering the whole clan and even hold a private banquet attended by the Zodiacs. Yuki and Kyo however aren’t terribly keen to return home. Yuki has been trying to put distance between himself and his family in the first place and doesn’t want to face Akito. Kyo isn’t even allowed to attend the banquet and he also doesn’t want to run into Kagura (really, can you blame him?). The biggest drawback however is that that Tohru would be left all alone for New Year’s. Worse is that this is the first time she’d be celebrating the holiday without her mother. It just doesn’t sit well for the boys.

In a way, this episode plays out like a reversal of Episode 5. Instead of Tohru, it’s Yuki and Kyo who must follow through on an established commitment and like Tohru, they find that they’d rather be where they actually consider “home”. Some viewers might find this redundant. I myself got a slight case of Déjà vu once the same insert song from Episode 5’s dramatic climax played again. That said, the point being made here is one worth stressing. Tohru wants to be with Yuki and Kyo but that dependence for happiness really runs both ways. And if that wasn’t made clear before, it’ll certainly come across in this episode.

It is a little baffling how long it takes for Yuki and Kyo to realize the loneliness and pain Tohru must actually be feeling. Really, her saying “I’ll be fine. Don’t worry about me” or anything along those lines ought to be treated as a possible red flag. Then again, that’s Tohru for you. She’d rather make the issue about anything but herself and, not that she’s actively doing this but she is far better at hiding her feelings than one would think. To Yuki and Kyo’s credit, they’re mad at themselves for not realizing sooner. They’ve known Tohru for four months now but now they realize that such an amount of time doesn’t mean that they actually know Tohru. It’ll be a while until they can read her like a book and until then, they can’t afford to make a mistake like they almost did here.

Oh Shigure, you sly dog (literally). It’ll be a while before you learn what exactly he’s up to but his dialogue in this episode does reveal that he wants Akito to see how one reaps what they sow. The truth is that he actually wanted Yuki and Kyo to skip the celebration. He only pretends to uphold tradition because he needs the two to come their own decision. Once the two do, he doesn’t even make an effort to stop them. And while he does get enjoyment from seeing the two freeze up at the idea of Tohru meeting a burglar, it’s still a calculated move on his part to bring up such a possibility.

The real MVP however is Saki. I do find it strange how neither she nor Arisa choose to spend New Year’s with Tohru. Sure, you have Tohru decline their offers at the beginning of the episode but that really wouldn’t stop them. They really only stop because the script needs Yuki and Kyo to have their big moment and in that regard, it feels kind of contrived. That doesn’t stop the part where Saki convinces Yuki and Kyo to be with Tohru from being any less effective though. I like how she scares off bullies with her psychic(?) abilities but moments such as this are what really defines how much Tohru means to her.


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