I look forward to the day Fruits Basket (2019) reveals Momiji’s backstory. Withholding Fruits Basket spoilers is tough already but Momiji I especially can’t wait to fully comment on. As much I enjoy his early appearances, I only truly grew to love the character the more we got to know him.
Perhaps I should be glad then that Fruits Basket is starting to let us in more about this character. White Day is upon our characters and as a gift to her, Momiji invites Tohru on a trip to an inn owned by the Soma family. In the middle of the conversation, Shigure interjects to ask Tohru about a payment she has yet to make to the school for an upcoming field trip. As Tohru dodges the question, the Somas soon realize that she hasn’t been able to pay because of the chocolates she bought for Valentine’s Day.
This naturally troubles everyone. Kyo especially is on the verge of exploding, thinking Tohru deserves to use her earnings for herself. Surprisingly, Momiji comes along with some insight by recalling a story he recently read in school. In the story, a traveler is tricked into giving everything she has to strangers and demons she meets throughout her journey. Her selflessness and gullibility ultimately results in her death. Though the text treats its protagonist as a fool, Momiji thinks it’s admirable the traveler wants to help everyone she meets and he finds it’s sad that such a quality was taken advantage of. Using that interpretation, he has Kyo and Yuki ponder over Tohru. Like the traveler, Tohru is generous to a fault but is being so generous really a bad thing? Sure, she could get taken advantage of but that’s where the people who care about her come in. It’s up to them for such kindness to be returned. The fact that it is Momijji who leads Kyo and Yuki on this meditation is something to keep in mind. Clearly, there’s more to this boy than Fruits Basket lets on.
While on the subject of giving back, here’s something that might be fun to ponder over: which boy gave Tohru the best White Day gift? Momiji’s invitation to the inn is undoubtedly the most lavish but because it is lavish, Tohru is a little overwhelmed at first. Conversely, Yuki gives Tohru a new hair ribbon. It’s a modest gift but something like that perfectly suits Tohru and it’s something she can accept without feeling bad. Part of me does want to call Kyo a cheapskate. I mean, his gift is just tagging along for the trip and tolerating Yuki for a day. Then again, when it comes to Tohru, the thought really would count. Just look how happy she is in when Kyo said he’ll go. The less we talk about Shigure’s gift the better.
The actual trip to the inn itself is just fine. It doesn’t really advance the story a whole lot but it still has its fair share of jokes and tidbits. The most baffling of them all is learning that Momiji is actually 15 years old, the same age as Haru. Anime characters have a habit of not looking their age but I really do have to suspend my disbelief in Momiji’s case. 15?! In hindsight, Momiji’s age does make his efforts to cling onto Tohru pretty awkward. No wonder Yuki and Kyo got mad at him for trying to bathe with her. At least Tohru’s reaction is priceless. I’m with you, Tohru. I’m with you.
Appearing in this episode is the inn’s proprietress, Okami Soma (Sachiko Kojima/Julie Mayfield). Admittedly, she’s a very minor character; so much so that I actually forgot about her until I watched this episode and its 2001 equivalent. Brief though her appearance may be, it’s still a very amusing one. I laughed pretty hard when she kept apologizing for just about everything, even stuff she has nothing to do with. This episode does treat her a little more seriously though when she reveals to Tohru that she’s the mother of the Soma possessed by the Monkey zodiac. Aware of who Tohru is, Okami admits that she was worried about there being an outsider in on the family secret though her worries do get assuaged now that she has met the girl. There’s something to keep in mind. Even non-cursed members of the family are interested in Tohru…
I do kind of miss the additions the 2001 anime had. The little song Tohru and Momiji sang together in the hotspring? Gone. The addition of Okami’s equally apologetic cousin who works at the inn as its head chef? Also gone. The 2019 anime functions perfectly fine without these touches but I think they did add to Fruits Basket‘s charm so it’s a huge shame to see them gone.
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