Oh boy, this episode…
Looking at this episode as a whole, it’s hard to imagine that Part A and Part B are part of the same unit. The tonal difference between them is practically night and day. Not that I find it jarring, it surprisingly doesn’t feel that way, but the whiplash sure is there.
Undoubtedly, Part A is the more humorous and relaxed of the two. A new school year has begun and with that, Momiji and Hatsuharu have now joined Tohru’s school as first year students. These two are still supportive characters but having them in the school will allow them to appear more organically. No need for any surprise visits like before. A major highlight of their first day is Momiji deciding to wear a girls’ uniform albeit slightly altered with a pair of shorts instead of skirt. Yuki and Kyo disapprove but the one who really takes issue is the student council president Takei Makoto (Jun Fukishima/Kyle Herbert). I’ll admit that this scene feels like it was written 20 years ago but to be fair, Takaya seems to be in favor of Momiji’s decision. Both Tohru and Haru come to Momiji’s defense with Haru snapping into Dark mode to argue with the president. It’s a pretty entertaining shouting match too; the animation and the voice actors (sub and dub) do a great job in making the scene as over the top as possible, especially towards the end.
It’s when Tohru has a chance encounter with Akito in Part B does the tone take a complete 180. A little surprising to see Akito make an appearance but his reason for showing up on school grounds makes sense. As the head of the Soma family, he would naturally attend Momiji and Haru’s opening ceremony. Add onto the fact that he could run into Yuki, Kyo, and even Tohru and he has even more incentive to show up. Besides, it was a matter of when not if he and Tohru would finally cross paths.
As is generally the case, there’s a lot I want to say about Akito but for the sake of spoilers, I’m going to have save it for later. What I can say is his first real appearance in the show is simply fantastic. Having seen how violent he can get in Hatori’s flashback a few episodes ago, it’s unnerving to see him act so composed and polite in front of Tohru. At any point, you can imagine him snapping and like Tohru, you feel you can’t let your guard down around him. The closest we get to feeling Akito’s wrath is when Yuki appears to confront him. Apparently, Akito is still hung up about Yuki’s decision to bail on the New Year’s banquet, so much so he threatens to take him back home for disciplining. The anime is pretty vague about how Akito treated Yuki in the past but clearly, it must’ve been harrowing and not something Yuki wants to relive.
Even though Yuki intended on keeping Tohru safe from Akito, it’s Tohru who ends up performing the rescue. Whatever danger Tohru could’ve been in, the real victim is clearly Yuki. That Tohru actually pushes Akito away from Yuki is really surprising, downright atypical given her personality. It’s not the most aggressive push but the fact that Tohru even resorted to force at all really says a lot about how troubled she is with the way Akito is treating Yuki and how much she wants to save Yuki from such a distressing situation.
The aftermath provides some much needed clarity regarding the supposed “game” Akito and Shigure are playing and how it involves Tohru. Akito expresses confidence that Yuki will continue to fear him and that Tohru is incapable of changing that. Meanwhile, Shigure (as well as Hatori actually) seem to think otherwise, confident that Tohru will prove Akito wrong. In fact, you very much see Tohru’s ability to heal in effect at the end of this episode. As soon as Akito leaves, she invites Yuki to hang out with her and their friends for a game of badminton. By the time the game is over, Akito is hardly the first thing on Yuki’s mind. All he can think about instead is how happy he is.
At the time I’m writing this post, another episode has aired and it appears that Fruits Basket Season 1 is going to continue into the Summer 2019 season. If Season 1 was just one cour though, I can see this episode serving as a season finale. It doesn’t necessarily resolve any plot thread, the story most certainly has a long way to go, but it is extremely satisfying. Tohru and Akito’s first encounter leaves the door open for future events and the episode ends on an uplifting note by highlighting how Tohru affects Yuki’s outlook for the better. Still, I’m really glad that Fruits Basket is still airing for the time being and let me tell you: I’m really excited to see a certain someone who is about to appear next episode.
Thanks for reading!
Consider Supporting My Blog:
Follow Me On: