To kick things off for this blog, I’ve decided to review a few anime coming out this season, the first of which being this year’s much anticipated Fruit’s Basket reboot. My history with this series is pretty much nonexistent. Sure, I’ve heard this and that over the years and know the general hook, but I’ve never read the original manga or seen the first anime. But given how it’s fans seen to hold it in high regard, I decided to give it a glance.
So far, it looks like it was a good decision.
For those not in the know, Fruits Basket tells the story of Tohru Honda, a girl who, after her mother’s death, finds herself living in a tent in the woods. One day while exploring the land near her makeshift home, she happens across the house of the Soma Clan, the family of school heart-throb Yuki Soma. This first episode deals mostly with Tohru’s reasons for living in the tent and her budding relationship with Yuki. It’s fairly light on the supernatural stuff until the end, except for this great scene that implies Yuki has an army of rats.
If I had to sum up my feelings about this episode in one word, it’d be charming. The colors are bright and so are the characters—Well, Yuki’s a little sullen, but Tohru is a breath of fresh air and positivity. I really enjoy Tohru’s personality. The way she goes out and does. Her living in the tent isn’t solely a ploy for sympathy, a way for the writer to make the audience feel for her, but also a demonstration of her resolve to make her own way in the world without burdening others with her struggles. I love that she’s not a passive punching bag to be saved by romance.
Speaking of romance, let’s talk about Yuki. I imagine we’ll get to know more about him as the show goes on. This episode presents him as a distant and mysterious kinda guy. As the family becomes less mysterious, he’ll probably open up a little more. That even seemed to be happening a little by episode’s end. However, I do like that we got a reason for these two to like each other. Yuki’s awe at Tohru’s strength in her misfortune, and Tohru’s interest in him sparking after he echoes her mother is a nice departure from “oh, she’s a girl, I’m a boy, and maybe I walked in on her naked.” But maybe I just watch too much trash.
Also, I love, love Tohru’s two friends.
What I don’t love, however, are Dead Anime Moms. First casualty of the season here. Might not count being a reboot and all but it’s new to me. I know teens with parents are harder to write because any good parents would put an end to their shenanigans, killing the plot, though that doesn’t mean I have to like it. She has some personality at least. Still, she’s idealized to a certain extent.
In a similar vein, I’m a little wary of this whole Tohru-likes-cooking-and-cleaning-totally-not-because-she’s-a-girl-but-because-of-Backstory-Reasons™. I’ll give the show a pass on this one since it goes out of its way to show that there are girls around who don’t enjoy housework.
On the more technical side of things, nothing really sticks out. It looks good in a conventional way to my untrained eye. I do really like how colorful everything is. Oh, and towards the very end there’s this smoke effect that sticks out in a weird way. Nothing else really comes to mind.
For voice actors, I can’t say much about the Japanese cast. I watched the Dub. I heard they kept the voice actors from the first anime’s dub which I’m sure made old fans extremely happy. You can kinda tell. There are no bad performances here. Laura Bailey returns as Tohru Honda. She does a great job conveying her bright and upbeat personality which really shines through in comedic moments. I was a little more eh during more emotional moments, but I think that’s more the script than anything—Tohru opens up to the Somas pretty quickly. Sometimes it felt a bit like she was reading off her character motivations.
Eric Vale is Yuki Soma. I don’t have much to say about him. Yuki’s voice has this sorta breathiness? to it like a loud whisper. Which is a choice. I find myself not hating it. Shigure sounds like a mentor character. Catboy sounds like a ruffian. Everybody’s fine. Extra props to Jamie Marchi as the head Yuki Soma fangirl.
Will I be returning next week? Definitely. It’s a fun show. The character interactions are engaging, and the visuals were great. I can’t really give my feelings about the more supernatural aspects of the plot as they only show up near the episode’s end, so look for that next week. All in all, I think this season’s off to a good start. If I can say that after one episode of the first show, anyhow.
Watching this one.