Fruits Basket 1st Season
Series: Fruits Basket
Original Run: April 6, 2019 – September 21, 2019
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Romance, Shoujo, Slice of Life, Supernatural
When high school student Tohru Honda’s mother dies in a car crash, Tohru decides to live with her grandfather. Renovations on the house and unsupportive and unkind family members cause her to move out of her grandfather’s house temporarily and, since she has nowhere else to go, Tohru begins living in a tent and supporting herself. That is, until she finds a home in the least likely of places, inhabited by her popular classmate Yuki Soma and his cousin Shigure. The first day Tohru moves into the Soma house, an orange haired teenager crashes through the roof of her new bedroom and starts attacking Yuki. This newcomer is Kyo, Yuki and Shigure’s aggressively angry cousin. Tohru tries to stop the fight by holding him, causing him to transform into an orange cat in front of her.
The Somas live with a curse. Twelve members of the family (not including Kyo, who is the cat) are possessed by spirits of the Chinese zodiac and turn into their zodiac animal when they are weak, under stress, embarrassed, or when hugged by someone of the opposite sex.
When Tohru discovers the Somas’ secret, she promises not to tell and is allowed to keep living with them. Although the Somas’ curse is deeper and darker than Tohru realized, her presence and her acceptance of them soon becomes a large, positive influence on those possessed by the zodiac. She sets out to break the curse and, on the way, meets and discovers the Soma’s vengeful zodiac spirits. Each has a different personality, just like the animals in the Chinese zodiac. One by one, Tohru’s existence changes the Soma clan’s lives forever.
I can’t begin to describe the feelings I had when I first found out that Fruits Basket was getting a remake – I felt excited and apprehensive in equal measure. Fruits Basket was one of my absolute favorite anime when I was in high school that I always treasured. In the age of nostalgia, just about everything is getting a remake, and I wasn’t sure if a remake could do the original justice while also providing something fresh for old fans. Even so, I decided to go ahead and watch the series when it started airing worldwide and I can’t believe I can actually find myself loving the new version more than the original.
The story centers on a cheerful high school girl named Tohru Honda, who had recently lost her mother in a car accident, and her relationship with the mysterious Soma family. The Somas are cursed by the Chinese zodiac, with certain members transforming into each of the zodiac signs. The story draws from the legend of how the zodiac was formed, and how the thirteenth zodiac, the cat, was left out.
Fruits Basket has always stood out as an exceptional slice of life manga with supernatural elements. Every character has internal struggles, and they find some healing from the kind Tohru. Tohru is still healing her own wounds from the loss of her mother but still manages to have a deep love of life from the values that her mother instilled in her, which she spreads to the people around her. The series was always sweet and emotional, and it’s one that I’ve never been able to forget.
I found myself criticizing aspects of the new version initially, understandably apprehensive and a little judgmental, namely the art and the slight changes to events in each episode. However, I came to enjoy the fresh new art style and the change in the story events to more closely follow the story in the manga. The new season also adds so much more depth to several of the characters who were never given much backstory in the original, Tohru’s mother and best friends Saki Hanajima and Arisa Uotani. They were both always fun and funny supporting characters, and there was always some discussion about how Tohru and her mother changed their lives, but it was never really shown. The first season closes those gaps and adds so much story for these important characters, their episodes were the ones where I found myself crying the most.
The season ends in the same place that the original did, though the build-up to the climax was far more cohesive than what we were given in the original. Where the original anime toned down some of the drama and instead focused more on the rom-com aspects of the story, the new series brings the emotional drama to the forefront while maintaining the same lighthearted rom-com humor. I was so happy with how this remake turned out and have been eagerly awaiting the second season, excited to see this story finally be completed and properly adapted. It is absolutely worth a watch for both new and old fans alike, and I think that most people will be able to relate to at least one character. It’s a timeless classic that will I’m so glad to see revitalized for newer audiences.