“Center of Plot: Oh! Woe is me! No one understands me! I’m sad!
Tohru: I love you for who you are!
Everything is solved.”
More than six years ago (Dear God), I watched the original Fruits Basket knowing full well that it was a highly-regarded Shoujo series with tons of hardcore fans. I came out of it… less than thrilled, but still felt there was merit in the core message of optimism and friendship. Upon the heels of a reboot of the series, I was actually very intrigued; where could they go with a possible new direction? I intended to start it immediately as it aired, though as the present implies, that didn’t happen. I am here….now, so I’ll dive right in.
Let me reiterate: I viewed the original series over six years ago. My tendency to not rewatch anything ever (lest I want to update scores) makes it difficult to remember a series that I, at one point, felt not worth remembering. Watching the 2019 version, everything is different, yet everything is the same. The execution of portraying characters and their struggles is different, yet the foundation of optimism and empathy is the same.
On a personal level, watching this series “again” is a bit of an interesting perspective change. Six years ago, I was not as happy as I am now. I was far more cynical, apathetic, and distrustful of people. It was easy to squint at the happy-go-lucky manner of Tohru and trivialize it as mindless fluff for the sake of it. My current self finds the current Fruits Basket more charming in its pursuit of wholesomeness. So what if it’s over-the-top in its optimism? Hell, the world could always use an infusion of good tidings, considering how batshit it always tends to be.
With that, there’s not really much to say that hasn’t already been said about the original Fruits Basket, especially with only three episodes. An introductory period for Tohru, Kyo, and Yuki wrapped in the delightful exploits (and anxiety-ridden human behavior) of high school life. The “Yuki Prince Club” or whatever the hell they’re called is still annoying and the retorts from Tohru’s friends brings me back to the old days of anime humor (which I don’t care for). Rather, a lot of the writing in this updated format, similarly to the original, feels pretty benign.
There is more enjoyment in watching this type of series now, though to say that the series has improved on a technical level is difficult. The quoted statement of mine from my entry of the original, posted as a joke, still stands, and I believe it will continue to going forward. Sad boy is sad → Tohru says something super nice and wholesome → Sad boy becomes happy. The only difference is that I think what she says is cute, so it’s not as difficult to sit through. We’ll see how it goes once I’ve seen it done twenty times, but for the first few, it’s tolerable.
Something that can be shown as an improvement of modern times is undoubtedly art and animation. Let me be very clear: I hated the way the original anime looked. Big eyes, cheeky faces, and a very dull palette of colors made looking at everything more difficult than it needed to be. Here, it is vastly improved, with only Yuki (thus far) being a character I think looks somewhat out of place. There’s a noticeable lack in the more exuberant styles of sillier moments—something I’ve come to miss in modern anime—but for as nice as everything else looks, it’s not totally regrettable.
It’s a little surprising to admit, especially with my feelings towards the original, that Fruits Basket is something I look forward to continuing. Despite how similarly it establishes the empathetic connections of the original, there’s a certain finesse to this updated version that makes me feel warm. It helps that I’m not the cynical edgelord I used to be, but I digress. Maybe the series will surprise me, though I doubt it. For now, I’ll just keep my expectations at base level and see how far this undeniably fake lead character goes with her optimism and heart.
Thank you for your time. Have a great day.