A Masterpiece – Fruits Basket: The Final Anime Review

“Hundreds of years ago, the Chinese Zodiac spirits and their god swore to stay together eternally. United by this promise, the possessed members of the Souma family shall always return to each other under any circumstances. Yet, when these bonds shackle them from freedom, it becomes an undesirable burden—a curse. As head of the clan, Akito is convinced that he shares a special connection with the other Soumas. While he desperately clings to this fantasy, the rest of the family remains isolated and suppressed by the fear of punishment.

Tooru Honda, who has grown attached to the Soumas, is determined to break the chains that bind them. Her companionship with the family and her friends encourages her to move forward with lifting the curse. However, due to confounding revelations, she struggles to find the tenacity to continue her endeavors. With time slowly withering away, Tooru contends with an uncertain future in hopes of reaching the tranquility that may lie beyond all this commotion.” – MAL Synopsis

Episodes: 13 – Studio: TMS Entertainment – Dub/Sub – Aired: Spring 2021 – Finished – MAL Rating: 9.09 – Genres: Slice of LifeComedySupernaturalDramaRomanceShoujo

I have a lot to say about the finale of Fruits Basket. But Before I do, I had a suspicion when I first started watching the first season a few months ago. That I could potentially be watching something really good that I would really enjoy. My suspicion was found correct pretty early in that season but by the time I wrapped up the second season I knew that this show is in masterpiece territory. I’m always going to value the journey just as much or maybe even more than the ending. So even if this season ended up being “meh”. I would still love it for everything that’s led up to this point. And I still think it could be in that masterpiece conversation. Not only was the journey to this point absolutely incredible. Words can’t express how happy and emotional I am that it stuck the landing perfectly. This season is beautiful in so many ways. I loved it.

We all love a sympathetic villain. Media is filled with them. Akito has been framed as the villain this whole series up until this season. I really thought that there was little this show could do to redeem her. I was sorely wrong. I loved to hate Akito last season. I actually love Akito this season. And it’s funny I say that cause there are different forms of love and compassion. A big one that’s touched on this season between Akito and the zodiacs and also between mainly Tohru and Kyou, but also somewhat Tohru and the zodiacs as well. Is, do you care out of true love and compassion? Or do you care out of pity? That was the biggest thing that made me kind of pitty Akito while also loving how well crafted her character and this story is. Just like every child in this world. She was born into circumstances she didn’t choose. She was molded by the adults around her. Her father treated her as not only a god with high importance but as a physical living sign that what he and her mother (Ren) had was real. The attendants treated her like a god and enabled that complex. Her own mother treated her as a competition for the love of Akira. She despised her and went well and beyond her way to let her know that she did for it. Then the zodiacs were born with this chain of attachment to her that they can’t help. Akito never experienced true, genuine, unconditional love from anyone. And that’s not to excuse all the harm she’s caused. There’s no excusing that. But that realization and her subsequent meltdown was heartbreaking. She is just as much of a victim of horrible parenting and adults around her as everyone else in this show. And I’m so happy that she was able to move forward past all of that and really begin to live a life that she feels is actually her.

In my review for season 2, I talked a fair bit about how this show delves into bad parenting. I’m blessed to have had a very loving mother raise me in a loving household. There were definitely problems and lingering effects of her raising me. But as a whole, I love my mother and she did her best. Seeing the adults in this show only makes me more appreciative of what I had. The adults in this series feel so damn true to life and the varying degrees of emotional abuse are very real. A big thing highlighted in this season is talking to or around children about things that you really shouldn’t. The adults may think they don’t understand, and to an extent, they don’t, but children are sponges. They internalize everything around them. You truly have to be careful what you say and do around kids. You never know the influence it can have on them as they mature. Like Ren and Akira did to Akito. Or that damn attendant giving Akito an empty box after Akiras death and saying it was special. Or how Machi was treated as a black sheep and persecuted by her own family because she was too “plain” yet she only ever did what he mother wanted of her. The scene where Kyou and Tohru’s grandad discuss why Tohru is the way she is and talks the way she does was heartbreaking. She internalized those adults saying she’s nothing like her father. She internalized seeing her mother grieve over her father and how much she needed him. So she made a concerted effort to turn into her father. To talk like he did and behave as he did. So that realization that I’ve had that. This character of Tohru that I love everything about. Even if now it’s the real genuine her. It was born from a persona that she felt the need to put on being as close to her mother as possible. To fill that void for her mom. That should never have to be. This is not to say Kyouka was a bad parent. She’s far from it. But that realization just emphasized how perceptive children are. And how even a good parent can unintentionally, for lack of a better word, scar their children.

I don’t think I’ve ever wished for peace and happiness for a character as much as I do for Tohru. Seeing her internally struggle over something that really shouldn’t be a struggle at all was tragic. Tohru is the poster child for a momma’s girl. In season one everything she said basically ended in some sort of spiel about her mom. She really loves her mom with all her heart. So it’s tragic seeing her believe that she only has room for one person in her heart. It’s clear as day she is in love with Kyou but she feels like that in a way she’s going to forget that love for her mother if she accepts her love for Kyou. It’s such a foreign thing for me but also really intriguing to see that conflict play out and resolve itself. I’m so damn happy that she got her happy ending and that she stayed true to her character till the end. It would have been incredibly easy and understanding for Tohru to finally snap at Akito during that scene in the rain. The fact that she not only didn’t but in her ultimate power of friendship (and an unfortunate landslide) made Akito finally show genuine compassion and concern for someone. It’s incredible. Everything leading up to that interaction between the two of them and the eventual aftermath was beautiful and sad. They’re more alike than I would’ve thought. Tohru even has doubts about what type of love she has for Kyou. Whether it’s pure or out of pitty. I loved all of that and once again I’m beyond happy she worked through those feelings and got a happy ending. Also as always, Luara Bailey is the best of the best.

Kyou’s struggles this season were also really sad. Ever since last season he’s been noticeably distancing himself from Tohru. Last season we found out about Yuki and Kyouka’s connection and there were hints here and there about Kyou and her connection. Damn, I wasn’t expecting it to be that sad. If I could hug the dude and say it’s not your fault I would. For someone to live their life as the scapegoat. To make himself the scapegoat for the person he loves mother’s death is cruel. It wasn’t his fault yet he can’t even bear to love or even let Tohru love him because he feels responsible. I mean it doesn’t help that her last words were very haunting and she unintentionally verbalized only part of her thought process, but still. When Tohru told him if that’s what her mom said and felt like on her death bed with her last breathe then I don’t care. His response of “I’m disappointed in you” hurt me, cause god damn that is one of the heaviest things someone you admire and love can ever say to you. And I’m glad it was Yuki to eventually put him in his place about that and make him realize something that as a viewer we’ve known for the longest. It’s not his fault and as a proxy, it’s not Yuki’s fault either for the way he was treated. So it was so sweet seeing him fully confess to Tohru and them embrace their love for each other. It also felt great seeing him confront his father and ultimately realize another truth that all this time his deadbeat father was projecting onto him. His mother’s depression and death weren’t his faults either. I loved those scenes and I loved to see him come to those realizations. It was like a giant weight got lifted off his shoulders, and he deserves as much happiness as possible.

Shigure is in every sense of the word, a motherfucker. He disgusted me this season. He’s always been a twisted person. As the series progressed we got to see a lot more of that wickedness he harbors unfold as he played with people, Akito specifically, and their emotions. He’s never been shy to admit it and he even says it himself this season. He’s like a child still. It’s also no secret that he feels for Akito. Now how he feels has always been up in the air. At first, it seems like he loves her, and then it starts to feel like he hates her. The truth of the matter is he’s so in love with her that he hates her at times. All his actions in the past seasons start to make sense now. He’s a lovesick child that wants Akito to be only his. Yet Akito in a way belongs to all the other zodiacs and vice versa. It’s especially telling the way he speaks to Kureno. With how close Kureno was kept to Akito because of his curse-breaking that jealously can’t help but seep out verbally and uh literally. I’m not shocked Akito has slept with Kureno. I wouldn’t be shocked if she had slept with the rest of the older zodiacs either. But for Shigure to be so jealous and full of vindictiveness to and for Ren to reciprocate those feelings for her daughter and them to sleep together is so so low. It made me look at Shigure in a different less favorable light. I kind of hate to say because of how toxic their relationship was. He says some downright hurtful things to Torhu and Akito this season. Truthfully his dialogue was great but it hurt. Him telling Ren that he slept with her because he envisions that’s how Akito would look like if she was raised as a woman. Or him asking a sobbing Akito if she pushed Tohru off the cliff. He was really on demon timing this season. But I’m glad Akito and him ended up together. Despite the toxicity, they loved each other beyond the zodiac curse. I’m more so glad for Akito than him. That she found someone that loves her unconditionally but it’s hard for me to condone their relationship cause of the prior toxicity. The scene where she describes how much she wants to be with him was such great writing. It’s rare to see such raw and descriptive language used like that. Very refreshing. And like I’m gonna say for this whole cast, I’m glad they could move on for the better.

I’m happy that Yuki fully confessed the feelings he came to terms with last season about Tohru. That was very sweet and he made the point too that in a way she was really the “mom” figure in all of the zodiac’s lives. Words can’t describe how much I was rooting for Yuki x Machi. All of their scenes are so sweet and they’re a perfect match for each other.

Momiji was great this season. I want to say he gained a lot of maturity along with the height but looking back he’s always been pretty mature. The scene where his curse breaks is beautiful and the mature way he handled it and talked to Akito deserves a round of applause. He’s seen the people he cares about and he himself has endured so much because of the curse and specifically Akito. It was nice to see him handle that situation well and eventually end up comforting her outside of the hospital. By far the most mature thing he did this season was to come to terms with his love for Tohru. Realize he loved loved her. Realize she loves him like a friend or family and that she is truly in love with Kyou. And he accepts that fully without any conflict. That’s hard to do. He really impressed me this season.

I feel bad for Kureno. He had a choice to make years ago when his curse broke. Stay by Akito’s side or live free. We can all agree (Hell even Akito agrees) that he made the wrong one when he decided to stay. He caused a lot of pain for himself and Akito by staying. He plays a big part in fostering her god complex and utter desire to feel loved and in control of all of the zodiacs. Him staying is a very pivotal moment in their lives and if he leaves at that time. She might not have turned out the way she did. Once again though I’m glad he got his happy ending and got his feelings with Outani out in the air.

Rin didn’t really do much outside of the first few episodes. But with the reveal about Ren and her treatment of Akito and making Akito be raised as a boy. Coupled with her strong desire for the zodiacs to love her. It makes a lot of sense that not only does she hate women but she also hates the fact that Rin and Haru were in love. Her animosity towards Rin was contextualized well, but it’s no less disgusting what she put her through. Rin says what I think a lot of people watching may think. Which basically is “are we just supposed to forgive her after all she’s done, am I wrong for feeling this way?” I love how Haru comforts her. Their relationship is so pure. But I mean I’ll say it again. What Akito did will always be unforgivable but now they’re all free, moving on is the healthiest course of action. Rin and Haru have been through a lot. This newfound freedom to actually be together is great for them.

So just on that thought of moving on. The scenes where everyone’s curse breaks and they can finally hold and be held by the opposite sex brought a tear to my eye. That unwanted burden being lifted off them is the ultimate victory and the first step to them on getting past this section of their life and being as happy as they can be. After seeing what all of the zodiacs have endured because of this curse. Happy crying was the only thing I could do. Seeing their rush of emotions and newfound loneliness but freedom was beautiful. On that note of the curse. Seeing the full true story of how it began. How a gesture has done out of love turned into a curse. It was beautifully tragic. I think those words sum up this season perfectly. I will forever give this show its flowers for being one of the most intense pieces of media I’ve ever watched using purely drama. So many moments from the series as a whole have such, thick, well-crafted tension. The scene between Ren and Akito, Akito confronting Tohru, is all just brilliant.

So yeah this review is long enough. Animation, music, all of that is still top tier this season. The soundtrack especially adds a lot to the tense scenes and the more emotional scenes. That tense piano melody will forever be stuck in my head. Fruits Basket is a masterpiece plain and simple. I’ve been happy watching anime. Sad watching anime. Angry watching anime. All of the possible emotions I’ve felt watching anime. This one though. There’s something really special about how this anime made me feel. This story is so well written and fleshed out. The characters, their situations, and their dialogue are beautifully written in a way that makes them feel real. I think that’s what truly makes this special. All the emotion, all the trauma, it all feels true to life which makes me empathize with it so much. So to that kudos to the author of the manga for her amazing work. I couldn’t be overwhelmingly satisfied that this anime caught my eye a few months back. This journey with these characters has been a great pleasure. All I can say is Fruits Basket is a masterpiece.

Fruits Basket: The Final – 10/10

Notes – This anime was so good. Usually, I’d get into a little bit of a funk after watching something this great and not knowing what to watch next. Thankfully I can go right back to Gintama! It might be a couple of weeks before the next review but I’m not trying to rush through anything and just enjoy it. My reviews have been progressively getting longer which isn’t intentional but It’s been really fun to talk about these anime that I love a little bit more extensively. Regardless, thank you all who read these!

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