Despite his prickly nature, Kyo is starting to find his way at school. This irritates Yuki, and Tohru tries to understand why. The two of them discuss different types of kindness, and Tohru begins to understand Yuki’s perception a little more. While she’s able to connect with both of them, it seems like the rivalry between the two boys isn’t going to go away overnight. Meanwhile, two more members of the zodiac arrive to see what all the new fuss is about.
Like Scott, I watched the original Fruits Basket many years ago, though my memory of it is pretty fuzzy at this point. It was a fine show then, and it feels like the remake has kept the core appeal of the series alive and well, along with some nice visual improvements. So far, the focus remains on the interactions between Tohru, Yuki and Kyo as our heroine tries to understand and possibly smooth over the rivalry between the two boys.
While the previous episode was centered mostly on Kyo, this time it’s Yuki’s turn to stand in the spotlight. We see how Kyo’s ability to make friends and socialize in spite of his abrasiveness gets under Yuki’s skin. We’ve all met someone whose positive traits rubbed us the wrong way, often because of jealously or because we see elements of ourselves that we aren’t confident in reflected back at us. With the added pressure of being the golden child in an insular magical family, this has left Yuki with plenty of anxieties and the sense that his own kindness is insincere.
What I like about these characters is that both Yuki and Kyo are introspective, and have at least some grasp of their own hangups and malfunctions. Tohru isn’t the core of that realization, but she is the person they can open up to about it, as the one outsider both of them can be friends with on their own terms. She’s well-adjusted enough to see the good in both of them, and I hope that future episodes bear out the strengthening friendship between all three of them.
Besides the ongoing effort to keep Kyo from getting his teeth kicked in every few hours, we also spend a couple scenes introducing two more members of the zodiac. Unfortunately, these were the two I remember irritating me the most in the original anime, so we’ll see how things go this time around. I hope you can stand Tohru having zero grasp of European languages, and a Japanese voice actress playing a boy with just… the most grating German speech.
He’s supposed to be the ‘cute’ one, but damn, he looks like such a PUNK.
My wariness of those two kids aside, I don’t have anything really negative to say about the show at this stage. It’s well-directed, the characters are engaging, and the writing is sharp and funny. If I have any critiques, it’s that Tohru seems to come off as a bit dim, in addition to being clumsy. I get that part of it is her innocence and focus on other people, but when you can trip down the stairs or forget to hold down a tarp just because you’re thinking too hard, you come across as less adorable and more of a hazard.
Fruits Basket 2019 is off to a strong start, and seems to be carrying on the heart and spirit of its predecessor. It’s fun to watch the characters get to know one another, and their hijinks are worth a good chuckle. I’m excited to see how the update handles the introduction of the other Somas, and how they deliver on the relationships between everyone involved.