Anime Anime Reviews Review

Rolling Review – Fruits Basket 2019 (04)

You guys, I am on team dog one hundred percent.
I did rather enjoy the background gag, though.

Episode Synopsis:

Kyo’s visitor reveals herself to be Kagura, a member of the Soma family and Kyo’s would-be fiancée. After locating the object of her affection – who did not notify her of his recent trip off the grid – she flies into a violent rage somewhere between a dissociative state and a psychotic episode, beating Kyo to the edge of consciousness and taking a few of Shigure’s panel doors down with him. Much of the episode is spent with Tohru learning about Kagura, whether it be by explanations from the established characters or by Kagura introducing herself and elaborating on the depths of her feelings for Kyo, cultivated since kindergarten (and, evidently, not reciprocated).

I have no words.

These feelings drive her both to cook literally every foodstuff in the house, in anticipation of feeding them to Kyo, and, shortly thereafter, to judo-throw him through the table (ruining the entire spread) when he refuses to eat any of it. Things calm down after Tohru has some one-on-one chats with the opposing parties, and Kagura returns to wherever she came from the next morning. We get some more insight into Kyo, and Tohru learns which Zodiac animal Kagura is linked with before the cliffhanger kicks in.

Review:

Trivia: Kagura, like Kyo, moves her mouth to speak in animal form, while Yuki and Shigure do not.

Can we talk about how trash Kyo is at martial arts, though? Spending four months training with a legitimate martial arts master has not only failed to make him a credible threat to Yuki (who has, presumably, not been engaging in such intense practice), it also hasn’t prepared him in the slightest to avoid the onslaught of the psychotic rage-storm that is trying to marry him – even when he tries to get serious.

Notably, one of the only two times that he actually does try to get serious is when Kagura blurts out a term that Tohru is still unfamiliar with, suggesting that Kyo (and perhaps each of the other chosen) has some “true” physical form that we haven’t seen yet. Of further significance is the revelation that the chosen do not trigger each other’s transformations. Shigure is stopped short of observing, in polite company, that the practical aspects of propagating their family line are somewhat awkward, but it is worth noting that not all physical contact acts as a trigger; the Soma family tree could easily be large enough to allow for a dozen dead ends at any given time (for all I know, not being familiar with the original beyond the basic concept); and Kyo, as the chosen of the zodiac outcast, may not actually be related to the rest of them (especially if his hair color is anything to go by – and who at Crunchyroll decided to translate last week’s jab by Uo of “orenji-atama” [literally: orange-head] as “carrots” and not “copper-top?”).

Oh – before I forget: I guess tigers don’t count as cats? It strikes me as odd to think that anyone would make a big deal about the common cat when there’s already a feline representative in the zodiac – which is why I was shocked to discover (when researching “the year of the cat” as a dimly remembered song lyric), that the tiger and the common cat are not only both in the Vietnamese version of the zodiac, they’re adjacent (because the cat takes the place of the rabbit, and not the rat). ::shrugs::

Anyway, later on in the episode, Kyo blocks one of Kagura’s strikes only to be spin-checked into Shigure’s 50-inch flatscreen, which raises the question: What year is this?

The original manga began serialization in mid-1998, and, as such, could easily have been set in what was then the present day if Tohru was entering the first year of Japanese high school (10th grade, by U.S. reckoning) having been born after April 1st (Japan’s school entry cut-off date) in 1982 and before February 13, 1983 (when the year of the Dog ended and the year of the Pig/Boar began) [EDIT: by which I mean December 31, 1982, when the year of the Dog ended in Japan, which hasn’t cared about the actual Chinese calendar in over a century]. Today being in mid-2019, twenty-one years later, just means that we’re still three years away from the second full zodiac cycle.  I suspect that what we’re watching now is set in 2010, twelve years after the original, though I might accept 2022 if nothing particularly anachronistic happens (or 2021 if her birth date is pushed back to February or March of 2006, but that seems unlikely).

Summary:

Kagura, though. Like, she’s somewhat amusing, but I’m a bit put off by her character archetype (does she count as yandere? I’m not sure what the subtleties are). I’m enjoying the show as a whole pretty well – production values are high, characterization is decent, and I really like the ED. I do have to confess that I’m less interested in seeing most of the hinted drama play out than I am in seeing how Tohru fell in with Uo and Hanajima – especially Uo, since having been raised by a delinquent surely gives Tohru a uniquely understanding view of Uo’s yankii behavior.

Man – now I’m wondering how prevalent that sort of thing still is, all these years later. My only real window into this phenomenon is anime, but there is a yankii girl in Tanaka-kun is Always Listless, a 2016 anime based on a 2014 manga. I like to think that the tradition is still going, if only because I’m a big fan of the long-skirt aesthetic.


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