It’s been one month since Valentine’s Day, which means it’s White Day – a chance for the boys to give gifts back to Tohru. Momiji jumps in by offering to take her and the others to a Soma-owned hot springs inn. Once at the inn, Kyo and Yuki struggle to get along, and Momiji gloms onto Tohru. Eventually, Yuki and Tohru get a chance to be alone, and he gives her a true White Day gift.
This episode offers a neat change of perspective from the previous ones. Instead of Tohru learning more about the Somas or diving into the family’s past, we see Kyo, Yuki and Momiji questioning how they view Tohru. Early on, we learn that she’s fallen behind on her school trip payments, and is working extra shifts to make up the difference. It quickly becomes clear to the boys what happened.
It’s nice to see Kyo making a genuine, if funny, effort to control his temper. As the most passionate one of the bunch, he’s the most upset at Tohru’s situation and feels responsible, though he still thinks she’s an idiot for always putting others before herself. This is where Momiji steps in with a story he heard in school about a foolish and selfless traveler who gave away everything to people who tricked her with sad stories.
Wow, that story escalated hard. I suppose Momiji’s class has a thing for a more traditional German style of fairy tale. In any case, it’s left somewhat vague how Yuki and Kyo process the story, though it’s evident that both of them want Tohru to be happy. To that end, Kyo agrees to put up with his rival and Momiji’s forced cuteness for the trip.
The actual trip to the hot springs is extremely tame. We’re in full-on shojou territory, so we get our various boys and girl decked out in cute kimonos, playing ping pong and enjoying a beautiful starry night. The one thing that distracts from this is the proprietress, who just… really needs to take it down a notch.
Yeah, some of these stills made me chuckle, but seeing them in action at full volume is a less pleasant experience. Between her and Momiji’s sometimes creepy behavior (we learn late in the episode that he’s much older than we or Tohru were led to believe), it detracted from an otherwise fine episode. It may irk you more or less, depending on your tolerance for typical anime BS.
The highlight of the episode finally comes near the end, when Tohru follows Yuki out of the inn and we see one of his rare genuine laughs. He gives Tohru a hair ribbon as a thank you for the Valentine’s chocolate, and the shojou cranks up to ELEVEN.
C’mon, this is Fruits Basket. This is the kind of stuff you all came here to see, and it’s right on the money.
Episode 11 offers a nice change in viewpoint, and plenty of time to see how our characters and their relationships have grown, as well as where they may go in the future. Progress is slow but steady, and it’s fun to see everyone hanging out as always. If you can deal with a couple of extremely loud/obnoxious side characters for a little bit, it’s well worth the time. Once again though, I find myself aligning with Su and hoping to see Tohru spend a little more time with her two adoptive not-quite-moms.