Saki Hanajima’s childhood history and hardships are revealed. We learn the story of her struggles and her inevitable friendship with Tohru and Arisa.
Life is hard. Nobody ever tells you that when you are a kid. Consequentially, you barrel headfirst towards adulthood, thinking that it’s going to be all the freedom and grandeur you don’t presently have as a child. Surprise. It’s not. To assuage the difficulty, it’s necessary to appreciate the little things like:
(1) Today is my birthday. Woohoo!
(2) My spot in the rotation for Fruits Basket has earned me the privilege of landing on Hana’s backstory. Thank goodness.
So…remember how I started with “life is hard”? Yeah…keep that in mind.
I mentioned in a previous review of mine that this show has an incredible way of mixing “soft and fluffy” with “oh geez, it hurts so bad”. Tohru reflecting on losing her mom and thus, her initial reason for existing, hurt soooo bad. I found Uo’s backstory to be touching but ultimately…kinda tame. It’s not that I expect rated-R stuff here in Fruits Basket, but for a gang fight, everything just seemed..Saturday morning cartoon villian-like. Sure, she got beat up at the end, but nobody was carrying a switchblade or anything. They didn’t come off an as intimidating “gang”. It didn’t help that the 3 stooge delinquents following the team around in the swimsuit shopping trip episode were embarrassingly incompetent.
And then…we get Hana’s story…
Which hurts me…because life was very hard for this poor child.
There’s no frills to this episode. Riding on the heels of us getting a peek into Hana’s life in episode 21, episode 22 goes straight for the jugular.
Hana was born with a gift that straddles both telepathy and empathy. This gift made it hard to function outside in large crowds and make friends at school. This episode reveals the incident at her old school that caused Hana’s family to move, and the struggle she faced internally thereafter.
Oi, this episode. The cruelty Hana faces at the hands of the other kids in her class is basically brutality. They attempt to shove a live lizard down her throat. They BURN her. They are unrelenting horrible, and when Hana wishes for one of them to die, I felt ZERO sympathy for him. It breaks my heart that Hana absorbed that incident into herself and felt she needed a lifetime of punishment. She let people abuse her after that and felt like it was deserved. Both Hana and Uo shared this idea of wondering if they deserve to be loved, and it’s just so sad.
What makes this episode beautiful (besides the fact that Hana is the best forever), is that it comes around full circle narratively. Hana’s family is full of wonderful people. It’s rare we ever get to SEE parents, much less find ones that are supportive and loving in all manners. They just want their daughter’s happiness. Her brother Megumi is equally loving. Always silently supportive of his sister. In one scene early on, Hana says that her family has kind voices. That shows us they represent calm for her. Later in the episode, when Hana is on the verge of shutting down, her father says to her, “I love you”, and her brother prays for just one person to come along that loves and cherishes her.
Enter Tohru. Oh Tohru…you delicate muffin. How I love thee.
I won’t give you the exact sequence as to how it all plays out but suffice to say, Tohru being both the answer to Megumi’s prayer and saying “I love you” brings the emotion all the way back around to tug hard at the heartstrings. We understand implicitly, that Tohru is the same type of calm that Hana needs to feel safe.
Aside from delicate muffin Tohru, Hana is SIMPLY THE BEST. Her backstory is equal parts heart-wrenching and heartwarming. Narratively, the episode wisely wraps the emotions around, so it has impact without exposition. Here’s to the little victories, like best friends who are worth their weight in gold. Also seriously Hana…love yourself. Watching you suffer internally is the worst. Who else will stand strong to battle the forces of…
The Prince Yuki Fanclub!