It’s time for students to start thinking about their futures; college, careers, marriage, and so forth. This is a daunting prospect for Tohru, and even more so for the Zodiac children, especially Kyo. Thankfully, they have each other to count on, and some support from Kazuma and Shigure.
Episode two of this new season is all about the fear and uncertainty that surrounds growing up. All of the students have been asked to lay out their post-graduation plans, and no one is completely sure of what they want to do. Of course, the Soma children and Tohru have even more to be concerned about than your average teens, so everyone is a bundle of anxiety. Luckily, everyone remembers that we’ve had a whole season of people gradually acknowledging and grappling with their traumas, so it doesn’t devolve into a full-on angst-fest.
Early on, Kyo and Tohru pay a visit to Kazuma, who is as teasing and doting of Kyo as ever. He’s also updated his hairstyle to look less like a Meiji-era swordsman and symbolize the transition he’s made in his relationship with his adoptive son.
Halfway through their visit, Kazuma is called away to meet with Kyo’s biological father, who very pointedly wails about that “thing” getting a taste for freedom and needing to be imprisoned as Kazuma’s own grandfather was years ago.
Kazuma is having none of that, and reaffirms his plan to support and protect Kyo regardless of what the Soma family has to say. It’s an encouraging scene that helps round out what we know about Kyo’s family situation, but the dialog was pretty ham-handed. I get that subtlety has never been a key feature of Fruits Basket, but this felt even more on the nose than usual.
After leaving Kazuma’s home, Kyo and Tohru come back to what they want to do after graduation. Despite his own uncertainty and the very real threat of interference from the Soma family, Kyo takes comfort in the support and kindness Tohru has shown him. When he asks what her plans are, Tohru’s normally cheerful attitude crumbles, and she’s overwhelmed by the uncertainty of where she will be and what she will do once she has to enter the adult world.
These are anxieties and fears that everyone goes through at different points in their life. I’ve led a relatively peaceful life myself, but there were times where without the support of friends or family, I would have collapsed in on myself, and cannot even imagine what might have happened. I have been in Tohru’s shoes more than once, and her struggle with these emotions hit very close to home.
Fortunately, Tohru is no longer alone, and Shigure advises her to focus on what she can do in the moment to push forward. His analogy of a massive pile of laundry you can’t see the end of but have to finish cleaning is heartfelt, but like the scene with Kyo’s father, feels kind of dumbed-down. Life rarely sets up a clear series of obstacles you just need to get past before it’s clear skies and clean sheets. More often, it can blindside you with unexpected setbacks or unintended consequences, so the analogy comes off a bit fluffy.
At the end of it, though, the real takeaway is that the love and support of your friends can make the difference between sinking into overwhelming despair or seeing a path forward. Tohru, Kyo, Yuki, and all of their friends have been dealt unbelievably rough hands, but by leaning on one another and taking the time to process their own issues, they’ve become better people. That’s a lesson I can get behind wholeheartedly.
This second episode focuses largely on filling in gaps between other elements and characters in the story so far, and I found it enjoyable, if a bit heavy-handed. I’m sure my mental state at the time of viewing played a role in that feeling; I’m lucky to not be alone during this pandemic, but issues related and unrelated to it have been draining my enthusiasm for a lot of things.
Despite my personal grumps, Fruits Basket season 2 is off to a good start, now that we’re entering territory the first anime didn’t get to explore nearly enough back in the day. It’s got all the shoujo-flavored drama and humor you could ask for, making it a nice mood-lifter in our present circumstances. I hope you all enjoy it as well!