Fruits

Fruits Basket – The Belltower

Hey guys I hope everyone has been having an amazing week. This week’s article will be about an anime I love watching during my free time and when I am in the mood for it, so several of my articles will be about anime. This anime review is based on one of my favorite anime series I finally had the time to finish over the break called Fruits Basket. The original Fruits Basket was released in 2001. I did not watch that because when I watch anime an important factor to me is the animation therefore, I watched Fruits Basket 2019. It has 3 seasons rather than the one released in 2001.

***WARNING SPOILERS MAY BE INCLUDED READ AT YOUR OWN DISCRETION***

Overall Fruits Basket is based on the story of a young high school orphan girl named Tohru Honda whose mother passed away tragically in a car accident and henceforth her grandfather asked her to live with him and his family. However, his house was under renovation she decided to lie to her grandfather that she could ask her closest friends if she could live with them because her grandfather’s family are not supportive towards her and are extremely unkind to the extreme that they criticize her mother and father due to their attitude she thought she would be a burden upon her grandfather and decided to move temporarily until the renovations were completed. Tohru’s two closest friends Arisa and Saki asked Tohru if she would prefer to live in their homes but she declines because she did not want to intrude and disrupt their lives and told them she will live with her grandfather which was not an option for Tohru. Since Tohru did not have anywhere to go she decided to live in in a tent under a cliff and constantly worked to support and provide herself with necessary essentials such as paying for her school tuition upon her mother’s death Tohru promised she would graduate from high school so Tohru dedicates herself towards her education to fulfill her promise.

On her way to school, she comes across a home nearby and realizes that her classmate the popular Yuki Soma, and his cousin Shigure are residents of the home. After there was a landslide that caused her tent to be buried underneath the dirt, Tohru was devastated stating that her mom was trapped inside and could not let her out, referring to her picture frame Tohru deeply treasures. Feeling bad for everything Tohru has experienced in her life Yuki offers Tohru to live in his home now known as the Soma house. During the first day living in a new home, her bedroom roof collapses when Yuki and Shigure’s other cousin Kyo destroys it when he crashes inside through the ceiling as he tried to challenge Yuki to fight with him. Kyo is an orange hair boy who has a fiery temper constantly attempting to challenge Yuki to fight with him because it is his life mission to defeat Yuki. Tohru tried to stop them from fighting each other but she slipped on a piece of wood from the ceiling when it collapsed causing her to slip and hug Kyo resulting in him transforming into a cat and when rubble fell on her head she fell and her head touched Yuki and Shigure causing Yuki to transform into a rat and Shigure into a dog. Tohru learns that the twelve members of the Soma family are cursed to possess the spirits of the Chinese zodiac and they transform into their prospective zodiac animals when they are either weak, under an excessive amount of stress, highly embarrassed, or hug from a member of the opposite gender who aren’t members of the family. Kyo is the cat and not part of the zodiac due to the old original folk tale where the cat was tricked by the rat since the rat is mischievous and loved to play pranks that the annual banquet was the day after causing the cat to not be part of the zodiac however Kyo is still victim to the curse.

After Tohru learns the curse and the secret the Soma family keeps protected she promised that she would tell a soul and would keep the secret however Shigure was forced to tell the family god because if anyone learns their secret, they need to have their memories erased but the god had an ulterior motive and allowed Tohru to keep her memories and was allowed to continue living within the Soma house.

Throughout the first season, we see Tohru meet the different members of the family and when she sees them transform into their prospective animals, she never shows fear instead she shows the complete opposite extreme excitement being positive towards the members Tohru shows her love toward each member to the point where she’ll hug them during their animal state. Throughout the season, Tohru learns that the curse is not to continuously be thrilled over as it is far deeper and darker than she has anticipated but she learns the constant hardships and inflicted pain the family feels however she continues to portray her generosity and nature to be loving in an attempt to heal the emotional damage they all carry by showing what affection truly means. At the end of the first season, Tohru is learning more and more about Yuki and Kyo along with the rest of the Soma family such as the emotional pain they carry on their shoulders however she learns more about herself even if she did not want to admit it at the time to not shy and bury away her true feelings also including not dismissing the how much her friends deeply care for her. Eventually decides to set herself a goal to find a way to break the curse and free the Soma family but she meets Akito and is one of the vengeful zodiac spirits due to her upbringing of her father telling her she is special and a god while her mother despises her over the death of her true love causing Akito to be resentful of other over her desperate need to not be abandoned by Soma family. Akito is the family “God” according to the Chinese legend she is the one who keeps the family together and keeps them chained to their prospective spirits resulting in the family coming to hate their god but cannot bear to abandon her because of the curse keeps them all bonded together.

Season 2 begins with Tohru officially living in the Soma home permanently and cannot imagine her life without them. Kyo, Tohru, and Yuki are preparing to enter into their last and final year in high school. During this time it is stressful for them because they have to start thinking about the kind of future they want for their life. The preparation doesn’t help some because it reminds them that they cannot create the life they want as it has already been determined but I will go more into that soon.

Tohru and the rest of the Soma family decide to go to a house owned by the Soma’s near the ocean for their summer vacation so that they can create more loving memorable memories with each other having fun before the school year starts up again. However, the vacation turns scary for Tohru when Akito makes an astonishing visit and forces the rest of the Soma members to pay their respects other than Kyo who refuses to allow him to visit. Since the members now spend the majority of their time with Akito, Kyo and Tohru start to spend time together alone and form a deeper bond with each other than they previously had. At this point, we know Kyo is madly in love with Tohru to the point where he will do anything to protect and guarantee her happiness even if it means he will not be able to see her anymore.
During the trip Tohru meets Akito and officially learns the true meaning behind the zodiac curse to them Akito is their god so the members are supernaturally drawn towards their god and if they wanted to resist their god the curse will not allow them to do so even if Akito mentally, emotionally, and physically abuse them they cannot tear away from Akito. Tohru also learns that plan Akito created was for all the members to live together when the younger members graduated from school however, once again Kyo isn’t included he is destined to live secluded and confined in an abandoned cage just as the previous cat who was possessed did. During this time Tohru also meets Kureno Soma; he is always accompanied by Akito and can never be caught alone. Eventually, she learns that Kureno is the person her best friend Arisa has fallen in love with. She tries to have Kureno see Arisa one last night and confess his feelings for her but he refuses and says even though he loves Arisa he will never see her again.

As the parent-teacher conference is vastly approaching it causes the characters to start feeling mixed emotions such as Yuki begins to stress since his mother is normally indifferent towards her son attempting to control him which will benefit her by allowing her to have more special privileges. Eventually, Yuki is saved by his older brother Ayame (the Snake) since he is now trying to put forth some effort to reestablish their brotherly relationship. At first, Yuki wants nothing to do with his brother but soon, he learns he can depend on him when he is in need of his support.
The character development within Yuki is astonishing during season one. We thought he may have feelings towards Tohru and would continue to build his feelings towards her, eventually declaring his love. However, during season two we learn that is not necessarily the case when he was young, he was abandoned by his family and was forced to live with Akito who constantly was abusive and did not show him the meaning of love behind family therefore Yuki has never experienced parents love and affection towards their child. Due to his experience subconsciously, Yuki projected his yearning need for a mother’s love onto Tohru because she was the first person to show him that she will always be there to have his back and will constantly believe in him. As the season progresses Yuki becomes more actively aware of his feelings towards Tohru as it has nothing to do with romance rather than being more parental when he slowly starts to become closer with another member of the student council named Machi. At first, she acts cold towards Yuki as she is not like most girls in school who try to flirt with him, he even confides in another student council member named Manabe who happens to be Machi’s half-brother. He was raised to be a rival towards their father’s wealth but they see that their other others who are struggling with their own complicated misunderstanding family situations so they decided to forgo family wishes as Machi has always been misunderstood and destined for failure. Learning their family history Yuki reviews his family situation more vividly and starts the healing process.

Other Soma members Rin (the Horse) broke up with Hatsuharu (the Ox/Cow) to protect him from Akito’s rage she is also trying to break the curse but her determination to free her and Hatsuharu from the curse results in her neglecting to maintain her health she ends up getting sick constantly one instance she got sick inside Shigure’s home and Tohru nurses her back to health. Rin tries to keep Tohru at a distance but Tohru constantly pushes bothering Rin with her attempts to bond with her eventually persevering and the both of them form a strong friendship bond because they both wish to find a way to break the curse for the one they love the most.

Tohru’s desire to break the curse and seeing Arisa sad that Kureno has not visited her as she is lonely and wants to see the person she loves causes her to search for Kureno and meet him again alone for the first time. Before their meeting Tohru became aware that Kureno is the zodiac rooster but when Kureno hugs Tohru to demonstrate that he is not bound by the Soma curse his curse has been broken for several years and will no longer transform into a rooster. When Tohru asks how his curse was broken he tells her that he is not sure how or why his cure broke before the others. Even though Kureno is free of Akito’s hold on him he cannot and will not leave at first Tohru is confused why Kureno cannot separate himself from the person who brings misery but he tells her the Akito is a woman and was forced to be raised as a man through Ren her mother because the role of God has been traditionally been, male. Similar to other characters Akito was abused as a child and the only thing she knows is causing the violence she experienced when she was young not understanding that the bond she has with the other soma family members is not true love. Akito lives her days in misery and deep down is a helpless little girl because ever since she was young her father always told her that the bonds of the zodiac are special including her role and their god and without the zodiac members then there will be no one there who would care for her. After we learn her back story Akito is truly lonely and is also a victim of the zodiac curse just how the animals are but it doesn’t excuse her manipulative hold of power she has over the family. At the end of the season, Tohru learns that Kureno cannot leave and be with his soulmate Arisa so the season ends heartbreakingly.

Season two was different from the first because more moments were dark rather than filled with warmth. Also, we get a feeling that the characters may not ever be able to return to how their lives used to be. There were moments throughout season two that were fun, light-hearted just like in season one however it is seen more in the episodes that showcase the student council. Evidently, there was more character development and positive relationships between the characters as they start to accept their true emotions but they continue to pray for happiness in the future they desperately want to achieve someday. In the series the characters’ problems are not solved magically instead we as viewers get to see the journey the characters experience to force and heal their hearts as everyone has trauma it continues to be there and the healing process is different for all the characters and there are moments where it can be ugly however Tohru is an essential character for the Soma family because she shows the true meaning of friendship. Overall Fruits Basket is filled with small moments of peacefulness, happiness, admiration, love, and hope.

So far throughout the series, we have seen Tohru act selflessly and constantly continues to keep the interest of others in her mind rather than her own. When she learns the origin of the curse and the fact it is possible for it to be broken is a turning point for her because she becomes determined to free Kyo so that she can create more memories with him. This is when she learns that if Kyo was not in her life she would be extremely sad. After she learns Kyo’s destiny it becomes motivation to resolve the key into breaking the curse permanently. By doing whatever it takes to find the answers she is searching for she ends up acting to fulfill her deepest wish for the sake of helping her friends. In a way, she also acts selfishly because she does not want to lose the friendships she made. After all, they have been there for her when she needed them most especially when she as well was reliving her own childhood trauma. In season two we see multiple signs and hints that her feelings towards the friendship she has with Kyo are deeper than that and show she wants more than a friendship with him. She may have fallen in love with him as he already has with her. However, at the end of season one, it is pretty noticeable that Tohru is in love or starting the process of falling in love with Kyo because even after Kyo transformed into his true form after his master (Kazuma) removed his Juzu beaded bracelet turning him into a horrifying, foul smell, and grotesque monster Tohru chased after him even if she was petrified and was harmed when he would try to push her away she pursued him until he calmed and transformed into a cat while they hugged it is this moment both characters realize their love for each other. Kyo like the other characters has a heartbreaking backstory when his mother passed away his biological father rejected him not accepting for who he truly is Kyo takes out his burden on Yuki assuming he is the source of his misery it was not until Tohru coming that shows him that she accepts him for who he is a sad boy who wants love but is a scary monster but also a delicate cat allowing Kyo to accept himself and let down his guard around others.

During season three the zodiac curses start to break and eventually Akito breaks the continuous cycle that has followed the Soma family for generations. Akito decides to meet Tohru once more not to become friends but to harm her for coming in between the family as she thinks Tohru forced the family to break away from Akito. However, Tohru does not run away; she shows kindness and wants to start anew. Akito realizes no one has shown great kindness towards her before causing her to understand the damage she had inflicted upon the bond of the family. Even though she understands at last her actions and wants to start new it doesn’t mean her prior actions could be excused like pushing Rin out the window for being bold enough to date Hatsuharu but now she is in a position where she could overlook and repent her actions. When curses break for the members they are confused and are filled with complex feelings: happiness they are free and their god cannot control them and sadness that their god is alone.

The first instinct the zodiac members have is to give a hug. The relationship with Akito has always been toxic and acidic, filled with trauma but it is also the only source of connection they have ever known and then suddenly it is ripped away so it makes sense why they would feel empty. When they move on from the loss of connection many of them want to hug the person they cherish the most in their life whether it may be a parent, sibling, friend, or lover since they could not do so before as it would cause their transformation. However, Kyo doesn’t immediately hug Tohru because he already knew he was going to risk everything to have her in his arms before the curse even breaking. Many other members had to think over a decision to hug their loved ones after their curse-breaking, unsure if it was truly broken. For example, Ayame is a dressmaker and when his curse broke, he hugged Mine who is extremely devoted and loyal to him as his seamstress. He also tells her that he can love her with all his heart at long last. Meanwhile, hugs Machi because throughout season two we can assume he’s developing a crush; it is not until season three where he openly shows it. Hatsuharu and Rin both embrace each other but it did not matter because since they were members of the Zodiac hugging each other does not trigger their transformation. However, Hatsuharu notes that even though the curse is officially broken instead of feeling overjoyed it is lonelier than he or anyone else had anticipated.

The characters have been isolated from their loved ones and now that their curse is broken, they can express their emotions towards their friends and families even to those whose relationships are important but does not necessarily mean it is romantic. I believe Fruits Basket does an excellent job of highlighting that sometimes a hug is underrated because it is a physical action but, in the series, it shows that it is a way of expressing affection. In the show, a hug is when a person showcasing their love and receiving their love in return. For some characters hugging represents a reunion of how it feels to be home after feeling lonely for a long time such as Hiro (the Sheep) he could never touch his mom and baby sister because it would result in him transforming however after his curse broke, he immediately picked up his newborn baby sister and when his mom walked into the room she was filled with joy and lovingly hugged her children.

After all the curses broke Akito was emotional and gathered the members together showing her true self wearing a kimono rather than being the dominating man they always thought she was until they realized she is a woman. Akito proceeds to give a speech on how they are finally free to live their lives how they want she did not apologize for her actions it may have started the process for the members to let go of their grudge instead of brushing it off and moving on especially for Akito if she wanted to start anew, she could have started by atoning for her actions and learning to accept she may have done horrible things in the past but that does define who she is. Even though the majority of members cannot forgive her there is no judgment and I find it admirable. This is shown in the last episode Rin says she will never forgive the things Akito has done to her but Akito does not through a fit of rage instead she understands that her family members are not obligated to exonerate her horrible actions of treating people poorly especially since there are people in the world who would love and hate her.

The majority of Soma family members gather to wish Tohru and Kyo who at this point have confessed their feelings for one another and are now boyfriend and girlfriend farewell because they are moving to start the next chapter of their life. Akito does not appear because she told Shigure, who is now her lover, that she does not believe that she would disrupt the exciting and fun festivities. The two of them continue enjoying their date and it shows that Akito is at long last happy for the first time in her adult life. It is a little frustrating that even though as a child she was traumatized it doesn’t excuse that she stabbed Kureno in a way she has gotten off pretty easily but she continues to hold some guilt and is trying to live her life happy to make up for her wrongdoing and for that I love in the end she is openly accepting her past.
The series revolves mostly around the Soma’s but the story is still about Tohru accepting that it is okay for her to learn that people are allowed to love her. In some ways, she is similar to Akito. She is also a child who was unloved and deep down feels that she is a burden towards the people who are closest to her. When Tohru’s father died her mother neglected her entirely in her sorrow her grandfather had to care for her and Tohru would ask since her father is gone would her mother leave her as well it was around that time where she started to imitate the way her father would speak hoping it would make her mother happy again and remember there is a bit of her father inside her however the way she speaks is not truly who she is. Tohru never speaks about her father only her mother which are mostly fond memories because talking about her father brings dark memories from her past. Until near the end, Kyo and Tohru were on the roof having a heartwarming moment together and Tohru confessed her true feelings about her past and even though she was hanging laundry they hugged through the sheets Kyo transformed but not before saying he would never be disappointed in her. The difference is that Tohru is not cruel towards others she loves people no matter the kind of person they are even though they are not Kyo as he is her only romantic interest throughout the series such as her best friends, the entire Soma family she may have deeply connected with them those most are platonic friendship connections.

Throughout all three seasons, Tohru was able to meet all the zodiac members and got to know and care for them. It is safe to say that they grew attached to Tohru in their own way and at the end of the series she can accept that the Soma family loves her dearly. If Akito were to seek each of the Soma family members and atoned for the wrongdoings she’s done in her past to their faces and not ask for forgiveness but acceptance it would have made a difference into an epilogue but the story ends. Tohru’s story emotionally ends when Tohru is moving out of their hometown with Kyo because he wants to study martial arts with his master and Tohru wants to follow him because she cannot bear being apart from him even if it means leaving her friends behind. Tohru also accepted that others love her and decided to make her own choices because it makes her happy and does not have to do things for the sake of others to make them happy. Akito’s growth isn’t shown but I assume she is in a happy place with Shigure possibly having children and officially accepting that even though she had a history of making others miserable she needed to find the sunlight and not the darkness of clouds and rain.

I absolutely love Fruits Basket. To me, it is an anime that will stick. Of course, I consider it to be one of my favorites. If you are into comedy/drama/romance then I highly recommend you watch this anime even if you aren’t into anime. I recommend giving it a try and if you do not like it search for different anime genres and if you still do not like it then at least you gave it your best shot. Overall, it is extremely cute. It has an amazing storyline since there isn’t much anime that I have seen that follows the Chinese zodiac or any form of mythology. The characters are amazing my favorite characters would have to be Tohru and Kyo because they have touching moments together that moved me especially near the end I did not like that Kyo rejected Tohru to protect her he deserves happiness as well but, in the end, he learned he could not overlook his love for her. When Kyo was young he met Tohru’s mom and became close to her but on the day of her accident he could have pulled her back to avoid the car hitting her but he did not as he would have transformed into a cat on her last breath Tohru’s mom said he would not forgive him but he thought she meant not forgiving for not saving her but it is assumed that she meant she would not forgive Kyo for not protecting and loving Tohru. Kyo suppressed this memory until he met Tohru and gradually fell in love with her without meaning to therefore when he confessed the truth behind her accident, he thought Tohru would not forgive him for killing the person she loved the most he could not accept that Tohru denied and went against her mothers wishes as the most important person in her life is Kyo. After she accidentally fell off a cliff Kyo kissed her for the first time and visited her at the hospital apologized for saying he was disappointed in her loving him and finally both hugged and kissed like lovers. In the epilogue of the story, we see their grandchildren talking to their parents about the history of Tohru and Kyo’s love story and then we see them walking and lovingly holding each other’s hands. I am positive you will find your own favorite characters. It may be Tohru, Kyo, or someone else entirely. Each character is special in its own unique way.

A few reasons I love Fruits Basket is because Tohru is extremely likable. She is portrayed to be a mother figure caring and putting her friends’ and Soma members’ feelings first before her own. Tohru is a hard worker because she promised to graduate from school to pay for her school and wanted to live alone someday being fully aware she needed to start saving her money while she was young. It is also admirable that she does not judge appearance. The romance in the anime is adorable. I think it is over the top because it showcases inner feelings. Is it romance? Not really but it does show love and special bonds. This is shown a lot throughout the series every character has their own small bond or special emotions towards Tohru such as Momiji (the Rabbit) is in love with Tohru but never told her because he knew she was in love with Kyo and wanted her to be happy. During season one Kyo and Yuki’s actions towards Tohru were especially cutesy together because it was like a love triangle but thankfully it was not the case as Yuki saw Tohru as a mother figure and not romantic interest. Specifically, I loved the number of emotions I felt from the anime. There were moments where I felt love, sadness, and joy. There were moments where I would be bawling my eyes out due to the happiness of certain scenes or it would be touching whether it may be sorrow or sympathizing with the situations the characters continue to experience. There were also moments where the comedy would sink in as there were moments where I would be thrilled laughing my head off.

The story of Fruits Basket is amazing. If I had to rate it, I would give it a 10/10. Not only was the story amazing throughout the seasons, but the ending also went off with a bang. I thought the animation was perfect and fit my taste. The music throughout such as the intro and outro fit together beautifully. I also thought the creators of the series thought the characters out clearly and perfectly. I could not find a flaw of which characters did or did not belong, especially because they were likable, having their unique qualities. I make it well known that I adore anime from beginning to end. I would say I binge the series at least once a month and I do not plan on stopping. The anime is amazing and beyond lovable. I highly recommend watching the series and giving it a try as you may have the same emotions towards it as I do, however even if you do not feel the same at least you learned which genre you do not prefer.
If you are interested in watching Fruits Basket seasons one and two are available on Hulu and could be seen in English. For those who do not mind watching in Japanese and reading English subtitles, Crunchyroll is an option and has seasons one, two, and three available. Also, Fruits Basket is available on Funimation both in English and Japanese although I do not recommend it because it is likely for some episodes/seasons a monthly subscription may be required. Unlike other methods such as Crunchyroll where that is not necessarily the case simply an account is needed but there would be commercials of course. The last resort would be searching seasons and episodes in Google. You would have to note “English dub” or “English sub” to show which version you prefer to watch.

Look forward to next week where I will be discussing and reviewing another one of my favorite cute loving anime called How to Keep a Mummy.


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