It’s finally here—the full-length Fruits Basket adaptation we’ve all dreamed about for 20 years! The 2001 anime is a nostalgic classic in its own right, but only gets as far as the 6th volume out of 23 before ending a bit anticlimactically. No storylines get resolved and some characters like Zodiac members Rin and Kureno as well as fan-favorite psychopath Ren don’t even get the chance to show up. But most importantly, the first anime doesn’t reach the point where Fruits Basket shifts from a high school comedy with a few sad backstories into the complex family drama that manga fans love so much.
So, to celebrate the release of Fruits Basket’s 2019 anime, we’re showcasing our five favorite manga moments that we can’t wait to see in glorious modern animation. When newcomers see these amazing scenes, they’ll finally understand what a captivating story Natsuki Takaya’s magnum opus truly is!
-- Spoilers Ahead! --
1. Momiji’s Glow-Up
The excitable half-German teen Momiji is the perfect person to embody the Zodiac’s rabbit spirit, especially in his earlier appearances. He’s small enough to look like a little kid and dresses in adorably eccentric clothes, including wearing the female high school uniform (with shorts) for his entire freshman year. It’s easy to forget that his upbringing was just as abusive as those of the other Zodiac members, especially since he hides his pain behind his cutesy attitude.
But later in the manga, he hits a growth spurt and shows up to school as the very model of an early 2000s bishounen! He still keeps some aspects of his old self, such as his rabbit backpack, earrings, and positive outlook on life, but the new Momiji now has the confidence to attack his problems head-on. He stops dwelling on the past and even manages to refuse Akito’s manipulative pleas to return to the family. We love this glow-up so much!
2. The Mangaka Roasts Herself With Kimi’s Backstory
It seems like just about everyone in Fruits Basket has a tragic backstory of some kind, even the ones who aren’t part of the Zodiac. This allows for deep and complex storytelling, but it does get predictable after a while—when a new character shows up, it’s only a matter of time before we get the depressing flashback about their childhood.
Hilariously, Natsuki Takaya acknowledges this with her “tragic” backstory for the bubbly and vain student council member Kimi. It starts with a standard schoolyard bullying scene, complete with shadowed faces and dramatic camera angles, where some bratty girls tell Kimi that she’s a dumb bimbo who can only get by on her looks. Surprisingly, Kimi thinks that’s a great idea and vows to use her cute face to get anywhere she wants in life! Considering that she was explicitly created to have nothing to do with the Sohma family’s emotional struggles, her flippant attitude makes her the best character to deliver this self-aware jab at Takaya’s own writing.
3. “Sorta Cinderella”
For the school festival, Tohru’s class decides to put on a production of Cinderella. Unfortunately, they horribly miscast it—dark and brooding Hana is Cinderella, sweet Tohru is her “evil” stepsister, and scrappy Kyo is the prince (Yuki’s role as the fairy godmother is the only good decision). Naturally, the rehearsals go haywire from there and the final performance ends with Cinderella choosing to open a yakiniku shop with her sister instead of marrying the prince. Let’s hear it for career gals!
As sidesplitting as this arc is, it also shows how Tohru and Kyo need to reject their prescribed roles (a polite, deferential orphan and the ostracized Zodiac cat, respectively) in order to make any real change in their lives. Kyo realizes that Tohru genuinely wants him to break free from the curse so he can live by his own rules and that he wants the same for her. It’s the spark that ignites his true feelings of love for her, and it came from the smoldering remains of their doomed school play.
4. Akito’s True Self
Everyone in the Sohma family respects and fears the “god of the Zodiac”, a kimono-clad recluse named Akito who controls the other Zodiac members through gaslighting and systemic abuse. Even Tohru is struck still with terror when Akito briefly appears at her school to “check in”. But when she pries further into the Sohma’s inner ranks and meets Akito’s closest confidant Kureno, Tohru learns who this mysterious “god” really is—a sad, scared little girl.
Only a chosen few knew Akito’s true gender from the start, and even fewer knew how she became so conniving and manipulative. It’s all because of her narcissistic mother Ren, who raised her as a boy so that Akito’s father (the previous “god”) wouldn’t love her more than his wife. None of this excuses Akito’s reprehensible behavior of tearing the Zodiac members away from anyone they grow close to so that they can’t stop worshipping her, but it does explain a lot of it. Can Tohru’s love heal a heart as black and bottomless as this?
5. Breaking the Curse
Ah yes, what we’ve all been waiting for! Breaking the curse actually happens over several volumes (and Kureno had been free since before the story started), but the most impactful moment comes when Akito finally chooses to let everyone go. By allowing the warped promise of years past to fade away, the Zodiac members are released from their forced devotion to Akito and can choose their own way forward for the first time in their lives.
It’s a bittersweet conclusion, as each of the Sohmas cries at the loss of such an influential part of themselves, but the catharsis of being able to embrace their loved ones after a lifetime of isolation more than makes up for it. The scene where Kyo tears off the bracelet that seals his true form and hugs Tohru without hesitation makes us cry every time we read it. Once it’s animated, we can only imagine how much more powerful this moment will be!
We also can’t wait to see moments like Kyoko’s friendship with a young Kyo, Rin’s traumatic haircut, the birth of Hiro’s sister, and many more iconic scenes from this seminal work of shoujo manga. But for now, we’re happy just looking forward to new episodes every week and hearing from our friends how much they love the 2019 version. It’s an exciting time to be a Fruits Basket fan!
What did you think of our list? What are some of your favorite Fruits Basket moments that you want to see animated? Let us know in the comments, and thanks so much for reading!