Fruits Basket (2019) Review – The Zodiac is Back

Fruits-Basket-wallpaper-2-651x500 Fruits Basket (2019) Review – The Zodiac is Back

The Zodiac is Back

  • Episodes : 25
  • Genre : Comedy, Drama, Romance, Shoujo, Slice of Life, Supernatural
  • Airing Date : April 2019 – September 2019
  • Producers : TMS Entertainment

Contains Spoilers

Fruits Basket (2019) Introduction

20 years after the manga was first published, Fruits Basket returns with a beautifully crafted remake that promises to surpass the 2001 anime by adapting the entire original storyline and using the wonders of modern production to do justice to Natsuki Takaya’s iconic shoujo masterpiece. The story stars Tooru Honda, a chipper but down-on-her-luck teenager who is taken in by the enigmatic Souma family. 13 members of this massive clan are cursed to transform into animals of the Chinese Zodiac whenever they’re embraced by someone of the opposite sex, which leaves them emotionally distant from their families and throws a wrench into any romantic relationships they pursue. Is Tooru the bright ray of change that they need to move forward with their lives, or will they remain trapped by their destiny?

Why You Should Watch Fruits Basket (2019)

1. It’s a Gorgeously Made Modern Anime

We love old-school anime as much as the next person, but there’s no denying that the art style used in the beginning arcs of the manga and the entire 2001 anime hasn’t aged particularly well. Everyone has long noodle limbs, angular faces, and blank eyes that struggle to convey the subtle emotions at the heart of Fruits Basket’s best scenes. The updated character designs in the 2019 anime bring these classic characters to life in a refreshing way while the vibrant colors and sounds make the world seem so much more real. This is how Fruits Basket was meant to look!

2. It’s Much More Faithful to the Manga

Because the 2001 anime was canceled after its first season, we never got to see the last 2/3s of the story. And since the narrative shifts from a high school romcom to more of an introspective character study right at that point, anime-only viewers didn’t get to experience the most interesting and emotionally satisfying parts of Fruits Basket. But this time, the plot closely follows the manga, which means it can lay the foundation for some of the darker subplots in its first season. Shigure has some kind of devious motivation for keeping Tooru around, Yuki relives traumatic flashbacks when Akito visits, and we even get small teases of manga-only characters who will appear later.

3. The Obnoxious Filler is Gone

Much to Natsuki Takaya’s annoyance, the first anime added some silly filler that distracted from the more serious elements of the story. Perhaps the worst casualty from the filler invasion was the cat’s true form arc, which felt the need to add several characters who weren’t present in the manga to clutter up the quiet moment between Kyo and Tooru that solidifies their unbreakable bond with one another. In any case, that’s all gone now.

4. The English Cast is Back and Better Than Ever

The Japanese vocal cast has been completely replaced for this remake, but many of the original English voice actors returned to reprise their roles from the 2001 anime. It’s amazing to see how much they’ve all improved over the years—over a decade of experience and a much more professional dubbing community have worked wonders!

5. Ritsu’s Situation is Handled Better

Ritsu, the monkey of the Zodiac, really got the short end of the stick in both the manga and the first anime. Not only was he barely present in the story after his introduction, but his crossdressing was treated as something to be made fun of. The 2019 anime treats him more kindly, allowing him to remain in women’s clothes throughout his introductory episode and changing the Soumas’ reactions from annoyance at his antics to concern that he may have a hard time fitting into the working world. We hope we get to see him more in the next season!

Why You Should Skip Fruits Basket (2019)

1. Tooru Can Be a Bit of a Mary Sue

Tooru is so pure-hearted that she essentially acts as the Souma family therapist for the first half of the story. She always seems to have wise words and a relevant quote from her mother to fit any situation, ensuring that even people who initially disliked her grow to love her after just one impassioned speech. She does become a more complex character later on, but early Tooru can be grating for some viewers.

2. The Plot is Mostly a Retread So Far

Aside from the aforementioned manga plotlines and filler extermination, this first season is mostly a retread of the 2001 anime. It’s wonderful to see these iconic scenes in glorious 2019 production quality, but we’ll be even more excited when the second season finally begins adapting scenes we’ve never experienced in animated form before.

3. The Setting Update is Inconsistent

The manga and first anime are both presumably set in 1999, but the 2019 anime isn’t clear about whether or not the story has advanced 20 years into the future. Uo has a wall-mounted house phone with a cord and nobody uses GPS when it would be handy, but Shigure has a flat screen TV and the younger gang girls use a camera with pinch zoom capabilities. Just... try not to think about it too much.

4. The Cat’s True Form Scene is Over-the-Top

This pivotal moment is handled very well for the most part, but there is one tension-destroying point where Kyo’s monster form slashes Tooru’s arm and launches her into the creek so hard that we half expected her to fly off into the sky with a twinkle like Team Rocket. Will we ever see a definitive, true to the manga, animated version of this scene? Likely not...

5. Some Unfortunate ‘90s Anime Tropes Still Remain

Kagura is a sweet girl with a kind heart, but her constant physical abuse of Kyo is still played off as comedy in the 2019 anime. When Yuki’s forced isolation and Hatori’s blinding injury are treated seriously but Kyo being punched through the wall by Kagura is not, it’s difficult to know how to feel. “Funny abuse” should’ve been left back in the ‘90s where it belongs.

Final Thoughts

Despite a few shortcomings, Fruits Basket (2019) is well worth your time. Be sure to binge it before season 2 comes out and let us know in the comments what you think about this long-awaited remake!

Fruits-Basket-wallpaper-2-651x500 Fruits Basket (2019) Review – The Zodiac is Back


Author: Mary Lee Sauder

After the hard-hitting East Coast lifestyle hit me a bit too hard, I started pursuing my passion as a writer in my cozy home state of Ohio. Aside from that, I spend my time cooking, cosplaying, collecting anime merch, and being an improv comedy actor. I also love sneaking alliterations and stupid puns into my writing, so be on the lookout for them! 😉

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