The long-awaited reboot of Fruits Basket has finally moved on from retelling the opening arcs in a more manga-faithful fashion to adapting material that’s never before been seen outside the pages of Natsuki Takaya’s classic shoujo manga. The second season recently finished its first cour, so let’s check in on what’s been happening in the world of Fruits Basket!
-- Spoilers Ahead! --
A Big Ol’ Beach Arc
Most anime can only brag about having one or two beach/summer fun episodes (The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya’s “Endless Eight” notwithstanding), but almost the entire first half of this season takes place at the Souma family’s summer home! We get a smattering of lighthearted beach antics to start with, but this is still Fruits Basket, so there’s no way Tooru and her friends can just sit around having a nice time forever. Things get very real very quickly when the abusive family head Akito and secretive Zodiac horse Rin show up uninvited – Akito reminds Yuki, Kyo, and the others not to get cocky because they only live to serve their “god” (taking every opportunity to use mental and physical violence to drive the point home), while Rin takes increasingly extreme measures to protect herself and her lover Haru from Akito’s wrath.
Besides a couple of wonky animation moments and pacing that can feel very slow if you’re not marathoning it, this arc works very well. We’ve seen glimpses of it before, but this is the first in-depth exploration of what the curse actually is and how it affects the Zodiac members’ lives. They all wish they could stand up to the head of the family, but the magical link between their spirits and “God” creates a sort of Stockholm Syndrome feeling where they both love and fear Akito too much to try. Not to mention the fact that openly opposing Akito has led to serious (or permanent, in Hatori’s case) injuries and additional threats to their family and friends.
We also get to see more of Shigure’s manipulative tendencies – he seems to be the one who encouraged Akito and Kureno to visit the summer home, and a flashback later on in the season reveals that he took advantage of Mayuko’s loneliness to date her while Hatori and Kana had their romance. We’ve moved away from the “Tooru saves each new Zodiac member with the power of love and mom quotes” formula of the first season and have started to delve deeper into character motivations. This is what manga fans have been waiting for!
The Student Council and Character Goals
When school starts back up again, Yuki steps into his new role as the Student Council president. Of course, his fellow members are a massive handful, particularly the boisterous vice president Kakeru Manabe and the unstable treasurer Machi Kuragi. Machi is still a mystery for now, but Kakeru has coaxed Yuki out of his shell somewhat by forcing Yuki to confront his own biases against outspoken people like Ayame, Kyo, and Kakeru himself. We’re also big fans of secretary Kimi Todo, whose unfailingly bubbly and self-centered personality immediately puts the Yuki Fan Club in their place. She even instigates conflict with them just for fun!
And, as mentioned earlier, this season has done a great job of solidifying character motivations for the rest of the story. Akito wants to keep the family together at all costs, Yuki wants to open himself up to other people and new experiences, Kagura wants to become a person who truly loves Kyo instead of pitying him, Kyo wants to escape his destined confinement so he can be with his true love Tooru, and Tooru wants to break the curse so the Soumas can live freely. Shigure and Rin’s goals are still shrouded in mystery, but they’ve shown that they aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty to achieve them...
The first cour of Fruits Basket’s second season has proven that TMS Entertainment was serious when they claimed that they would faithfully adapt the manga’s entire story. Some events have been moved around (not necessarily a problem) and the technology updates are as inconsistent as ever (only a problem for pedantic nerds like us), but overall this new anime is fantastic for new and old fans alike. We can’t wait to see more!
What did you think of our review? How are you like Fruits Basket’s second season so far? Let us know in the comments, and thanks so much for reading!