Fruits Basket (2019) – 1st Season

Remake of Fruits Basket from 2001

Genre(s): Shojo, Romance, Drama, Comedy, Reverse Harem

Age-Appropriateness: 13+ (mild comedic violence, themes of family abuse)

Platforms: Crunchyroll, Hulu, Funimation

Episodes: 25

TheAwerome Rating: 8.4 / 10 (A good re-visit)

Premise: Tohru Honda, a 16-year-old whose mother recently died in an accident, is currently living in a tent while her Grandfather’s house is getting renovated. One night on her way back from work, she finds her tent buried underneath a landslide. Yuki Soma, the “prince” of her school, and his cousin Shigure Soma, a famous author, stumble across Tohru’s situation and invite her to stay with them until her grandfather’s home renovations are complete.

Upon arriving at the Soma house, Tohru discovers their secret: if a Soma is hugged by someone of the opposite gender, they temporarily transform into one of the animals of the zodiac! However, this strange phenomenon is no laughing matter; rather, it is a terrible curse that holds a dark history. As she continues her journey, meeting more members of the zodiac family, will Tohru’s kindhearted yet resilient nature be enough to prepare her for what lies behind the Soma household’s doors?

TheAwerome’s Thoughts: The changes in the remake are subtle, but very effective. I feel in general there’s less of the “Wheee! Anime nonsense funtimes and shenanigans!” that the original had. That’s not to say that this is all a serious drama, but all the characters, particularly Tohru, feel a lot more human. Scenes feel more deliberate and intentional, showing us aspects of the characters rather than merely “here’s a fun scene” that I felt we got in the original. We get more backstory for Hana and Uotani, Tohru’s friends, which give greater respect and depth to them and their role in Tohru’s life, and vice versa. Shigure also gets more characterization that I feel he didn’t previously have, and overall everything makes a bit more sense.

TLDR: A more intentional, palatable remake.

This 1st Season covers nearly everything from the original, and there are two additional seasons, plus a prequel movie.

In addition to the obvious animation and art quality improvement one would expect, I feel certain topics were handled more delicately, specifically regarding some of the more effeminate boys.  That’s not to say they completely removed or nullified aspects of characters so as not to be offensive, but rather changed some of the characters’ commentary to be less derogatory. I feel an American handling would have either excluded everything to deal with it or would have been too heavy handed about it. But we got a good job of it here, so bravo.

The modernization of the story is interesting, though. There are a few things (architecture, aesthetic) that make it look like the remake is supposed to take place somewhat recently as opposed to the early-mid 90’s as it was originally written. But technology is still more or less at that point, so there’s just a bit of that liminal space vibe if you’re trying to immerse yourself. It’s not as distracting as Naruto’s technological confusion where they use computers and advanced medical equipment but store all records and communicate via hawk-carried scrolls.

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