Fruits Basket (2019)

Title:Fruits Basket (2019)
Keywords: , , , , , , , , ,
Notables: Animation - Tokyo Movie Shinsha
R1 License - FUNimation
TAKAYA Natsuki
After a family tragedy turns her life upside down, plucky high schooler Tohru Honda takes matters into her own hands and moves out into a tent. Unfortunately for her, she pitches her new home on private land belonging to the mysterious Sohma clan, and it isn't long before the owners discover her secret. But, as Tohru quickly finds out when the family offers to take her in, the Sohmas have a secret of their own--when touched by the opposite sex, they turn into the animals of the Chinese Zodiac.
(Summary Courtesy of Anime News Network)

25-episode Remake of Fruits Basket that premiered on April 5, 2019.
Animated by TMS Entertainment.
Licensed by Funimation.
See series sequel, Fruits Basket 2nd Season.
OverallArtAnimationCharacter Design MusicSeries StoryEpisode StoryReviewer
Buy 9 8 9 8 9 9 Ggultra2764 [series:3665#1552]
This adaptation of Fruits Basket serves as a remake of the popular shoujo manga series from Natsuki Takaya focused on teen orphan Tohru Honda's interactions with members of the Sohma family, 13 of which having the ability to transform into an animal of the Chinese zodiac whenever hugged by a member of the opposite sex. It is meant to serve as one of several "seasons" that adapts the full manga and being a more faithful adaptation of the series compared to the 2001 adaptation that only adapts chapters from the manga's first eight volumes since it was still ongoing at the time it aired.

For anyone new to the series and why it's highly regarded, Fruits Basket explores Tohru's interactions with the Sohma family, mainly with Kyo and Yuki. Those cursed by the zodiac within the Sohma family have faced varying degrees of tragedy throughout their lives due to their differences from normal people and Tohru serves as a unique presence within the lives of many of the cursed members since she accepts them unconditionally as people and selflessly tries helping them as best she can. The changes faced by the characters throughout Fruits Basket are gradual throughout time that involve anything such as Tohru learning to value her own needs, Yuki opening himself up to others, and Kyo learning to control his anger around others. The strong character development and chemistry, as well as the exploration of the inner workings of the Sohma family curse, were what allowed it to be the first shoujo manga series to be popular within America during the 2000s.

This new adaptation of Fruits Basket expands on quite a bit of its source material as it dabbles into various chapters from the first nine volumes of the manga series. While it does adapt much of what the 2001 anime previously adapted from the manga series, the 2019 anime does come with a number of improvements in making it a more faithful adaptation. Because the manga was still ongoing at the time of the 2001 anime's airing, this results in the series removing any hint of foreshadowing to future events to come within the manga and significant connections that certain characters would have with one another, as well as having some anime original plot developments that change the nature of how some elements to characters and the Sohma curse play out. With the 2019 anime, this foreshadowing is retained and any changes that are made to scenes for the anime don't significantly alter elements and developments of the plot in the same way it does for the 2001 anime. In addition, some new material is adapted for the first "season" of Fruits Basket that the 2001 series didn't dabble into, as it has a few episodes devoted to exploring the backstory of Tohru's close friends, Saki and Arisa. Not to mention the visuals to the series are a great improvement over the 2001 anime with more vibrant character designs and gorgeous scenic shots. The soundtrack also does a great job at complementing key scenes throughout the series, though preference for the soundtrack of this series or the 2001 adaptation may be an area of debate for those who have followed both anime adaptations of the series.

Praises aside, the 2019 Fruits Basket anime is not without its imperfections. A few episodes of the series had adapted only single chapters from the manga series and this usually led the anime to add in some anime-only content to pad out the runtime. The results of doing this are mixed as some of the anime-only material does well to complement key developments of the series, while others either lazily used flashbacks accompanied by a dramatic musical track to aid in padding an episode's runtime or an added scene did not do as solid a job for complementing the show's story. The series also has a fair number of aesthetic and depiction changes in some key moments that may not sit totally well with the manga's fans and does introduce some major characters earlier than when they originally debuted within the series. It also ends inconclusively, though this isn't as much an issue since a second anime season of Fruits Basket will be premiering next year to adapt more of the manga series.

Issues aside, Fruits Basket is still one of the better quality anime titles that have aired for the year thus far and also one of the better series remakes that have aired for an older series. Retaining the strong character development and focus on the Sohma curse from the original series while being a more faithful adaptation of Natsuki Takaya's well-regarded manga series, Fruits Basket is a strong recommendation that I would implore fans to check out and could also serve as a decent "gateway drug" series in the same vain that the 2001 anime offered to fans of that era.

Last updated Friday, September 20 2019. Created Friday, September 20 2019.

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