Fruits Basket Episode 1

Fruits Basket Episode 1

See You After School

After running a poll over on Twitter to find out which series, Fruits Basket or Cinderella Nine, you wanted to be added to the weekly review schedule, Fruits Basket won with every vote. And, while I can’t say the series is amazing after just the first episode, I can say it’s better than Cinderella Nine, so good choice.

I also believe this is the first shoujo anime I’ve done weekly reviews for, though it’s not the first shoujo anime I’ve watched. So, if you’d like to see me include more shoujo or other genres/demographics in the future, let me know. Currently I mostly review shounen anime weekly because there’s a lot of it and it’s popular.

Because this is the first time I’ll be breaking down a shoujo anime in this format, let’s briefly go over what shoujo anime are and how they differ from shounen. Shoujo is simply the Japanese word for young girl, while shounen is young boy.

These aren’t really genres of anime, but rather the demographics which the anime within them are geared towards. The most popular shounen series are the battle series like Naruto and My Hero Academia, while romance anime tend to dominate the shoujo side of things.

You can also tell a series is shoujo a mile away by looking at the character designs. Are all the male characters tall, handsome, a bit feminine looking, and have the same haircut, but just in different colors? If so, you’ve found yourself a shoujo anime. There’s also going to be a lot of ethereal backgrounds, especially during heart-throb scenes (pictured later on).

Life on the Streets

Enough about shoujo anime in general, what about Fruits Basket? Well, I never watched the original version of this series, so just keep in mind that I’m going through this series blind.

But, the basic plot for now seems to be that a high school girl ends up living at the home of one of her male classmates, only to find that he and his entire family turn into animals from the zodiac when hugged. And, yes, that sounds like a pretty stupid plot to me.

I’m guessing that there’s going to be some drama between the men of the Souma clan as they fight over Tooru’s love, or perhaps she’ll need to help them keep their secret hidden, but for now the plot is lacking. And, even in just the first episode we already hit a plot hole which I’ll touch on later.

Tooru Honda, Arisa Uotani, and Saki Hanajima from the anime series Fruits Basket
Tooru, Arisa, and Saki

Alright, so Tooru ends up living with her classmate, Yuki, and his family at their home, but how did she end up in this situation? After the death of her mother, Tooru spends time living with her grandfather until his house needs to undergo renovations.

While her grandfather goes to stay with some other people (I forget if they were family or not), there isn’t enough room for Tooru as well. Thus, he suggests Tooru spend time at one of her friends’ houses. However, Tooru doesn’t want to intrude into her friends’ homes, and so opts to be homeless instead.

She ends up living out of a tent that happens to be set up on Souma clan property, which is how she eventually gets invited to stay in their house.

As for Tooru’s two friends, they’re pretty strange characters. Arisa acts like a Yanki (blonde hair included), and Saki believes she has psychic powers. At least with friends like these, nobody’s going to mess with Tooru and get away with it.

The Souma Household

After living on their land for some time, Tooru is discovered by Yuki Souma and his cousin, Shigure. They decide to take the girl in rather than leave her outside, but I wouldn’t call their motives pure.

Yuki doesn’t exactly think a high school girl should be living in a house with men who she’s not related to, but he’s convinced after Shigure points out that she can do all the chores around the house. Basically, Shigure just wants Tooru around to be the maid.

But, hey, if wanting Tooru to be the maid is the extent of their nefarious plot, then that’s not so bad after all. They don’t seem to have any ill-will towards her, and they’re sheltering her basically for free.

Yuki Souma and Tooru Honda from the anime series Fruits Basket
Yuki and Tooru

Unfortunately, shortly after being told she can live in the Souma house, a landslide occurs which completely covers the tent she was living out of. This may not seem like such a big deal now that she doesn’t need a tent anymore, but all of her belongings, including a photograph of her late mother, were inside.

Tooru then comes down with a fever. And, while Shigure watches over her as she sleeps in a non-creepy way (sort of), Yuki goes out to dig up Tooru’s belongings with the help of thousands of his rat companions.

Secret of the Souma Clan

But, why does Yuki have thousands of rats standing by to do his every bidding? Because he’s the rat of the zodiac. His cousin, Shigure, is also the dog of the zodiac, and a third member of their family whose relation is still unknown, Kyou, is the cat.

Basically, there are 12 zodiac animals, and also the cat. The cat wasn’t allowed to become one of the zodiac animals because it was late to some legendary banquet due to the trickery of the rat. And, the men of the Souma clan are these very animals.

However, they typically retain their human forms. The only times they transform into their respective animals is if they’re hugged by a girl. Why this is how they transform, I couldn’t tell you, but I find it amusing that something like hugging was chosen over kissing. It might as well be hand holding.

And, here’s where the plot hole I hinted at earlier comes into play. It’s explicitly mentioned that hugging is what initiates this transformation, and that is indeed how it’s discovered that Kyou is the cat. But, Yuki and Shigure transform into their respective animals after simply being touched by Tooru’s shoulder.

I get that there’s going to be more to the plot than there is now; it’s only the first episode. But when your series can’t even stick to the rules it set out for a single episode, I’m just not convinced the rules needed to be spelled out to begin with.

Also, the puffs of colored smoke when the boys transform into their respective animals was pretty jarring. It looked nice, don’t get me wrong, but it didn’t match up with the rest of the artwork.

Conclusion

Overall, I’m liking Fruits Basket so far, and I’m interested in learning more about why the zodiac tie in matters. But, it’s just above average for now, and I’m not yet convinced that this should be a fantasy series.

But, have you watched Fruits Basket yet? And if so, what did you think of this first episode?

If you enjoyed today’s review, and would like me to add more shoujo series to the weekly review schedule in the future, let me know by clicking the like button ❤ down below. And, give me a follow over on Twitter @DoubleSama so you don’t miss out on any future content or polls to determine what series get added to the schedule.

As for the schedule of this series, although this first review is being uploaded on a Thursday, all future Fruits Basket episode reviews will be in the Tuesday slot.

Finally, I’d like to thank HeavyROMAN for supporting DoubleSama.com at the Heika tier this month. To learn more about how you can become a supporter, as well as the various benefits you’ll receive, check out Patreon.com/DoubleSama.

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