Fruits Basket 1st Season

Fruits Basket 1st Season

Fruits Basket 1st Season anime series cover art
Fruits Basket 1st Season

Overview

Fruits Basket 1st Season (フルーツバスケット 1st season) is, as you may have guessed, the first season of the Fruits Basket anime. But, did you know that this is actually the second time Fruits Basket has gotten an anime adaptation?

Now, I haven’t seen the original adaptation, and at this point I’m not going to, but I figured I’d let you know it existed in case you’re interested. This isn’t going to be some comparison between the old and new adaptation, rather this is just a review of the 2019 version.

Fruits Basket is a romantic comedy drama. It has romance, it has comedy, but most importantly it’s a drama. And if you know me, you’ll know I like my drama anime. But, Fruits Basket isn’t exactly my kind of drama series. It’s a shoujo drama. I’m more of a seinen drama kind of person.

With that said, I did still like the initial premise of Fruits Basket, and I do think it’s a pretty good anime. The series is based on the Chinese zodiac and focuses on the Souma family — a family whose members are physical embodiments of the zodiac animals.

Not all of the Souma clan are zodiac members, but those who are transform into their respective animals when hugged by the opposite gender. Yes, hugs because this is a shoujo series. Also what exactly counts as a hug differs between situations.

And then we have Tooru, a non-Souma clan member who gets caught up in the mystical world of the zodiac. It’s Tooru who slowly but surely teaches the various zodiac members that what they see as a curse is nothing more than their individuality.

Characters

Tooru Honda is our protagonist this time around. She’s an airhead who isn’t all that confident in herself. But she makes up for it by having the largest heart of anyone. It doesn’t matter who they are, if someone is in need of a friend Tooru will be there for them.

And as for some background on Tooru’s situation, we don’t really know anything about her father, but her mother died not all that long ago. She lived with her grandfather for a time before moving out (temporarily at first). She ends up staying with members of the Souma family after being found living on their land.

Tooru Honda from the anime series Fruits Basket 1st Season
Tooru Honda

Yuki Souma is probably the male lead of the series. He’s the first member of the Souma clan we meet, and it’s obvious he has a thing for Tooru so I think it’s a pretty safe bet. But as we’ll see, even saying there’s a definitive male lead isn’t a straightforward process.

Yuki is a member of the zodiac, but I won’t be telling you which one because finding out which animal everyone is is half the fun. What I will say is that Yuki is the pretty boy at school who all the girls love. This means he constantly has to dodge hugs from random girls.

Kyo Souma is the other potential male lead of the series. And although I said Yuki is probably the male lead, Kyo is just as much of a viable option. In many cases Kyo is more the male lead than Yuki, but it constantly shifts back and forth.

Kyo is also a member of the zodiac and doesn’t get along with Yuki at all specifically because of it. While Yuki is the pretty boy, Kyo is the cool, delinquent type.

Slow and Steady

So now we come to my main issue with Fruits Basket, the pacing. This series is incredibly slow for the most part. Like I said, I enjoyed it, but I think it could have cut out some of the fluff to keep the story moving a bit faster.

For example we got a few side character arcs which really didn’t feel necessary.

Uo, one of Tooru’s friends, is a former gang member. That’s something we knew in the series for a long time, and even before we knew, it was pretty obvious that was the case. But we still got a multi-episode background arc for her explaining how she came to be Tooru’s friend.

The same thing could have been accomplished in a single episode since it doesn’t directly relate to the story. It also could have been accomplished even without a dedicated episode. Just keep sprinkling pieces of information about Uo’s past into the main story.

Tooru and the Bull Zodiac of the Souma clan from the anime series Fruits Basket 1st Season
Tooru and the Bull Zodiac of the Souma clan

Saki, Tooru and Uo’s other friend, got a similar treatment. I don’t remember if her backstory arc was more than one episode, but if it was it didn’t need to be. It was more interesting than Uo’s arc, but still didn’t really relate to the story. They could have worked well as OVAs.

There was also what amounted to a filler episode all about Saki using her psychic power to scare some other girls from her class. Not exactly sure what that had to do with anything, but it happened. It’s episodes like these that really make the series drag on.

In the end Fruits Basket is going to be four cours long, but honestly I think it could be done in three without really sacrificing anything.

Conclusion

Fruits Basket 1st season was a 6/10 for me from start to finish. The later part of the second cour was a bit better than the rest of the series, but not enough to bump the score up. And yes, I will be watching the 2nd season when it airs. I’m looking forward to how the story continues.

I guess I usually mention the OPs/EDs in the ends of these series/season reviews, so if I had to pick one I’d say ED 2 is the best from Fruits Basket 1st season. ED 1 definitely has a good song by Vickeblanka, but the second ED by INTERSECTION comes with better visuals.

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