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Fruits Basket // Episode 1 Review

Episode 1 Review: See You After School

Coming into Fruits Baskets, I was unfamiliar with the original series and the manga. I know it is popular, but I had just never gone back to watch it. Starting with the first episode of the new series I am incredibly impressed. Also a little sad.

It was pretty clear from the first scene with Tohru this episode wasn’t going to be all sunshine and rainbows. She is living in a tent in the middle of a forest and she still has her spunk. Something has gone horribly wrong in this girls. We are setup for some intense emotion right from the get go here. You already know she has lost her mother, whom she holds dearly by the way she talks to her photo. The quick scene really struck me when I was expecting something lighter.

The show does get lighter eventually. Tohru stumbles upon the Soma residence which is interesting. Did she not know she has been living on their property for the better part of three months? I get that it is big and spacious, but a seemingly smart girl should probably know where she is squatting. Shigure catches her investigating the house, surprising the easily frightened Tohru. They have a great exchange about both being born in the year of the dog, and why the cat is not in the zodiac. I’ve heard other versions of the story, but it all boils down to the rat tricks the cat who misses out on entering the pantheon.

The Prince

What we don’t realize is that Shigure is actually the older cousin of Yuki, the hottest boy in class. This is where the show starts to hit that high school slice-of-life stride. Clueless girl meets ultra cute & super popular boy. We have a good stew going here. This leads to a classic misunderstanding between Tohru and Yuki’s unofficial school fan club. They are hyper concerned that Tohru might accidentally hug and frighten Yuki if she is not careful. Apparently he doesn’t like to be hugged.

Tohru is saved by a couple of her outcast friends who are much less interested in the prince Yuki as the other girls of the class. I really liked the intro to the backstory about Yuki’s pretty pathetic family. She already lost her father at a young age, only to lose her mother before she could really set out on her own. The rest of her family seem really selfish. They don’t want to take care of her and even her grandfather abandons her to renovate his home. There are a lot of bad decisions being made here.

She may be living in a tent deep on the Soma family’s property for the last three months, but now that she has discovered their presence, they conveniently find her tent. At least Shigure and Yuki are not selfish and are willing to take in Tohru.

The Rat, the Dog, and the Tiger?

I really didn’t know that this show was going to have supernatural elements to it. Its nice to go into something for once and be completely blindsided by the story elements. There were a couple of hints throughout the episode I didn’t catch until the last scene. Yuki pretty clearly does not want to be hugged. He also can summon an army of rats. He also is the embodiment of the Rat zodiac. Meaning his cousin is the dog, which we see hilariously later, and the rest of his family must make up the rest of the twelve.

I am definitely eager to see more of Fruits Basket. If the focus stays on the slice-of-life antics of a homeless girl wrangling the human representations of the Zodiac, it should be a success.

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[Image via Official Site]