By Alyse Kiara Deatherage
Fruits Basket is an anime that aired July 5 through Dec. 27, 2001, based on a manga published from 1998 to 2006, according to myanimelist.net. As of 2019, Fruits Basket has been a hot topic for millenials, because it has been revamped and re-released. This new and “improved” version has had fans of the original everywhere talking, including myself.
Fruits Basket aired when I was still very young, but I remember watching it for the first time when I was about 10 or 11 years old. The story revolves around a high schooler named Tooru Honda who has recently lost her mother and is living in a tent while her grandfather, her closest relative whom she now lives with, is having renovations done to his house.
While living out in the woods, she meets the family of the prince of her school, Yuuki Souma, and after a series of events, she ends up living with them. However, it isn’t long until she discovers that they have a very big family secret: each member of the family turns into an animal of the Chinese Zodiac when they are hugged by someone of the opposite sex.
Tooru and the Souma’s go through trial after trial of living together as she and the other characters develop throughout the show and grow closer together as friends, and as family.
There’s a lot of good to be said about the original series. Though the animation is very old, the character development and story line themselves can captivate audiences and have been doing so for decades now. However, from just watching the first episode of the 2019 Fruits Basket, it’s clear that this new revamp has many good qualities as well.
The first episode starts off with a bit of a preview of the past that will most likely come to be important later in the series. This wasn’t in the original series, so it’s hard to conclude much from the first episode, but it’s clear that the story line does not follow the original to the T.
Once the episode got started, it was clear that many of the main characters, specifically Tooru, Yuki, Shigure, and Kyou, all have very similar voices compared to the original series. I appreciated this, because the characters are so different and unique that it’s hard to imagine their voices being different.
I was happy to see that Tooru still held to the same charisma and charm, and still had her grit, throughout the first episode. These characteristics are what make her the lovable and inspirational character she is and it was a little concerning that she wouldn’t have these going into this new revamp of the show.
Unfortunately, one of Tooru’s friends in the show, Hana, did not have a similar voice or tone to her, and it seemed that her character just wasn’t as creepy as the original, which took away some of the humor she provided.
Though the art style is a main reason many people deter from watching the original, the new art style did very little good to the new version. The story is about the Chinese Zodiac, an ancient tale, and one that’s been told many times before, so it’s almost as if the old art style helped add to the authenticity of the story.
One thing I did enjoy with the new style, though, was Shigure’s home. The detail really brought it to life, especially with the vibrant colors, and it truly felt like a traditional Japanese home.
I also enjoyed the new subtitles, or notes, of what was happening to provide cultural or comedic content. For instance, Tooru says she’s no longer a dog and she’ll be a cat now which refers to her zodiac sign, and a little note popped up clarifying that. These notes helped smoothly add some background and, at times, were quite funny as well.
Around halfway through the episode, Yuki has a chat with Tooru that I felt gave away too much of his background and what was going to come later when Kyou was introduced. This could have been much more subtle, like in the original, or not there at all.
Also, when Tooru gets sick, there is another interesting and new scene where a boy, whose face isn’t shown, gives her a hat. Based on this, I have a prediction that Tooru and Kyou will have met long before she came to Shigure’s house, which is a new twist and seems a little too obvious, if I’m correct. It makes me wonder how this will affect the end of the new series and change it in comparison to the original.
The end of the episode was also a little awkward to me. Leaving off where it did just seemed strange; the audience can probably guess why the characters turned into animals, so instead of it seeming like a cliffhanger it doesn’t leave them any room to guess what will happen next and want to come back. Though the original also ends this way, this one gave a lot more background throughout the first episode that leaves the ending less comical and more obvious.
One thing I appreciated significantly more about this new series was its ending credits. Both the song and the video fit the show very well, and it is much more entertaining to hear and watch compared to the original outro.
Overall, the revamp has kept quite a few fundamental pieces of the original intact and the new things it’s added have me optimistic about what the coming episodes may hold.