The Spring 2020 Anime Preview Guide
Fruits Basket 2nd Season
How would you rate episode 1 of
Fruits Basket 2nd Season ?
What is this?
Nearly a year has now passed since Tohru started living with Yuki, Kyo, and Shigure, and some things have definitely changed in that time. Motoko, the president of the Prince Yuki Fan Club, has noticed Yuki smiling more readily, and she isn't sure how she feels about that – or, for that matter, herself, as she also realizes the ugly obsessiveness of her love for Yuki. Yuki, meanwhile, encounters two individuals who have been chosen to be his chief subordinates on the Student Council: the standoffish Machi and the all-too-gregarious Manabe, both of whom are, in Yuki's own words, “Zodiac-level weird.” Summer break is also approaching.
How was the first episode?
I have somewhat mixed feelings about the 2019 adaptation of the Fruits Basket manga – there were definitely parts of it that faltered compared to the original – but my impression of it was overall strong enough that it made my Top 5 list for the year. Hence its continuation was definitely one of my most anticipated titles for this season. Its first foray into the time period completely beyond the 2001 adaptation is basically a standard seasonal set-up episode, one which introduces a few new characters while also performing some extra character development on a couple of established ones. What few hints there are about future direction are vague at best.
The biggest benefactor is a recurring character that is very far down my list of favorites in the series–Motoka Minagawa– and because of that, this episode may not have been as compelling for me as some others. Oh, there's no real problem with how she is handled here; this is easily the most introspective she has been, and seeing her recognize that her obsessiveness about Yuki is ugly is a welcome development, even as she also admits that she just can't get over him. Seeing her recognize that maybe Tohru was good for him after all is a game-changing moment for her. The other emphasized character is Yuki, though his is a smaller step in development. He seems to be more increasingly bothered by accusations that his personality isn't the liveliest, and he's definitely flummoxed by being teased by Manabe, something he hasn't really gotten from a peer before. Significantly, once he gets over his initial shock, he realizes that he kind of likes that degree of almost-too-familiar camaraderie.
The other big move here is bringing in Manabe and Machi as his Student Council underlings-to-be. One of the few hooks for future developments that this episode lays out is that something is clearly going on with Machi, though the episode provides scant clues about what that might be. Manabe, contrarily, is more directly a colorful personality, one in the vein of Ayame, and should serve to liven things up. By comparison, Tohru only gets a bit of time at the beginning and end of the episode and none of it is too meaningful, although the business with the iron does make for one of the episode's funnier moments. Otherwise it's' pretty much hijinks as normal. The delinquent girls who now idolize Arisa also make a brief reappearance and there's another cameo by the young woman whom I presume from the intro is the horse.
And speaking of the intro, “Prism” is a great new song which, when paired with the visuals, isn't going to need time to grow on me. The new closer is pretty solid, too, and the technical merits in general have not slacked off. Too soon to tell where the story is going, but the quality level is still there.
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