If you’re not a stranger to this site, you’re already aware of my contempt for harem anime. It is just not my cup of tea, especially considering how it’s being dominated by really bad Isekai anime as of late. But the one thing I can almost always count on to deliver? Reverse harem. What can I say? They just deliver the perfect amount of wish fulfillment, while staying pretty grounded. And we’ve certainly been spoiled with how ridiculously good their writing tends to be. Just look at Fruits Basket!
Fruits Basket happens to be one of those cult classic anime that are genuinely as good as they are hyped up to be in online forums. Like, for a Shojou that was released in the early 2000s, it still holds up surprisingly well. And now with the new reboot that has further enhanced its visual appeal and added more to the story, it’s no wonder that the Fruits Basket fans are rising once again. How can you not, when something you love has come back better than before?
Fruits Basket joins the legion of reverse harem anime that breathed life back into Shojou when it was in a stalemate. This includes anime such as Hana Yori Dango and, of course, Ouran High School Host Club. And while Fruits Basket was always popular, its original anime adaptation was not as accurate as some fans would’ve liked it to be. The characters were a little lacking, and it was way more focused on the love triangle aspect than the growth of the individuals in it.
However, the new adaptation made sure to learn from the past and give us something that stands on its own. Fruits Basket isn’t just a fluffy love story with fantasy elements mixed in. It’s got dark undertones that give each character nuance, and the reboot captures that essence better than the original anime did. There’s a reason why it’s catapulted Fruits Basket back on the anime world stage. And if you enjoy your love stories with a little more depth (and a little magic to boot), you should watch it ASAP.
The Premise: The Fault In Our (Zodiac) Stars?
Tohru Honda is on her own. After a personal tragedy leaves her practically homeless, the 16-year-old high schooler has to find a new place to stay, and what is her solution? A tent. Unfortunately, her new home happens to be on land belonging to the elusive Sohma clan, who stumbles upon her and her ramshackle tent when a landslide leaves it wrecked. However, Shigura Sohma, their guardian, and Yuki Sohma, her classmate, feel sorry for her and decide to take her in on a few conditions.
Sadly, none of those conditions matter when Tohru accidentally stumbles upon a secret on her own, where she learns the Soumas have a peculiar condition. Upon physical contact with the opposite sex, they turn into animals in the Chinese Zodiac. Caught between Yuki and his hotheaded cousin, Kyou Sohma, Tohru discovers the pains of growing up and everything in between.
The Breakdown: A Darker Story Hiding Behind Shojou Frills
While the 2001 anime was more sugary sweet, and light on the story, the 2019 reboot pulls far more from the manga itself. Which was definitely on the heavier spectrum and got progressively darker as the plot went on. And with the original mangaka, Nazuki Takaya, overseeing the production, it was automatically going to be a better take.
Fruits Basket wasn’t a flowery little tale about Tohru finding love. It was a tale of all these characters growing up, going through the pains of leaving their childhood behind, and facing up to their fears of abandonment, regret, and loss. And love too, because at that age? It’s all so scary even without the looming curse that turns you into an animal.
Combine that with better sound production, more involved writing, and visuals that caught up to the time, and you get a solid anime that is more in line with what the creator envisioned. It all works, plain and simple.
The Verdict: A Reboot Done So Right!
Look, Fruits Basket: The Final won ‘Anime Of The Year’ for a reason. It was the perfect conclusion to a story that was being told for more than two decades now. And if you’re a romance connoisseur, you already know that Fruits Basket is 100% worth the watch.
Let me know about your experience watching Fruits Basket in the comments below!