Fruits Basket: 1st Season – Anime Preview
Synopsis: Tohru Honda thought her life was headed for misfortune when a family tragedy left her living in a tent. When her small home is discovered by the mysterious Soma clan, she suddenly finds herself living with Yuki, Kyo, and Shigure Soma. But she quickly learns their family has a bizarre secret of their own: when hugged by the opposite sex, they turn into the animals of the Zodiac!(Official Crunchyroll Synopsis)
1st Episode Review (Warning: Minor Spoilers to Follow):
I’ll be honest. I’ve never been a fan of most classic Shoujo. I never took to Fruits Basket or Ouran High School Host Club, two series that most Shoujo fans passionately declare as their entryway into anime fandom or their first anime obsession. So this review isn’t for those hoping to see a nostalgic fan gush about this new adaptation. However, I will admit that, for someone who was never won over before, this new take on such a well loved series does add charm by updating the visual look and character designs to mesh more with modern anime aesthetics. The storytelling feels tighter, tuned up to move at a faster and more engaging pace, doling out information alongside plot instead of dumping both out in clunky blocks. Both these aforementioned factors should work to grab the attention of the average viewer, with the addendum that said viewer is either into or at the very least open to reverse harem Shoujo stories and tropes.
But the truth is this new adaptation isn’t reinventing the series. What’s changed borders on simple directorial decisions, rather than truly elevating the material. If you didn’t take to Fruits Basket before there’s very little chance this will completely shift your interest back the other way. The pacing feels tight, the art more appealing (to me anyway), but it’s still the same story underneath. Die-hard fans should be excited about that, seeing as this run’s goal is to adapt all of the manga across a handful of seasons, easily extending past the 26 episode length of the original anime run.
And there’s also the fact that Fruits Basket does show its age as a classic series, presenting a heroine and tropes that viewers may have already seen in maybe one too many series. Yes, our heroine is a tragic, orphaned and homeless young girl but ever so cheerful and likeable who then, by random circumstances, ends up rooming not only with a house full of attractive men, but THE PRINCE of her high school. This isn’t a mark against the show but more a heads up for anyone who may have tired of the cliches presented. Fruits Baskets, thus returns, for ardent fans to experience a hopefully more comprehensive adaptation of the original manga, and for new/younger Shoujo fans to be able to experience a classic with more updated and appealing visuals. For anyone else, it likely remains a pass in the season line up.