REVIEW: ‘Fruits Basket: The Final Season,’ Episode 1 — “I’ll Hold Another Banquet”

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Fruits Basket The Final Season Episode 1

Fruits Basket: The Final Season has started airing on April 5th, 2021, and is animated by TMS Entertainment (Dr. Stone, Orange, Baki) and features voice acting work from Eric Vale (One Piece, My Hero Academia, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood), Laura Bailey (Soul Eater, Dragon Ball, K-ON!),  and Jerry Jewell (The Disastrous Life of Saiki K, Fairy Tale, Case Closed). Watchers who have premium Crunchyroll or Funimation accounts can stream it. With the start of the third season, Fruits Basket is inching towards a deep and emotionally gut-wrenching finale that many fans are excited to finally see animated. Taking off from where we left off last season, watchers are thrust into a scene where Kureno is telling Tohru the integral backstory of the main antagonist. 

The animation is absolutely stunning as it pans towards the park that Tohru and Kureno are talking in. The exchange is focused on Akito and watchers learn that Akito’s mother has been abusive and mean to them their whole life because Akito was born female. Being raised as male by her mother, this episode expertly brings together an emotionally charged start to Fruits Basket: The Final Season. The voice work from Colleen Clinkenbeard as Akito is fragile and jagged when need be. There is truly despair and hate expressed through her performance as Akito angrily chokes her mother out while delivering a powerful monologue about love. Love is described as a real and powerful bond between two people who have mutual understanding and care for another. Akito discusses how parental love does not need to be expected nor does she feel bad for not loving a mother who has regularly abused her whole life. 

The writing on this exchange is immaculate and found family is just as powerful and real. There are still so many people that expect children to unconditionally love parents even when they are abusive and toxic and to see the premiere of Fruits Basket: The Final Season tackle it head-on and with immense care left this reviewer very moved as someone who has endured years of familial abuse and trauma. To carry on with emotional punches, the last half of the episode focuses on Tohru as she processes the information Kureno has told her. In true Tohru fashion, she is depicted to be a mess of tears over the fact that she cannot fix the situation between Akito, Kureno, and Kureno’s romantic partner, but what ensues amongst her friends was a written exchange that holds the most character development for her.

 A key character tells Tohru that “If you bear their burdens, their weight will grow and grow and grow till one day it’ll crush you” This is such a moment of clarity and character growth for Tohru. She takes on the whole Soma clan’s and her friends’ burdens and attempts to rectify these curses all by herself to the point that she finds herself useless when she can’t fix it. She’s defined by her helpfulness. While this is one of her many strengths, Tohru needs to realize it’s okay to not be the helper at all times. To see her friends recognize that and to tell her that she cannot take on the world for everyone was magnificent. It’s been 3 seasons and it was so gratifying to see such a wonderful exchange amongst friends. 

Aside from the phenomenal emotional script in the premiere, TMS Entertainment animated this episode to be filled with lots of idealized nature scenery and wonderful character design. The look of the Soma Clan, Tohru, and her friends is crisp and clean leaving Fruits Basket to be one of the best-looking shojo anime currently airing. During the exchange between Kureno and Tohru the park scenery is absolutely gorgeous featuring romanticized golden hour sunshine. Lots of lush greens, soft yellow lighting highlighting these characters and symbolically representing their good nature. The nature of the scene juxtaposed with the tragic story of Akito being told to Tohru balances the somber tone of the premiere of Fruits Basket: The Final Season.

Saddens carries so much weight in this episode but despite the exploration into more emotionally dark territory, the premiere ends the episode with a sunset. It’s a new day and it’s a symbolic choice showcasing one of the core themes of Fruits Basket and why it has captured so many hearts.  The start of a new day is another chance for hope and for love to prevail and pull through “One step at a time. We’ll figure it all out” 

Fruits Basket: The Final Season is streaming on FUNimation and Crunchyroll.

Fruits Basket: The Final Season Episode 1 — "I'll Hold Another Banquet"
  • 9/10
    Rating - 9/10
9/10

TL;DR

Saddens carries so much weight in this episode but despite the exploration into more emotionally dark territory, the premiere ends the episode with a sunset. It’s a new day and it’s a symbolic choice showcasing one of the core themes of Fruits Basket and why it has captured so many hearts.  The start of a new day is another chance for hope and for love to prevail and pull through “One step at a time. We’ll figure it all out”