Fruits Basket: The Final Season Episode 4, “I’m Home” released on Monday, April 25th, 2021 on both Crunchyroll and Funimation to their premium subscribers. This episode is a dramatic shift in terms of characters focused on. Viewers get to peer into the life of Haru, Akito, and Hiro.
Hiro is written as the softest he has ever been in Fruits Basket. He is expressive, sweet, and saddened by the guilt he has bottled up towards the Sohma family. He has a great moment explaining how he cares deeply for others and wished he could bear their burdens and cries them out free of judgment. As a viewer, this moment of growth comes and goes so quickly within a 24-minute time slot. Since Fruits Basket Episode 4 is the first time the Final Season tunes into, this isn’t explored enough as the episode thrusts Haru into our faces.
Haru (voiced by Justin Cook of My Hero Academia, Dragon Ball, and Attack on Titan) has a character shift as well. He is much more aggressive and darker in the name of love. While Fruits Basket is typically about becoming a better person because of the people you love. Haru is the show showcasing how love can make you toxic. This idea only scratches the surface and doesn’t get to fully settle in because about a third of the way through, Haru is written to immediately overcome this obstacle. He refuses to let the Sohma clan curses continue to bog down his love life. In a sweet exchange, that has been a long time coming, viewers get to see Haru get the girl he loves and frees her from a terrible situation that has kept him apart.
Despite this moment being something I have wanted for a very long time, the emotional beats do not land and instead feel forced and stiff. Haru’s voice acting does not reach the same level as his romantic partners making this romantic exchange feel unbalanced and lackluster. The quick turnaround within his character completely shoved into just one episode feels rushed and not as impactful as it should. Despite the character moments falling flat, the animation is always top-notch. The character designs in Fruits Basket Episode 4 feel beautiful and the scenery blends CGI and hand-drawn animation in a way that fully embodies the love and warmth depicted within the series.
While a lot of characters had major breakthroughs in terms of emotional growth, these moments feel flat with the non-emotive voice work and rushed plot development. The script written for Fruits Basket Episode 4 didn’t feel as meaningful and insightful as with other characters like Tohru or Kureno. It sticks out so heavily in this episode because of how focused the past three episodes had been on every other character. That type of care and dedication should have also been used in the exploration of Haru’s darker emotional side to fully flesh him out. Instead, Fruits Basket Episode 4 disappoints with one of its weaker episodes of the season and leaves a lot to be desired.
Fruits Basket: The Final Season is streaming now on Funimation.
Fruits Basket: The Final Season Episode 4 - "I'm... Home"