Fruits Basket has finally reached its conclusion. The anime certainly did a great job of adapting and improving upon the source material. Who knows, it may also have the reverse effect of making the manga more fun if I were to ever revisit it some day. That said, I would say the first two seasons still defeat this final one. It’s pretty inevitable that in any rom-com the final arc will have to get serious and tie up all the loose ends. Well, this one certainly does but it doesn’t allow itself to have as much fun as in the earlier seasons and one villain gets off a bit too easy.
Shigure and Akito really have the biggest roles in this season to the point where you could make the case that Tohru is not the main character. Still, Tohru is still wondering about how to break the curse and what needs to be done. Meanwhile Akito is getting ready to end Kyo’s freedom once and for all. The promised time is nearly upon them after all. There is one thing that could destroy Akito’s plans though and that is the fact that the curse is starting to weaken. Is it finally time for the final banquet?
An interesting part about how Fruits Basket ends is that Tohru doesn’t end up stopping the curse. In fact, nobody does. It’s just an old one that is naturally decaying so characters break free from it randomly. It’s a bit of a twist because the whole series some characters have tried rather hard to break it but it turns out that it was futile all the time. There really was no way to break the curse and you just had to wait it out. That’s also a bit depressing in its own way too.
My main issue here is that Akito was never stopped. She pushed someone out the window and inflicted a lot of mental torture on all the main characters. She drew blood from Tohru in season 2 and landed physical hits on a lot of characters. In this season she goes as far as to grab a knife and actually stab 2 characters as well. Akito is as unhinged as she ever was so by the time you get to her origin story you’re already skeptical.
That won’t change after watching it. This is Fruits Basket, every character has had a rough upbringing but they’ve learned to deal with it. Akito’s isn’t even as bad as some of the others. I would argue that Kyo and Tohru had it worse. It’s maybe on par with Yuki’s but ranking origin stories is pretty sad since they’re all so tragic. Either way the point is that Akito can’t use it as the big slam dunk that she thinks she can.
Akito also hasn’t limited the suffering to herself and has really been forcing everyone else to stay in misery alongside her. If she wasn’t actively attacking the rest of the cast then I definitely wouldn’t have had as much of an issue with her. So all of her scenes would still make me shake my head here. I still say that the characters should have fought back or defended themselves. The curse may turn them into animals but I don’t buy their not being able to fight back. Even here Hatsu comes close to attacking Akito but ultimately stops and just runs off. The characters really let Akito get the better of them.
Yuki had the majority of his character development earlier so he doesn’t do much in this season. Still he has his quick rebound with the student council member Machi. This was definitely one of the more rushed romances since she didn’t get to appear a whole lot but in real time I think they knew each other for a whole semester so at least there was 3 months there. Machi is another character who went through a lot of trauma and definitely still goes through some tough times but she’s handled it pretty well for the most part. This wrapped up that plot in a very resolute way.
Now you could make the case that this is less of a rebound since Yuki took himself out of the competition for Tohru before she made a decision. There’s a fair case for that so while this feels sudden, perhaps you could say it was not a secondary pick. I think Machi probably could have been introduced earlier to set this up but either way she was fun. Yuki’s always been considerate so they’ll get along just fine. Machi’s another character who I would say had a worse origin story to survive through than Akito. Getting framed as a kid will definitely leave you with a lot of trauma after all.
We can’t forget about Kyo of course as he had one of the big plots here. Since Akito plans to lock him up soon, Kyo’s coming to terms with the end of the era for him. He’s pretty much resigned to his fate so he’s still in the phase of trying to push everyone away during this season. Unfortunately by now he has pretty much accepted his fate and is no longer fighting with the same passion he once had.
We get to see his full origin story for the first time. Quite a lot happened to Kyo over the years and unfortunately most of the Zodiac spirits are quite passive so nobody would really help him. Tohru’s mom was probably the first person to really care about him until the Dojo guy stepped up. Even in the present we see that this hasn’t changed. Everyone knows he will be locked up soon but nobody’s doing anything about it.
Aside from Shigure who confirms he would not lift a finger to help, I won’t blame the others yet. For all I know, many of them had plans they would enact on the day of. So in case that is what would happen, I can’t really dock any points there. I’d like to see what kind of legal right the Sohma family would have to lock him up though. I feel like if Kyo went to the cops or something then things would play out pretty differently. I get that the Sohma is a rich family with a lot of power but even they should have their limits.
Of course the romance with Kyo and Tohru wraps up here. It’s not rushed or anything since this has been going on for 3 seasons at least. Fruits Basket is known as one of the Top Shojo’s after all and while I’m not sure I would go that far, the romance is done in the correct style. It’s built up over many episodes to the inevitable conclusion instead of all happening very quickly. At most you may just have to shake your head as how Kyo brings in the drama by suddenly running off again in this season. There’s a lot of running between both characters that’s for sure.
From all of the romances in this series, this is easily the best one without a doubt so it deserves some props there. As for Tohru, she may not get a particularly large role here as I mentioned, but she is still officially the lead and as such, gets a good send off. As a character she is solid as always. She actually does some detective work and tries to talk to as many characters as possible. By the end she does give Kyo a solid answer in response to his origin story while still choosing to believe in her Mother to the end. It was a good way to wrap things up while also staying true to her ideals. So that was a solid way to wrap things up.
Then we have Shigure who is a pretty bad character. He’s not as bad as Akito but I would definitely put him in the bottom 3. The guy is every bit as shady as Akito but always tries to play the fool and act innocent about it. He loves to play both sides and mess with Akito while also pretending to be a friend. The thing is, he is like that to everyone. I don’t see how any character can trust the guy. He’s also rather mean to his editor for no reason as he causes her as much stress as possible. It’s nice to see a Zodiac spirit who isn’t terrified of Akito but there’s really nothing to like about the guy.
Akito’s mother also shows up here. I like the idea of having a character that even Akito can’t mess with, but ultimately she doesn’t do a whole lot. She adds some drama as she is easily able to corrupt Shigure and sets up another character but that’s about it. If you were to remove her from the story it really wouldn’t change much. Especially given that Akito’s origin story doesn’t really end up making the villain more sympathetic.
As for Akito’s right hand man Kureno, I didn’t care for him either. In a way this guy caused a whole lot of the problems that would end up infecting the rest of the characters. If he had come clean about breaking the curse then it would have saved everyone a lot of heartache. The guy also allows himself to effectively be used out of pity by Akito which is a high price for this affair. He should have just stayed strong and been a friend but not go beyond that. Instead he lets himself get abused constantly.
Next up is Rin who was doing a lot of sleuthing of her own. She definitely takes a lot of risks but in this season she just didn’t look very smart. Why believe some random person who is extremely shady when she says that she knows how to break the curse? That’s just ultra convenient and if it requires breaking into the main villain’s room then that is definitely not going to end well. Rin really walked right into that trap and of course she ended up freezing so she couldn’t fight back.
It’s one of those scenes that will make you shake your head. I was glad Rin wasn’t as quick to just forgive and forget with Akito later on. As for Haru, he’s not bad but I definitely think he should have stepped in sooner. He didn’t know about Akito pushing Rin off a building but he did know that she was missing for a while. I’d expect him to have been poking around and Akito’s building should have been suspect number 1. His whole split personality and Dark Haru element isn’t that great if it never shows up when it counts.
Tohru’s two friends from school show up a bit as well in this season but I wouldn’t say their roles are too big. In some respects they have never had as much importance to the story as the various Sohma members but they do remain more relevant than the school friends in a lot of other Shojo titles like this. They’re not bad but they don’t usually tend to have scenes that are quite as interesting as the main cast.
Hiro and Kisa definitely don’t do much here either but at least now that he’s a bit older Hiro isn’t as unreasonable the whole time as he used to be. It was always annoying how he would insult Tohru for no real reason and nobody would really defend her. In his current state that wouldn’t really be much of an issue. Kisa is also here for moral support. She hasn’t really had to deal with as many tragedies as the others and that’s good. It’s nice that at least one character isn’t having to deal with a dark past.
Momiji doesn’t do much but it is odd how he appears to be a lot meaner and more sinister after the time skip. Maybe part of him realizes that he should have protected Tohru when Akito attacked in the last season. Either way, this would be an interesting new wrinkle to his character provided that he is actually able to be tough when it counts. Only time will tell on that front.
There are more characters of course but this really tackles all of the big ones I would say. The cast itself is large so there will always be a few more hanging around the bends. With 3 seasons I would expect no less. Even some of the Sohma clan members don’t really get to do a whole lot here which shows just how many characters have to be juggled.
The animation is solid as always. It’s not like there are any big action scenes to really test the series but the characters always look on model and everything’s pretty clear. It’s a very consistent show and delivers on that front. The soundtrack can be a little bland though. I wouldn’t say that any of the tunes really pop out at you and the theme song could have definitely been a whole lot more exciting if you ask me. It just feels too basic.
Now time for some final thoughts on the series. Season 3 is shorter than the first 2 so it definitely goes by really quickly. At the end of the day I definitely consider the anime to be a huge improvement over the manga. You’re given a lot of time to get used to the characters and root for them. I’d say the strength of the series is that it does a good job of showing the various emotions of the characters.
The writing is pretty solid as well with each character having to deal with a different issue as they grew up. There are a ton of sob stories and yet I would not say that any two are the same. Most of them are sad without being overly gritty either. This show goes through a lot of different tones but manages to achieve them all pretty well. You definitely won’t be bored.
There is naturally a lot of romances here as well. I would say most of them miss the mark as per the course for most romance titles but at least Kyo and Tohru was a strong one so that’s good since it is the main romance in the series. I wouldn’t say the romance ever really takes over as well so if you’re here for the plot then you should still be okay in the end.
On the flip side, one issue I have is with how passive all of the characters are. I’ve already beaten the point about everyone bowing to Akito into the ground so I’ll sidestep that one this time. Even just with how they obey the formalities and everything feels like they aren’t trying though. So Kyo is going to be locked up in a cave right? Have him decide to move out of town or something. He would certainly be able to leave if he wanted and good luck trying to bring him back. The guy can turn into a monster after all so he could repel any attackers.
The same is true for the rest of the Sohma family who feel like prisoners in the estate. Just get out of there and things will be better. Now granted, the curse is still annoying but it’s not like Akito would ever help you cure it anyway so I’d say your best bet is still high tailing it out of there while you still can. It would have been cool if Tohru brought that up.
As for her mother’s death, I do think part of the scenario was a little forced just to scar Kyo further. The whole “I won’t forgive you” part being spoken out loud out of the whole speech is just hard to buy. It’s the only way you could misinterpret the speech to be something negative so of course that’s what happened. Given how solid her character has been throughout the series, it doesn’t really work as a fake out to the audience and to Kyo it’s just a bit on the contrived side.
Overall, Fruits Basket had a pretty good run. There are definitely a lot of different events that occurred here. The 13 episodes did a good job of really packing themselves in with a lot of content. If you watched the first two seasons then you owe it to yourself to watch this one as well. There aren’t a whole lot of light hearted moments or happy events for the characters this time, but they all finally confront their inner demons so in that sense you get an uplifting feeling there. You know it’ll be all uphill for everyone going forward. Throw Akito out of the show and this would probably be bumped up even further but of course it would be a different show at that point. Time to see what the franchise brings to the table next.