Hello and welcome to Anime Rants. It’s great to have you! Now, I’ve said this before, but when I watched the orginal Fruits Basket anime, I was completely baked. I barely remember anything from that summer. Despite watching a lot of anime, none of it was retained. I’ve also never read any of the Fruits Basket manga. So all that to say, this episode shocked me. This entire time, I had no idea that Hana-chan actually did have a supernatural power. I thought sensing “waves” was just extremely accurate intuition about others.
Well, that was wrong. Hana-chan can hear the inner voices of others’ minds. It shouldn’t really come as such a surprise, since we already have a lot of supernatural. I mean, the premise of the series is that mononoke spirits of the Zodiac are possessing people of a certain clan and making them shapeshifters who become animals. So yeah, I should have taken Hana-chan’s powers far more seriously before now. Gomennasai.
Saki’s past, full of bullying, and the fear of her powers nearly causing death to others, was really heavy stuff to handle. It felt like I wasn’t even watching Fruits Basket. I like how the bullying and the changes in Hana-chan were portrayed as what they were– horrible and sad — without seeming “edgy.” I think it takes a certain skill with writing/ directing to accomplish that. For me, one thing that really helped solidify the gravity of her backstory was the beautiful but sad or frightening music. The piece that begins at 05: 28 is stunningly beautiful but very melancholy. The ominous music starting at 09:15 was perfect for the horror of that burning scene.
Honestly, if it wasn’t for the fact that Hana-chan’s family was so amazingly supportive and loving, the metaphorical darkness of the first half of the episode would have been too much. On the other hand, the disturbing and sad elements would still have served as a great contrast for the appearance of Tohru. Hana-chan probably loves and admires Tohru on a deeper level than anyone else around her, because her darkness was the deepest. As the episode showed Tohru, Uo-chan, and Hana-chan getting to know each other, it reminded me of the way I felt with my first real friend, who became my best friend.
The episode built up to a great climax as Hana-chan’s power surfaced again and other students brought up her past. She tries to run away and distance herself from Tohru and Uo-chan. Tohru uses her magic angelic Tohru powers while saying that she really loves Hana-chan. And Uo-chan uses some persuasive words to help. When Saki Hanajima realizes that he wants to be with Tohru, and that her desire for companionship is stronger than her need to punish herself, her shell finally breaks. It’s a beautiful moment. The sun comes into the stairwell where the girls are talking. Hana-chan and Tohru hold hands, and nuzzle their heads together.
The life of Saki Hanajima stabilizes and becomes happy with the friendships of Uo-chan and Tohru and the positive influence of Kyoko. I thought it was exceptionally well-done, the way they ended the episode with wise words from Kyoko. This is all so emotional and relatable. I’m really surprised I didn’t cry. 😲 Haha, anyway, thank you for reading my episode review. It means a lot to me. Best wishes to you all!
(Images From: Fruits Basket. Dir. Y Ibata. TMS Entertainment. 2019.)