So I haven’t been writing as much as I should be lately, so I figured I’d just write something completely for fun to get me back in the swing if things! Having recently been compelled to revisit the Fruits Basket anime (and I’ve been considering having another go at the manga, although I don’t really intend to do so until I’ve finished my Narnia series), but I figured I’d just write down what I’ve idly pondered before – that is, my favorite episodes of Fruits Basket, my first anime. It might not be terribly interesting unless as a small window into my psyche (these are, after all, merely personal favorites and not necessarily ‘the best’), especially if you haven’t seen the anime, but oh well. Also, possible spoilers ahead (although I’ll do my level best to avoid any manga spoilers..)
5) Episode 25: True Form
So I said these were my favorite episodes, not ‘the best’, but I’m not the sort of person who ignores quality, especially in a series where it’s sometimes scarce. So yeah, this one is mainly here because it has some of the best production values in the series (good animation, direction, even some particularly lovely music). Also, the last few episodes are basically the only place where ANY of the main characters get significant development. There are some truly baffling scenes thrown in for contrived drama (I still don’t get the thing with Shigure), but at least they’re not as distractingly out of character as some scenes added to 24 & 26, and they never detract from the mood. I think the main reason I chose this one is that it has a strong backbone (Kyo’s past), and even if it does get a tad angsty at times, the flashbacks are quite well-done (LITTLE KYO’s SMILE makes my heart melt every time). It works surprisingly well as a finale to the anime, narrowing the scope to a single character rather than widening it.
4) Episode 13: A New School Term Starts
This is the episode I always have in mind when I think of this anime and what makes it unique. Its production values are fairly typical of the series (which is to say not that great), but what always made it memorable for me is the combination of humor and drama. I’m laughing uncontrollably halfway through the episode, and then it suddenly turns serious – and it pulls it off! On top of that, it seamlessly incorporates Haru and Momiji into the main cast. It’s also one of a very few episodes that actually develops Yuki’s character (I get the feeling that the creators of the anime didn’t really understand him, and it’s pretty undeniable that they didn’t understand Akito…). Anyhow! it’s an emotional roller coaster int the best possible way.
3) Episode 19: The Source of Cheer Can Be Affected by Colds Too
If Episode 25 represents the dramatic peak of the series, then this episode represents the warm fuzzy peak of the series (yes, that’s a thing in Fruits Basket). One of the main appeals of the series is sheer adorableness, so when I just feel like I need a warm hug in animated form, I turn to this episode, where Tohru gets a cold and discovers how much everyone cares about her. Hatori, Momiji, and Kisa all show up at the end, while Kyo takes good care of her (in his awkwardly adorable way). It also has a nice sense of humor (as always) that just leaves me smiling at the end.
2) Episode 8: Don’t Cry, for the Snow will Surely Melt
This one is a dramatic highlight of the series, no doubt helped by its abnormally good direction and animation. Granted, most of the questions it raises are never addressed again (let alone answered), but it raises them beautifully. I do have a handful of quibbles with their adaptational choices, but it’s hard to find fault with it (aside from the common argument that it doesn’t really have much payoff in the end). The anime is at its best when it does character-focused episodes, and this is easily the best put together of that type.
1) Episode 17: It’s Because I’ve Been Loved that I’ve Become Stronger
Hatori’s episode may be the best character episode, but this is my FAVORITE, because it’s Kisa and I adore Kisa. Seriously, Kisa is my favorite character in the anime (even more than any of the “main” characters), due at least in part to her entire character arc being contained in the anime (although not entirely in this episode). I love her in the manga, too, of course (she’s basically me when I was little), but when so few of the characters are fully explored in the anime (the chick from the Prince Yuki fan club gets more focus than Yuki himself, for crying out loud!), it’s just nice when they get one right. There may be other episodes that will cheer me up on a rainy day, but this one hits close to home. In terms of production values, there is some noteworthy (super-adorable) character animation for Kisa that necessarily carries much of the episode. There’s also some character development for Yuki, which is always welcome. This is more than just a warm hug for me – it’s honestly helped me out of some pretty deep funks before.