HomeAnimeANIME/FILM REVIEW | Finding Second Chances in "Fruits Basket" Prequel

ANIME/FILM REVIEW | Finding Second Chances in "Fruits Basket" Prequel

ANIME/FILM REVIEW | Finding Second Chances in "Fruits Basket" Prequel

It’s amazing that we got a Fruits Basket reboot in the first place. Natsuki Takaya’s shojo manga has been considered a classic by many, and its original anime adaptation in 2001 was lauded for its storytelling and characters. But hopes for a second season dwindled year after year, to the point where we thought we’d never see Tohru (Manaka Iwami), Kyo (Yuma Uchida), and Yuki (Nobunaga Shimazaki) on the small screen. Yet here we are, two decades later, with not only a complete reboot of Fruits Basket, but one that was executed flawlessly.

But where does one go after the Soma family story has ended? Do they adapt the Fruits Basket Another sequel, or even “The Three Musketeers Arc”? For now, not yet. Instead, TMS Entertainment (Dr. STONE, Lupin The Third) goes back in time before the Soma family was in the picture, and a little more back before Tohru was even born. In Fruits Basket - prelude -, it’s all about how Tohru’s parents first met.


Well, before that happens, viewers will have to deal with a 30-minute recap of Fruits Basket’s final moments. While it may seem unnecessary at first, it does act as the backbone to the emotional aspects of the prequel’s narrative. Like Kyo, Kyoko (Miyuki Sawashiro) was chastised and criticized by her family. Even before her rebellious phase, Kyoko was treated as one that was unneeded by society by her father. She causes a commotion at her school, as all of her emotions reach a breaking point with no one there to shoulder her frustrations.

That is, until Katsuya Honda (Yoshimasa Hosoya) appears. A student teacher, he becomes the first person Kyoko can confide everything to. Years of hatred towards her parents, society, and every human being slowly start to melt from her hard exterior. These moments chip away the negativity Kyoko has experienced because there wasn’t a single person who remotely cared for her and her well-being.


While the age gap between Kyoko and Katsuya may raise some eyebrows, the moments these two share feel genuine. Even when the world seems out to get them, and the past crawls back to literally harm Kyoko, the strength these two share is presented with such care and warmth. The voice acting of both Sawashiro and Hosoya emphasizes their love for one another, in ways that elevate both of their dramatic and comedic timing. Not only does their chemistry sound real, but their emotions aid in pushing their performances towards great heights.

This becomes evident during the second half of Fruits Basket - prelude -, where Tohru enters their life. Things start off on a happy note, with the parents and child brimming with life and joy. However, when Katsuya is no longer in the picture, Kyoko’s personality makes a full 180. You can feel her sadness and bleak outlook on life, as she’s confused over why the world continues onward without her husband. Grief takes many forms, and here it overtakes her in the most frightening of ways.


Fortunately, as Tohru did for Kyo in the main series, she acts as Kyoko’s beacon of hope. Even in a much smaller role here in the prequel, she transforms into the light of Kyoko’s life. Kyoko reawakening from her funk is where Tohru’s greatest lessons from her mother begins, even starting the main Fruits Basket narrative in one way or another. It brings the whole of Takaya’s original story full circle, albeit one that has maybe a little squiggle in its circumference.

Is Fruits Basket - prelude - a necessary watch? For fans of the original series, it gives some good insight of why Tohru is the way she is. On the other hand, there are elements of this back story sprinkled throughout the series. Nevertheless, Fruits Basket - prelude - showcases the heart, spirit, and even funny bone of the narrative, even without the aid of some lively zodiac animals.


Promotional consideration provided by Crunchyroll. English subtitled version observed for review. In theaters June 25th. Click here for tickets!

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The J-POP king of America, Evan has been bringing the hottest sounds of the Land of the Rising Sun to the English-speaking public since his college radio days. He's also an expert in the gaming, anime, & manga realms, never afraid to get critical when the times call for it. Born & bred in Boston, he achieved his biggest dream yet by making the big move to Tokyo, Japan in Summer 2023! For personal inquiries, contact Evan at evan@b3crew.com. For press/band inquiries, write to us at thebastards@bostonbastardbrigade.com. (Drawing by AFLM of Wicked Anime)