When I last covered this anime, I was just about ready to go on yet another blogging hiatus. Fruits Basket wasn’t solely to blame, but it certainly didn’t help. What I remember thinking to myself was that I was watching something incredibly sappy. Fast forward to about two weeks ago when I decided to binge-watch the rest of the first season — y’know, in preparation for season two. And boy, that was one grueling experience. The problem with Fruits Basket–… well, there are many problems, but the problem for me is that everything is turned up to 11. Grab that dial, twist it as far as you can, and just when you feel as though you can’t twist any further, put some serious elbow grease into it. And that’s Fruits Basket. To be more specific, every other episode — and sometimes, every episode — was a sob story. Meet a new Sohma, listen to a new sob story. New story, new sob story. Story, sob, story, sob. Rinse and repeat. I was busy playing Nioh 2 on the side, and I still felt emotionally drained by the show. Oh no, Akito doesn’t accept me. Akito then went and claw my fiance’s eyes out. I’m gonna blame myself and completely give up on this loving and caring relationship! Ugh. The show is like a vampire that feeds on our feelings; it exists solely to drain us of our tears and empathy. And these stories are written to be so deliberately sad that it’s actually hard to identify with them. I had to laugh when the German-sounding rabbit (I watched the dub) told Tohru all about how his mother rejected him simply because she couldn’t hold him in her arms. Gimme a break, man. Nevertheless, we’re back for more! Why? ‘Cause I guess I’m just a glutton for punishment. Or maybe I want an easy excuse. If for whatever reason I decide to go on hiatus again, we can always blame Fruits Basket! I kid, I kid.
Alright, let’s talk about this episode. Motoko, president of the Prince Yuki Fan Club, demands to know the identities of the new student council board members. Why? ‘Cause she’s utterly sick and tired of women interfering with her attempts to become his girlfriend! But towards the end of the episode, she realizes that Yuki has changed ever since he met Tohru. These days, he can actually smile! Wow! At first Motoko rages out — sigh — but after a bit of self-reflection, she finally admits to herself that she’s horrible for reacting this way. If anything, she should thank Tohru! Great, that’s progress! That’s self-improvement! But the girl then turns around and swears to Yuki that she will never give up. And just like that, I feel like we’re back to square one. She’s the self-proclaimed number one Yuki fan, but she barely even knows him; her love for him is superficial. And when she says she’s not going to give up, she still sees him only as a target for romantic conquest. On the other hand, Tohru sees Yuki as a person whom she wants to befriend. Whether or not they get into a relationship is ultimately secondary to that. This is the difference between treating someone as a means to an end, and treating them as an end in itself. The first words Motoko ever uttered to Yuki was to call him beautiful. That’s exactly the problem. She is aware enough to realize that Tohru has helped Yuki regain his ability to smile, but she doesn’t even stop to consider, “What can I do to help him smile more not just with me but in general?” And if she would ever ask herself that question, she would stop running around like a madwoman, demanding to know the identities of the new student council board members.
Speaking of the new board members, there are two of them and they couldn’t be more different from each other. Machi, the new treasurer, speaks in a monotone voice and violently recoils from Yuki when he asks if she’s okay. She was also busy making a huge mess until he interrupted her. She doesn’t even clean it up properly afterwards. Knowing this anime, Machi’s gonna have a sob story of her own, and it’ll explain in painstaking detail why she trashed the room. That’s what I mean when I say that this show turns everything up to 11. We all have our own share of problems. Our traumas, however, don’t typically manifest themselves in the blatant and obvious ways that they do in this anime. I don’t know what Machi’s problem is, but I just have a hard time believing that it would compel her to trash the room in such a melodramatic fashion. If your condition is that bad, how can you even be a functioning member of society? Oh well, I bet Yuki’ll probably end up getting along with Machi simply because she doesn’t worship at his feet… for now, anyways. On the other hand, we have Kakeru, who’s going to be the new vice president. He is annoyingly loquacious, and at one point, he even outright insults Yuki to his face for looking girly. I guess he’s trying to size up his new boss, and there’s no better way to glimpse someone’s true colors than by provoking them. Kind of an asshole stunt to pull, but again, everyone else tends to kiss Yuki’s ass. As a result, the rat prince actually reacts positively to his short encounter with Kakeru. Oh my god, someone at this school actually wants to tease me! What a breath of fresh air! These kids, man.