Are you ready to cry?!
— Before we dive back into the world of terribad parents, we see Hiro being overly protective of his pregnant mother. Well, he should be. He’s one of the few Zodiac members who actually has loving parents. Hell, his mother even tries to be his wingman. As a result, I suppose his happy family situation serves as a contrast for what’s to come.
— Alright, time for the feels. This week’s episode is all about Rin and her quest to break the curse. She’ll even offer up her body if she needs to. Luckily, Shigure didn’t take her up on her offer. I guess he might act slimy, but there are lines he would never cross.
— He must be referring to Tohru.
— All this time, we’ve seen Rin float around like a dark cloud, bringing the mood down whenever she shows up. Personally, I’ve never really endeared myself to her character, because I don’t really know what she’s all about. Yeah, she wants to break the curse for Haru’s sake, but why is she so desperate? Well, it’s about time we solve that problem. When Rin’s condition deteriorates and she mistakes Tohru for her abusive parents, we finally get to see her backstory.
— So like with a lot of the Zodiacs, Rin’s parents hated her. What’s extra cruel, however, is that they pretended to love her until they could no longer hide their resentment any longer. So basically, this poor child had her happiness — even if it was just fake happiness — suddenly snatched away from her. But not only did they stop loving her, they had to physically abuse her as well. It’s depressing, isn’t it? Meh. So this is where my heartlessness rears its ugly head. Look, it’s the same story over and over. Again and again, these parents are shit. Sure, they’re shit to varying degrees, but it’s still the same basic idea. Fruits Basket aims for the gut when it tries to punch you, and when it lands, it obviously hurts. But then Fruits Basket comes back and tries to punch you in the gut again… and again… and again. It just keeps trying to do the same thing over and over.
— At one point, young Rin collapsed and had to be rushed to the hospital. She wanted to leave immediately, because she was afraid that this would be the straw that finally breaks the camel’s back. Sadly, her fears were correct; her parents eventually showed up just to sever their relationship. First, how can that be remotely legal? Parents can’t just disown their children at that age, right? It’s not like giving your newborn up for adoption. But second, I couldn’t even feel sad. Once again, Fruits Basket aimed for the gut, but having been punched in the same place so many times, my body will instinctively tried to avoid the blow. So instead of feeling bad for Rin, I’m just exasperated: “Great, her shitty parents became shittier…”
— Afterwards, Rin tried to live with some of the other Sohmas (like Kagura’s family). Nobody rejected her, but what she needed was her own family. She can’t just replace that with a completely different one.
— The only shining light in her life was Haru. Over the years, they got closer and closer until they fell in love. Their relationship even deepened into a sexual one. It’s nice to see that Fruits Basket doesn’t shy away from this. Yes, teens will do this kinda stuff. Let’s not pretend that they don’t have urges and desires.
— Disaster struck, however, when Akito learned of their relationship. And like with the shitty parents, the encounter with Akito is all too predictable. The God of the Zodiacs preyed on Rin’s insecurities and started hitting her. Eventually, Akito’s rage boiled over so she literally threw the girl off of her balcony. It’s so frustrating to watch everyone refuse to fight back. I know, I know… Akito’s words have a strange hold over the Zodiacs, but still…
— I’m also surprised that Rin didn’t just plain die from the fall. I mean, it looks like she cracked her skull and is bleeding from it. Nevertheless, she lived, and she’s going to continue living in order to break the curse. She doesn’t care if she loses Haru; she only wants to free him from Akito.
— And that’s where we’re at. Back in the present, Tohru is watching over Rin as the latter sleeps. Everyone loves Tohru, so I bet we’ll see her try and win Rin over in the next few episodes.
— So do I like Rin more now? Do I now suddenly care about her predicament? I dunno, man. If she had her own show, then maybe. But as I’ve said over and over again, Fruits Basket renders you numb by trotting out the same ol’ traumas over and over. I think the series is just too long for its own good. It has to cover each of the Zodiacs, and while they don’t all share the same story, there’s enough overlap to make the show feel like it’s retreading itself at times.
As with Sailor Moon, I guess the author of Fruits Basket was very disappointed with the earlier adaptation and wanted a more faithful production.
And personally, just as with Sailor Moon, this production shows that a good director can really improve on the source material, sometimes just by cutting out the excesses of a lengthy manga.
I don’t hate this version of Fruits Basket, but I feel like the earlier version from two decades ago was much superior, handling the balance between comedy and drama much more deftly, and leaving out a lot of material that is making this version just maudlin and overindulgent.
And don’t get me started on the Sailor Moon remake! I love the 1990s anime, and though I’ve never read the manga, the new version has absolutely ensured that I now never will!
“He must be referring to Tohru.”
Also possibly Ayame… Basically anyone with the nards to actually live on their own terms. Shigure talks a big game, but avoids actually putting any chips on the table.
“I’m also surprised that Rin didn’t just plain die from the fall. I mean, it looks like she cracked her skull and is bleeding from it.”
I’m wondering if it was properly treated… If it wasn’t, it would go a long ways toward explaining her current nausea and dissociative state.
And yeah, in the real world (at least today, in the US), the cops and child protective services would be all over the Sohma estate. I understand that Japan is (even now) a bit behind the curve on that.