Original Run: April 7, 2020 - September 22, 2020 Number of Episodes: 25 Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance, Supernatural Based on the Series Created By: Natsuki Takaya
***Warning, the following may contain spoilers for Fruits Basket 2nd Season. Reader discretion is advised.***
With all that has happened, it is incredible that only a year has passed since Tohru Honda (voiced by Manaka Iwami) started living with the Soumas. Even though difficult, Tohru treasures the days she has spent with her now irreplaceable friends.
Along with Tohru, Yuki and Kyo Souma (voiced respectively by Nobunaga Shimazaki and Yuuma Uchida) have grown so much in such a short amount of time. However, like the rest of their kin, Yuki and Kyo must mind the ever-present shadow surrounding the Souma clan – the Zodiac Curse.
Although life has become less dark, some demons refuse to give up. Now more than ever, the progress Tohru, Yuki, and Kyo have made can be destroyed in a fury of anger and jealousy.
I was looking forward to Fruits Basket 2nd Season for several reasons. First, this was an anticipated sequel to one of my favorite shows from 2019 (I ranked it 5th for the year). Second, and more pointedly, I didn’t know where we were going.
Although Fruits Basket 1st Season was a more fantastic, better-executed series than its 2001 predecessor, it told the same story. This second adaptation has been covering the entirety of the Fruits Basket manga, so while there were small differences between the 2001 and 2019 releases, it was familiar territory.
This was not the case with 2nd Season.
Having now sat through it, I can say that this season was as good as the first. Therefore, not only was this a fantastic series in its own right, but it was also an excellent follow up. And as it stands, this installment has adequately set the stage for 2021’s Fruits Basket The Final.
There were several aspects 2nd Season needed to do well to continue 1st Season’s upward trajectory —the most significant being the introduction of the final two zodiacs, the horse and rooster. To that end, this season succeeded.
Isuzu Souma, the horse, and Kureno Souma, the rooster (voiced respectively by Aki Toyosaki and Yuuichirou Umehara), were welcomed additions to the cast. Even though 1st Season thoroughly drove home how difficult the life of a member of the zodiac was, Isuzu and Kureno brought with them an extra layer of hardship. With their inclusion and some more background for the other Soumas, we finally got a proper understanding of the Zodiac Curse.
Up until 2nd Season, there were only ever hints of what the zodiacs went through. Yeah, they could turn into their respective animals, and the curse’s label was enough to break some of their families apart, but there had yet to be a satisfying answer to the “why.” Why was the Zodiac Curse so vilified and devastating?
Aside from generations of poisons ideas that foster unhealthy environments, those afflicted by the curse could never have a future of their own. They were destined to always be together.
On the surface, that doesn’t sound too bad; hell, it might be quite admirable under different conditions. What allowed 2nd Season to be so excellent was how it established that no, the bond between the zodiacs wasn’t a blessing. This was a doomed fate exacerbated by the group’s leader Akito Souma (voiced by Maaya Sakamoto).
It was only a quick moment back in 1st Season, but even then, I saw something special (a.k.a., frightening) in this version of Akito. Recalling the Akito from the original series, all I remember was a sickly figure with a violent temper who was always surrounded by people who wouldn’t say no to him. In this new series, this rendition of Akito was someone who people couldn’t say no to.
In 2nd Season, Akito was a person to be afraid of and whose presence always brought any given situation to the edge of calamity. This installment illustrated how Akito controlled, manipulated, ruined, and dominated the lives of the other zodiacs. To list a few of the things Akito had done:
- Yuki Souma was mentally tortured for years.
- The love of Hatori Souma’s life was dragged into insanity.
- Isuzu Souma was, straight up, almost murdered.
The terrifying personality Akito wielded caused this series to be direr than the original 2001 adaptation ever was. Fruits Basket 2nd Season could still be funny, cute, and charming, but it was also uncomfortable when it wanted it to be. However, this didn’t mean Akito was vial merely for the sake of being so. Although it doesn’t excuse all the horrible actions, Akito’s anger and cruelty came from somewhere – namely, fear. It is that fear that has me most excited to see how Akito’s story ends.
This sentiment doesn’t just end with Akito; I can’t wait to see how everyone ends up in The Final. 2nd Season brought so much more out of many characters. Yuki, for example, had a ton of growth throughout this season. He is still nowhere near my favorite of the Soumas, but I can appreciate how much Yuki has changed since meeting him back at the start of 1st Season.
Specifically, it was Yuki’s time with the student council that was most memorable. I saw these scenes as practical tests of his character progression. It is one thing for Yuki to change his attitude in front of Tohru and the other Soumas. It is another thing entirely for him to do the same with people that (I assume) have nothing to do with the Zodiac Curse.
And since I mentioned her, Tohru became someone much more three-dimensional. Although her constant self-belittlement was still irritating, she managed to put her foot down for the first time in this series. After a confrontation with Akito, Tohru was determined to break the curse no matter what. When she was in this mindset, she no longer cared what people thought of her, or if her action caused others trouble. Tohru could push back, get angry, and not be a total doormat.
Tohru had reached the extent of where a nothing-but-nice character can go back in 1st Season. 2nd Season brought her to the next stage. At no other point in this story have I felt that Tohru could really be the zodiacs’ savior. Until now. She has a long way to go, but that’s for The Final to sort out, and this series could not be in a better position to deliver a resounding conclusion.
I don’t know what it is, I don’t know what I should be expecting, and I don’t know if it is any different in the manga. Nevertheless, in every anime adaptation of Fruits Basket I have seen so far, Kyo Souma is so underutilized.
It is true that Kyo was at the center of one of this series’ most iconic scenes – which was depicted at the end of 1st Season. It’s also not as if he wasn’t around; he has always been a part of the action. I am definitely rooting for him. But compare the amount of time Kyo got in this season to Yuki.
Even when up against Tohru, Yuki was one of the main, if not the main pillar of 2nd Season. Yuki was indispensable, and the entire story would have fallen apart if he had been removed for some reason. I cannot say the same thing for Kyo.
Throughout this installment, there were hints that something big was in the works for Kyo, and maybe there will be; there is still the entire third season. But what’s bugging me isn’t what might be in the future. Instead, I’m concerned Kyo hasn’t been getting the proper, necessary attention.
For reasons whose details would require me to give spoilers, a potential Kyo and Tohru relationship is the most likely scenario at this time. That’s cool; I think these two work well together. This pairing feels like the natural progression. However, just because it’s natural that doesn’t mean you can’t put effort into it.
Believe me, I fully understand and accept why Kyo might have fallen for Tohru. After the events of 1st Season, it wouldn’t make sense for him to see Tohru as a mere friend. This is not the case with Tohru.
Yes, Tohru loves Kyo. But Tohru loves everyone, so that doesn’t mean much. Be that as it may, near the end of 2nd Season, Tohru made a few comments that suggested she was starting to see Kyo in a different light. Considering how busy she was in this installment, I don’t know when Tohru could have connected those dots.
This aspect didn’t ruin 2nd Season. What it did do, though, was put a lot of pressure on its successor. Fortunately, given how good this series has been so far, I am willing to be optimistic.
With how outstanding the last installment was, I was worried it was too much to hope for another success. Now, I believe this series might achieve a one-two-three knock-out.
This season had phenomenal growth with so many of its characters. The sense of dread and danger was palpable and real. You could go from laughing to filled with tension within a few seconds, and it was all great. This was impossible to put down once it started.
Oh, and I didn’t even mention how, once again, the animation and visuals were beautiful.
Without any hesitation, Fruits Basket 2nd Season has earned a recommendation.
But these were just my thoughts. What are yours? Have you seen this series? How would you advise Fruits Basket 2nd Season? Leave a comment down below because I would love to hear what you have to say.
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