A half a year has passed since Fruits Basket 1st Season wrapped up and from the moment it ended I’ve been looking forward to Fruits Basket Season 2. As a long time fan of the original manga by Natsuki Takaya, I found the first season a more-than-satisfactory adaptation of the classic shojo series with its touched-up art making the series look better than ever, and its penchant for actual direction during the myriad emotionally resonant moments too. With a charming but incomplete series made at the turn of the Millenium, this wonderful manga that took great pains to detail trauma and healing with uncompromising honesty always deserved another shot at animation and by all accounts, Season 1 did a great job at nailing what it needed to. Knowing where the manga was going to go, I’ve been itching to see the newer characters and even darker turns in the story make an appearance in Fruits Basket 2nd Season.
Perhaps what, or who, I was waiting for the most in Fruits Basket 2nd Season were Machi and Kakeru, a pair of half-siblings new to the student council that Yuki would preside over. These two regular humans, meaning non-Sohma who don’t transform into animals and are unconnected the series’ novel shtick in any way, have always been personal favorites of mine. You have the friendly Kakeru, seemingly lackadaisical on the surface but clearly is harboring something beneath the surface. Conversely, his sister Machi’s issues are more apparent from the get-go. She can often be found tearing up classrooms or exhibiting other concerning behavior, and her communication problems don’t help her case either. If Fruits Basket was a lesser manga, these characters might just come off as annoyances but, without getting into spoilers, the way these two become intertwined with Yuki is maybe my single favorite thread of the original. So far these early episodes of Fruits Basket Season 2 only covered their introduction, but boy what an introduction it was.
Off the bat, Kakeru and Machi are both decidedly human with their less desirable qualities aired outright. Two more prime examples of how Fruits Basket has always done its utmost to depict three-dimensional characters that can’t so easily be summed up with descriptors like ‘cool’, ‘hot-headed’, or ‘tsundere’. Yes, Yuki has always been the ‘cool’ pretty boy but Season 1 made it quickly apparent that he’s full of insecurities and pain. Kyo too, easily written off as the ‘hot-head’ who’s always trying to get into a fight but he doesn’t hide the fact that he just doesn’t know how to talk to people, and his reasons for his deep-seated anger are more than understandable. Despite being a shojo series, a genre which is more typically associated with Romance, Fruits Basket is much more concerned with the trauma entrenching Yuki and Kyo’s lives than it is figuring out which one of the boys will eventually date Tohru. Just three Fruits Basket Season 2 is already getting into it.
In an episode equally heartbreaking and uplifting, we finally get a peek into why Yuki and Ayame’s relationship is strained despite the older brother’s repeated attempts to close the distance; While Ayame was never physically and emotionally abusive to Yuki like their parents were, he never intervened for the sake of his younger brother either. We see a scene where their mother is about to hit Yuki who runs to Ayame for shelter, but regrettable he pulls his hand away by instinct. You really feel bad for Yuki, but at the same time find yourself impressed with Fruits Basket Season 2 for committing. Ayame’s more than grown to regret that day and the way their relationship, or lack thereof, had developed. Yuki doesn’t bear his brother any particular animosity for the past but, perhaps due to the two being unable to understand each other up until this point, he can’t stand Ayame’s eccentric and obnoxious behavior. This all said, after some well-earned heart to hearts and a visit to Ayame’s dress shop, it looks like the distance between them is beginning to inch closer.
Of course, Yuki isn’t the only star of the show as we get a glimpse in what it’s been like to have been Kyo Sohma too. Fruits Basket 1st Season ended with a big reveal about Kyo, which we won’t state in case you haven’t seen it, and some catharsis about said issue. He still has a ways to go but Fruits Basket Season 2 starts off with the cat in a relatively decent place, so how does it further explore his pain? Episode three has a very interesting verbal trade-off between to of the central figures in his life, Kyo’s martial arts sensei Kazuma Sohma who’s essentially been the father figure in his life and his actual father who wants nothing to do with him. It’s the type of encounter that makes you want to gut somebody but Kazuna handles it with such dignity and fortitude that you’re able to bite your tongue. It’s a scene that brings together everything Fruits Basket is about; The hurt we all carry with us and how with time, and having people that care about you, we can work on ourselves and begin to heal.
With just three episodes out, Fruits Basket Season 2 is already pulling its weight picking up right where it left off. The first episode is relatively light, but the following two episodes are filled to the brim with exactly what you want from the series. While I’ve detailed more of the heavier stuff this time around, it’s not like the shows a total drag! Tohru’s human personification of the word delightful and watching her get on with Yuki and Kyo as they explore their bond is ultimately a joy despite the sadder histories that are examined along the way. Now that this adaptation has entered territory well past where the original left off, fans that never read the manga should especially make sure to hop back in. Just make sure you have a box of tissues on hand when you do.
You can watch Fruits Basket Season2 week to week on Funimation.