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EP. REVIEW: Fruits Basket


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Clematis



Joined: 16 Feb 2017
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 18, 2019 7:50 am Reply with quote
KitKat1721 wrote:
MFrontier wrote:
I've felt he was a perfect fit for Kyo from the start but he just absolutely nailed all the major emotional beats in this episode and all the different facets of Kyo we got to see. His finally uttering "Tohru" felt so perfect and heartfelt.


Oh for sure, he's been fantastic all season, this episode included. He's probably one of my favorite casting choices on the Japanese side, next to Akito and Yuki.


Hehe, I cannot help but feel like the original anime's VO did a far better job on imbuing Kyo's lines with emotion, and the final scene in ep 24 where he utters her name twice right before changing into his cat only reinforced that feeling.


Last edited by Clematis on Thu Sep 19, 2019 2:42 am; edited 1 time in total
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rizuchan
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 18, 2019 8:07 am Reply with quote
I'm a bit late to the party, but I just wanted to say, as someone who was always kinda lukewarm about Kyo, I think "The Yeet" as Jacob calls it, was a horrible choice. I couldn't remember if it was in the original or not when I watched it, but it made what little affection I had for Kyo go pretty much out the window.

I totally understand why Kyo is so popular, but I've always felt like he often takes things just a toe's length too far when he's lashing out at Tohru in the beginning. (Even for an anime tsundere type, given that his behavior would be 100% unacceptable in real life) So risking her life by throwing her into a rushing... puddle... crossed the line for me and kinda ruined the emotional impact. That said, I actually thought the ed playing in the background while Tohru carried Kyo home was a really nice touch.

On the bright side, it's funny to me that Jacob mentioned Kyo's "true" form looking like Mewtwo, because I've been watching this show with my stepdaughter every week and she said the exact same thing. Laughing I always thought he looked kind of silly wearing pants, but this time around it really gave me Hosoda vibes, like King Kazma or a character from The Boy and the Beast or something.
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Clematis



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PostPosted: Wed Sep 18, 2019 8:22 am Reply with quote
a_Bear_in_Bearcave wrote:

I will blame him a bit for not accepting her love, tough just like is mother he was just a victim of the Soma family and just a kid at that, so maybe blame is not right word - I think he couldn't appreciate her love fully because he noticed her insincerity and he was in situation where it was easy to him to disbelieve in anyone. He says that she never acknowledged the monster Cat side in him, but she just did that because she was scared and thought it would be harmful to him to tell him she doesn't love him unconditionally as all mothers should according to societal standards, especially since she was the only one on his side as the Soma general belief was the Cat deserves to be outcast.
She seemed like a very decent parent to me, she was just in circumstances where she had to deal with a very tough situation and couldn't count on any support from society, and she would need to be amasing parent, not just decent, to get her kid to be a happy adult through the Soma's rules and obstacles meant to ensure that every Cat was unhappy and alone in addition to the horrible curse.


Her love was more a love out of duty (or societal expectations, if you will) than from the heart, and children can instinctively feel the difference, rending them unable to feel happiness when being the object of one such emotion.
She likely couldn't deal with his 'true form', so she glossed it over with feelings of the kind of unconditional love which >pretends< there's nothing wrong, even when the true feelings and thoughts about it might be a far cry from the perfection of love she was projecting onto him, and which clearly leaked through her actions and mannerism.

She didn't have to like his true form - she just had to like him all the same despite his cursed side; to eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day without manically checking if his rosary is still on his wrist. But, facing the pressure from all sides, she couldn't, so she likely did what she thought was best - and what she could - in the situation she was in.
Even though she expressed love on the surface, she was likely forcing herself - unknowingly, perhaps - to uphold a virtue projected onto her role as a mother or, perhaps, trying to give him the kind of love she believed no one else did - spoiler[and to serve as a counterweight to the abuse from his father]. Tragically, what were likely good intentions ended up sending all the wrong messages. At the end of the day, we don't see enough of her inner plight to draw definite conclusions, and I don't think it's necessary to do so, either. It's the results that are the real issue, and how they contributed to Kyo's torment.

Edit: @rizuchan, for a large part of this season, Kyo is completely consumed by hatred. I don't think I would ever liken him to a tsundere character. spoiler[The immense changes for the better he experiences through his interaction with Tohru, through facing himself and those who hurt him the most, is some of the best portrayals of personal growth I've ever seen.] He just needed a chance to be himself, rather than to be curbed into the scapegoat role and shamed for it, as the review puts it.


Last edited by Clematis on Thu Sep 19, 2019 3:51 am; edited 1 time in total
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a_Bear_in_Bearcave



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PostPosted: Wed Sep 18, 2019 8:43 am Reply with quote
Clematis wrote:
a_Bear_in_Bearcave wrote:

I will blame him a bit for not accepting her love, tough just like is mother he was just a victim of the Soma family and just a kid at that, so maybe blame is not right word - I think he couldn't appreciate her love fully because he noticed her insincerity and he was in situation where it was easy to him to disbelieve in anyone. He says that she never acknowledged the monster Cat side in him, but she just did that because she was scared and thought it would be harmful to him to tell him she doesn't love him unconditionally as all mothers should according to societal standards, especially since she was the only one on his side as the Soma general belief was the Cat deserves to be outcast.
She seemed like a very decent parent to me, she was just in circumstances where she had to deal with a very tough situation and couldn't count on any support from society, and she would need to be amasing parent, not just decent, to get her kid to be a happy adult through the Soma's rules and obstacles meant to ensure that every Cat was unhappy and alone in addition to the horrible curse.


Her love was more a love out of duty (or societal expectations, if you will) than from the heart, and children can instinctively feel the difference, rending them unable to feel happiness when being the object of one such emotion.
She likely couldn't deal with his 'true form', so she glossed it over with feelings of the kind of unconditional love which >pretends< there's nothing wrong, even when the true feelings and thoughts about it might be a far cry from the perfection of love she was projecting onto him, and which clearly leaked through her actions and mannerism.

She didn't have to like his true form - she just had to like him all the same despite his cursed side; to eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day without manically checking if his rosary is still on her wrist.
Even though she professed to be doing so on the surface, she was likely forcing herself to uphold a virtue projected onto her role as a mother or, perhaps, trying to give him the kind of love she believed no one else did - spoiler[and to serve as a counterweight to the abuse from his father]. Tragically, it sent all the wrong messages despite what was likely the best of intentions.

I'm not sure I would agree her love wasn't from the heart, she definitely didn't love his "true form" but, unlike Tohru, she didn't realise she should just tell him that, probably from misguided attitude to proper motherhood - like you said, upholding a projected virtue, exacerbated by the fact that his role was to be cast out by the Soma family and the need to counteer that.
The big problem with being a parent is that you cannot just decide that since you start feeling you aren't good enough for the job, it's time to let somebody else to do it, even if your kid isn't under curse that must be kept secret from outsiders by the clan rules. I mean, theoretically you can give it up for adoption, but this comes with its own harms both guaranted (abandonment) and possible - you never know if the person who will raise your kid will do it any better at all, assuming it won't just end up in orphanage till adulthood. If you are screwed by the world and/or your family,like say a pregnant teen kicked out from her home, there's little you can do to ensure your kid wil have as good childhood as others, and the hopelessness and desperation will make it even easier to make mistakes, and harder to have a good, healthy relationship with the kid.

Edit: also I agree that "yeet" was way too much, especially since apparently it wasn't even in the manga. She was way too close to dying there, people died from far less dangerous falls.
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thebond&thecurse



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PostPosted: Wed Sep 18, 2019 8:54 am Reply with quote
I would like to acknowledge that in the manga not only is Kyo's action much less violent but I think it is clear it was an accident. He threw is arm out wildly to keep Tohru from touching him and because he was not to aware of his own body (a form he's avoided being in his whole life) his claws ended up scratching her. And just slightly making her stumble and fall backwards where she stood.

Also, when she ran to grab back onto him he did NOT toss/throw her again as he did in the anime. He just sat there still and silent while she yelled at him about wanting to stay together. So at no point did he intentionally physically hurt Tohru.

It's still violent, and unfortunate, that he accidentally scratched her. It's especially sad even from Kyo's end because this accident would further ingrain in his mind what he's been told his whole life - that he's born a monster who is destined to hurt people no matter what he does. In much the same way spoiler[ the accident of Kyoko's death made him believe this even more. ]

It is sad, but people accidentally hurt people all the time, emotionally and physically. And for all his failure and misses, Kyo makes a really conscious effort to try not to hurt Tohru. He's not just letting his emotions run away with him. I think we can hardly call it abuse to accidentally scratch her when instinctively in a moment of complete panic trying to stop her from touching him. Insisting on touching people, even out of concern, when they've made it clear they don't want you to is also wrong. And can also be abusive if it is a repeated pattern of behavior. But we wouldn't call Tohru abusive in this one time incident of extreme circumstance and we shouldn't Kyo (in the original manga content).
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JacobC
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 18, 2019 11:40 am Reply with quote
Gina Szanboti wrote:
JacobC wrote:
I don't think the story ever justifies any physical abuse that happens

What do you mean by "justify"? To make it the right thing to do?


Right, basically there's no point at which someone says "well, it's sad that this happened, but they hit you because hurt people will hurt people" or "because of this abuse, I have this unique perspective on life, so in a roundabout way it was worth it and I should be grateful", or the story is otherwise framed to give off that impression. Fruits Basket depicts a lot of physical abuse, but it never crosses that line into romanticization, which I can't say is common in stories that liberally employ physical abuse, anime or otherwise. I don't think explaining why Kyo accidentally hurt someone in one specific context, or explaining why a character like Akito exhibits a pattern of physical abuse (without excusing it), is the same thing as justifying or dismissing the impact of physical abuse.
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PonSquared
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 18, 2019 11:44 am Reply with quote
On ep. 24.:

After the transformation until the ending credits my wife two sons and I sat motionless and breathless. What a powerful episode. I'm so proud of my boys of 9 and 11 that they find so much enjoyment being comedy or horror from this show.

10/10
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a_Bear_in_Bearcave



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PostPosted: Wed Sep 18, 2019 12:25 pm Reply with quote
thebond&thecurse wrote:


But we wouldn't call Tohru abusive in this one time incident of extreme circumstance and we shouldn't Kyo (in the original manga content).


I agree with the "original manga content" caveat as described, in the anime she was close to serious injury or worse and in such situation it seems to me the right think would be to not risk that again by going back, not only no one should risk their life even when trying to help someone traumatized and suffering, if she got really hurt it would break Kyo so much worse. Of course Torhu would still do that since she is selfless to a fault, but the anime shows her action as a good thing basically and it's a bit complicated now for no reason, given they could just go manga-original here.
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yuna49



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PostPosted: Wed Sep 18, 2019 2:57 pm Reply with quote
MFrontier wrote:
I haven't watched the dub yet (I haven't seen the original either) but I do want to say that I felt that Yuma Uchida really stole the show this episode on the sub side.

Uchida has also been doing an excellent job as Tachibana Souichirou in MIX. That's where I first paid attention to his voice acting. I had a harder time with Kyo because I hated all the silly fighting between him and Yuki, and there wasn't much modulation in his character. In this episode Uchida got to show off his acting chops and was very compelling.
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Clematis



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PostPosted: Thu Sep 19, 2019 2:51 am Reply with quote
a_Bear_in_Bearcave wrote:
thebond&thecurse wrote:


But we wouldn't call Tohru abusive in this one time incident of extreme circumstance and we shouldn't Kyo (in the original manga content).


I agree with the "original manga content" caveat as described, in the anime she was close to serious injury or worse and in such situation it seems to me the right think would be to not risk that again by going back, not only no one should risk their life even when trying to help someone traumatized and suffering, if she got really hurt it would break Kyo so much worse. Of course Torhu would still do that since she is selfless to a fault, but the anime shows her action as a good thing basically and it's a bit complicated now for no reason, given they could just go manga-original here.


You got it wrong - Tohru isn't being selfless in that scene; quite the opposite, she finally speaks out what SHE wants (i.e. him to stay), and she chases after him and clinges onto him because she knows that if she would let go, he would be gone for good, and that is something SHE wouldn't be able bear because, spoiler[as we find much out later in the manga, she started having feelings for him back then already, iirc (correct me if I'm wrong)].
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Alexis.Anagram



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PostPosted: Fri Sep 20, 2019 1:30 am Reply with quote
Gina Szanboti wrote:
In either version what I can't get past is that it's a typical story of domestic violence and abuse, where the woman's role is to not give up and to change/tame him with her love. "He's only like that when he's drunk, that's not his true self." "He's just upset about ____ but he doesn't know how else to express it." This is a great allegory about self-hate and love and unconditional acceptance, but trying to transfer it into the real world is a dangerous proposition. We know all of Kyo's traumas and reasons for being how he is, but if you knew someone like that in rl, who's always grumpy and insulting and, under "special" circumstances, turns to violence, you'd be telling his girlfriend to not walk but run as fast and far away as possible. He needs counseling, not a doormat for his abuse because she loves him too much to leave.

Of course that would make a lousy story in this universe, and I'm not actually suggesting they should've or even could've told such a story within it. I'm just saying that dynamic of women being expected to do all the emotional labor to save men from themselves, keeps me from fully embracing the story because I can't not see or ignore the toxic message underlying it. I think it's because of how physically violent it got in both versions, rather than just having him be ugly, smelly and verbally abusive. Perhaps I'll feel differently once I've seen the whole story. I hope so, because I really do like the message everyone else is getting from it. Smile

I think this is a valid concern, as there are some stereotypical vestiges of classic shojo character/gender dynamics that manage to crop up here and there throughout Furuba without being duly challenged and evaluated in the ways they could and should be. At the same time, when I compare this to the usual point of reference for a "tame the beast" type story, such as, well, Beauty & The Beast, or more recently The Ancient Magus's Bride, two distinctions stand out to me that make the difference (for me):

1) Kyo has no degree of power or authority over Tohru. On the contrary, the premise of the episode and the source of drama within it is the fact that Kyo can not even conceive of himself as having a genuine relationship with another person in which any of his basic emotional needs are met. The one person who represented anything like that to him (his sensei) just demolished every personal boundary he has in the most violent and degrading manner possible: in the context of this chapter, Kyo is completely powerless and (literally) out of control. Now, it's definitely fair to wonder whether that means that Tohru should be punished for pursuing him with bodily or emotional harm, but...

1.5) OK, well, first of all, no, and it's one of the reasons I'm genuinely upset about The Yeet as people have taken to calling it. As other viewers here and elsewhere have pointed out, it exaggerates the violence committed against Tohru for no good reason and it makes the episode harder for me to watch on pretty much every level: it makes it harder for me to suspend my disbelief, it makes it harder for me to reconcile her going back to Kyo, it's just not a small change in my mind and I can't write it off as a speedbump when it registers for me as a full stop wtf were you actually thinking there. Moving on though:

2) When it comes to Tohru, I think we can't downplay her own agency and motivations as she herself has stated them throughout the show, and I think reducing it to "selfless love" does her a disservice as the lead protagonist. While there's an element of truth to the idea that Tohru goes after Kyo because she feels strongly for him, that's not the whole of it by any stretch: Tohru goes after Kyo because she instinctively knows that if she doesn't, it's going to result in the dissolution of her chosen family. This is a pretty notable variation from something like Beauty & The Beast, where the heroine is forcibly isolated in a dedicated, one-sided relationship with a captor whom she "falls for" over time as she gets to know the really truly good guy who definitely wouldn't have kidnapped her if it wasn't for reasons. Here, it's the opposite dynamic: Tohru is an outsider who was never intended to become mixed up in Kyo's or Yuki's or anybody else's drama, but she elects, entirely of her own accord, to stand by them because she wants to insinuate herself within their lives as a member of their family-- and sometimes being family means things get messy and there's pain and heartbreak, and people hurt each other when they don't mean to. That doesn't justify abuse (Furuba is specific and unflinching in its condemnation of familial abuse, that's very much the messaging it trades in), but it does merit a recognition that often times when people who haven't had the opportunity to develop healthy tools for managing difficult/intense emotions become intimately involved with another person or people, there are risks. Of course the paradox is that it's not possible to develop good relationship skills without entering into relationships, and that's the trouble for characters like Kyo and Yuki. Kyo, specifically, is constantly afraid he will hurt the people around him: it's not incidental to his personality, it's the central feature he has to confront and overcome in order to achieve growth throughout the story.

Tohru, likewise, has complex internal contradictions she works to address, so I think referring to her as a "doormat" is unfair to her. She behaves irrationally in this episode as a response to an irrational situation, and she and Kyo are mirrored in that sense: his trauma causes him to reflexively push everyone away, while Tohru's internal process drives her to push her feelings on Kyo in a moment where he's had no space to even address his own. That manages to work because they have a mutually established connection and she's genuinely empathetic in her approach, but there's a difference between "love" and "empathy." Tohru does not "love" Kyo in that moment; she's terrified of him, and honest about it, and that honesty is the only thing that enables him to hear her. Kyo makes it clear that his "monster" form is not something that Tohru is expected to learn to love, or to change for the better in some way: but it's a part of Kyo that he nevertheless harbors within himself, and it's important that she's made aware of it, as it will inform her decisions and her relationship with him moving forward. By that same token, Kyo may have a side to him that is "monstrous," but he doesn't necessarily have to be defined by it-- that depends on how much work he's willing to put into his own process, towards being better and overcoming that aspect of himself. So if you're concerned that this is a series about Tohru's efforts being substituted for his own and her "love" saving him...yeah, it's really not that kind of story. Wink
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thebond&thecurse



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PostPosted: Fri Sep 20, 2019 1:47 am Reply with quote
Alexis.Anagram wrote:
So if you're concerned that this is a series about Tohru's efforts being substituted for his own and her "love" saving him...yeah, it's really not that kind of story. Wink


I would like to second, it's really really not.

And I can't wait to see fully animated Kyo's growth and all the responsibility he takes in his life in order to better himself for the sake of other people spoiler[(cue him standing in front of his father, legs shaking, saying "Fine. You're right. It's all ... my fault" and then all my tears)], as long as the anime doesn't mess it up with any more OOC overdramatizing.

The characters in Furuba are so complex, to characterize Tohru going after Kyo in his true form as a 'selfless act of love' is really just scraping the bottom of the barrel. Also, there are many reasons I would argue that Kyo's brash rebuffing of Tohru's kindness up to this point, as opposed to everyone's warm appraisal of her, is exactly what she needs. It's not his finest form of it, but as their relationship develops, so does his approach. It should become relatively easy to see eventually why Kyo's relationship with Tohru is going to be one of the healthiest and most beneficial to her that she has - despite some layers of trauma shared between the two of them that will make it more difficult for them each to accept the relationship they have. But I think the complexities of these characters cannot be fully understood until you've read/seen the whole story, so it makes me all the more anxious to get into the rest of the content.
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Alexis.Anagram



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PostPosted: Fri Sep 20, 2019 2:56 am Reply with quote
thebond&thecurse wrote:
Also, there are many reasons I would argue that Kyo's brash rebuffing of Tohru's kindness up to this point, as opposed to everyone's warm appraisal of her, is exactly what she needs. It's not his finest form of it, but as their relationship develops, so does his approach. It should become relatively easy to see eventually why Kyo's relationship with Tohru is going to be one of the healthiest and most beneficial to her that she has - despite some layers of trauma shared between the two of them that will make it more difficult for them each to accept the relationship they have. But I think the complexities of these characters cannot be fully understood until you've read/seen the whole story, so it makes me all the more anxious to get into the rest of the content.

Absolutely; like Jacob references in his review, Kyo has a degree of emotional intuition that is functionally a defense mechanism (as in his relationship with Kagura and his efforts to distance himself from her overbearing projections of love and admiration), and as such it lends him a level of insight past the facades other characters appropriate, for whatever reason. In Tohru's case, he has a sense that her relentlessly polite demeanor belies some kind of anxiety or discomfort, but he also recognizes that it serves a purpose for her to behave the way she does; I love how he calls her out for getting so worked up over failing a test she caught herself a physical bout of sickness, but follows that up with a reassurance that he wants to see her get back to being her usual silly self. Just like she "gave him permission" not to evaluate his feelings about Yuki, and to hold onto his anger while it still served a purpose.

I also think Kyo sees a glimpse of his mother's rhetoric in Tohru's kindness, and it makes sense of why he has such a visceral reaction to her attempt to get close to him. And yet, I might argue that it's because Tohru is not Kyo's mother that she's able to accomplish what she does; and in doing so she effectively introduces a crack in the cycle that Kyo had assumed to define the circumstances of his life. That somebody is able to see him outside the binary of cursed/doomed (like his father or Akito) or saved/redeemed (like his mother) is revelatory, given his lifetime of conditioning to burden himself with that dichotomy. Tohru is able to introduce a third option (acceptance) because her relationship to him is sufficiently removed from the immediate, toxic context that shapes the perceptions of others around him.

So, yeah, their dynamic is really rewarding. I'm super excited for spoiler[the big summer vacation arc].
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Tanteikingdomkey
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 21, 2019 1:17 am Reply with quote
I would like to reiterate (now that we have confirmation from episode 25) that kyo was locked away from everyone and everything in the house by his mother. this means for at least the first 6ish years of his life his entire world was basically his house.

For all the talk about if tohru is in a beauty and the beast situation/relationship no one has really brought up how kyo was in that type of situation and instead are blaming him for not being able to understand why his mother was being disingenuous, and how him picking up more then likely lead to her death.

First off I'm sorry but you can't have an adult parent saying or thinking that I need my six year old to give me emotional support and accept whatever lies I need to tell myself and them. That is the definition of not being able to be a good parent. That doesn't mean kyo can be terrible to her, but there is no evidence of kyo actually being bad to his mother. We know that he felt something was wrong with what she was saying and that it didn't line up with her actions, and he questioned her about it.

If we take kyo at his word his mother basically checked his rosary probably every time he left her sight, or at least multiple times a day. this is not healthy behavior, he knows why she would be doing that. This leads to the behavior, that a vast majority of people fall into, and we see reflected in his father and kagura(and his mom). People either reject him and treat him like a monster because her is the cat, or people reject his catness but try and over compensate and pretend his catness isn't a thing and avoid that side of him.

Either way tohru and master are the only people who are shown to treat him like a normal person and not look down on him, while still accepting that every side of him is still him.
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Alexis.Anagram



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PostPosted: Tue Sep 24, 2019 2:36 pm Reply with quote
Episode 25 really sent this season off on a high note. Just a great adaptation of its material all around, from Kyo's confrontation with Kazuma to Yuki bringing some of his character growth into focus, and what a joy it was to finally see some of that sweet post-True Form content put to screen at last. The only bit that felt a little too trite to me was every member of the cast showing up at the house for dinner (yeah, that seems like a nice thing to do for Tohru at first, until you realize she's the one who's going to be cooking for all of them...thanks SHIGURE), but as a first season closer I can forgive a little indulgence in that regard.

Those last few minutes though, with the introduction of Rin, and the foreboding monologues as to what's to come-- yes, because I needed that extra helping of anxiety to go along with all the warm feelings. Wouldn't be an episode of Furuba without making sure that everyone knows all the happiness these characters have earned is fleeting and sure to be met with additional hardships. Great message, show: you may think you've weathered the storm, but here comes the hurricane!

As a side note, props to KitKat1721 for calling Kakeru's English VA! I haven't watched the English dub for most of the later episodes yet, but it's cool that they did get Aaron Dismuke back in the show, after all.
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