Fruits Basket the Final
by Lauren Orsini,
How would you rate episode 6 of
Fruits Basket the Final ?
The same day that Rebecca Silverman published her feature about Tohru coming into her own, we get an episode of Fruits Basket the Final about expressly that! Last week's episode divided up the Zodiacs into those who are moving forward and those who are stuck in the past, but it conspicuously left Tohru out from either group. Now we know why: after weeks centered on the ensemble cast, “It Was So Foolish” refocuses on our protagonist. By carefully weaving in plot points from seasons one and two, this episode gives us a holistic understanding of everything Tohru has been through so far, and how much she's grown. Now she's finally ready to face her feelings for Kyo, but first, she must face the ghost of her dearly departed mother.
In an opening sequence that began so suddenly that I thought I'd accidentally skipped ahead on the playback, Rin is recovering nicely at Kazuma's home. But things don't stay peaceful for long; Shigure puts on his finest Western-style suit expressly to go stir up trouble. Tohru overhears as he taunts Rin, telling her all of her efforts are for naught because the curse is already breaking anyway. It's certainly new information that this is the first time in the history of the Sohmas that all of the Zodiacs have been alive at the same time. Shigure also makes it common knowledge that Kureno has broken his curse, which he predicts will cause a butterfly effect—Kureno flaps his wings, and all the other Zodiacs start to accelerate their progress on breaking the curse as well. This is a relief to Rin, but not to Tohru, who has been working on a tight timeline. As the deadline grows nearer to Kyo's isolation, she can no longer deny why she's working so hard.
But in order to move forward, Tohru needs to confront her past. Since last season, Tohru has been wrestling with the fact that her mother is no longer the most precious person in her heart. In season 2, episode 19, Tohru and Rin have a heart-to-heart in which Rin asks Tohru who is most precious to her. Tohru envisions Akito's face and can't speak—she had only just learned that Akito plans to lock Kyo up permanently. But now, she's revisiting why this question made her think of Kyo getting locked up in the first place. Shouldn't her first thought have been of her mother? She feels a lot of guilt around that point. Tohru isn't sure if accepting her feelings means she's not honoring the memory of her mom.
Kyoko is no longer around, but she's a major character this week. Since it's the anniversary of her death, Tohru is planning a trip to visit her grave—one that Kyo blatantly refuses, though he covertly takes a trip to pay respects after Tohru is gone. At the same time that Tohru worries she's forgetting about her mom, Kyo has a poignant conversation with Tohru's grandfather, who surprisingly feels the exact same way. He's not calling Tohru Kyoko because he's a forgetful old geezer—he reveals to Kyo that it's a totally deliberate act. “I wanted to keep her alive.” He is merely using the guise of being old and forgetful to pepper Kyoko's name into regular conversation with Tohru. Not content with one bombshell, Gramps drops another by letting Kyo know that Tohru speaks so formally in order to match her father's speech pattern, keeping his memory alive for Kyoko. In other words, Tohru has been stuck in the past in more ways than one, so no wonder she's having difficulty facing the present!
Even if Tohru hasn't accepted her feelings for Kyo, Kagura has assumed them. When Tohru comes to visit, Kagura's mere shadow nearly scares her away. You'd assume that Kagura is mad because she's afraid Tohru merely pities Kyo—after all, last season Kagura admitted that her love for Kyo is mainly self-hatred and projection in the episode “All Mine.” In that way, Tohru's genuine love makes her a way better match for Kyo than Kagura is. (But no surprise there, right?) Kagura has never been a likable character, and her reception has gotten worse over time. Her slapstick violence—punching the wall into smithereens, attacking Tohru in what is supposed to be encouragement—is the most dated part of this episode. I already knew about Kagura's pity, but I was shocked by Kazama's confession: that his grandfather, the former Cat, had a companion who cared for him and even bore his child because she felt sorry for him. Are you sure you heard that directly, Kazama??
As soon as I saw the sheet, I knew. Tohru and Kyo's embrace through the laundry sheet is one of my top five favorite moments in the original manga, and it is recreated beautifully here—from the sound of the sheet flapping in the breeze, the crescendo of the music, and the warm orange light of the late afternoon sun. Well, until the transformation occurs and ruins the mood: in the manga, that was an omake after the chapter ended. That's what you get with anime, constantly in motion! This lovely encounter renews my faith that Tohru will be able to make good on her promise earlier in the episode, when it comes to breaking the curse: “Eventually, I really will have to do something… and I think maybe I know what I'll let go of when the time comes.” We're so close to a confession here, but there's still some unpacked baggage between these two, and Kyoko figures hugely in the mix. Just when I thought this episode would end on a peaceful note came the symbolic cracked frame. The rollercoaster of Fruits Basket the Final stops for no one.
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