by Lauren Orsini,
How would you rate episode 42 of
Fruits Basket (TV 2/2019) ?
The school trip is upon us! A visit to Kyoto turns out to be a much-needed change of pace. This week on Fruits Basket, Tohru, Kyo, and Yuki use this time away to process their feelings about one another and end up growing closer in unexpected ways. Conveyed over a series of scenes both humorous and heavy, this episode feels like a vacation scrapbook, highlighting the most memorable parts of the school trip. This combination of short scenes and constantly shifting moods makes the episode feel more jam-packed than usual. I wish I didn't have to wait a week for more, but it's clear that this episode delivered as much story as it possibly could.
Every few episodes, Fruits Basket shows just what it's capable of with a contemporary adaptation, and “You Will, I'm Sure Of It” is one of those. Resplendent with recognizable landmarks like Kinkaku-ji, Kyoto in the fall makes a brilliant backdrop for our characters' minor melodramas. As Tohru and co. see the sights, there's time for people to pair off and address feelings that have been brewing for weeks. At the same time, the serious stuff is matched scene-for-scene with light humor. For example, Kyo's harsh rejection of a random student is tempered with a scene in which Uotani and two male classmates listen in on the confession… while Hanajima walks casually by with no regard to stealth. (By the way, Uo and Hana get some of the biggest laughs this week, between Uo attempting to lure Kyo like a deer and Hana rewarding Yuki with a dango stick.) Tohru's experience is focused less on sightseeing than souvenirs, and her scenes all take place before, after, or during shopping. When she exits a shop to check in with Kyo (who is, hilariously, rejecting a feline suitor), Tohru has an epiphany about her relationship with the Zodiac Cat. She tugs his sleeve, unable to bear the thought of his rejection. “He can make me happy or unsettled by a single remark.” Even though it follows hot on the heels of a comic scene, we're suddenly knee-deep in Kyo-Tohru Feels.
Meanwhile, Yuki is navigating his own feelings about Tohru, which seem to be taking on a much different tone than Kyo's. Yuki doesn't feel envious of Kyo for growing romantically close to Tohru, but he's enraged at the idea of Kyo breaking Tohru's heart. In that way, his relationship to Tohru is brotherly: she's somebody he wants to protect. However, Yuki spends more time with his student council cohort Kakeru. When Yuki struggles to wake up in the morning—showing his shocked class a far different side of himself than the princely veneer they're used to—it's Kakeru who cuts through his drowsy fog with sheer irritation. I've previously expressed my own annoyance with Kakeru, but this week it's clear that he's a good influence on Yuki. He can stop Yuki's self-destructive tendencies in their tracks. Yuki threatens, grade-schoolishly, to quit being friends with Kakeru in the hypothetical situation that Kakeru breaks Tohru's heart, he's about to spiral into one of his tortured soul monologues when Kakeru responds with equal immaturity, snapping Yuki out of it. By the end of the episode, Yuki makes an overture of closeness toward the even-more-reserved Machi. His new connection with Kakeru gives him the confidence to try.
Like the bountiful fruit basket of the show's title, this episode is a potpourri of topics and tones that usually hit their mark. There are a couple of moments that feel particularly artificial to me: Kakeru's constant wink feels more like a shoujo art style than a real expression, and there's no way somebody as thoughtful as Yuki would gift somebody a leaf, like, from a tree. Aside from that, it's like a highlight reel of vacation snapshots of a group of characters I've really grown to care for, and I'm glad to see them kicking back and letting loose for once.
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