by Lauren Orsini,
How would you rate episode 47 of
Fruits Basket (TV 2/2019) ?
Do you ship Kyo and Tohru? Because Yuki definitely does. In an epiphany that has lasted one afternoon for Yuki and three works for Fruits Basket viewers, the mopey prince has thoroughly examined his feelings and set Tohru squarely in the Mom Zone. But it turns out that Fruits Basket never needed a who-will-she-choose love triangle in order to shake things up. The energy generated by the show's Big Feelings are far more powerful—and certainly more sincere. Yuki's mommy issues surrounding Tohru make me raise my eyebrows at him and the narrative, but they are also weaved thoughtfully into the show's themes about family.
"That Isn't What I Want" refers to something we all thought Yuki wanted: a romantic relationship with Tohru. What of that romantic gift of hair ribbons, or those sly compliments at Ayame's cosplay shop? Yuki brushes those aside as attempts to treat Tohru like a man treats a woman. But now he's tired of trying. He just wants his mommy. Yeah, it's pretty weird how Yuki chooses to project his mommy issues onto a girl his own age. After this intimate heart to heart, Kakeru doesn't know how to react, so he chooses the conservative reaction… and beans him with a soccer ball in the face. And suddenly angst gives way to slapstick humor, because that's the kind of character Kakeru is: Yuki's complete opposite. Because Kakeru never takes anything seriously, Yuki is able to speak about such personal topics without worrying Kakeru is going to freak. "Maybe it's because I shared with someone who lives in an entirely different world," Yuki thinks afterwards, adding that this concern is also why he can't share his feelings with Tohru herself. It's ok to burden Kakeru with this heavy stuff because Yuki knows he'll laugh it right off. I was previously mystified by their friendship, but the revelation that Machi is Kakeru's little sis speaks volumes to how this goof is able to handle Yuki's dramatics. Like we saw in Machi's hallway contrariness, he's used to dealing with moodiness.
The rest of the episode is a similar blend of humor and Heavy Stuff. Flamboyant Ayame predictably steals every scene he's in. Tohru's got her hands full with her hilariously pathetic attempts to bully Cinderella-Hana as a wicked stepsister. Maybe that's how she manages to completely miss the growing tension between her two housemates. After coming to terms with his feelings, Yuki is done tiptoeing around, and decides to provoke Kyo into having an epiphany of his own. The climax occurs with a stairway shouting match, a broken window, and a “You have it so much easier than me!” type of speech that sounds like it could have come from Yuki just as easily as Kyo. That's what is at the root of the misunderstanding that began with that beat-up baseball cap—both boys have been so absorbed in their own pain that they haven't realized that their suffering reflects in a perfect mirror image.
With Yuki now neatly out of the way and cheering for them on the sidelines, it's an inevitable (but iceberg-slow) progression until Tohru and Kyo tell each other how they feel. Against the comedic backdrop of school festival preparations, this pair inches almost imperceptibly closer to confessing. We've known for ages that Kyo was in love with Tohru in his tsundere way, but it's now only Yuki's narration that confirms that Tohru feels the same way: “The way she looks at him.” The tender moment at the end of the episode feels like progress, a scant moment of vulnerability that Tohru recognizes as the surrender that it is. We're going to need to hold tight to this fluff next week, because Akito's backstory is imminent and nobody is ready. I haven't yet been prepared for how hard each of Fruits Basket's most iconic moments have hit in this anime adaptation, so even those of us who have read the manga are about to get hit by a Feelings Truck. In other words, this episode is a stepping stone between larger narrative beats. It's a necessary part of the process, but it doesn't pack the same emotional punch.
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