Fruits Basket – 40 – Daring to Meddle

It’s parent-teacher conference time, which means the inevitable re-reunion of Mayuko and Shigure. Tooru doesn’t know what the deal is with the “diamond dust”, but Mayuko impresses upon her the importance of not bearing everything by herself.

With Tooru’s folks passed she’s believed for a long time that her only path is to immediately join the workforce without further education. But she shouldn’t feel trapped on that path; there are still other possibilities.

After the conference, Tooru can’t fool Saki, who can detect her turbulent “waves”. Still, Tooru dismisses it as general anxiety they’re all feeling about the future. Arisa could model, but hasn’t really thought anything through, while Saki is taking baby steps: first she has to graduate, then she’ll go from there!

Meanwhile Kyou has his conference with Kazuma, and it’s notable for the fact that we never actually see it. Kazuma simply came to support Kyou, not to dictate to him what path he should choose. And while I’m confident Tooru, Kazuma, and others will be able to foil Akito’s plans to confine him, Kyou should still savor the peaceful present while it still exists.

That results in Tooru, Arisa, Hana, and Kyou having a somen party, but Yuki can’t have fun, because he’s on the phone with his mom asking if she could, ya know, actually show up. The next day he might wish he hadn’t urged her and simply had Shigure come for him, but the growth that comes out of their confrontation makes it worthwhile.

“Worthwhile” is not a word I’d used to describe Yuki’s mom. She embodies the soul of Gordon Gekko: “greed is good”, and sentiment is for losers. Yuki has always been a tool, and when Akito took a liking to him, his mom was all too happy to toss him into the abyss. I simply cannot stress enough how unforgivable this was, considering the psychological damage done to Yuki in that accursed estate.

Just hearing his mom on the phone or being in her presence is enough to not only return him to the dark and lonely, hopeless room of his childhood, but darken and sap of color the very room in which the conference is taking place. When Mayuko tries to interject, Yuki’s mom is ready with barbs about her unmarried status and silly school.

Then Ayame bursts through the door, resplendent in one of his handmade suits and bearing a huge bouquet of roses for his pal Hattori’s new squeeze. But more than anything, he’s there for his beloved little brother, who gave him a second chance even though he didn’t deserve it. He also blames his own failure to meet mom’s expectations, which made her shift them all to Yuki.

Yuki is shocked to see that their mother has no idea how to deal with Ayame, and eventually storms out in full retreat. Yuki decides not to squander the chance Ayame gave him, and proceeds to chase his mom down in the hall. It’s then that he notices, for the first time, how small and thin she is. Of course, his most vivid memory is of her towering over him, utterly ignoring his pleas for help with a placid, complacent smile.

Furuba doesn’t pretend that Yuki’s mom’s hardships weren’t real and considerable, but it doesn’t excuse what she did either. Yuki uses the simplest terms he can: he wants to live in the world, which requires effort he wants to put in.

Even if he fails, he’ll take pride in the effort. But to him, letting her decide what his life will be is no better than ending it altogether. Considering what she’s done to his life thus far, that’s not an exaggeration!

His mom leaves without responding, but perhaps maybe finally she heard his words. That’s the first step towards exploring what other times she hadn’t heard them, and the price he paid.

As with Ayame, she won’t get anywhere if she doesn’t reckon with what she did and didn’t do for Yuki when he needed love and protection her most. Unlike Ayame, she may ultimately be beyond saving. But hey, Yuki made the damn effort!

For that effort, Yuki gets to see Tooru in the hall just as the sun peeks back out of the clouds. Sakuragi grabs him for a StuCo emergency (Ayame has invaded the office and is considering re-taking command) but as he passes Tooru he smiles and they exchange the same words as family when leaving for the day: I’m off. Take Care.

Tooru’s “meddling” against Akito has barely begun, but it starts with little things that mean everything, like telling Yuki earlier in the episode that his path and future are his to choose, no matter what anyone else says, and being in that hall later, just when he needed her smile.

Read Crow’s episode 40/15 review here!

Fruits Basket – 39 (S2 14) – Please Don’t Say Such Things

Haruhatsu used to visit Yuki, but he didn’t come alone. Rin always came with him and sat by the door. When she grew tired of sitting there she left and Haru followed, leading Yuki to wonder: Why’d she come in the first place?

It’s clear that this second cour of the Second Season of Fruits Basket (2019) is going to finally address the horse in the room, i.e. Rin, who’s been glaring enigmatically from the margins throughout the first cour. What we do know of her is that she’s stubborn but also just, which means she always came with Haru because she was protecting him, just as Haru was trying to help Yuki.

Haru reports that no progress has been made with Rin, and that he’s starting to believe her harsh words about being done with him were the truth, although he admits to struggling with uncertainty.

Yuki can certainly relate, as he’s still so uncertain about the “various burdens” in his life he’s not sure the StuCo is the thing he should prioritize, though Haru is glad he’s doing it and wants him to stick with it.

Meanwhile in Shigure’s household, Tooru learns her gramps has thrown his back out and can’t attend the upcoming parent-teacher meetings. Shigure steps in as substitute, almost exclusively so he can see his ex Mayu’s face for the first time since bringing her and Hatori together.

Yuki visits his parents’ house but his mother is out, as usual, so he simply drops the paperwork off to the servants and leaves. He runs into Kagura on the way out, and he notes (somewhat insensitively) that Kyou has been noticeably down and distant since meeting with her.

Kagura puts on a brave face and tells Yuki she’s fine, but that once even the thought of loving someone enters your head, “it’s too late”. Yuki is jealous of her certainty in her love and the need to move past it; all while he wallows in uncertainty—about Tooru, about Akito, etc.

Then Yuki happens to spot Rin, chases her down, and tries to get her to explain what’s going on with her and Haru. He remembers her visits with Haru in the past and now realizes she was protecting him then, so the breakup must mean she’s protecting him again.

Rin is not amused by Yuki’s questions, and repeats her insistance he stay out of her business. She also delivers some barbs, like the fact Haru was the one who begged Shigure to take Yuki in and away from the compound; Haru still calls Shigure sensei in exchange.

Leave it to Rin and her lack of a filter to highlight precisely Yuki’s fear: that he’s being an idiot for trying to live “carefree school life” while ignoring the burdens of people like Haru. Sure enough, Haru appears and is soon locked in a passionate kiss with Rin after seeing her reaction to him considering going away and “dying” if she doesn’t care about him anymore.

Sure, she later slaps him and runs off for asking if she’s still “unable to rise up” on her own like “back then”, but it’s clear Rin does care about Haru and what happens to him—and likely still loves him—but she’s apparently convinced Haru will suffer if they remain together?

Things are still cloudy when it comes to exactly what’s going on with Rin, but the fact she’s so prominent in this episode (and her seiyu Toyosaki Aki has the most lines yet) means we’re sure to learn more about that in due time.

Well, it wouldn’t be Fruits Basket if every other episode or so had a scene that makes the tears well up in your eyes, and this week is no exception as Tooru visits her grandfather. He’s really fine, but due to his back he’s lying supine, unable to move, and struggles to talk, so it looks and sounds to us—and Tooru—like he’s on his deathbed.

Things take a turn when he mentions Tooru’s parents Katsuya and Kyouko, and how he and Katsuya didn’t get along in the past but were brought together by Kyouko. Gramps curses the fact both were taken so soon, and wants to see them again, even as ghosts. When he trails off, Tooru’s heart is no doubt in her feet, until the fearful moment passes and her grandpa takes a breath, having simply fallen asleep.

Regardless, his words about wanting to go see them echo the ones Tooru remembers her mother saying. We see a little bit more of that memory that Tooru has kept a firm lid on all these years—the lid that all but kept her father out of her memory and kept all of the memories of her mom bright happy. Now it looks more and more like Kyouko, wracked with grief over losing Katsuya, took her own life, leaving poor Tooru an orphan.

As Tooru dips her toe into the Souma Curse-breaking pool, perhaps she is already in the deep end of a different curse pool: the curse of believing that somehow she was responsible for her mother’s death. Worse, because no one knows how things went down (except maybe Arisa and Saki), there’s no one to convince her otherwise.

If and when these dark memories continue to surface, they will test Tooru’s resolve to prioritize the freeing of the Zodiac spirits, as well as provide more ammo for Akito to use against her. Even this brief instance of remembering her despairing mother closing the door on her brings her to her knees, but thankfully Kyou is there to help her get up.

I’ve no doubt she’ll continue to rely on him, on Yuki, and on others to reckon with her past misplaced blame and continue the struggle to break that dang curse.

Check out Crow’s writeup here!

Accel World – 10

When Chiyu catches Haru and Kuroyukihime leaving his apartment block in the morning, she gets upset, but Taku talks her down, but she wants to become part of the game. Hime tells Haru and Taku about the bond between a guardian and his/her protege. Now at Level 4, Haru is able to access the “real” Accel World, a permanent city that mirrors Tokyo, and where there is no time limit or limit to what can be done there. He, Hime, Taku and Niko go there to confront Chrome Disaster, but instead end up ambushed in a ravine, surrounded by other linkers led by the Yellow King, Radio.

This series has well-defined strengths and weaknesses, and the “Haru Harem” element definitely falls within the latter category, often unnecessarily rearing its tiresome head at random times, indeed to fill time. This week’s cold open, in which Niko and Hime fight over Haru, is the kind of thing we could do with less of. We can tolerate the harem as long as it’s not constantly played for lame comedy, occupying time better spent developing the plot and characters. Something we can get behind: the guardian-protege dynamic, something both Hime and Niko, as powerful players in Accel World, both have experience, not all of it pleasent.

When Haru presses her, Hime doesn’t disclose who her guardian was, only that he was someone she cared for deeply – past tense – and now someone she considers her worst enemy. Haru tells her it won’t turn out like that with them; he’ll uninstall the game before he’ll harm her. Meanwhile, Niko, small and young as she is, not only admires and respects Hime (though she’d never tell her to her face), but also feels a sizable degree of guilt for setting her underling on the path that led to him becoming Chrome Disaster. It’s her mess, and as his guardian, she has to clean it up. The consequences for those who rise and prosper in the Accel World (which is really awesome-looking, btw) is far more compelling than the girls fighting over Haru.


Rating: 6 (Good)

Car Cameo: There are a lot of made-up futuristic cars in this series, but sometimes a real one drives by, like this Toyota Prius.

Accel World – 03

Chiyu is upset by Haru’s association with Kuroyukihime. Hime sits in a cafe with Haru and explains the hierarchy in the Accelerated World: she was one of seven “Kings of Pure Color” who had attained Level 9, who ruled their own realms. Wanting to reach Level 10, meet the game’s creator and learn its purpose, she opposed a peace treaty and killed the Red King. She’s now a fugitive with a price on her head, both in the Accelerated and real worlds. She now has someone threatening her from the local school network, and wants Haru to help her learn the foe’s identity. Hime suspects Chiyu may be this “Cyan Pyle”, and Haru direct links with her and discovers back doors.

It’s been a while since we watched the first two episodes, but we already see a pattern: first episode, explanation; second, action; third, more explanation. This episode seems to be setting up a more action-oriented fourth episode. Regardless, there was a lot discussed about who Kuroyukihime is, what she wants, and where Haru fits in. She even reveals things to him about Chiyu he didn’t know before – surprising considering how far back they go – namely, that she is a burst linker like them. Hime believes Chiyu wanted to recruit Haru, but she got to him first. Their conversation takes up nearly three-quarters of the episode, and its mostly via direct link, so any bystander would just see a guy and a girl sitting in a cafe staring at each other in silence, which is pretty funny.

Chiyu, for her part, keeps her cards close. When Haru comes to her house to apologize “properly” via a direct link, it quickly becomes a very awkward, intimate, and surprisingly touching scene. As the only available cord is so short, Haru essentially has to lie on top of Chiyu during the link. Chiyu clearly harbors feelings for him and doesn’t understand his self-hatred, but Haru has been uncomfortable around Chiyu and Taku ever since they’ve become a couple. It’s interesting how Chiyu isn’t aware Haru is looking through her files while talking with her, ultimately coming across suspicious back doors. So far the dynamics between characters are well-executed and interesting, and despite this being mostly people blabbing without moving their mouths, the episode was surprisingly entertaining, and backed up by a good soundtrack. Haru was a lot less pathetic  in this episode, and we find ourselves liking him more and more. So he’s a dwarf. So what?


Rating: 7 (Very Good)

Car Cameos: Many cars stream past as Haru and Hime stroll down the city streets, including a Mitsubishi Colt Plus, a lilac Toyota Estima, and a partially-obscured but still easily-identifiable Nissan March.

Sket Dance – 47

Yuusuke sleeps on a bench near the place where his father was killed. A trio of roughs beat him until another good-size guy breaks it up. His name is Taisuke, and he’s the boy who Kyousuke saved from being hit by a car. Taisuke still remembers what the dying Kyousuke told him, and he gives Yuusuke the bag meant for his deceased mother, containing a watch and letters for both her and his not-yet-born son. We also see the circumstances of his mother’s death, as Akane loses control and hits a doctor, who delivers Yuuske but can’t save Haru.

Like most of Sket Dance’s serious efforts, this episode flat out executes. There’s nothing fancy here, its a nice simple story of a kid coming to terms with the fact that certain information had been withheld from him his entire life. The shock of this info still raw in his mind, all he can do is run. He finds himself at the park where his father died fifteen years ago, and he lets punks whale on him almost as a messed-up therapy session. While he works out these issues in his head, everything else just seems peripheral. He’s not even outraged that the first passersby to witness his beating do nothing about it; they’d help, but they fear death.

Last week wasn’t all that clear about when exactly this took place in the Sket Dance chronology, but we learn that Yuusuke isn’t Bossun yet, and he hasn’t met Himeko or Switch and formed the Sket-dan yet, either. This is a Bossun we haven’t encountered yet; one who spent his time rifling through his mother’s possessions. Once he learns about his father’s selflessness and desire to help others, even at the cost of his life, and also realizes he’s not alone as his mother and sister are still just that, well, let’s just say this whole two-parter journey is what made Yuusuke into the Bossun we know and love listening to as he yells at things.


Rating: 4

Sket Dance – 46

Bossun has started watching old video tapes he found in his mother Akane’s closet of her life when she was a young woman, along with her friend Haru and a guy named Ryousuke who looks just like him. His mother takes the tapes away, but the day before his birthday, he finds albums with pictures of the same trio, except none of Akane alone with Ryousuke. Confronting his mother, she tells him Haru was his biological mother, and both she and Kyousuke were killed in separate accidents, Haru when Akane was driving her to the hospital while she was in labor with Bossun.

Let’s get a couple things out of the way. First of all, in this Sket Dance world, there are way too many people doing 50 mph in narrow alleys with no regard for life. Secondly, if Bossun’s mother really wanted to keep the secret of Bossun’s parentage secret, she would have at least kept the videos and albums under lock and key, if not destroyed them. She certainly wouldn’t have left them sitting around waiting to be found. Kids go through their parents things, that’s a fact of life. Finally, the emotional power of the last moments of the episode were somewhat diminished by the same ol’ horrible ending sequence. This episode did away with a cold open; it could have had a unique, more appropriate ending too All that aside, this was more Serious Sket Dance, and the above hiccups couldn’t derail and otherwise excellent dramatic episode.

It was Bossun’s turn to have his past filled out, and we have to wonder if he wasn’t better not knowing the truth. Obviously the truth must always out, but what a frikkin’ truth – his mother isn’t his mother, and his real parents were both killed?! That’s just ridiculously depressing. Still, there’s one thing Bossun’s mother didn’t lie about – she did end up raising him and later Rumi as a single mother. He can be mad at her for keeping thetruth from him so long, but he shouldn’t be anything but greatful for her raising him as if he were her own, which he now is anyway. He’s not suddenly ‘alone’ just because he now has this information.


Rating: 3.5

Car Cameos: Lots of Toyotas: a Vista/Camry Prominent almost brazenly murders Kyousuke and a little kid, and a Land Cruiser, Crown, Starlet, and Celsior are at the scene of the accident. There’s also a Nissan Cube and Fuga in an establishing shot. All the cars save the Windom and Starlet are later generations that didn’t exist in 1994, when the flashback takes place.