The anime starts out by showing a house on top of a mountain where the 12 animals of the zodiac are sitting in a circle around a man holding a cat. We then hear a short narration talking about a banquet that is held every year, the cat's loneliness, a past that was forgotten, and a promise that was lost.
Based on the narration, you can tell that this banquet has gone on for many years, and that the cat shown has a lot of emotional pain, sadness, and loneliness. It seems that this loneliness was suppose to be temporary, but over time, as this promise was forgotten, the loneliness never went away.
When this narration finishes, the anime transitions to a young girl going to school. This girl is the main character, and her name is "Tohru Honda". Here we can also see the conditions that Tohru is living in. She is living in a small tent outside in the woods. Her tent is full of many items, including a picture of her dead mother. The tent is small and there is little room for her, but despite this, Tohru is still a happy smiling cheerful person. She can still appreciate the small simple things in life and she has not allowed her living conditions to negatively affect her mood or her outlook on life.
Since the weather is nice, Tohru decides to take a walk around the area. The colors, graphics in the scenery are very nice. The colors are vibrant and bright. More detailed than the first Fruits Basket that was made in 2001.
During Tohru's walk, she comes to a cliff where she can see the city, as well as a large house beside the cliff. This is the first time that Tohru saw a house in the woods near her tent, so she went inside the house to explore it. While looking at zodiac items in the house, a tall older man sees her and talks to her. Tohru is familiar with the zodiac tale because her mother often told her stories about it, so she talks with this man about the story of the zodiac.
The anime then goes back to a memory from Tohru's childhood where her mother told her stories about the zodiac as bedtime stories.
Tohru shared these stories and a little
about her childhood with this man. While they were talking, another man appeared who Tooru recognized as "Yuki Souma". The man that Tooru was initially talking to is Yuki Souma's cousin. When Yuki's cousin realizes that Yuki and Tohru know each other since they are in the same class together, he formally introduces himself to Tohru. He is "Shigure Souma".
At this time, Yuki starts to wonder how Tohru got to his home in the first place since their home is isolated in the woods. Tohru let's them know that she lives nearby, but she doesn't want them to ask anything else about her home and living conditions, so she immediately leaves before they can ask her anything else. Yuki stops her though by suggesting that they walk to school together. Tohru agrees, but because Tohru walks to school with him, she gets into trouble with his fan club. Fortunately, Tohru's friends, Hana and Uo, save her from those girls.
The anime then shifts to Tohru and her friends attending a cooking class at school. This is where we get to see how skilled Tohru is at cooking. During this time, Tohru and her friends talk about the gossip surrounding Prince Yuki (Yuki's nickname at school). During this conversation, Tohru tells her friends a little bit about her financial situation.
Tohru works part-time everyday after school to pay for her tuition and save up money to live alone after she finishes school. When Tohru's friends ask her if she is still staying at her parent's place, Tohru lies to them because she doesn't want to worry them or let them know how bad her living conditions are.
We then move to the end of the school day and Tohru is going home. She sees Yuki on the way out and thanks him for walking her to school. This conversation leads them to walk home together. During the walk, Yuki expresses how much he dislikes the cat in the zodiac, and he tells Tohru about how the zodiac were used as a way of measuring time. Each zodiac represents one year, and one full cycle is 60 years. The zodiac were represented as numerals on a clock dial.
Much later, elements and relationships were attached to the zodiac, which put them into the realm of fortune-telling. Through all this though, the cat never had a place in the zodiac.
This conversation between Tohru and Yuki gets cut short when Tohru realizes that she is late for work, so Tohru leaves Yuki in a hurry, but not before Yuki notices that Tohru looks under the weather, so he reminds her to tend to her health. This causes Tohru to go back and remember her childhood when her father got sick and died. Because of this, Tohru's mom had to work a lot to provide for them and Tohru tried to help her mom by cooking for them. This is how Tohru got good at cooking.
Tohru remembers her mother positively and her mother's sudden death in a car accident was very hard on her. Her mother was such a strong and happy person, so Tohru never expected that such a person could be taken away from her.
After Tohru's mother died, the family argued over who would take in Tohru, and the one chosen to do so was her grandfather. Since he is very old
and living on limited funds, on a pension, Tohru starts working to pay for her living expenses and tuition so as not to be a burden to him. However, Tohru's grandfather's home has to be renovated, so they have to live somewhere else during that time. So her grandfather asks her to stay with a friend of hers during that time. Tohru couldn't stay and burden her friends for months, so this is how she ends up living outside in a tent in the woods.
After hearing about Tohru's background and how her life came to be what it is, the anime shifts to Shigure and Yuki walking home through the woods very late at night after eating out. They see Tohru walking in the woods, but they don't understand why she is out there so late at night, so they follow her and find out that she is living in a tent. Shigure finds this to be very hilarious, but Yuki is concerned. Tohru seems to be feeling unwell also, but she ignores it.
It is also at this time that Tohru finds out that the Souma family owns all the land in that area, including the land that her tent is on. So Tohru asks their permission to live on their land and she offers to pay rent. During this conversation though, Tohru starts to feel faint and it becomes more and more obvious that she is sick. At the same time, a landslide occurs because the land is soft where Tohru's tent is, so her tent gets buried under soil. Tohru gets so upset that the picture of her mother is buried, that she tries to dig the soil up with her bare hands in order to get to her mother's picture.
Tohru starts to break down and becomes really emotional and distraught. For Tohru, she is keeping her mother alive through that single picture; her mother is all that she has now, and that picture gives her strength to endure the current hardships in her life.
Shigure calms Tohru down by offering to come back in the morning to dig up the photo of her mother and all her possessions. Shigure and Yuki take Tohru back to their home and have
her stay there to rest for the night. Shigure takes care of Tohru and she shares her feelings, regrets, and wishes surrounding her mother's death with
Tohru talks about how she didn't get to say goodbye to her mother the day she died, and how she wanted to leave school after her mother's death. However, Tohru's mother always wanted Tohru to finish High School because she never got to go, so Tohru decided to finish High School in order to fulfill her mother's wish.
Tohru's mother left that day while Tohru was sleeping so Tohru never got to see her mother before she died. This is a huge weight on Tohru's shoulders, and it is something that she regrets deeply. It is because of this that Tohru devalues herself sometimes.
It is in this moment that we learn that Tohru is going to the same school that her mother wanted to go to. During this conversation, Tohru becomes exhausted from her fever and the whole ordeal of losing her home again, so she quickly falls asleep.
Yuki comes out once Tohru is asleep. He heard everything Tohru said, and these things shocked him because Tohru seemed so happy and carefree at school. Yuki also feels ashamed and spoiled because of how he lives compared to Tohru.
Yuki was so moved by Tohru's life and past, that he goes out to dig up Tohru's tent and her possessions while she sleeps. It is here, that we see the supernatural element surrounding the Souma family make an appearance for the first time, as Yuki's eyes change to red and we see a lot of rats appear behind Yuki.
While Tohru is sleeping, her fever causes her to hear her mother's voice and she dreams about her. In this dream, Tohru's mother supports and encourages her to push through and live at her own pace. This peaceful dream causes Tohru to cry in her sleep, and she wakes up suddenly remembering that she must dig her mother out of the soil.
Tohru gets up to go get her things when Yuki greets her and tells her that he got all of her things, including her mother's picture. It is at this time that Yuki let's
Tohru know that they have an empty room for her to live in upstairs until the renovations on her grandfather's house are finished. So Yuki takes Tohru's possessions upstairs to her new room for her.
Shigure also appears and tells Tohru that she can do household chores for them. With this, Shigure welcomes her into their home and family. Tohru resists of course because she doesn't want to be a burden to anyone, but they insist she stay, so Tohru accepts and asks about the family rules. Yuki reminds Tohru of her dream and her mother because Yuki says the same thing that her mother said to her in her dream last night. "Just be you, Honda-san, and live at your own pace, here in this house" (Fruits Basket, 2019, Ep. 1).
Yuki and Shigure show Tohru to her room, but suddenly the anime takes a surprising turn when a new visitor comes into the house. This visitor crashes into Tohru's new room and ruins the ceiling.
The person who came unexpectedly starts a physical fight with Yuki. Tohru tries to stop the fight, but accidentally trips into the man fighting with Yuki, which causes him to turn into a cat. We learn here that this person is called "Kyo".
At this point, Tohru freaks out thinking that she did something wrong to cause Kyo to turn into a cat.
She becomes hysterical and starts running around.
While running around, a piece of wood from the roof that Kyo destroyed falls on top of Tohru's head, which causes her to become dizzy and bump into Yuki and Shigure. This causes them to turn into their animal forms as well. Kyo is the cat, Yuki the rat, and Shigure the dog.
It is here, that this first episode ends. The rest of the series focuses on the experiences and relationships that develop and grow between Tohru and the rest of the members of the Souma family. This anime focuses on the life that Tohru has with the Souma's, and the close bond that grows between her and each of the. Tohru helps the Souma's grow, become better people, and to truly become a closer, more affectionate and understanding family.
I watched the original Fruits Basket anime that was made in 2001, and I was a big fan of it. This is one of those animes that has such a great message and which is great for the whole family to watch. It is very family-oriented and very comedic. It is an anime about the problems and hardships that normal families face, but it also delivers strong messages about kindness, generosity, understanding and accepting others, walking in other's shoes, and sharing your life with others. The level of kindness seen from Yuki and Shigure is rarely seen today in the modern world, so this makes this anime even more beautiful and relevant.
I love this anime and I definitely feel that it is worth watching for the whole family, both children and parents 👍. If you are a fan of shoujo, comedies, and family-friendly animes, then you should definitely give this one a try.
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