Fruits Basket (2019) Episode 1 – WHERE IS THE COMEDY?

So Fruits Basket Episode 1 has finally made its debut! It’s so wonderful to see that this heart-wrenching yet hilarious manga is finally getting the ‘pretty animation’ treatment.

Now don’t assume that just because it’s episode 1 that I, ShawarmaHead, don’t have plenty of things to say. In fact, watching episode 1 has already produced some interesting thought-nuggets… but not ones that I would have expected.

In fact, after watching episode 1, I’m actually getting a little scared that this anime might disappoint me a little bit. It’s probably because I am just used to anime disappointing me. But that’s for me to deal with.

But still, Fruits Basket (2019) Episode 1 really brought some interesting things to mind. Especially when I compare it to the original Fruits Basket anime that was released in 2001.

Now, of course I understand that the Fruits Basket 2019 adaptation will be different from the original adaptation for many reasons. It would be unreasonable to expect the current staff working on Fruits Basket to adhere to both the manga and the original adaptation.

But it does not mean that there aren’t valuable things they could learn from the original adaptation.

 

ShawarmaHead Expressions.jpg

 

In fact, after watching episode 1, there is already one thing that the 2001 adaptation does BETTER than the 2019 adaption: COMEDY

 

FRUITS BASKET IS ACTUALLY FUNNY

RUN
I literally named this picture ‘RUN’ on my computer)

Those who have read the manga should know how deceiving Fruits Basket actually is. It looks like a casual, light-hearted and relaxing shoujo manga. But Fruits Basket is also very FUNNY. I don’t just mean giggle-chuckle funny, I mean heaving-laughter funny.

I don’t normally consider manga/ anime funny. Fruits Basket is the exception. It is the ONLY manga that has EVER made me laugh.

When watching the 2019 adaptation, I noticed that the episode really LACKED the personality and hilarity that made the manga so endearing. Unlike the 2019 adaptation, the 2001 adaptation did not forget that Fruit’s Basket was also a comedy.

Just take a look at the difference between how the two adaptations executed the Yuki-Fan-Club Scene.

 

yuki fan club 2001
Fruits Basket (2001) – The Amazing Yuki Fan Club
yuki_fan_club
Fruits Basket (2019) – The ‘still-amazing- but wish-there-was-some-charm’ Yuki Fan Club

 

There are so many other instances like this in the 2001 adaptation. They all really showcased the personality of the show. Despite it’s less than extraordinary animation, the 2001 adaptation almost USED its poor animation to compliment it’s over the top execution.

Here are just some of the hilarious scenes in the Fruit’s Basket 2001 Episode 1 adaptation.

Fruits Basket GIFwhat_is_her_hair(gif)

 

THE ANIMATION HAS NO PERSONALITY

I’m not a very good judge of animation (Or at least, I don’t really care about it too much). When I watch an anime or any other dish of fiction, I focus more on the characters, plot and especially the themes being put forth in the story. Fruit’s Basket’s ability to excel in these areas is the main reason I adore it so much.

However, I DO pay some attention to animation when it’s clearly being used to enhance the show in some deliberate ways.  This is one of those times.

Now, the show is clearly very pretty. It’s nice to look at compared with the original adaptation. But I’m worried that this animation is a sign that this show will be very dull in regards to how it showcases the personality of Fruits Basket.

Now, I expected the 2019 adaptation to have a different interpretation of the mood of the manga in comparison to the 2001 adaptation. However, I didn’t expect the 2019 adaptation to have NO INTERPRETATION.

Perhaps it’s too early to tell. But it’s not a good sign. The first episode may not tell much in terms of plot execution, but it does tell a lot in terms of the ‘feel’ of the show and how it plans on treating its characters.

Maybe it plans on prioritizing more maturity rather than a specific type of tone. Or maybe they plan on having the tone gradually set in as the twists and turns start coming in.

It’s possible I am wrong. I hope I am. I want this show to do well!

On the flip side however, there a few things I also REALLY enjoyed about this first episode.

 

VOICE ACTOR FOR KYOKO (TOHRU’S MOTHER)

I recognized the voice actor for Kyoko IMMEDIATELY as Miyuki Sawashiro. This woman has an EXTENSIVE resume of different roles that she has played over the years. Many anime lovers may recognize her voice from characters such as Kurapika (Hunter X Hunter), Ayane Yano (Kimi ni Todoke), Sinon (Sword Art Online), Lag Seeing (Tegami Bachi), Celty Sturluson (Durarara), Cordelia Gallo (Gosick) and MANY MANY MORE.

She has a special tone of maturity and kindness to it as well as something else that makes her voice so recognizable. Kind of like Romi Park, another very recognizable voice actor with an extensive resume.

 

LOYALTY TO THE ORIGINAL PLOT

If there is one thing the 2019 adaptation will always hold over the 2001 adaptation; its intention to adapt the entire manga.

All the intense scenes, flashbacks, back stories and characters that we were never able to see on screen before, we will be able to see them all now in all their glory.

In the first episode, you can already see a glimpse of what is to come. The scene that displayed Tohru’s flashback to the time when Yuki led her home and gave her his cap (Technically Kyo’s), is just one of many scenes that I am looking forward to seeing an adaptation to.

 

AFTERWORD

My first impression of the 2019 adaptation was not intended to be negative but rather an appreciation of the 2001 adaptation as well as observations for what is to come. I intend on fully giving this adaptation a  chance and despite my little grievances above, I am fully willing to have my mind changed by anything this adaptation gives me.

They just better make it good tasty thought-nuggets.

Nothing more, nothing less.

 

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