Fruits Basket Season 2 Review
Season aired: Spring 2020
Number of episodes: 25
Genres: Romance, Drama, Supernatural
Thoughts: Fruits Basket Season 2 starts immediately from where the last season left off. Protagonist,Tohru Honda, has not only discovered the mysterious and influential Sohma family’s secret but also met many of their zodiac members. Surprisingly, this happened with the approval of the mysterious and antagonistic head, Akito Sohma, who usually erases outsiders’ memories when they learn of the family’s zodiac curse. With changed relationships and new knowledge of the Sohma family, Tohru wonders where her life will go as she continues to influence their lives, and they continue to influence hers.
Season 2 finally reaches the manga material that was previously skipped in Fruits Basket’s first anime adaptation, but the structure is familiar — a slower first half followed by an electrifying second half. In the first half, Tohru meets the zodiac Sohmas she has yet to encounter and finds out about additional relationships: Haru and Rin, Kureno with the Sohma family as a whole, Kureno and Uatoni, and Akito with the zodiac members to name just a few.
The setup from the first half may feel slow for certain viewers as the drama takes a backseat to give room for more comedic moments and slow-burn development of romantic feelings. However, once you reach the middle of the season, which is after Kyo goes to speak with Akito, the entire series stops focusing on the comedy and starts diving into the powerful emotional development that made the manga famous.
The second half of the season gives Yuki in particular an incredible arc. Some of the episodes that focus on him are so powerful that they made me sob before they had even finished. However, while I think that Yuki’s character development is the second season’s greatest strength, the series still shines when it comes to the other characters’ development or the plot progression of breaking the zodiac curse. Unlike other shoujo stories, Fruits Basket actually focuses on the characters and their flaws and supplements them with brewing romances. Many other shoujo stories focus on the romance first, then have characters work on their flaws as an afterthought. Even though Yuki is the main focus of this season, the other characters still receive powerfully real and heartbreaking moments when the spotlights shine on them.
Because the progression of both the plot and the characters’ development is slowly but purposefully paced, the technical side of the show is integral to the success of the series. I never noticed how effectively the soundtrack supported the story until I heard the soundtrack by itself and almost teared up just from hearing the music. Songs like “I Will Protect You” elicited such a powerful gut wrench inside me that I would clasp my hands together while listening to it. When the anime couples the soundtrack with gorgeous visuals, it breathes magic and life into the scenes. Lighting, once again, becomes a storytelling technique. When the sun slowly rises, and you hear “Spring Will Come When the Snow Melts Away,” you know that tears are about to be shed.
The voice acting remains incredibly strong as well, with Nobunaga Shimazaki, Yuuma Uchida, and Yuuichi Nakamura absolutely killing their roles as Yuki Sohma, Kyo Sohma, and Shigure Sohma respectively. Additionally, Manaka Iwami has improved considerably as Tohru Honda from her first season performance, especially with the added nuances in her voice that her male co-leads had demonstrated in the first season. The supporting characters continue to be voiced by seiyuus who give strong performances, but the standout ultimately goes to the newest addition to the cast, Eguchi Takuya. He voices Kakeru Manabe, the vice president of the Student Council. Since Kakeru becomes one of the biggest influencing factors to Yuki’s character development, his voice acting must be entirely on point for the viewers to truly follow along with Yuki’s journey — and Eguchi Takuya absolutely nailed it. The strong cast and performances continue to fuel my passion and excitement for the third season, and, with Manaka Iwami’s strong improvement in this season, I am looking forward to her full acting chops in the third and final season.
With a strong production team and passionate seiyuus at hand, Fruits Basket Season 2 milks every emotional moment for it’s worth. The fact that the audience cares about every single character, even the antagonists, shows the story’s strength. It illustrates the power behind friendship, love, and empathy when battling traumas, abuse, and hatred, and it conveys it so effectively that it reaches to the audience to react in kind. The anime team knows what a magical and inspirational story they have in their hands and uses every bit of their expertise to bring it to life so that we may enjoy a journey of healing and hope to its full potential. I absolutely cannot wait to see how they finish off this series in 2021.
Plot: 8 (Multiplier 3.5)
Characters: 8.5 (Multiplier 3.5)
Voice acting: 8
FINAL SCORE: 81