Tags

Fruits Basket (2019) Key Visual

Source: CrunchyRoll

Even when they overlap Invincible Friendship and Perhaps We Should Invite Ourselves Over are dramatically different episodes.

Where Invincible Friendship has significant comedy elements to break up the drama, Perhaps We Should Invite Ourselves Over is essentially played straight with new material that I don’t think came up at all in the Fruits Basket Deen version.

The sequence of events is significantly altered as well.

Fruits Basket Deen: Invincible Friendship

Fruits Basket Deen begins with Tohru asking Shigure for permission to tell Hana and Uo where she’s living and why, with the obvious promise to not mention the zodiac curse. As soon as she does however, they invite themselves over for a sleepover.

During the introductions it turns out that Shigure is an author of both trashy novels[1] and so-called “fine literature”[2]. Tohru is deeply impressed by this, Hana simply starts reading the trashy one and wants to know when the sequel will be out. A question Shigure dodges.

Tohru’s story about meeting Uo and how she saved Tohru from bullies is initially glossed over, as is Hanajima’s.

In the midst of the nervousness, Tohru suggests a game of Rich Man, Poor Man which calls back to episode 3.

Whilst she’s getting the cards Uo goes into more detail about how Tohru and Kyoko saved her from the gangs she was running with, and it becomes clear that there’s some incipient jealousy over why Tohru didn’t ask them for help when she was living in the tent. Hanajima is silent here, but is clearly agreeing with Uo.

The key points here are surprisingly insightful reassurances from both Kyo and Yuki that Tohru isn’t so greedy, and that she truly is their friend.

Tohru returns with the cards but before the game can even get started there are various trips and falls that lead to all three of Kyo, Yuki, and Shigure transforming but somehow not getting noticed doing so.

Basically a good chunk of this episode is given over to precisely timed physical comedy and running gags. Including one with Shigure, in dog form, running with a bunch of clothes[3] in his mouth in an attempt to get out of sight before he transforms back. Whilst Yuki and Kyo are riding on him.

The sleepover itself is more serious and emphasises Tohru’s modesty in terms of what she wants, her desire to not be selfish, her need to be grateful for what she has. Overall it’s quite a charming scene, and reinforces her friendship with Uo and Hana. A morning confrontation between Yuki and Kyo in the kitchen inspires a reference to Tom and Jerry by Hana and Uo[4].

Hana makes it clear that if the house was not suitable she would have had to take… steps. As it is Uo and Hana give their blessing in a way that suggests parents giving away a bride[5].

Overall Fruits Basket Deen is a fun episode that you mostly remember for the comedy until you take a closer look at it[6].

Fruits Basket TMS: Perhaps We Should Invite Ourselves Over

Fruits Basket TMS on the other hand is a much more serious episode. The episode starts off with some material that Fruits Basket Deen will cover in episode 7[7]: the cultural festival. It starts off with Tohru getting praised for her onigiri skills, Kyo looking at an onigiri with cat ears and wondering if it’s cannibalism, and Yuki in a maid’s outfit. Oh, and Hana dressed as a witch.

And that’s just the tag before the opening credits.

It turns out that the upperclassmen, specifically the girls, begged Yuki to wear the dress and he’s reluctantly putting up with it. However he looks so good in it that he’s become a major draw for the class’ onigiri stall and they’re selling much more than they expected.

Yuki is clearly unhappy in the outfit, although Tohru mistakes it for him being angry with her. Amusingly the Prince Yuki Fanclub are actually trying to be useful in this scene by preventing photos from being taken. Kyo on the other hand is gloating about it.

Then two more members of the Sohmas turn up: Hatori and Momiji. Momiji is basically a troublemaker right from the get-go, and there’s a lot more emphasis on his half-German parentage[8]. Momiji is basically uncaring about the curse and actually hugs Tohru deliberately. Fortunately he does so out of sight of the class, but it’s a close run thing[9].

Hatori is a doctor, and makes pointed comments about Yuki’s failure to turn up for regular checkups for bronchial problems. The conversation between Hatori and Yuki is fairly tense. It’s in this sequence that Uo becomes suspicious of how friendly Tohru is with the Sohmas generally.

The three main characters wind up on the roof and it becomes clear that Yuki is unhappy with his feminine/bishonen appearance. Tohru helps provide some perspective but there’s issues there that I’m not comfortable trying to unpack.

Before heading back down Yuki outright flirts with Tohru before warning her not to be alone with Hatori as he’s the one who erases memories. It’s on the stairs on the way down that Hana and Uo start asking pointed questions about how familiar/friendly Tohru is with Yuki and Kyo.

Naturally, she just blurts out the truth about where she’s living[10] and why. I really did think this worked better as a reveal, and certainly provided greater motivation for Hana and Uo to invite themselves over.

Largely because of the time taken up with the cultural festival, most of the slapstick from the Fruits Basket Deen version of the sleepover has been dropped. You still have the framing conversations, particularly about Uo and Hana’s concerns, but without the comedy they take on greater focus and importance within the overall context of the episode. There’s also less details about Uo’s past to make room for more material later.

We get different translations for Shigure’s novels: Summer Sigh for the trashy one and Palpitations for the “high literature”[11].

There’s a scene with Shigure and Akito with a very interesting line that counterpoints one of Yuki’s lines to Hana. Yuki points out that Tohru isn’t a greedy girl with the key line being subtitled as “she doesn’t ask for the moon”. Conversely one of Akito’s lines is that “I do ask for the moon.”

There’s also some entirely new material that I don’t remember at all from Fruits Basket Deen. We’ve been seeing a baseball cap amongst Tohru’s prized possessions in Fruits Basket TMS. Arguably it’s just behind the picture of her mother in importance. During the actual sleepover scene Tohru tells Hana and Uo a story of being bullied as a child, getting lost, and then being rescued by a mysterious boy who guided her home. On arrival at her home, the boy placed the cap on her head, and left without ever introducing himself.

All three of the girls are basically romantics over this, and it is tied into the original material of how deeply Tohru cares for Uo and Hana.  It’s quite a sweet tale, poignant, and I don’t think it was a coincidence that Kyo was listening in from outside her bedroom whilst the tale was being told.

The morning scene plays out in a very similar way although the similarity to giving away a bride is explicitly called out by Kyo and Yuki.

The episode ends with Hatori summoning Tohru to the Sohma estate. Alone, and with not-so-veiled threats should she not comply.

Commentary

These are structurally, and in tone, completely different episodes. Fruits Basket TMS has reordered the events to pull significant parts of Fruits Basket Deen episode 7 into episode 6 to create a much more dramatic episode. In fact I think it’s quite likely that Fruits Basket TMS 6 has basically consumed all of the plot material from Fruits Basket Deen 7[12], and will now be effectively an episode ahead.

The comedy of Fruits Basket Deen has basically been replaced by straight drama barring some early hijinks with Momiji[13]. To be fair Fruits Basket Deen did have much of the same drama, and with the same overtones, but it was the comedy aspects of Fruits Basket Deen that stuck in my mind until I took a second look at it.

One visual change worth commenting on is that with the advances in anime technology over the last 20-odd years we’re seeing a much wider variety of hairstyles on several of the female characters, and also in wardrobes generally. This helps make Fruits Basket TMS much more visually appealing (although Deen still holds up well enough).

I think we’re really getting to the changes that the mangaka wanted with this episode of Fruits Basket TMS, and it is definitely changing the overall tone of Fruits Basket. I enjoyed this episode quite a lot.

Question of the Post: Were you looking forward to the comedy elements in this episode? What was your reaction when they were dropped?

[1] The title for which is translated here as Sigh of a Summer Affair.

[2] Although, as with the Fruits Basket TMS version (see below), I’m not sure that The Pulsing Heart is a more literary title.

[3] Remember: they’re naked when they transform back into humans.

[4] And I don’t think it’s in any way a coincidence that Jerry usually wins in Tom and Jerry.

[5] I’m not sure I want to examine that too closely.

[6] This blog post is somewhat delayed due to sudden travel I needed to do last weekend so this post reflects two viewings of both episodes.

[7] Judging by the next episode trailer in Fruits Basket Deen

[8] I’ll have to wait until next week but I don’t recall Momiji having German dialogue in the previous version, or certainly not this much.

[9] Cue the usual Transformation Censor Steam.

[10] Extreme reaction face is extreme.

[11] I’m still not sure that Palpitations is any better than Summer Sigh though…

[12] Which I’ll be checking later.

[13] The only transformation in the entire episode is Momiji’s.