This review is both for the entire series and spoiler free. Even though we are the ones who completely embody it human emotion and their inherent nature is a topic that is vague enough to unassuming eyes that it may be considered impossible to understand. With there being no true concrete answer as to what comprises the deeper parts of our minds problems with depicting that complex nature in a story will always arise. A lot of stories that strive to be more than what they are expected to try to write its characters in a way for them to feel human. What constitutes as human strays into the vague territory of the subject that it even derives from. This vague territory is the reason why it is extremely daunting to incorporate in a story. To get a true method for portraying human characters is impossible and to get anywhere close to is a challenge many arent willing to take. This is why a great deal of stories primarily feature one dimensional characters that are idealizations of a certain archetype. While this approach to character can work well in certain contexts for stories that mainly surround characters like it the story lacks the capability to make the audience feel a far wider range of emotions. When stories actually do try to venture into the aforementioned vague territory the results can produce some of the best stories ever created. While the true extent of the vague territory is unknown even an understanding of a small part of it can provide a great deal of emotion and meaning. Enter Fruits Basket. Contrary to popular opinions that said otherwise my initial impression of this series was one of dissatisfaction. It seemed to me in the beginning that it was a story that revolved around one dimensional characters that didnt exactly click with me. However Fruits Basket was pulling a trick. While some didnt fall for it at all I was somebody that fell head first into it. While Fruits Basket was lulling me into the notion that it wasnt doing anything past the status quo it was actually doing the contrary. In its entirety Fruits Basket is an emotional ballad that out of any piece of media I have consumed is one of the stories that most successfully ventures the furthest into the vague and muddy territory of human emotion. As Fruits Baskets approach to character writing evolves the method as to how characters are developed gets slowly better and better until it becomes nearly perfect by the Final Season. The general method of character development with Fruits Baskets method doesnt really change throughout the series but it is so volatile and utilized so well that it isnt remotely repetitive in the slightest. This method starts with the initial impression. This initial impression is in a characters introduction where you learn about a characters extremely base character traits. From this initial view into a characters world you can initially write them off as one dimensional at the start. The series does a very good job at hammering these traits in. This series very easily creates some of the most detestable images for a character that I have ever seen in a story before. Even if the hammering in seems like it is counterintuitive at first it serves a deliberate purpose in later developments of the story. After our initial impressions of a character has set in the show immediately asks a vital question about the character in question that will permeate throughout the rest of the series. Why? Answering as to why a character would act a certain way isnt exactly a new question that stories have brought up when developing characters but what sets Fruits Basket apart is in how meticulously it shows this development. For characters that initially started out with one base character trait they each eventually flourish into very complex sympathetic and human characters. The sympathetic part is the part that is particularly impressive to me. Fruits Basket can somehow turn one of the previously mentioned destable characters into somebody that feels uniquely human in a way that no story has really ever pulled off for me. The empathetic nature of the show naturally allows it to have better character writing across the board because it lets all of the emotional beats of the show completely hit their targets. While not every character arc in Fruits Basket is consistent in their execution the few lesser arcs arent major enough to outshine some of the best character arcs that the major characters in the story have. It isnt like the characters that are worse written are abundant either. The character arcs that hit it out of the park take up a very sizable majority in the ensemble cast so it is very rare to see anything that I could actually call bad. With all of the elements of so many emotional aspects of humanity on display here Fruits Basket can draw strong emotions that have been built up over the course of a character arc to a powerful emotional climax. These emotional climaxes have the ability to bring out tears in many people. However this series has rarely been called something anywhere close to cry bait. This is because it fully earns nearly every single emotional moment that it tries to attempt due to how well the buildup was to that moment over the course of all three seasons. Fruits Baskets ability to make the viewer tear up is far from high on its priority list. However it manages to do it anyway because the audience at this point most likely deeply cares for the characters. With the series having such a deep understanding of the emotions inside of us it leverages this understanding to commentate on deeper issues ingrained into our society. As played into the supernatural elements of the Zodiac curse in the beginning by the second season they are nearly nonexistent. This change in direction helps the series to put greater focus on the symbolic and allegorical aspects of the implications of the curse on its victims. Even if the first showcase through the Zodiac curse is in a more lighthearted comical and supernatural manner the curse comes to parallel some extremely realistic struggles that can be applied to many real life curses of its kind. With how the Zodiac curse is contextualized throughout the story it makes every single action of the characters affected by it to feel all the more justified and real. It is yet another manner that Fruits Basket uses its knowledge of human struggle and emotion to create a realistic world of suffering in a way that can hit a real chord. The OST also contributes equal parts to the more emotional parts of the series. The emotional weight that nearly every song in the OST holds in my heart really shouldnt be understated. Nearly every song manages to be soaring in a way that compliments every scene while never being overbearing. I dont think you could properly describe much of what makes the OST in proper words and the only real way to actually know how good it is to actually listen to it. My only real problem with this series is in the visual department. While the character design is absolutely fantastic and the shot composition is pretty good the art style itself can feel off putting to many. Compared to most shows coming out nowadays it can look a bit dated. On top of that the series is pretty static and there isnt exactly much animation that is actually present. This only really nagged at me in the early stages of the first season and I quickly got used to it. I cant try to defend it to say that the questionable style of the series is actually intentional but the good aspects of the visuals were good enough for me to ignore the lesser elements. As vague human emotion can get at times it isnt something that is completely aimless. It is never going to be fully understandable for as long as humanity exists but we can still derive meaning from it. Fiction lies in a unique spot where it can more easily draw out these emotions to create experiences like no other. This capability can be utilized to create works of fiction that can be considered life changing. I can confidently say that Fruits Basket is one of these works to me. It is so potent in how it contextualizes its storytelling that it becomes something that truly changed the way I acted. I feel like I will be generally nicer to nearly every person I meet from now on and I will try to get to know them for who they actually are instead of what I think they are. It is a trait that I felt lacking in before but now I feel more aware of the world I live in and I can say a full thank you to Fruits Basket for that. Even for anime and manga I have ranked higher there are very few of them that I can say have changed my life for the better. However through its emotionally driven story its lovable characters show stopping score and poignant themes Fruits Basket fully deserves that distinction. Writeups for the specific episodes of the Final Season as they came out. Very Spoiler Heavy Episode 1 Episode 2 Episode 3 Episode 4 Episode 5 Episode 6 Episode 7 Episode 8 Episode 9 Episode 10 Episode 11 Episode 12 Episode 13 Thank you for reading to the end of the review if you did. If you have any criticisms with how this review was made you are free to message me to critique what I had to say.
96 /100
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