Blu-Ray Review: Fruits Basket – Season 1 Part 2

The first season conclusion to the drama-styled-comedy story Fruits Basket arrives on Blu-Ray in Fruits Basket – Season 1 Part 2 so let’s take a glimpse at what this set contains.

Synopsis:

Every day with the Sohmas brings new surprises, and Tohru’s resilience shines through it all! Her mother’s beautiful lessons slowly reach everyone, from Yuki’s self-absorbed sibling to a tiny, timid tiger.

Even Tohru’s childhood friends were changed by the kindness of the Crimson Butterfly. But for Kyo, is any heart big enough to accept his deep dark secret?

Our View:

The slice-of-life styled drama known as Fruits Basket (2019) continues within this second half of the first season and what started off as a mysterious encounter with members of the Sohma household now bears fruit to introduce even more members of the Zoadic as well as spice-things-up by exploring the origins of how Tohru met Arisa and Saki. Once again Fruits Basket delivers an alternate approach to storytelling with its charming and visual aesthetic mixed with its traumatic and emotionally challenging stories that keeps viewers entertained and engaged till the episodes end.

In this case the events within Fruits Basket – Season 1 Part 2 initially begins with Tohru and her friends visiting her mothers grave, as it has been one year since her death, and in doing so opens up a paradoras box of emotions for those that surround her. This starts with Momoji, who reveals that his mother was wiped of her memories so that she could no longer remember him, but soon expands to Ryo and Yuki who both act abnormal around Tohru despite taking a vacation in the woods. As per normal Tohru worries about the situation; but it soon manages to resolve itself.

This reminiscence of the past continues into the next selection of episodes which, for two episodes per character, see Arisa and Saki reminiscing about how they first met Tohru and her mother. Both storylines are much darker than I was originally expecting and further highlighted that Fruits Basket is not, despite appearances, a colourful series. In this instance Arisa was a member of a gang and looked up to Tohru’s mother, the Crimson butterfly; but upon meeting her realise that she isn’t everything she initially thought – that is until she is saved by that same person. Crawling out from the pit of despair Tohru and her mother are seen as her beacon of light and she soon begins to change into the person she is today.

Saki on the other hand offers a more darker back story whereby her appearance and abilities saw he bullied through grade and middle school; so much so that when her ‘physic wave’ powers broke out she ended up injurying a fellow classmate and being dubbed a witch. This spiral of bullying and negativity continued throughout her school years until she moved to a new school and met Tohru and her friends. It’s once again a darker story that sees Tohru and her mother act as a beacon of light; but more importantly than that it generates a sense of attachment to a character that, until now, has never been considered part of the main cast.

The melancholy approach to storytelling continues within this second half with the introduction of three more Sohma clan members in the form of Kisa Sohma, who is the Tiger of the Zodiac, Ritsu Sohma, the Monkey of the Zodiac, and Hiro Sohma, the Sheep of the Zodiac, with each focusing on a different topic or agenda. For instance Kisa has been bullied at school and has opted to mute herself, to which Tohru unveils her school life secrets to make Kisa feel at ease, which sees Kisa open up to Tohru and become attached to her. Hiro, who is the brother of Kisa, is jealous about this and soon causes disruption for Tohru by playing pranks on her; much to the annoyance of Kisa, Ryo and Yuki. All of these stories, albeit individual, add more personality and charm to the ever-expanding Sohma family within Fruits Basket.

Although the backstories and character introductions add a wealth of new personality to the series it does very little in actually progressing forward with a story but the final few episodes of this season do tease the prospect of an impending story filled with disruption and danger. Yuki and Ryo’s own backstories, secrets and agendas are also potentially revealed to Tohru; but as per the norm she pushes through in order to help those in need. An emotional journey through multiple episodes leads us to a rather stale ending that in reality is just a prelude to bigger things to come in the next season. A large build of character backstories and introductions is pretty much what this set brings; but somehow that is perfectly fine.

Extras:

As with the previous instalment Manga Entertainment are once again using disc masters originally authored by FUNimation and as such we receive the same selection of supplementary content as our North American counterparts. In this instance we receive the usual inclusion of textless opening and closing segments as well as well as Inside the Episode and Q&A features from the English Dub cast.

Naturally the highlight of this release, much like the previous Part 1 release of Fruits Basket, is the Inside the Episode segments and the English Cast Interview feature, as both of these illustrate an understanding of the series and what it was like to portray those characters. The Inside the Episode segments for instance, of which four are included, are tailored to specific episodes of the series and see both English Cast and ADR Director explain how they worked on that particular episode(s) of the series.

The English Cast Interview feature meanwhile provides a simplistic Q&A with different English voice actors as well as the ADR Director. Generally these tend to be relatively unimaginative and quite boring; but in this case it is actually entertaining and insightful. Naturally these features only appeal to those who enjoyed the English Dub version of the series but they are still fun to watch.

Specs:

Media:  BD 50, BD 25
Region: B
Running Time: 2:47:04 (Disc 1), 1:59:15 (Disc 2)
Video: MPEG-4 AVC
Audio: Dolby TrueHD 5.1 (English) & Dolby TrueHD 2.0 (Japanese)
Subtitles: English (White)
Resolution: 1920×1080 (1080p)
Aspect Ratio: 16:9
Frame Rate: 23.976 fps

Overall:

Fruits Basket – Season 1 Part 2 brings the first season to its conclusion and it continues to deliver an emotionally traumatic rollercoaster of information to the viewer but in this case it is not from, or for, the protagonist of the series; but it is instead from the minds of the supporting cast. To be rather blunt the first half of the series acted as an introduction to the world and the key characters within Fruits Basket and for this second half of the first season we get a bigger picture, and a better understanding, of the support characters that assit and engage with Tohru on a daily basis. In this case the personality and backstories of Arisa and Saki.

Initially these backstories did not interest me, but as time went on they became integral to understanding why they are always supportive of Tohru and painted a much bigger picture of personality and loyalty. Alongside these character backstories we are also introduced to even more members of the Sohma family; with each attempting to overcome their own difficulties and its left to Tohru to unravel their mysteries in order to help them out. It’s kind of a rinse and repeat procress, but naturally a different scenario; but somehow it still feels fresh and different. Of course the biggest surprises are left to the end and while this is the case here the series opts to leave itself open-ended for that second season. A melancholy conclusion that does nothing but pave the way for its continuation.

This aside this Blu-ray release of Fruits Basket – Season 1 Part 2 remains committed to delivering a consistent product; both with its English produced dub and addition of supplementary features. Those who enjoyed the previous half of the series, with its nostalgic English dub, well presented subtitled audio and selection of bonus features; will enjoy the content that is presented here on this second release of the season.

Overall Fruits Basket – Season 1 Part 2 is exactly what it wants to be; a continuation of introductions while remaining consistent in both quality and presentation. Naturally this series is for fan of the original and for something, a little bit different to your normal drama and slice-of-life story; but even for newcomers its well worth giving it a short. A well presented continuation to an overly melancholy series that has entertaining characters with unique personalities.

Score: review-stars-4

Fruit Baskets – Season 1 Part 2 is now available on Blu-Ray, DVD and Limited Edition combo pack in the UK via Manga Entertainment.

About Scott Emsen
Scott is the Founder and Executive Editor of AnimeBlurayUK but in the past he has worked at ZOMGPlay, Rice Digital and Funstock and was once a Community Moderator for the Nokia N-Gage forums. Based in the UK, he loves anything related to Games & Anime and in In his spare time you'll mostly find him playing on one of his many gaming consoles; namely the PS Vita, PS4 or Xbox One.

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