Fruits Basket: Episode 17 – “This Is for Uo-chan!”

This episode continues with Uotani’s flashback that shows the audience how she and Tohru became friends. After being rescued by Tohru when she’s being chased by other members of her gang, Uotani realizes that after being abandoned by her mother when she was young and being ignored by her dad, she’s been feeling lonely all this time. As she spends time around Tohru and Kyoko, she starts becoming used to the kind of atmosphere that their home has and comes to appreciate it.

Even though Tohru and Uotani are becoming friends, and Uotani starts coming back to school to be around Tohru, people don’t understand how the two of them are friends. Students even wonder out loud if perhaps Tohru gets into trouble because she’s hanging around Uotani. As Uotani thinks about keeping her distance, Tohru says something that makes Uotani realize that Tohru really does care.

Knowing that Kyoko used to be in a gang herself when she was younger, I realized just how perfect of a mentor and mother figure she could be for Uotani. This is especially made clear to the audience when Kyoko rescues Uotani as she’s being beat up by her gang because she wants to leave. The heart-to-heart that the two of them have as Kyoko is giving Uotani a piggyback ride to her place is so touching.

Near the end of the episode, we get a brief mention of Hanajima joining their friend group, and then Kyoko’s death. But Uotani makes it clear in her narration that Kyoko’s death affected her. But, as she says, even though Kyoko may be gone, she left things behind… with the most important of them being Tohru.

The three younger delinquents who have been following Uotani finally make their move. Uotani doesn’t take them seriously and tries to brush them off. But when the leader of these younger girls tries to attack Uotani, she isn’t able to do anything because Uotani is bigger. Instead of threatening violence, Uotani acts like Kyoko used to do for her, and gives words of advice to the younger girl. Since these girls are here for comic relief, though, we see in the end that they try taking idolation of Uotani to a ridiculous level.

And it was nice near the end of the episode to see the relationship that Uotani and her father have now. She’s obviously trying to take care of him and look after his health, but she still has a rough side that she uses with him. Old habits don’t necessarily die easily, as this dynamic between Uotani and her father shows.

While the past couple of episodes have been more backstory oriented, it was important backstory for the audience to better understand Uotani as a character, as well as the dynamic between Uotani and Tohru. Even though these episodes focused more on exposition, I think that overall, they did a good job of conveying this information without being boring. Between the two episodes, I would have to say that this one probably did a little better at it than the previous episode did.

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