This episode is set at some point after New Years, but before graduation for the the third years. This is made clear to the audience early on in the episode, when Arisa comments on being at the school for graduation practice. This leads into Tohru having a flashback to New Years, where she learns that Yuki stood up to Akito and that Momiji successfully delivered the DVD of the It’s Cinderella-ish performance to Kureno.
After this, the episode has a strong focus on Kureno, the most mysterious member of the Soma clan. He finally watches the DVD, and this scene is actually quite powerful. You can see that he is actually capable of showing emotions, especially once Arisa is on the screen and makes her declaration of wanting to see Kureno again. For a brief moment, it seems like he’s moved enough by her words to do something about it… but then, an image of a younger, tearful Akito begging him not to go snaps him out of it.
Kureno tries to call Tohru at Shigure’s house, but Shigure answers the phone because it’s his house and Tohru is still at school. Earlier in the episode, it was hinted that there’s something about Kureno that bothers Shigure, and the audience can hear this in the tone of voice Shigure uses and by something Shigure is hinting at while talking with Kureno.
But after this call, we see that Kureno decides to leave the Soma estate on his own in order to talk with Tohru. Akito finds out Kureno has left without permission and throws a major fuss. But during his talk with Tohru, it’s revealed that Kureno’s zodiac link with Akito suddenly broke a few years earlier, and he has no idea how it happened. But because of how distraught Akito became when this bond broke, Kureno stays by Akito’s side and pretends to still have the curse around the other zodiac members. This particular revelation does help the viewer to start to understand some of Akito’s behavior when it comes to the zodiac members. Having already lost one member in this manner, Akito is afraid of losing the others.
Even though Kureno stays by Akito’s side out of wanting to protect Akito, it’s very clear in the scene with Tohru that he’s conflicted. It’s obvious that he’s in love with Arisa and wants to see her again, but that he feels he can’t leave Akito’s side. But if you thought the revelation about Kureno’s curse being broken was the biggest bombshell in this episode, you would be wrong. Right at the end of the episode, Tohru learns something very important about Akito. I’m not going to say it here, though, in order to avoid providing a spoiler. But this revelation is a big bombshell that will make the viewer rethink what they thought they knew about Akito.
This episode was incredible, and it was the perfect way to end the season. And making the revelation about Akito being the last thing the viewer sees at the end of the episode made the perfect “hook” to make viewers want to come back for the next season. Even though I’ve already read the manga and knew that these revelations were coming, I was happy to finally see them animated. And I think the anime did a great job portraying these revelations, as well as Kureno’s internal struggle of his obligation to Akito and his desire to be with Arisa.
I definitely can’t wait until the final season debuts in 2021. But looking at the fact that we had these two big revelations, I’m guessing the final season isn’t going to run for 25 episodes. I’m guessing it’s going to be a shorter season with either 12 or 13 episodes. But it’s going to be hard to wait until whenever it is in 2021 that the final season of Fruits Basket will premiere. This episode was so powerful that I want to see more now.
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