Anime Blu-ray/DVD Combo Review: Fruits Basket Season Two Part One

Fruits Basket Season Two Part One includes two Blu-rays and two DVDs that include Episodes 1-13 of the second season of the Fruits Basket reboot anime. The set includes both an English dub and the original Japanese audio with English subtitles.

Fruits Basket Season Two Part One
English Publisher: FUNimation Entertainment
Format: Blu-ray/DVD Combo
Release Date: January 12, 2021

The set begins with an episode featuring Motoko Minagawa, the president of the Prince Yuki fan club, as she and two of the other members of the club are trying to find out who else is on the student council with Yuki. They’re especially interested in knowing if there will be any female members. Meanwhile, two new characters are introduced to the series: Machi Kuragi (the student council treasurer, who is shy) and Kakeru Manabe (the student council vice-president, who is annoying). Neither one of them makes a good impression on Yuki, although he’s definitely more irritated with Kakeru. This episode ultimately sees Motoko make a fool of herself in front of Yuki. While she claims she won’t give up on Yuki, we quickly see in this set that Motoko and the members of the Prince Yuki fan club become secondary characters. It seems at this point, Natsuki Takaya, the author of the manga, knew what direction she wanted the story to go in when she wrote the manga, and the humor provided by Motoko and her sidekicks just wouldn’t work well with the change in the story and the tone of the series.

Two more new characters are also introduced to the student council. Kimi Toudou, one of the secretaries, comes across as rather flirty, especially toward Yuki. Naohito Sakuragi is another secretary, and he’s got a rather uptight personality. You have to feel bad for Yuki, having to deal with all of these personality types. It took him a while to decide to take on the responsibility of student council president, and now he has this to deal with.

We also get to see Kyo’s father, but only because he summons Kazuma to see him regarding Kyo’s future. After seeing his father, you can understand why Kyo is estranged from him. It’s very clear from the dialogue that Kyo’s father only sees him as a monster. It makes me glad that Kazuma took him in, so Kyo could actually some kind of a father figure in his life. I liked getting to see more of Kazuma in these episodes, and I really like him as a character.

We also get to see Yuki making an attempt at trying to understand his older brother, Ayame. While Yuki still gets irritated by him, at least Yuki seems to be starting to get a better understanding of his brother. The audience is able to see inside Ayame’s head a little more in this season, and you realize that even though Ayame can be annoying, you can see why he is the way that he is.

These episodes also have some focus on Rin Soma, the horse of the Chinese Zodiac. It’s revealed that she was dating Hatsuharu but has broken up with him. And from what we see here, it looks like she’s got some kind of a plan up her sleeve.

The final member of the zodiac, Kureno Soma (the rooster), is also introduced. We first see him when Arisa Uotani encounters him at the convenience store she works at. She falls for him, even though he’s much older. And she doesn’t know that he’s a Soma. The audience isn’t clued in until Kureno is later seen with Akito. In these episodes, Kureno is around and observes what’s going on in the story but isn’t a major player in it at this point.

Four episodes in this set focus on a story arc that takes place at the Soma beach house, where Momiji takes Tohru and some of the members of the zodiac for summer vacation. When Akito learns of this, it’s decided that Akito will go there and stay at the annex nearby. Of course, Akito is there to cause trouble for Tohru, primarily by trying to separate her from the zodiac members (except Kyo). During this time, Kyo and Tohru seem to get a little closer. Yuki also gets some major character development during this arc, and Tohru learns who Akito is in regards to the zodiac members. A lot happens in this arc, and this is a turning point for the series. This is when Tohru decides she’s going to find a way to break the curse in order to free the Somas.

Upon returning from the beach house, there’s an important episode that takes place between Kagura and Kyo. We learn about how the two met, and Kagura confesses to Kyo her true motives for becoming friends with him when they were kids. Kyo is able to make it clear to Kagura that he isn’t in love with her. Even though Kagura still admits to loving Kyo, she backs away. Like with Motoko, this is another extraneous aspect of the series that just wasn’t going to work with how the story is moving forward, so it was best to have Kagura’s obsession with Kyo end here.

There’s also character development for Mayuko Shiraki, the homeroom teacher for Tohru, Yuki, Kyo, Arisa, and Saki. We learn about her friendship with Kanna, her interest in Hattori back then, and how she ended up dating Shigure. I really liked getting to see the Hattori and Kanna relationship again, and how Mayuko fit into it. I especially liked the twist at the end concerning a book that was ordered from Mayuko’s family’s bookstore.

A lot of character development, as well as a lot of change, takes place over the course of these 13 episodes of Fruits Basket. It’s also a turning point for Tohru, who has learned a lot more about the zodiac curse and now has decided to take it upon herself to try to break the curse. And new characters are also introduced into the mix, which helps to add new layers and new directions for the story.

The Blu-ray video on this release is 1080p High Definition 16:9 (HD Native). The audio on the Blu-ray had Dolby TrueHD: English 5.1 and Dolby TrueHD: Japanese 2.0, while the DVD had English 5.1 Surround and Japanese Stereo. I had no complaints about either the audio or the video quality of this release.

I was a little disappointed by the fact that there weren’t any episode commentaries included here, but that could be due in part to the fact that this release was being worked on during the COVID-19 pandemic. The second disc includes a Fruits Basket Season 2 panel from FUNimation Entertainment’s virtual Funimation Con that took place in July 2020. Since it was a virtual panel, that means you’re basically watching a kind of Zoom meeting for about 35 minutes, which meant that sometimes you would see a participant dealing with a lag for their stream. But they did the best they could in this format, so it’s hard for me to criticize it. The panel included Caitlin Glass (the ADR director), Jerry Jewell (the English voice for Kyo), Colleen Clinkenbeard (the English voice for Akito), Eric Vale (the English voice for Yuki Soma), Mikaela Krantz (the English voice for Momiji), and Aaron Dismuke (the English voice for Kakeru Manabe). There is also a textless version of the opening and a textless version of the ending credits.

If you’re a fan of the Fruits Basket franchise, and you already own the first season on home video, then this release of Fruits Basket Season Two Part One is worth picking up and adding to your home anime video library.

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