Roughly the first half of the episode focuses on Machi. The episode opens with her noticing that it’s snowing and hoping that it doesn’t stick and accumulate. She notices a box of new chalk that has just been opened and looks pristine, and she suddenly knocks it over.
Meanwhile, in the student council room, the student council members (minus Machi) are talking, and Nao starts lashing out at Yuki. Kimi ends up guessing correctly that Nao is in love with a girl who’s been pining for Yuki. The audience can tell she’s right by how Nao is blushing furiously. We’re going to hold this thought, though, because I’m going to be focusing on Machi for a little while in this writeup.
Two of Machi’s classmates come to the student council room and relay the chalk incident. They also share a rumor they heard that Machi was kicked out of her house because she tried to kill her baby brother. Machi overhears this and runs off. Later, Kakeru talks with Yuki and shares what he heard from his parents about the incident. But Kakeru suggests going to Machi’s place so Yuki can ask her directly. Not surprisingly, Machi is stunned to see Kakeru and Yuki appear at her front door.
But this leads to an important scene between Yuki and Machi, where we learn why Machi acts the way she does… she’s afraid of perfection because of how perfect her parents expected her to be. When her younger brother is born, her mother talks about how they have the boy they always wanted, and complains how dull and boring Machi is. When Machi tries to tell her mother that she was doing what she thought her mother expected of her, her mother accuses Machi of blaming her for the way she turned out. And when it comes to her baby brother, she thought he was cold and was just trying to put a blanket on him to keep him warm. But her parents come in right as she’s about to finish, and jump to the worst conclusion that she’s trying to suffocate him out of jealousy. By the end of this flashback, I was so angry with Machi’s parents. They are, quite frankly, horrible people… and I think she’s better off without them.
Even though it may have stirred up those kinds of emotions in me, I was happy to see how this moment brings Yuki and Machi closer together. The final scene of the Machi portion of the story made me quite happy. During the next student council meeting, a new box of chalk is brought in, and it’s placed in front of Machi because it’s her turn on chalkboard duty. You can see in Machi’s eyes that she wants to do something about it. Yuki, who is sitting next to her, suddenly reaches over and breaks one of the pieces of chalk so it no longer looks perfect. Like I said, this moment made me quite happy.
The rest of the story focuses on the seniors graduating. Motoko has a final talk with Yuki, and she actually handles this situation as well as she could have. She’s matured enough at this point to realize that there’s no chance with Yuki, and that she sincerely wishes happiness for him in his future. Yuki handled this situation very well. I thought this was the perfect way to bring Motoko’s storyline to a close. I can’t remember if this is basically the end of the Prince Yuki Fan Club in the manga, or if there’s still any hijinks from them after Motoko’s graduation. It’s just been too many years since I read these later chapters of the manga.
Now, remember when I mentioned Nao earlier in the episode? After the graduation ceremony, Motoko goes back to her classroom to take one final look before leaving. Nao approaches, and it’s then that the viewer realizes that the girl Nao had been pining for was Motoko. There’s a similar exchange between these two, although the roles are reversed (Motoko is now in Yuki’s shoes, while Nao is in Motoko’s shoes). I thought this juxtaposition was very effective. There was a flashback scene we saw earlier when Motoko was remembering encountering Yuki, and I know it’s one we’ve seen in the past. When it shows up this time, we see that Nao was actually there, too, but Motoko never even noticed he was there. With this encounter, it only reinforced my opinion that Motoko has matured a lot from the character we met at the beginning of the series.
Right after this, we see that Hiro’s little sister, Hinata, has been born. There’s a sweet scene in the hospital between Hiro, his mother, and Hinata. It was a nice, feel good moment right before the final scene of the episode.
Kagura visits with Shigure and Hattori, saying that Rin graduated while she was in the hospital. Kagura had gone to pick up Rin’s diploma, and she starts wondering aloud about Rin. While everyone’s been told that she’s in the hospital, no one seems to know which hospital she’s at. Also, Kagura has been unable to reach her. Shigure basically tells her to butt out and stop investigating. The very final shot of the episode is Akito leaving the room where Rin is being kept, and she has a pair of scissors in her hand. As Akito leaves, it looks like hair is flying out of the doorway. I’ve got to say, that was quite a dark way to end the episode after having such a feel good moment with Hiro and his family. But that feel good scene was needed to help blunt the darkness of that final moment.
Now that the seniors have graduated, our main protagonists are going to be in their final year of high school. I’m really looking forward to watching the remaining episodes of Fruits Basket and finally seeing the entire story in animated form after all these years.
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