The problem with Fruits Basket: Another is that Takaya still seems to be in love with her old characters…
Fruits Basket: Another, as a sequel to an anime (albeit a reboot/continuation) that’s airing right now, is timed to fill a Fruits Basket itch with an artstyle that better resembles what’s on the screen right now. However, in trying to have a coherent plot and show where everyone’s children are in 3 volumes, saying “it’s a bit of a mess” is an understatement.
For one thing, the next generation of Sohmas talk about their parents to a degree that seems almost unnatural. Certainly, this is justified to some degree by the ones who moved to the countryside and had to move back to attend Kaibara High School (Hajime and Mutsuki), but not for the other Sohmas that accompany them (Kinu etc.) – one of the lessons of the original Fruits Basket was that children are not their parents, no matter how much they look like each other and I feel like that’s being undermined here. (It doesn’t help that some of these characters look like their parents and their faces look extremely similar to each other that you both start to long for the original and get confused at the same time.) Ruriko’s love for the Sohmas, having been “inherited from her mother”, makes even less sense once the novelty of it wears off – clearly, Takaya wanted a new fanclub president, but didn’t know how to make Ruriko stand out from her mother and that seems to go for most of the other characters that inherit our expectations from their previous generation as well.
Speaking of Ruriko, she’s one of the more overbearing characters in this sequel – her and Makoto Takei from the original, who ended up being a teacher at Kaibara. Whenever those two appear, it’s always in either a bossy, lecturing capacity or to argue with each other over which Sohma is the best – Takei thinks Mutsuki, as the next-generation Yuki, is the best, while Ruriko sides with all Sohmas…so really, they should agree with each other to some degree.
This is all because Sawa, the new Tohru, has a meek personality and her character arc is to show some backbone. Much like Zenitsu in Demon Slayer, it can be frustrating to put your faith into her because her personality is such an exaggeration of her main character trait – in this case, it seesaws between apologising and being invisible. For that matter, even though no one out-Ayames Ayame, even in the next generation, there are quite a few caricatures of personalities present in the cast…and considering I only have one volume left to read as I type this post + each volume is 4 chapters long, I don’t think we’ll get much depth on any one character outside Sawa.
Despite all this complaining, thankfully the reader isn’t insulted if they haven’t read the original. This is because Takaya makes it a mystery as to whch of the original generation of Fruits Basket became parents to the new ones and the answers are only at the end of the original. Even when doing a flashback for Mutsuki, the parents’ faces are ambiguous and scribbled on, enough that a person who hasn’t read the original Fruits Basket to completion in years can identify the characters, but not enough to spoil the shipping endgame. (Even Ayame has to be identified through his silhouette and other clues, such as an ostentatious lace-covered dress-like costume he made for Mutsuki’s Sports Day.)
Fruits Basket: Another almost feels like an extended ad Takaya did to celebrate an anniversary of the original Fruits Basket, but then cut off because she felt she was taking too long churning it out…or even because she missed the original characters too much. I completely get that feeling of “taking too long to put out your work” – I mean, that’s what I feel with some of my posts and some of the fanfic/fiction I’ve left behind. However, even if the original Fruits Basket was a time-waster in my high school days, it’s still a hard act to follow…
So what’s your opinion on Fruits Basket: Another? If not, what do you think of the reboot/continuation of the anime that’s airing right now?