We just finished our work quota super early, which means we have time to write a review! Tadah! But we haven't had much time for review writing in forever, so it may be a while before we remember what happened in this volume. I feel a little bad about that, because it's the last volume of the series and deserves more attention, and we probably could have given it some if we'd bothered to review it before getting immersed in Sailor Moon again, but we didn't and now here we are. Oh, I just remembered, when we're done, we can watch the latest episode of the new Fruits Basket anime! ...And then we'll binge watch more Miraculous.
Okay, so it started at...the beach house! And the aquarium! And I just remembered that we also translated two chapters of the Fruits Basket Three Musketeers manga between translating this and writing the review, and I remembered because that's when we finally got the style guide telling us what all terms were used in the original Fruits Basket series. We shook our heads a lot, but that's just because we're snobs, so you probably shouldn't take that too seriously. I did want to say that we think Three Musketeers seems like so obvious a choice that we can't tell if the translator just went with the first thing that came to mind, or actually looked into several options and ultimately that one was the best. But musketeer really wasn't working for us when they were only talking about one member of the group. Anyway, the point is, we realized we probably weren't using the same term for the Sohma's vacation home, but I don't remember what the style guide said anymore, so this is really just a whole bunch of pointless rambling.
More importantly, the aquarium! "Fish are for eating. Not for looking at." ...We don't actually remember what order Sora said that in, nor do we agree with the statement, but that girl is pretty funny. It's kind of funny how the Sohmas seem to have a mix of people who are reeeeally good at picking up on subtle nuance and figuring out who all has a crush on whom, and people who are so thoroughly entrenched in their own world that it's almost like nobody else matters. There is no inbetween. Except that Sora can actually be pretty helpful sometimes...and I guess Mutsuki probably embodies both extremes at once. But the point is, Shiki apparently doesn't do the whole "social" thing, so he usually doesn't come on all these family vacations, and Sawa was so sad about it, and Mina and Chizuru were all, "Ooohhh, yeah, I see what's going on here."
And then Shiki arrived! Huzzah! And he was accompanied by...Hinata? Was that her name? I'm sorry; I think my brain tends to throw out names pretty quickly, because I can have a pretty hard time remembering them. And that's why, when she showed up, it took us a while to pick up on the fact that she was Hiro's sister. I think that bad driving is actually a fairly common trope in anime/manga, but the way the Sohmas dealt with it was unique and funny. And then how she was offering Shiki medicine, bwa ha ha. And then Mina manipulated Shiki into taking Sawa to the aquarium, and Sawa was like, "No, but I--" and Mutsuki was like, "I already have your tickets and bus fare!" That was the best.
So Shiki and Sawa had their date, and it was super cute and everything... I'm really not sure what to make of Shiki. I mean, I like him, of course--I think he's pretty great, actually. But I guess the whole being Shigure's kid thing... So I guess what I'm not sure about is how I feel about Shigure and Akito as parents. I think they probably really do love their son, and I imagine they've done everything in their power to protect Shiki from the horrible environment Akito had to grow up in. But there's only so much they can do in an old family like that, because politics ruin everything. And sometimes kids really do need help more from their peers than from their parents.
I guess really the main thing that happens... Wait. I started writing that sentence thinking that there was really only one major plot point after that, but then I remembered that they had a whole school festival! Wao! And also Sora is a sadist. I think...I might be liable to act like her in a similar setting--going into "director" mode and all, except that I'm not a big fan of haunted houses, either. On the other hand, Athena and I did enjoy helping set up the Girl Scout haunted house in our scouting district when we were kids. I don't know.
But more importantly! we discover that Shiki had indeed met Sawa before! ...I mean, no one's really surprised about that, are they? There was enough information in the flashbacks and everything to indicate that something happened that injured Sawa in her past, and that Shiki was probably there when it happened. But now we know all the details, and oh man Sawa's mother is a piece of work. Speaking of which, the incident that leads to this discovery happens when one of the friends that ditched Sawa way back when, thus cementing her horrible inferiority complex, runs into Sawa again! Dun dun DUN! But we learn that she only did it because she was just a kid, and kids don't always have what it takes to fight back against grownups who, for example, come along and start ranting about how their kid hates hanging around you. That's right. Sawa's mother sabotaged Sawa's friendship when she was a little girl. And then they mention Machi's parents, and Shiki's grandmother, and Hajime's grandfather, and I really start to wonder what is wrong with all of these people and could they maybe get some psychiatric help.
What especially bothers me about Sawa's mother is that on the one hand, it's clear that she doesn't really care about Sawa that much, as she's always gallivanting off with some boyfriend or other, but on the other hand, she's so self-centered that she apparently can't stand the thought of Sawa having any single thing in her life that might be pleasant. Is it because she's so miserable with her own life? Probably. Really, it just makes me hate people.
Fortunately, Fruits Basket has enough good people to stand up to that kind of ridiculousness that it doesn't make me lose all hope in humanity. (Of course the whole thing is fiction, so it doesn't necessarily have any real connection to humanity anyway, but you know what I mean.) And Shiki is one of them! Awwwww.
So what happened was, Sawa's mother decided to take her out for a fun day on one of her bizarro whims, but then she ditched Sawa for a guy. While Sawa was waiting, she slipped and fell down the stairs, and her mother somehow found out that Shiki was there at some point, so she went and sued the Sohma family for an enormous sum in reparations. I almost thought that her whole date with Sawa was calculated to somehow trick the Sohmas into a lawsuit, but I see now that that's giving her way too much credit. Meanwhile, Shiki happened to see Sawa as he drove by on the way to some family business thing, and since she was still there on the way back, he was worried about her, and from then on it was true love. Awwwwwww. And he was the one who called the ambulance...or rather, he ran home and had Shigure call the ambulance.
And that's one of the cutest parts about this whole thing, is Shigure, and how he likes to tease Shiki about it. It also makes me want to slap him, because I know how he can get, and I'm like, "Dude, cut him some slack!" But it's also heartwarming, because it is so very Shigure, and it's nice to know that Shigure is still himself. Even if himself can be a real jerk sometimes. But we know it all comes from a place of love. ...As long as he doesn't start tormenting Shiki to the extent he did Akito.
And basically once we find that out, it's really just a whole lot of sorting out everybody's feelings. We learn that Hajime really didn't like Sawa at first, which is fair. But it's still pretty great that he realized the hypocrisy behind it, when he was like, "I of all people should know that people aren't carbon copies of their parents." What I really liked was when they were talking about Mutsuki and how he almost never gets mad, at least not for himself, and then Mutsuki came along and was talking about how Shiki seemed to avoid people because of the horrible people around him, and the angry look on his face... I just really like it when people care enough about others to get angry when they're being mistreated. So I really like Mutsuki.
So now Sawa and Shiki are a couple, I guess? I'm not sure if it's official official, but they're intended, or something. And the Sohmas assure Sawa that her mother isn't going to scare them off and they'll always be friends and stuff, but then they discuss the sad reality that, just because they have this happy new relationship going on, it doesn't mean all the bad stuff is going to go away. Sawa still has to deal with her psychotic mother, Shiki still has to deal with the pressures of being the heir to the family, etc. But now Sawa can accept who she was before and take that with her as she moves on, hopefully to a happier future. The end.
On the one hand, it's kind of a bummer that they couldn't give Sawa a happy new life, but on the other hand, that's reality. Happy things happen, but they only very rarely mean you've broken free of all the crappy stuff in your life. So I like that this series accepts that fact and still gives you hope about it.
I remember translating an interview for the Fruits Basket fanbook where Natsuki Takaya says she had three different versions of the original Fruits Basket story--a three-volume verson, a six-volume version, and the whole thing. The original Fruits Basket went on for 23 volumes because people liked it enough to keep it going, but we know this one didn't get reviewed very well, and we also know at least one person who's honest enough to admit that they didn't think it would be as interesting without the gimmick. So I wonder if Fruits Basket another had more versions, too, because I definitely think there's more to explore. Maybe not a lot more, but still. If it could have gone on, I would have liked to see more of it, but now I'll just be grateful for what we got, and for the chance we had to translate it. I hope you all liked it, too!
Awwwww, what a nice series. That Natsuki Takaya really is a great story teller.
We don't have any new releases this week, but tune in next week for our review of Hatsu*Haru volume nine!
Today I'm thankful for a fond look back at Fruits Basket another, getting to watch more Chihayafuru, there being two episodes this week (it would have been tough having to wait for episode five), finishing our work quota today, and getting to watch Miraculous.