If I had to find one thing to complain about in this episode, is that it took a little too much time reflecting on previous events in the series. However, as these flashbacks served a narrative purpose and added to the emotional weight of the episode, I have a hard time even calling them a complaint or a drawback. It makes sense to look back on your time together with someone when facing the New Year.

It’s New Years and Tohru can’t return to be with her biological family since they are packing up and going to Hawaii for the winter holiday. (The image of Tohru’s grandpa singing “aloha” is really adorable and I adore it) Both Uotani and Hanajima offer to let Tohru stay with them over the holiday, but she turns them down and urges them to enjoy time with their families instead. So she is left to ask if she can stay at Shigure’s place over the New Year. Shigure of course, welcomes her to it.
However, with her staying there. That creates a conflict, Yuki, Kyo and Shigure are due to return to the main estate for the New Years banquet. Yuki and Kyo swear they are going to stay to keep her company, but she gently convinces them that they should go. That it will be the first time they’ll be seeing their parents and families in a while and they should go spend time with them. So they agree to go, even if they really don’t want to for their own reasons. (The fear of Kagura for Kyo and the fear to Akito for Yuki) So they agree to attend and begin heading to the main house.

Worried the entire way about Tohru and if she’ll be alright during the time that she’s alone.
I’ve always been fond of Shigure teasing the boys in this scene by bringing up a burglar that has been in the area and is supposedly still at large. The boys worry that Tohru will invite him inside, serve him tea and want to know about his entire life story.
I have also been fond of how Hanajima appears seemingly out of nowhere and gives all of the boys a fright before impressingly on them how lonely Tohru must be. Spending her first New Years without her mother, completely and utterly alone. The boys turn to run back home and collide with one another, it’s honestly a brilliant scene. I don’t know what it was about this versions rendition of this scene, if it was the voice acting or the music or the lighting. If it was the flashbacks sprinkled in as the boys thought about how Tohru was always smiling and saying what they wanted to hear or if it was the sound effect of a closing steel cage as the door closed leaving her abandoned in that house but I almost cried.
As the boys raced back to the house to be with her, as they ran in on her crying. I was almost genuinely in tears and it was beautiful.

Of course, my mood picked right up as we caught a glimpse of the next member of the Zodiac we will be meeting properly Hatsuharu Sohma. He greeted Shigure at the door as at least he showed up for the New Years banquet, along with Hatori. Leading to probably my favorite dialogue exchange of the episode.
Shigure goes to talk to Akito and the banquet moves into full swing. At the house, Tohru and the boys have their New Years Mochi and then go to watch the sun rise and make a wish for the new year. Kyo screams to the heavens that this is the year that he’ll beat Yuki and Yuki is just casual about it.

If I have to be honest? New Years was another one of those episodes in the original that had it’s charming moments, but overall was kind of a drag and stood as a decent lead in for what we were all waiting for, episode 10 of the original and episode 9 of this one. The introduction of fan favorite Zodiac member Hatsuharu.
This time around, New Years was a genuine experience. A fine episode filled with emotions, i was near crying at certain points but at other points I was laughing hysterically. Everything about this episode worked and I loved it. I am still very excited for episode 9, they picked the perfect line from the episode for the name after all.

“Yuki was my first love.”