Welcome to school, Hatsuharu and Momiji. That’s right, it’s the start of a new term at school and a group of first years comes Hatsuharu Sohma and Momiji Sohma. Both with their unusual flare, Haru with his open shirt and piercings and Momiji with the fact he’s wearing a girl uniform.
This of course, draws the attention of the student council president and leads to one of the most beloved scenes from the original series and a wonderful moment in this series. Hatsuharu, proving his natural hair color to the president by dragging him into the bathroom. This scene has always been an absolute joy to watch, in the original and in this version.
You can’t help but laugh at Yuki and Kyo’s looks of horror as they realize what is occuring. The way that Tohru has no idea what is going on and the boys immediate defense of her as Haru offers to show her himself(in his ‘dark’ personality of course).  This scene is also very humorous in the way it depicts the Student council president thinking about Yuki in a girls uniform while his two assistants sit and think about Momiji after he’s grown older and more masculine looking.

These scenes are wonderful and honestly the highlight of the episode, however, no light is without it’s darkness.
To the episodes credit, it does an amazing job of foreshadowing. The beginning of the episode shows the black car that we might recognize from when it drove by on the Sohma family estate. As Tohru returns to class after the whole debacle with the student council, she runs into someone that we’ve heard a lot about and seen in mostly shadow until this point. The head of the family, Akito Sohma.

And while he is decently pleasant to her, when Yuki shows up it’s a different story entirely.
The low voice, the threats, the hanging and looming memories of abuse. This is only one of the first times we’ll take a look at the affects of years of abuse in this series. Tohru steps in and saves Yuki from Akito for now, even inviting him to play a game with her and her friends after school to get his mind off of Akito’s visit.
Giving him real friends, real laughter and something warm to cling onto.

Away from the school, it cuts to Shigure and Hatori talking. Despite the pleasant way that Akito spoke to Tohru, to Shigure, it’s a different story. He calls her ugly, and plain. Saying that there is no chance a girl like her is going to take Yuki away from him.
Shigure seems to be of a different mind though and Hatori feels the same. While the fear in Yuki’s eyes and the trembling shows that yes, he still fears Akito and in a way that means that Yuki can’t forget him. Still, while there are those can cause pain in others. There are also those that can heal pain in others and that’s exactly the kind of girl that Tohru is.

It reminds me of episode 10, when Shigure is talking to Hatori about his dream. He says that her warmth helps Yuki and Kyo, and it comes up again in this episode. She is the kind of warm person that either heals your pain or makes you look at yourself and realize just how dirty you are.
It’s an effect we’ll see her have on all the characters throughout the course of the series slowly. For now though, it’s game time for the school group and they play until they drop and Yuki doesn’t seem to be as rattled anymore. Haru thanks Tohru for what she’s done in helping him heal and they make their way home.

I adore this episode. I have always liked this content, even in the previous series.
It’s just the right balance of comedy and drama that really makes the episode work. It has it’s bright moments where you can’t help but laugh yourself into a fit and then it has it’s dark moments, where your throat closes in fear and you can’t help but tremble. Everything about this version of the episode just worked, the lighting, the animation angles, the way they animated the look of horror on Yuki’s face and the slight trembling of his hands. It makes me even more excited to see the way this series will be handling the trauma of each of the characters as the series moves forward.

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. zztop

    More’s the pity that Takaya Natsuki’s been on extended semi-hiatus from being a mangaka due to an unexplained illness. Her last major manga, Liselotte and the Witch’s Forest, has been on hiatus for about 5 years now.

    Granted she’s been doing irregular(?) serializations of Fruits Basket sequel spinoffs recently, although health problems have always plagued her (a cerebral nerves illness during Fruits’ serialization, and a broken hand that impacted her drawing skills).

    1. V.

      Is it just me or are mangakas generally in poor health?

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