The arrival of Ayame is something I will be hyped up for in any Fruits Basket adaptation.
The only word I can think of to describe his character to me is “fun”, but he’s also deep and insightful and far more then he comes off at surface level. Something that is a common theme in this series. Of course, much of my fondness for Ayame comes from the absolutely delightful way that Chris Sabot voices him. This was one of my most anticipated cast announcements when they were trickling out the English cast slowly, i almost cheered when I saw that he would be reprising his role in the series.
In this episode, we are introduced to Ayame via him coming to visit Yuki on the heels of the events of last episode. Ayame is a few things, he’s the snake of the Chinese zodiac, he’s part of the ‘Three musketeers’ which is Shigure’s name for the three ‘adult’ Zodiac members (himself, Ayame and Hatori) and most importantly of all, he’s Yuki’s older brother. However, with a ten year age gap, Yuki being a sickly child and Ayame being a very selfish person himself in his youth.
A rift formed between them that Ayame fears can never be gapped. He heard about Akito visiting the school and came to check in on Yuki, thinking perhaps that he might be depressed. However, he notes that Yuki is actually doing really well and is moving on with Tohru’s help. It’s good, but he can’t help but be a little disappointed because he couldn’t do anything ‘brotherly’ for a change. Tohru drops some good advice she learned from her mother That adults and children will probably never be able to see ‘eye to eye’ and it’s best to meet each other half way. the same advice could be applied to himself and Yuki, rather then trying to see one another eye to eye, they should try to meet each other half way.
Fine advice honestly and Ayame is trying.
However, with his force of personality it’s a little harder then it should be. As they arrive back from school on the second day of Ayame’s visit to the house, they find Shigure and Ayame looking over an old photo album. It contains pictures from when Shigure, Ayame and Hatori were in high school and with this photo album, he takes this chance to begin telling Yuki about his time at school. He shares two outlandish stories, including how he was allowed to keep his hair long and how he saved some boys from being expelled for wandering into the ‘pleasure’ district on a school field trip.
I’ve always loved these stories, but i’ll have to say that this might be one of the rare occasions where I liked the original over the remake. While there was absolutely nothing wrong with the remake scenes, there was a certain flare to these scenes in the original that cannot be denied. I think the accompanying soundtrack had a lot to do with that, I feel like the background music to these scenes may be a little too subdued for their content in the remake while the original had grandiose music to accompany it.
Thanks to Hatsuharu, who noticed how exhausted Yuki seemed from having his brother around. Hatori shows up to take Ayame home and distance him from Shigure’s house for now, Hatori is the only person that Ayame will ever listen too. Despite the fact he openly flirts with Shigure, it’s openly stated that he ‘loves’ Hatori and thus will only listen to the things that he says. He loves and respects Hatori, and thus Hatori had ended up sort of becoming his caretaker.
Ayame’s ‘love’ for Hatori is an interesting subject, I can’t help but wonder if it’s supposed to come off as a platonic or romantic love. Either way, it’s admirable how much he adores Hatori and it’s one of the few things that Yuki can respect about him.
The last thing of note for this episode is the talk of Ayame’s business. He owns a shop, a shop that specializes in selling clothing for nurses, maids and brides. Tohru can’t help but fathom what kind of store he could be running based on that description from Hatsuharu and Momiji. At the very end of the episode, she brings it up to Arisa and Hanajima and Hanajima calls it straight out a ‘sex shop’ which…i’m not sure if that’s entirely what i’d call it either. Still, she’s not entirely wrong either.
We’ll come back to Aya and his shop in a later episode though.
Another wonderful episode, I have been excited since last week for this one. I had a few people message me throughout the week trying to figure out where Akito fits into the zodiac and two of them guessed snake. I could only smile to myself and go ‘No, that’s all i’ll say for now.’, knowing that the snake would appear in the next episode. We are down to only a few more Zodiac members to meet, we have yet to meet the Tiger, Ram, Monkey, Horse and Rooster. Three of these we saw in the original anime, and the other two will be animated for the first time in this remake.
Next week, we’re in for feels. The german tinted voice of Momiji whispers “It’s a secret.” in the preview for next episode. I’m not ready for this heart break a second time, please send tissues.