Episode 23 fuses together episode 19 of the original anime (Chapter 30) and the beginning of episode 24 of the original (Chapter 31)
The first half revolves around Tohru as she fails a single test and worries herself into a mild cold. Everyone’s a little worried about her, Hatori comes over to give her a quick check up and Kisa checks in.
Kyo makes her dinner and listen as she vents her problems to her. She feels pathetic because she feels like she’s wasted Yuki’s time by failing when he took the time to help tutor her, she also feels like she’s failing her mother. Who she promised that she’d graduate from high school, but how can you graduate if you’re failing you tests.
As someone who was something of a perfectionist in high school and would stress a lot at a grade lower then a B, I can really connect with her struggle. Though Kyo is right in assuring her that it’s fine, that she can just study and pass the make-up test and be fine.
The 2019 version obviously followed chapter 30 very faithfully. It was a short chapter that got it’s point across and it surprises me that they dragged out this conflict into a entire episode in the first anime. Though, we did miss a lot of good comedic Shigure scenes that were in the first anime.
The second half brings us into the ‘Kyo’s true form’ arc. This isn’t the first time we’ve heard about his true form, it was discussed briefly and left hanging in Kagura’s introduction episode. As Tohru, Yuki and Kyo walk home together we learn that Kyo struggles with his energy levels during the rain and we observe them being watched by a mysterious man.
As they return to the house, they are greeted by Kagura who has come for a visit.
To avoid damage to his house, Shigure shoves Kagura and Kyo out on a date to go to the store to pick up the ingredients for dinner. The relationship with Kyo and Kagura, has still yet to really come into it’s full light. However, it’s been implied before that they played together a lot as children. There was, at one point, a time that Kyo didn’t despise her as much as he does now and in this episode.
We learn that they used to hold hands all of the time.
As they return home from shopping and Tohru and Yuki return from the garden. They see the mysterious man from before, standing there at the front door. “Welcome back Kyo”, the voice cuts through the air and reveals to us for the first time the mysterious ‘master’ that Kyo trained in the mountains with.
This is where episode 23 wraps.
We begin episode 24, with a more proper introduction for Kazuma Sohma. Martial Arts instructor for Yuki, Kagura, Haru and a few other zodiac and non-zodiac members and Kyo’s master. He’s also the grandson of the previous cat before Kyo was born with the cat spirit. So, it puts him in a position to understand Kyo a little bit better then anyone else. Kagura says that she doesn’t think that’s the extent of their relationship though, that to Kazuma, Kyo is the closest thing he has to a son and to Kyo, Kazuma is the closest thing he has to a father figure.
I knew very early on in this episode that I wasn’t emotionally ready for this. I broke though, oddly, the first time we hear Kyo’s mother and I stopped and went to myself ‘Oh no, they got Wendy Powell to come back.’ I’ve made it no secret that i’ve been watching this remake in English. That’s the way I most connected with it back when I watched the original show, so when I heard the return voice for Kyo’s mother. My heart stopped, it flooded back all the memories of watching the original version of this arc.
The most important difference you’ll notice between the original and the remake is the length of the arc. The ‘Kyo’s true form’ arc lasts from the last anime dragged on rather slowly and ultimate had less of a emotional resolution. This arc is meant to serve as a turning point for Kyo’s character arc. Where he comes to terms with the fact that he’s okay with the idea that people could be afraid of him, so long as they still see him and accept him despite that. Rather than live with the lie that love erases all of the ugly things.
He never expected he would find something like that, not after his mother’s death. Now though, he’s found Tohru and that’s exactly the kind of emotional arc that he needed.
The original anime padded this arc out with a talk between Kagura and Yuki that resulted in Yuki running after Kyo as well.
A talk at Kyoko’s grave between Tohru, Arisa and Hanajima.
A scene with Akito and Tohru, Shigure and Tohru as well.
Somehow, even with all of this padding and build up. I feel like the emotional pay off hit a lot better this time around, with the more simplified version where it is only Tohru that goes after Kyo.
Though, something included in this version and the manga is the flashback with a young Akito witnessing Kyo’s true form, something I didn’t notice until just now about this scene is that a young Shigure is standing behind him. I’m not sure why this stood out to be so much.
With this arc at it’s end and Kyo and Tohru returned home, we have one episode left. I’m assuming we’ll end with chapter 34, the proper conclusion for this arc with the continued end of Kyo’s backstory and his history with Kazuma. Which we only got hints of in these past two episodes. Next episode will end season one of the reboot and then, we’ll have to wait for season two to be announced.
Ending at the same place as the original anime is a pretty good choice, volume 6 of the manga really does stand as a good point to pause.
For now though, we wait till next week.