Whoa, whoa, whoa, HOLD ON. W-What is with this placement??? This didn’t happen until a bit later in the manga. Aren’t we supposed to have a Isuzu followup episode??? What is with this order?! …Okay. The first time I watched the episode, I was a bit peeved because it felt like a giant time skip from last episode and they skipped over some really fun and cute, but also some important scenes. However, I will withhold my grumblings and see how things play out because there were some very important information that was supposed to be dropped with the scenes shown in this episode.
The episode starts out really… strangely for a lack of better words. The three scenes with Ayame, Hatori and Yuki all interacting with their significant (or at least future significant in some cases) other felt out of place at first, not to mention slightly rushed. It almost felt like we missed some development, especially between Yuki and Machi. And it’s true… we kind of did skip over some development between the two and it showed. I didn’t get the feeling that Yuki felt that strongly about Machi yet so, it was a bit strange. Like, I can believe Machi felt strongly for Yuki at this point, but I got the feeling that Yuki was on the road to feel just as strongly, not “I need to tell you I’m cursed” yet. So, that part felt a bit questionable. However, looking back at it, I can kind of understand why they had those scenes there. I’ll get into it a little later.
Also I freaking DIED when Machi just ZOOMED away from Yuki when Kimi and Kakeru walked in.
I was wondering when they would show BIG Momiji. I’m still a little salty that they showed him like that in the opening, destroying the surprise for anime-only’s, which is a shame. But oh well, he’s here now so let’s not put off talking about it. This episode was basically a giant change in Momiji’s life both physically and emotionally. The kid literally shot up in the span of… a few days? It’s a bit unclear how long it was. All I know that graduation in Japan is in March and they start the new school year in April. Anyways, Momiji has turned into quite the looker now, basically bringing those two former student counsel members’ daydreams into reality. Even I’m like: wow, he’s dashing. And I’m not even into blond guys all that much lol. However, while he’s grown a lot on the outside, he’s still the same kiddy Momiji on the inside… well, until his freaking curse just suddenly breaks!
When they showed Momiji’s curse breaking I literally had to take a step back because, hold the phone, they skipped like ten chapters. Now, I know this adaptation hasn’t been afraid to re-order events, but nothing felt as in your face and blatant as this. Not gonna lie, I was a bit put off by this particular re-order of events. But I’m going to put those feelings aside for now to see how they go about things from here. Anyways, back to Momiji.
The situation initially became a repeat of what happened with Kureno when his curse broke with Akito begging Momiji not to leave her in a child-like manner. However, unlike Kureno, who saw a small crying child, Momiji sees her as pitiful. And before Akito could go into full on hysterical child mode, Momiji shuts it down, not allowing her to get the upper hand and basically closed the door on her. After being released from his curse, Momiji obviously wants some time to think about his situation and Akito screeching at him wasn’t going to help. So he savagely tells her she doesn’t seem well and that she should go back to her room. But man, it honestly looked kind of funny how he just left her outside while looking like a dog left out in the rain. I’m proud that Momiji didn’t let Akito control the situation and didn’t let things end up like what happened with Kureno.
And even later on, he explicitly tells Akito that he can’t stay by her side. In this moment, Momiji became a foil to Kureno with how differently they went about dealing with Akito once their curse broke. Kureno was blinded by his own kindness to see that staying with Akito was causing damage to both her and himself. However with Momiji, he clearly sees that staying with Akito isn’t productive and would be terribly unhealthy for him. He would be missing out on what the world has in store for him if he were to stay. And now we know why Momiji was shown parallel with Kureno in the opening.
Momiji is such a selfless boy… It honestly hurts to see him basically give up on things he personally wants just so that others can be happy. He even goes as far as to warn Kyo to not give up or else someone else may come along and win over Tohru’s affections. Even suggesting that she may even accept his own proposal. To which I’m sure a lot of people were surprised by Momiji’s affections since he essentially played the part of a happy go lucky kid all this time without giving any obvious signs of his attraction. But man, even he made me ship him and Tohru a little after that. Especially when he has his conversation with Kyo on the roof, telling him that Tohru would be happier if Kyo’s curse was broken rather than his. Which is like: Ow… He knows that Tohru and Kyo have mutual feelings for each other and he can’t butt into that. But overall, he just wants Tohru to be happy and knows that he isn’t the one who makes her the happiest. And it’s like… Momiji deserves happiness too TAT.
This kid has suffered so much and this series just is not nice to him. And Akito was actually kind of right, Momiji really didn’t have anything once the curse was broken. He was already separated from his family, the comfortable bond he had with the other Zodiac members was gone and the girl he loved would never reciprocate his feelings. And it definitely hurt seeing how he was symbolically separated from the others as he watched them from outside on the roof. However, even with all of the odds against him, he’s not going to let it keep him down. He’s going to keep moving forward and find his own happiness down the path he desires.
Momiji has always been that character that while yes, I do sympathize with him, but I never cared about him as much as some of the other characters. However, this episode turned that around for me as I’m finally able to see just how alone he is compared to the others. He starkly contrasts the other Zodiac members shown in the beginning of the episode where if their curse was broken, someone would be waiting for them. However, when Momiji’s curse broke… no one is there waiting for him. WHICH IS FREAKING HEARTBREAKING WHAT THE HECK?! Momiji definitely shot up in my ranks after this and I just want the poor boy to find his happiness because he deserves it! This boy is so incredibly mature for his age and I am rooting for him.
When Momiji’s mother told him to “take care,” that absolutely hit my heart. Especially since that’s probably something he had wished to hear all of his life. Gonna throw a Re:zero reference here, but he’s officially at the starting line of his new life, starting from zero.
After rewatching the episode and getting over the initial shock of how things were ordered, I was absolutely destroyed by its contents. And can I say that freaking track that always plays during an emotional and uplifting scene always makes me emotional. They sure knew what they were doing when they made that piece lol. While this was basically a Momiji-centric episode, I did want to highlight a few characters.
I absolutely love how Hiro is actively trying to be less abrasive and a know-it-all, though he definitely retains his sassiness. It was honestly very amusing to watch him catch himself and actually answer the questions asked of him. I appreciate the effort lol. Both him and Kisa are trying their best to better themselves and it’s all very cute. I also find it hilarious how Hiro and Yuki tend to end up on the same wavelength. Guess Hiro is going to learn from King Sassy himself lol.
Shigure is also such an interesting character, but he’s like a borderline sociopath almost. Kindness is an afterthought, he sees manipulation as nothing wrong (though Tohru makes him think twice about it) and he never really cared for his parents’ love. Then to top it all off, unlike everyone else in the Zodiac, he never seemed to mind the curse. This guy is all kinds of twisted and he’s the hardest to gauge and understand due to his way of thinking. And unlike Hiro, who is making an effort to be “nicer,” Shigure believes he’s hopeless and won’t even try.
And then there’s Akito who is just trapped in her own little world that was promised by her father. While she took what he told her as a definitive truth, it’s obvious that things weren’t meant to be that way. She’s still trapped in a child-like mindset and as I said in a previous post, she’s the epitome of standing still while everyone is starting to move forward, leaving her behind. And it’s interesting to note that just like Momiji, if the curse were to broken, who would be waiting for her?
So yeah, this was a great episode after watching it a few times and understanding what exactly they were going for. A bit… surprising at times, but its message was loud and clear and I appreciate the showing of contrast of moving forward and standing still. And don’t worry, I didn’t forget to talk about Kyo. I’m just leaving that deep dive for next episode because I think I’ve talked enough about this episode lol.
A/N: Also, just wanted to let y’all know that I’ll most likely be posting Fruits Basket on Wednesdays from now on due to an increase in business and I really want to give this series the attention it deserves.