Anime Best in Show

Review: Fruits Basket Episode 18 – Best in Show

Quick Summary

In Fruits Basket episode 18, "What's Important Is...", Yuki Shouma and Tooru Honda were waiting for the rain to stop when they saw Hatsuharu Shouma, sopping wet, carrying a small bundle. The small bundle was a baby tiger, more specifically the Shouma Tiger sign of the Zodiac, otherwise known as Kisa Shouma. As Tooru quickly found out, the baby tiger loved to bite hands. But she couldn't speak, and she hadn't spoken for a while now. What trauma had caused her silence? Why does Yuki seem to empathetic to her? Why does her mother seem so exhausted? And just how many people can Tooru's goodness and light heal at the same time?

Note: This post may include spoilers, so be cautious.

Best Moment in the Show

I don't know that I've ever come across an anime series whose intricacy of character is matched only by the the utterly effortless way the plot unfolds. There's not even the barest hint of contrivance. Yet, week after week, this show delivers emotionally significant moments with authenticity and earnestness. 

"I'm so tired," Kisa's mom said, kneeling in front of Kisa in tiger form, even while the tiger had Tooru's fingers in a vice grip. "I can't take this anymore" (7:03).

Tooru, being Tooru, didn't judge the mother for such words. Instead, she recalled Momiji Shouma when he had described his heart-breaking relationship with his mother. 

Tooru didn't see him, but Yuki had come around the corner. He could see and hear the three of them. So he was in range for the powerful effect of Tooru's words.

"She couldn't tell you," Tooru said (7:05). "It's hard to tell someone that you're being bullied."

Tooru's willingness to offer healing without judgement is almost super human. I could find a worse role model. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

Then Tooru proceeded to tell the three of them (only she didn't know Yuki was there) how she'd been bullied and felt ashamed, but that her mother, upon finding out, hugged her daughter and built her back up. The warmth and compassion that flowed from her -- just Tooru being Tooru -- had a profound impact on all three of them, for three different reasons. Tooru wasn't conscious of it. She didn't stop to think what she was doing. She just put forth her strength, she just did what she did naturally, and three people unconsciously found themselves on the path to healing.

Tooru's essential goodness is an irresistible force. It's healing to watch her leave mending souls in her wake as she moves through the world. Looking at the world we live in; looking at the events of this past weekend; I want more people like Tooru in the world. Even if they are fictional. The darkness is, after all, becoming more than a little oppressive.

What did you think of Tooru's healing powers in this episode? What was your Best in Show moment? Let me know in the comments!

2 thoughts on “Review: Fruits Basket Episode 18 – Best in Show

    1. “Tohru said exactly what was needed to calm the mother down.”

      What impressed me the most about it was that Tooru was just being Tooru. She wasn’t trying to be grandiose; she wasn’t trying to “save” anyone. She reacted to pain by sharing her own, and in doing so, starting healing everyone within earshot!

      And as you said — it was exactly what the mother needed to hear.

      I’ve studied human literature from the time of our race’s earliest writings. I’m still trying to figure out the techniques these writers are using to deliver such authentic emotional moments without being manipulative or contrived. Even if I can’t figure out how, I can still react with gratitude. This is just good stuff!

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