Fruits Basket (2019) – Episode 17
“This is for Uo-chan”
This episode complete’s the backstory behind Unotani and Tohru’s friendship, it also shows the bonding between Uotani and Kyoko.
Honestly though, as cute as Tohru and Uotani are. As wonderful as Kyoko is, the real hero of this episode is the girl in Uotani’s gang that went to get help from Kyoko when Uotani was leaving. As the rest of these girls were angry, were punishing her for daring to clean up her act. This one girl, this one senpai truly cared about Uotani and saw what it was that she really needed. That she was someone who needed to go straight, the fact that she is never seen again in the series and that Uotani never actually gets to thank her for what she did is a shame.
That being said, the events leading up to Arisa wanting to leave were amazing. Tohru saves Arisa from some girls who are trying to beat her up, when they arive back at the house. Arisa is forced to fact a lot of hard truths, why this house bothers her. Who she is, and who she views herself as and the cruel truth that all this time. She’s been immensely lonely.
After this, she basically gets adopted into the Honda family. She comes over, Kyoko is always there for her with parental advice and a warm smile. She gets close to Tohru, and even starts attending school with her just so they can spend more time together.
Of course, when a delinquent and a straight laced student start hanging out. People talk, teachers start watching you. It’s never something easy to deal with.
So people start bad mouthing Tohru, but Tohru, bless her. She doesn’t care, she wants to spend time with Uo and there would be no greater honor to her then to be Uotani’s friend. Even as Uotani sits outside of class, not wanting to burden Tohru with all of the mutterings and rumors. Tohru is thinking of her, baking an extra muffin.
Hearing Tohru say how honored she’d be to be her best friend, as well as that muffin in the face of the mutterings from their classmates is what makes Uo want to turn her life around.
Kyoko saves her and carries her home on her back.
They get closer, Hanajima eventually joins their crew and then Kyoko dies. The light in their apartment is out, the warm home is gone but Tohru is still there. So Uo keeps her life on the straight and narrow, and that brings us to the modern day.
As they finish their Soba, they’re confronted by the three delinquent girls. As one of them goes to hit her, Uo holds her hand out and holds her back and imposes some advice. She comes off as totally cool, reminiscent of Kyoko in that moment. A fine older sister figure, and the girls gain an instant respect for her.
They grow to respect her as a senpai and admire her. They leave the group alone and that’s where the backstory episodes wrap up.
Though again, we’re treated to a after credit scene with the delinquent girls. Where they go out of their way to try to emulate Uo. I honestly can’t say if I like or dislike the direction they went with this. Once again, it’s a harmless scene that does nothing to disrupt the flow of the episode.
I still say if they wanted a special scene with these girls, there was actually one in the manga at the end of these chapters of them getting the pictures of Yuki and Kyo that they took developed and the girl who took them being mad that there are no pictures of ‘Senpai’. I can’t exactly remember if they updated the camera in the last episode to a smart phone, if it was a camera though, there was no reason to cut this gag and replace it with them dressing in her clothing and having the wig of her.
I’d make a guess and say we’re going back to volume five to introduce a new character. Then again, I could be wrong and they could move some more character backstory in here, for example, perhaps Hanajima’s backstory. We’ll have to see where the production crew takes it from here.