Though we don’t get Hana-chan’s full backstory until muuuch later on in the manga (several volumes ahead of the material that’s currently being adapted), I, for one, am more than happy to be getting another Hana-centric episode so soon! As I said during last week’s post, she’s fast becoming one of my favourite Fruits Basket characters. And this week’s episode only improved her standing…
But, as much as I loved this week’s episode, it was still kinda painful to watch! There were a few times, when watching it, my heart actually ached for Hana-chan. The first was when that little brat forced a dead newt down her throat. Though I was bullied throughout my childhood (mainly for my height – or lack of), I never, thankfully, experienced anything quite so vile as a violation of my mouth via dead amphibian. I wanted to reach into the screen and kill the kid myself (though Hana’s powers very nearly beat me to it)!
The second time was when Hana-chan, wide-eyed with fear, asked her parents when they were going to turn her in to the police for nearly killing the boy. I remember when, as a child, I once stole some penny sweets from the local offy. That night I lay in bed, terrified that the police would come kicking down the door, demanding my arrest, at any given moment. There haven’t been many other times throughout my life that I’ve experienced terror that potent, so my heart really went out to Hana during this scene!
The third was when Hana-chan bravely endured the vicious bullying of a group of girls who, attempting to get a rise out of her, burned her arm with a match. It was tough, watching her bear up under such pain in order to protect those so undeserving of her protection.
But, the most heart-wrenching scene of all was the one in which Hana tried to sever the bond between her and her newfound friends, Uo and Tohru, after they first got wind of her past. Not only was it painful, watching her try to push away the friends she had so longed for, but her voice actress’ – Satomi Sato’s – performance during this scene was amazing! The way in which her voice broke as she, almost in a whisper (as though scared to admit it), said that she wanted to stay friends with the two girls, was astounding.
There are a number of reasons why these scenes worked so well to evoke emotion. The first is that they were just so relatable. Though perhaps not to the same, horrific, extent, we’ve all experienced loneliness, bullying, and fear for the future. This helps us to empathise with poor, unfortunate Hana-chan. The second is the timing of them. We’ve had almost an entire show to get to know and love Hana at this point, so it’s only natural that her painful story would tug at the ol’ heartstrings. The third is the brutality of them. Furuba can be so sickly sweet that when it does get dark (and it doesn’t get much darker than watching somebody pin down and take a lit match to your best girl), it’s shocking stuff! Speaking of shocking, the fourth and final reason why these scenes worked so well to evoke emotion is that watching Hana break down in big anime tears as she clung onto Tohru was in such contrast to her usual self. Throughout the entire show so far she’s been Tohru’s fierce and fearless protector, but, during this one scene, it was the complete opposite. Tohru was the one looking out for a weak and vulnerable Hana. It was moving and, once again, I felt myself well up at the sight of it – what are you doing to me, Furuba!?
The one thing stopping me from spiraling into complete and utter despair while watching Hana-chan routinely and brutally bullied was her family. Hana may not have formed any friendships until well into her teen years, but I sure am glad that she had such a loving and supportive family (quite the commodity in the world of anime). Megumi, in particular, warmed my heart! The way in which he supported his big sister reminded me of the times when my own little brother (11 years my junior) would come and give me a hug whenever I was sad, scared, or lonely. Megumi also reminded me of the power of prayer and the need to pray for my own siblings.
To close, I’m glad that Hana-chan learned to control her powers, especially her ability to read minds! Can you imagine how much of a gamechanger that would be, if she could read the minds of those secretive Sohmas? So, what did you think of this week’s episode? Let me know in the comments section below!
” Furuba can be so sickly sweet that when it does get dark (and it doesn’t get much darker than watching somebody pin down and take a lit match to your best girl), it’s shocking stuff! ”
I think it’s _because_ Fruits Basket is so frothy at times that its darkness hits so hard. Do you remember the original M*A*S*H television series? It used comedy to setup a dramatic gut-punch. It was effective.
But honestly? Not nearly as effective as this episode.
Megumi makes me wonder if there’s something to reincarnation. He seemed like he was this 1,500 year old wise man dispensing wisdom.
“The one thing stopping me from spiraling into complete and utter despair while watching Hana-chan routinely and brutally bullied was her family. ”
The scenes with her mom and dad kept me from pausing the episode to re-center myself. They’re what parents should be. They don’t need to understand their child (whether it’s waves or autism, it’s all the same — an opportunity for good parenting). They just needed to love and support her. It was a relief to see them do just that.
Thanks for sharing your feelings and thoughts about this episode!
I don’t know why Hana-chan’s parents surprised me so. I 100% expected them to shun their daughter… for causing them trouble, for not understanding her, for being so different… a myriad of reasons… Though I hope that I would act differently, were I in their shoes, I think that it’s just human nature to turn our backs on anything that we don’t quite understand (I’m not saying that that’s the right thing to do, but…). However, I was so glad to be wrong about them. Even though Hana’s parents are fictional, they helped restore some of my faith in humanity!