Season 1 of Fruits Basket stopped at about the same place that the previous adaptation of the show had done – after Tohru had seen Kyo’s true form for the first time, and unlike others before had refused to reject him – and had indeed accepted and embraced him (both literally and figuratively) in spite of this, along with Tohru getting to, albeit briefly, meet Akito for the first time. Season 2 enters some new ground (as far as anime adaptations are concerned), diving a little deeper into the inter-relationships between members of the Zodiac, Akito, and the larger Sohma family.
In short – the Sohma family has a lot of… abusive relationships going on behind the scenes. No sexual assault (thankfully), but plenty of emotional abuse, gas-lighting, and in some cases physical abuse. Some of this was briefly mentioned in Season 1, when we got the story of Akito assaulting Hatori, but it’s much more upfront here.
It’s enough of a thing that I’d give a serious content warning for people who have problems with works depicting physically and emotionally abusive relationships – if you got through Season 1 and was planning to keep going, that’s coming much more to the fore in this season.
That said, the show also makes it spectacularly clear that the abuse in question is Not Okay – and this is born out much more prominently through the character of Tohru. Tohru in season 1 wasn’t… a doormat exactly, but she was a lot more of an audience perspective character, and didn’t necessarily come across as assertive.
Season 2, on the other hand, does make clear that while Tohru is a very kind, sweet girl, she definitely takes after her mother. Much like Tohru’s mom was willing to beat the crap out of a whole bunch of gang members to help Arisa leave her gang, in this season Tohru shows her steel through resolving herself to finding out how to break the Sohma family curse.
This doesn’t mean that her Hot Blooded switch has been flipped or anything like that – she never gets as fired up as Arisa. Indeed, there’s short arc based around the School festival where Tohru’s class decides to put on a play of Cinderella, and Tohru is cast as a Wicked Stepsister – only to be hilariously terrible at it because Tohru is so Good that she’s been taking levels in Paladin without knowing it.
Otherwise, the show’s animation is spot on, the writing is gorgeous, and the characterization is still fantastic. We get several new characters this season which are tremendously entertaining, without overshadowing the existing cast and their stories, and without causing things to become narratively cluttered.
I’m really glad I’ve kept watching this show, and I’m looking forward to the third and final season when that comes out.