Crunchyroll’s Fruits Basket -prelude- USA English dub movie review: It’s a good beginning

Fruits Basket-prelude
Fruits Basket-prelude is the end of the Fruits Basket story and the beginning. Pic credit: Natsuki Takaya.Hakusensha/Fruits Basket Project

Crunchyroll’s Fruits Basket -prelude- USA release date is on June 25, 2022.

It’s a limited run where select movie theaters in the United States and Canada will show the Fruits Basket -prelude- English dub and subtitled version on June 25, 28, and 29. Tickets are now on sale.

The Fruit Basket movie English dub trailer by Crunchyroll.

Fruits Basket -prelude- is what the synopsis promises. We get to see how Tohru’s parents meet, fall in love, and see the family they create with Tohru.

We see how Kyoko befriended a grumpy cat boy and sadly revisited her death. Everything from the animation and music was perfect.

If you watch Fruits Basket Season 3 and then the prelude, you would think it’s a more extended episode that’s not even a fully fleshed-out self-contained story. And this is my biggest complaint.

We don’t get to see a young Kyoko until 30 minutes into the film because the beginning of Fruits Basket -prelude- is a highlight of the second half of Season 3. Even worse, the ending leaves most of the questions from Season 3 unanswered.

The Fruits Basket series as a whole is dear to my heart, and I’ll forever be grateful to receive an advanced screening for review. I plan to watch prelude as much as possible before my next obsession comes knocking.

If you haven’t seen the third season, then expect spoilers.

Fruits Basket-prelude
A key visual for the Fruits Basket-prelude movie. Pic credit: Natsuki Takaya.Hakusensha/Fruits Basket Project

How does true love start?

At first glance, the story between Kyoko and Kazuma is full of problems. Kazuma is a student-teacher at Kyoko’s school, but that doesn’t stop him from taking her out to ramen without permission.

Everything we see them do is a mirror to the Fruits Basket 2019 anime. Kyoko lashes out because she’s lonely, and her parents do nothing to help her.

Kazuma gives off Shigure vibes, but in a far less toxic way. He has a warped personality that he doesn’t try to fix, but Kazuma cherishes Kyoko and never hurts her.

He likes to tease her and calls her “Miss. No-Brows.” He only makes a move after his position as a student-teacher is over.

One of my favorite scenes is when Kyoko is about to be thrown out of her family home, and Kazuma gives her parents a scolding. But unfortunately, he also chooses this time to declare he’s going to marry Kyoko, which flusters her to no end.

The character development is second to none for the time we enjoy this couple. Kyoko doesn’t change within five minutes; she studies and does her best to be a better person.

Her fear of being a mother and realizing the pain she caused her mother makes Kyoko stand out in ways few anime moms can. And I’ll never forget how Kazuma calmed her down and said he wanted their child.

Kyoko had doubts about being a good parent, but Kazuma understood that and devised a simple plan. They will raise Tohru how they wished they were raised, apologize for their mistakes, and hug Tohru as much as they can.

I wish we could have seen more of their happy family, but sadly, Kazuma’s death and how most of his family treated Kyoko and Tohru happened. Also, seeing Kyoko fall apart and almost throw everything away because of her pain hurt.

But seeing her bounce back and tell off her father was very satisfying. I thought Kyo’s dad was bad, but who calls their daughter, knowing she’s grieving, and tells her not to expect a place with them?!

He knows about Tohru’s existence but wants nothing to do with them! That works out since Kazuma’s father was more than willing to look after Tohru while Kyoko recovered.

And we get to see a tiny grumpy cat boy and her death. The Fruits Basket movie knows how to keep you on the edge of your seat.

I wish there was more of the new content to enjoy because the ending barely counts. Tohru has a ring, and Kyo refers to the other Sohmas as “the family.”

Kyo finally sees the Sohma’s as his family, and he’s living a happy life with Tohru one year after the events of Season 3.

Unanswered questions!

Although Fruits Basket -prelude- is a fantastic beginning, it’s also been claimed to complete the Fruits Basket story. I disagree. Learning about Kyoko and Kazuma is worth it, but you won’t get any answers from the Fruits Basket 2022 movie.

Now I don’t mind when I have to interpret things, but I was hoping for more. I wanted to spend the 88 minutes seeing new things, not a retelling of past events.

Mind you, the scenes in question fit with the movie narrative, as we see how Kyoko’s past affected Tohru’s future, but I would have preferred seeing Tohru as a mom. A wedding or two would have been lovely.

So, what questions are still up in the air?

How was the curse broken?

Shigure makes a good argument about this being the first time that all 13 Zodiac members and their God are alive simultaneously. Unfortunately, I haven’t found any good leads on alternative methods.

No set circumstances explain why Kurano was the first to be free. Likewise, we get no explanation for why Momoji became the second to be free.

We can argue that Kyo overcame his curse by accepting Tohru’s love and allowing himself to love her back. But if love is the answer, why didn’t the other Zodiacs break free?

Who changed the story?

In Season 1, Shigure tells Tohru about how the Zodiac started, and we learn about the cat’s role. But this was a lie.

There was no contest and no betrayal between the rat and the cat. Instead, a lonely god didn’t want to see his friend die and forced immortality on the cat.

Why did the cat have two forms?

The cat didn’t want to be reborn repeatedly to be by the god’s side. But unfortunately, the other Zodiacs didn’t understand the cat’s feelings and believed they were betrayed.

This alone may have been one of the reasons for the cat’s monster form. And due to the passing of time and the unpredictable ways the Zodiac members are born.

It’s possible that a cat went on a rampage and had to be locked up. And being shunned by those who should have understood them over an untold amount of generations may have given the cat its other form.

What happens next?

It would have been nice to see the Sohma family in a new setting, but it didn’t happen. We get some extra scenes in the credits, but most appear to be from the anime.

I would have liked to see Yuki, Machi, Akito, and Shigure again, even if it was just for a few minutes. I’ll be buying the Fruits Basket -prelude- Blu-Ray/DVD when it becomes available.

Do you have any theories to the questions above? Feel free to comment, and we’ll talk about all things Fruits Basket and more!

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