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Fruits Basket -prelude- Review: Kyoko’s widow heartbreak

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Kyoko Honda in Fruits Basket -prelude- © NATSUKI TAKAYA.HAKUSENSHA/FRUITS BASKET PROJECT
© NATSUKI TAKAYA.HAKUSENSHA/FRUITS BASKET PROJECT

Fruits Basket -prelude- captures the devastation of losing the person you were meant to spend the rest of your life with. Kyoko Honda’s pain as a widow is heartbreaking.

As if her own life had ended there, the credits rolled, and Kyoko was left sitting still in an empty theater. Lights on. Time passing, family visiting to help out, all a blur.

This Fruits Basket -prelude- review contains spoilers. The English Dub version of the film was viewed for this review.

No recent film, not just ‘anime film’ has managed to depict the first weeks of becoming a widow as brutally realistic as Fruits Basket -prelude-. One day you’re on cloud 9, smiling from ear to ear, a happy family. The next morning your happiness is snatched away, pickpocketed by nature itself without remorse.

A simple cold takes Tohru’s father away from her and Kyoko during a long distance business trip. A worried Kyoko kept suggesting Katsuya visit a clinic on their last phone call… But he never did. Instead, his lifeless body was found by his coworkers at the hotel he was staying at the next morning.

Katsuya Honda and Tohru Honda in Fruits Basket -prelude- © NATSUKI TAKAYA.HAKUSENSHA/FRUITS BASKET PROJECT

Father Katsuya Honda and daughter Tohru Honda in Fruits Basket -prelude- © NATSUKI TAKAYA.HAKUSENSHA/FRUITS BASKET PROJECT

During Katsuya’s funeral, arrows come piercing at Kyoko’s heart from all sides as his family blames her. ‘How Katsuya should have never married a woman like her’. Kyoko’s own father calls only to tell her she would not be welcomed back at home with her child.

A young Tohru watches from the background as her broken mother stares downwards at the floor for weeks on end. The line between unbridled happiness and total devastation is frail and thin, always teetering on a tightrope. We’re just not actively conscious of it until something happens out of our control.

When your child gives a reason to keep going

Tohru Honda and Kyoko Honda in Fruits Basket -prelude- © NATSUKI TAKAYA.HAKUSENSHA/FRUITS BASKET PROJECT

Tohru Honda and Kyoko Honda in Fruits Basket -prelude- © NATSUKI TAKAYA.HAKUSENSHA/FRUITS BASKET PROJECT

One day, Kyoko loses herself, believing she could still find Katsuya if she just looked hard enough. She leaves Tohru at home without explanation and goes back to where her love with Katsuya started by the sea. Momentarily, Kyoko is about to let her self drop over the safety rail to her death to join Katsuya in the ocean.

By chance, she is interrupted by the innocent chatter full of laughs between a mother and her child. It’s then Kyoko realizes how long she’d left Tohru at home for, how she’d all but stopped making her meals or even talking to her. How weeks had passed and Katsuya’s father may have visited but she couldn’t even remember accurately.

Kyoko rushes home to be greeted by Tohru, “Welcome back mommy!” and breaks down in tears. She promises to never leave Tohru alone ever again and to always take care of her.

Tohru Honda in Fruits Basket -prelude- © NATSUKI TAKAYA.HAKUSENSHA/FRUITS BASKET PROJECT

Tohru Honda in Fruits Basket -prelude- © NATSUKI TAKAYA.HAKUSENSHA/FRUITS BASKET PROJECT

Kyoko rediscovers her reason for living, her child.

Losing the person who saved Kyoko from herself

Kyoko Honda and Katsuya Honda in Fruits Basket -prelude- © NATSUKI TAKAYA.HAKUSENSHA/FRUITS BASKET PROJECT

Kyoko Honda and Katsuya Honda in Fruits Basket -prelude- © NATSUKI TAKAYA.HAKUSENSHA/FRUITS BASKET PROJECT

The build up to Kyoko and Katsuya Honda’s relationship is crafted with delicate precision. When Katsuya meets Kyoko as a student teacher, she ‘hates everyone’ and is a furious fireball of rage. A simple question, “Why are you so angry?” makes Kyoko break down in open up for the first time.

Where authority figures, family, and friends had always chastised her, looked down on her… Katsuya did what all of them hadn’t, he calmly listened without judgement.

Kyoko Honda and Katsuya Honda in Fruits Basket -prelude- © NATSUKI TAKAYA.HAKUSENSHA/FRUITS BASKET PROJECT

Kyoko Honda and Katsuya Honda in Fruits Basket -prelude- © NATSUKI TAKAYA.HAKUSENSHA/FRUITS BASKET PROJECT

Kyoko tries hard to change her ways, finish her schooling and reform… All to impress Kyoko. But her old gang life comes back to haunt her and gets Kyoko kicked out of home.

Yet, Katsuya Honda is there to pick up the pieces of Kyoko’s self esteem. At Kyoko’s rock bottom, being told she was being disowned from her family, Katsuya shows up unexpectedly to reprimand her parents… And ask for Kyoko’s hand in marriage. Only wishing ‘it was a better proposal’.

Kyoko Honda and Katsuya Honda in Fruits Basket -prelude- © NATSUKI TAKAYA.HAKUSENSHA/FRUITS BASKET PROJECT

Kyoko Honda and Katsuya Honda in Fruits Basket -prelude- © NATSUKI TAKAYA.HAKUSENSHA/FRUITS BASKET PROJECT

Together they emerge, Katsuya and ‘Miss. No Brows’ as he affectionately nicknames her. For the first time, Kyoko is greeted by love when she comes to her new home. They have a child in Tohru, and in their last phone call even discuss giving Tohru a “sibling”.

Like all things in life, we never know when a seemingly regular conversation with someone is the last one. Or when we take a chance like Kyo Sohma with Tohru Honda leads to a fulfilling future. We have to risk the most vulnerable part of ourselves, our emotions, our egos, to discover the true path of our journey.

Fruits Basket -prelude- English Dub Review Score: A

You can watch the first three seasons of Fruits Basket right now on Crunchyroll.

Fruits Basket -prelude- will arrive in select movie theaters in the United States and Canada on June 25, June 28, and June 29. The prequel film will be available dubbed in English and subtitled.

Where to watch Fruits Basket -prelude- Dub in New York City

Kyoko Honda and Katsuya Honda in Fruits Basket -prelude- © NATSUKI TAKAYA.HAKUSENSHA/FRUITS BASKET PROJECT

Kyoko Honda and Katsuya Honda in Fruits Basket -prelude- © NATSUKI TAKAYA.HAKUSENSHA/FRUITS BASKET PROJECT

Be sure to read:

– A full listing of NYC theaters and showtimes for Fruits Basket -prelude- is available in our article: Village East by Angelika playing Fruits Basket -prelude- first in NYC

– Check out the original cinema special event announcement at: Fruits Basket -prelude- in select US & Canada movie theaters



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