Friday, 15 November 2013

FURUBA FRIDAYS: Episode 6 - Welcome Home

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Welcome once again to Furuba Fridays. Continuing our passage through the excellent Fruits Basket Radio Drama, this week we're wrapping up Volume 1, with tears a-plenty from our leading lady...

I mentioned in last week's post about Furuba's increasing tendency towards "emotional whiplash", with all the light and fun stuff we've seen thus far becoming integrated (successfully) with darker and murkier moments as the story progresses. This episode is one of my favourites, in part because it's a very good segue into those darker, sadder aspects. The first time I heard this episode, I did find myself welling up during Tohru's big monologue.
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From this perspective, enormous credit has to be given to Heather McDonald for her performance, and for JesuOtaku herself for getting that performance out of her. This episode is pretty downbeat and requires a lot of crying in a short space of time - which becomes even more crying when you consider that Heather would have had to do multiple takes which JO could then edit together. In her interview with Evan Bremer which I posted two weeks ago, Heather mentioned that the hardest thing about playing Tohru was sounding sincere in the emotional moments; suffice to say, she comes through this episode with flying colours.
Aside from the performances, this episode is very interesting from an adaptive point of view. As on previous episodes, JO expands a lot of the action in the individual panels to flesh out both the action and the characters. One of the best examples of this in the whole drama occurs in this very episode, in Tohru's flashback about children at her school playing the game 'Fruits Basket' (hence the title) and leaving her out. In the original manga, this only takes up two pages and is over pretty quickly, but JO expands the scene with lots of extras and lines for Tohru's teacher. This really makes us empathise with Tohru in the way that just telling us what happened wouldn't do, and the whole scene is very moving. Plus, it's another good opportunity to hear Katie McAteer, who is simply adorable as the young Tohru.
On top of that, this episode sees JO making a number of subtle changes in which her script departs from the manga in certain details. None of the changes drastically alter the storyline or the mood - in fact I only noticed them when I was listening through this week's episode again while having the manga open (the whole thing is available on MangaReader and elsewhere). The changes include Shigure and Yuki chatting about food rather than commenting on Tohru's neatly folded clothes, and Tohru's new bed being brought forward from next week's episode. Both changes work very nicely, and the latter provides one of my favourites of Shigure's lines: when surveying the damage caused downstairs by Yuki and Kyo fighting again, he sighs: "Can somebody explain what happened to my beautiful piece of HOUSE?!".
 
Like the last two episodes, there are some nice bits of foreshadowing in this episode - but they refer to events so far ahead into the manga that neither will mean much for now. Grandpa's line to Kyo that he should "take good care of Kyoko" will be raised again in Episode 24, while Katsuya turns up so late in the story that the manga is your best bet if you're not very patient. Both pieces are very nice all on their own, providing an intriguing flavour of what is to come and rounding out what is a very, very fine episode.

Here then is episode 6 for your enjoyment - with or without handkerchiefs. Don't forget to download last week's episode through the link below, and rejoin us next week, when we kick off Volume 2 with a visit from Uo and Hana...
Download Episode 5 - Trampled Affections here

NEXT WEEK: Episode 7 - Seal of Approval

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