FURUBA FRIDAYS: Episode 14 - Beast of Burdens

Welcome to this week's edition of Furuba Fridays, our weekly look at the Fruits Basket Radio Drama created by JesuOtaku. Apologies that this week's instalment is a day late - I went to see 12 Years A Slave with my girlfriend last night and needed to recover (it's amazing, go and see it NOW).
This week we're concluding the two-part storyline we began in last week's episode, involving the introduction of Haru and his fight with Kyo during the endurance run. While last week's episode was dominated by action and physical comedy, this episode is more balanced and has a number of quieter, more sensitive moments which explore Haru's background as a character. But don't fear - there's plenty of enjoyment to be had before we reach the exposition.
This episode also differs from its predecessor in the amount of adaptation. Much of Episode 13 is taken straight from the panels, with the action moving very quickly and not much extra dialogue being needed to fill in the blanks. Here, on the other hand, JO includes more dialogue to give the audience a better idea of what is going on during the transformation scenes. She also chops and changes the order in which certain lines appear, an indication perhaps of how different something can sound when it's read aloud compared to just being read on a page.
While Kyo somewhat overshadowed him last time, this episode is dominated by Haru, beginning with his fight with Kyo and moving into some details of his backstory. Haru's past is less traumatic than some of his relativess (at least from what we can gather here), and overall the story about his relationship with Yuki is very sweet and touching. But JO does inject a fair amount of dark energy into this section, using the Black Haru outbirst to add contrast to what could otherwise become tedious.
Credit should also go to Liam Cunningham, who does a great job in this episode. As well as capturing the two distinct sides of Haru's personality (nicknamed White and Black respectively), he has to carry off the shift between the two, particularly in regard to Yuki. Going from "I'm making you mine" to being really tender could be jarring, but Liam carries it off, using the breathy, laden quality in his voice to slow the character down and put us at ease. It's a very well-judged performance, and you'll see more of it as we move into Volume 4.
There's a lot of funny stuff in this episode, with Hana's gambling success and Shigure's infectious laughter at being confronted by Haru. This episode also features the infamous "high school girls" song, which was a big feature of the anime; you'll hear more about that in an interview JO did with Jesse Frola and Phil Burgraff in around three weeks' time. But there's also a couple of little bits of gloomy foreshadowing, in Akito's sole line to Yuki and Tohru's repeated comments about colds being dangerous. Neither will make much sense until the next volume, but it's worth keeping them in mind as we go forward.

Here, then, is Episode 14 for your enjoyment and appreciation. Don't forget to download last week's episode as an mp3 to keep via the link below this video. I'll see you next week for our next episode, but in the meantime you may get a special something extra, involving the Fruits Basket painting and Haru singing. Watch this space...
Download Episode 13 - Running of the Bulls here

NEXT WEEK: Episode 15 - Unspoken