Funimation shocked many fans back in November when they announced the return of the hit 2001 anime “Fruits Basket” (Furuba) as a new series that will retell the complete manga by Natsuki Takaya. The company recently gave a special sneak peek in the form of a two-night theater screening of the first two episodes. Fans had the option to watch either with the Japanese voices or their English counterparts depending on the night.

“Fruits Basket” follows highschooler Tohru Honda who keeps a cheerful face to hide the fact she lives in a tent in the forest. One day she notices that there is a house nearby her temporary home and finds out that the famed “prince” and classmate Yuki Sohma lives there with his older cousin Shigure. The meeting causes a bit of a stir with his fanclub but she brush them off as she tries to maintain composure. Fate brings them together again as small landslide covers her tent and the Sohmas offer her a room. While it appears to be a nice home, certain secrets linger and some just take a little slip to be revealed.

While the new art style of this current adaptation concerned people, it was little deterrence to the classic story. The production staff did an amazing job recreating the episodes which brought a big wave of nostalgia for Furuba fans. Those with the sharpest eye would notice some scene cut but nothing important seemed lost. Many of the iconic and funny moments were preserved and didn’t lose any touch in the adaptation. The newer Japanese voice actors performed well to fit into their well-known characters. For now it gained a lot of approval from old fans but we will have to keep an eye for it once it goes beyond the end of the 2001 series.

Before each screening, members of the Japanese and English voice acting crew participated in separate video interviews, giving their thoughts about the new series. It was interesting to find out that the Japanese main trio Manaka Iwami (Tohru Honda), Nobunaga Shimazaki (Yuki Sohma), Yuma Uchida (Kyo Sohma) dove deep into the series after their auditions for their characters in contrast to the English team with several members reprising their roles and knowing the story as it was still in the works. Iwami revealed that she shared the same age as the manga series which surprised Shimazaki and Uchida along with the audience. Shimazaki made a poignant note that the previous iterations of Furuba made an impact to people of many age and gender going beyond its label as a shojo. They talked how it was more of a human drama as each of the main characters have unique complications but share a sense of kindness.

Justin Cook (Hatsuharu Sohma), Eric Vale (Yuki Sohma), Jerry Jewell (Kyo Sohma) and ADR Director Caitlin Glass talked about coming back to the project and expressing their thoughts about when the first anime ended and hoping for a continuation. It was curious how the international fanbase amazed Japanese cast and the English ones mentioned some of the campaigns to bring Furuba back. The three Sohma voice actors praised Glass’s work to match this new form of story with what the fans loved.

For those that missed the theatrical event will have to wait until April 5th when FunimationNow and Crunchyroll will stream the anime. Funimation also has the original anime available in both Japanese and English. Yen Press has the omnibus collection of the manga along and is publishing Takaya’s sequel, “Fruits Basket Another”.