FunimationCon 2020 Fruits Basket Panel Recap: Memories, Games & More!

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By Brittany Vincent

The FunimationCon 2020 Fruits Basket Voice Actor Q&A, hosted by ADR Director Caitlin Glass, was a heartwarming and joyful celebration of one of the most popular and beloved shoujo series of all time.

It was a giggle-inducing hangout session with several of the show’s voice actors, who practically oozed about how much they enjoy voicing their characters and the show itself!

Kicking off with the opening for Fruits Basket Season 2, the fun panel hangout begun.

The members of the Zodiac speak!

Caitlin Glass (Machi) jumped in for a brief introduction and then invited Eric Vale (Yuki), Jerry Jewell (Kyo), Colleen Clinkenbeard (Akito), Mikaela Krantz (Momiji) and Aaron Dismuke (Kakeru) to introduce themselves, perform live readings, and roll through a quick Q&A session. 

The cast kicked things off with some introductions and factoids about their experiences within the anime industry. Aaron said he enjoyed watching the series with his grandmother, for instance. Fruits Basket was the first anime Colleen had ever seen after becoming friends with voice actress Laura Bailey (Tohru). 

The actors were over the moon about returning to such a beloved property.

“It’s nice to come back and be able to play the character with what feels like a natural progression,” Eric said. “Now we’re able to talk more about layers of character that are coming out as we get further into it, and that’s fun.”

Jerry echoed Eric’s sentiment about the new series.

“it’s a lot more fun acting-wise, because there are a lot more emotions explored. And I still get to make fun of Eric’s character.” He said. “…I was a little nervous about [Kyo’s revelation], but I liked the way it was handled and how it was handled differently as well. I really liked the style.”

Mikaela, however, was a ball of energy who viewers couldn’t get enough of as they praised her for “embodying Momiji.”

“I love him so much,” she said. “Every time I stepped out of the booth after recording Momiji, I just felt so happy. He’s such a light!”

Time for an advice session!

After discussing their respective roles and how it felt to return to the series or voice characters for the first time, the cast turned to a fun advice session!

They opened the floor up to collect questions for the cast, with Colleen, Jerry and Mikaela throwing some questions out as well. 

Fruits Basket Yuki Differences

One fan asked Eric for his advice on putting yourself out there and how to manage self-confidence, since Yuki often struggles with this.

“Fake it ’til you make it. I’m serious. That’s all I’ve ever done,” he said. He then elaborated on how he’s tried his very best to overcome anxiety throughout his career.

What’s on your whiteboard?

Then came the whiteboards! Cast members were first tasked with writing what animal of the Chinese Zodiac the person next to them on-screen was, based on their personality.

They all closed their eyes and attempted to draw their own Chinese Zodiac animals, or the ones their characters represented–Aaron had trouble with his marker, and Eric, Mikaela and Colleen misunderstood and drew their Zodiac ymbols. The crew got some belly laughs from that. There was also a kangaroo drawn. Hmm. 

For the next few rounds, they answered who they thought would most likely be Student Council president, and three out of six actors chose Colleen. They were also asked what other character in all of Fruits Basket would they like to play? 

Colleen had one of the most interesting responses: she’d love to play Kyo! Now that’s a version of the show we’d love to see come together. 

Time for a live reading!

After the hilarious whiteboard shenanigans, it was time to settle in for some live readings of scenes from Fruits Basket. Laura Bailey wasn’t able to join the panel, so Caitlin stepped in to take her place as Tohru for the scenes where Tohru was present. 

First up was a scene from Season 1 where Momiji meets Tohru for the first time, and it featured one of Caitlin’s favorite lines: “We met at Papa’s building!” which she apparently asks Mikaela to repeat often.  

There were a cavalcade of scenes, including one with Akito, Tohru, and Yuki where Colleen had viewers downright spooked as Akito, in a breathtaking monologue that she interacted with Tohru in.

It was one of the highlights of the entire panel, by far. Aaron shined as Manabe from a scene from Season 2, where he blew everyone away with his smooth-talking, hilarious lines. Finally, we got a Season 2 reading with Eric performing a monologue as Yuki, which nearly moved everyone to tears. It was a beautiful moment indeed. 

Viewers ask the questions!

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As the panel reached its final ten minutes, the cast stopped to answer a few questions from fans, such as how they’d convince anyone who’s only seen the first season of the series to watch Season 2. Eric suggested having them watch clips of the show, which we agree–Fruits Basket is very much a series that draws you in from the moment you see it. 

And with that, the panel drew to a close. It was a great peek behind the curtain, so to speak, on how the actors interact while recording their lines, and an emotional trip through memory lane!

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