Anime I’ve Seen: Fruits Basket
Posted by travizzt on January 16, 2011
For those of you who don’t know, I’m a contributor over at Clan of the Fanboys for the past few months. During those months I’ve been posting up older book reviews (usually after a few days of them being up here). Some time last week I had the urge to try something new. So I decided to try to extend my Anime Rant: Animes I’ve Seen and just talk about a single anime for a full length post. I started with Fruits Basket. I liked it so much that I decided to try to make it a regular thing over there and post new “Anime I’ve Seen” after I watch it to alongside the “Anime Rant: Animes I’ve Seen” here. However, over there its longer, includes more pictures, and even a trailer! Long story short, I decided to bring the extended versions over here after a week or so have passed. I am still going to do my original “Anime Rant: Anime I’ve Seen”, but this is just a supplement to that. There are edits to the introductions between here and there, and there aren’t any tabs here. Basically, my reason for doing this is so they don’t get lost in the backlogs of Clan of the Fanboys. Also, this is NOT a review. This is just thoughts and feelings I had on the show in question and to recommend it to non-anime fans. Okay, enough of me rambling! I hope you enjoy my extended look at Fruits Basket!
Fruits Basket is about a young teenage girl named Tohru Honda and the mysterious Sohma family. The series opens up with Tohru talking about her late mother, who recently died in a car accident. She went to go live with her paternal grandfather, but had to move out because of renovations needed to be made to his home. She finds herself living in a tent out in the woods, unwilling to burden her friends for the time until the renovations end. After leaving for school one day, she discovers a house not far from her tent. One of the men living in the house, Shigure Sohma, notices her and talks to her. As she turns to leave, she sees her high school’s popular boy, or prince, Yuki Sohma. She learns that this is his home. Yuki offers to walk with Tohru to school. After school, Tohru leaves to go to work and returns to her tent. Shigure and Yuki find Tohru and her tent and offers her some food back at their home. She accepts and goes off with them. However, during their conversation, Yuki somehow senses a rock-slide and they discover Tohru’s tent has collapsed. They take her back to their home and she soon passes out. The next morning, the two relatives offer Tohru a room in the home in exchange for her doing some chores around the house. She accepts and as they are getting the room outfitted for her, another boy her age collapses through the roof. We find out that he’s another Sohma named Kyo. The orange-haired Kyo loathes Yuki and challenges him to a fight then and there. However, Tohru intervenes and grabs Kyo, transforming him into a cat. Tohru than learns that the Sohma family is cursed and are transformed into an animal of the Chinese Zodiac if hugged by a member of the opposite sex not related to the Sohma’s. After this startling discovery, Tohru is sworn to secrecy.
As time passes, Tohru meets other members of the Sohma family. Each member has a vastly different personality that corresponds to their Chinese Zodiac animal. She learns more about the curse plaguing the family and of the dark secrets hidden from prying eyes. Little does Tohru know, but she’s the only chance they have of healing the Sohma family curse and changing their lives.
Fruits Basket is a hard anime for me to talk about. Don’t get me wrong, Fruits Basket is not a bad anime, at all. In fact, it’s very good. It’s surprisingly good. However, it took me a while to actually start liking the series.
Fruits Basket seems to be aimed at a young audience. It’s light-heart for most of it’s twenty-six episodes. This isn’t a problem at all. For a show aimed at younger audience, it sure had a lot of adult and darker moments. In fact, I was pleasantly surprised by how adult it was at times. It deals with a lot of issues that kids wouldn’t understand. For example, suicide, sexuality, and dealing with the death of someone close to you are brought up. This is what I really liked about Fruits Basket. It can be enjoyed no matter your age.
The exact moment I started to like Fruits Basket is with episode eighteen. For one thing, this episode, “The Strongest Tag – The Cursed Electric Wave Brother and Sister”, so vastly different from every other episode in the series. It doesn’t focus on the main characters, but instead the minor characters. The animation style is different, the humor is different, and there was nothing wrong with this episode. Before that, the previous episodes were good, but didn’t really interest me that much. After episode eighteen, I was glue and caught in Fruits Basket‘s web.
The other point the sold me on Fruits Basket is the ending. My god, the ending is great! The sudden turn it takes was very unexpected but felt surprisingly right. It’s dark and very scary. The show never really seemed to be capable of this until this point. I don’t want to spoil it, because I think it deserves to be seen. It’s one of those endings that will stick with you forever.
However there are some problems that may turn the average viewer off. The biggest turn-off is that the beginning of the series was extremely boring. Stuff was happening, but it was just boring. It’s not bad, it’s just not exciting. I think that problem was that the voice acting was kind of dull for the first few episodes. There wasn’t any real emotions in the delivery of lines. However, the voice acting was still top-notch and one of the best casts I’ve heard. Thankfully, it does pick up soon after. The other annoyance I had with Fruits Basket is the insane amount of inner and outer monologues that everyone seems to love doing. About sixty percent of each episode seemed to be devoted to this. It wasn’t useless exposition, just recaps of what happened and saying the same thing someone else just said. It was kind of annoying, but you get used to it after a while. Finally, for a show that’s supposed to be a comedy, it wasn’t as funny as I thought it should have been. Maybe the jokes would have been humorous to people who watch a lot of anime, but for the most part, they feel flat. Now, don’t get me wrong, there were very funny moments. But for the most part, a quarter of the jokes flew over my head. It’s not a huge issue, but just a small nitpick I had that not everyone would have.
Everything else about Fruits Basket was good. The voice acting, while rough at first, did get better and more tolerable as the series progressed. There wasn’t any real bad voice acting, and the cast did do a good job overall. As for the characters, they were incredibly interesting. They were surprisingly deep and the more we learned about them, the more ‘real’ they became. There some very funny moments, mostly due to characters reactions and awkward situations. For example, whenever the Sohma family transforms back into their human selves, they end up naked. It’s just funny to see Tohru’s expression when this happens. The story itself was great. It had an interesting premise and a plot that really kept you interested in finding out more. I’m really surprised by how much I enjoyed watching Fruits Basket.
Overall, Fruits Basket is a good anime that had a rough start for me, but I am really glad I watched it. This is something that could pique your interest in anime if you’ve seen it. It’s something you could watch with your kids and enjoy it as much as they do. Just watch out for those final few episodes. If you’re interested at all, I would check it out.