Fruits Basket


Reviewed by: neko-sama

June 13, 2004

Rating: five

Overview:
Honda Tohru is a 17 year old girl who lost her mother recently. Having lost her father at an early age, Tohru and her mother lived together quite happily, while trying to make ends meet. One day, Tohru woke up to find that her mother died in a car accident, leaving her in the care of her paternal grandfather. However, that did not last long because her grandfather’s house was being renovated and her aunt could only accommodate one person. Trying not to be dependent on others, Tohru bought a tent and camped in a piece of land not far from her school. Unbeknown to her, that piece of land belongs to the Souma family. One of the Soumas, Yuki, attends the same school as Tohru. But Yuki and all the Soumas have a secret, which Tohru accidentally discovers.

Review of the cartoon:

This is an excellent anime, though it is a tad bit short. Adapted from the manga of the same name, if you are looking for a real cheer-me up story, pick this. There is no singular main character but a long list of characters that will weave their way in and out of the story line. Each character, with their own funny nuances either makes you laugh till you cry or cry your heart out (Watch out for the episode on Souma Hatori).

The basis of the story is that the Souma’s are cursed. Every generation of the family has what is known as the juniishi members. Juniishi is the Chinese Zodiac animals. Now to all appearances, the Soumas seems normal but when hugged by the opposite sex, they transform into their respective juniishi form. The additional animal form in this story is the cat, ( neko ) which can turn slightly demonic uncontrolled. Souma Kyo unfortunately carries the curse of the cat demon. Not accepted as a Juniishi member as well as a Souma family member, made Kyo tough and he pushes people away because he does not want people to discover the demon in him. The Souma family, extremely large and close-knit requires a person’s memory to be erased if any of the Souma’s family transformation is discovered. Souma Akito controls the entire family with fear.

Tohru discovers this, when she was asked to move in with Shigure and Yuki to the Souma house. Kyo, is always at odds with Yuki, and to prevent a fight, Tohru rushed up to them but tripped. This girl is a total klutz actually. However, she fell onto the 3 of them. Imagine her shock when all Shigure, Yuki and Kyo turned into a dog, mouse and cat respectively. What happened was really a comical event. Talking cats and dogs? Tohru, to put it mildly, had a panic attack. However, she promised to keep the secret and at the same time work as a maid for the Soumas in return for a place to stay. Of course, the first few times where trying for Tohru.

However, things got easier and one by one the Souma’s heard of this young girl who is staying with Yuki, Shigure and Kyo while keeping the family secret. Attracted by this fact, one by one they make their way to meet her. Along the series, you will be introduced to the different zodiac animals. However, last count, I think only 10 zodiac members appeared. In the manga, all 12 appeared. There are really humorous ones such as Kagura ( Pig), Risa ( Monkey ) and Haru ( Ox) but watch out for Hatori’s(dragon) story. This is one of the most heart-rending episode, in the entire series. Souma men have long given up hope of falling in love because of their curse, however Hatori falls in love with his second cousin Kana. She is not a member of a Juniishi and is not aware of the course. Her cheerfulness attracts Hatori and he says it’s like spring has just broken through for him. One day, alone together, Kana discovers Hatori’s unique ability and panics dumping him into the bathtub. His juniishi form may be a dragon but he morphs into a sea-horse. She then tells Hatori that she is willing to be with him and can accept any form that he is in. Hatori feels so happy and they announce their plans to get married. However, Akito disallows them from getting married or disobeying him. In a fit of rage, he beats up Hatori, blinding him in one eye. Kana, unable to bear the strain that she caused Hatori to go blind goes mad from the blame. No matter how much Hatori convinces her that she is not the cause of the problem, she is unable to live with herself. Hatori’s other unique ability is to erase the memory of people, so he had no choice but to erase Kana’s memory of their time together, hoping to make her get better. [Note: Hatori also erased the memory of Yuki’s friends, Momoji’s mother]

Things are not as cheerful in the last few episodes where the series takes a more sinister and darker tone. Kyo’s demonic nature was released by force, where his sensei wanted him to confront the side of him that he was running away from. All the Souma family shunned Kyo when he was born because they realized that the demon in him is uncontrollable (Does this sound like naruto or not? ). Even his own mother could not bear the sight of her son as a demon and cast him aside. Unable to take the rejection, Kyo decides that, to avoid being hurt, he has to build a barrier in front of him so that people cannot get close. Tohru, when she first saw the demon, was repulsed by it. But she realized that no matter what form the Souma’s turn into, she wanted to be with them. You’d be surprised that her friend Hanajima knew all along that Kyo and Yuki were special individuals.

Character review:
Tohru Honda: At such a young age with such a positive attitude, it is no wonder the Souma clan are attracted to her. She is extremely helpful and always sees that behind every person no matter how bad, there is something good about the person. You may not like her at first, thinking she is the flaky sort but once the series goes on, one will wish that there is a Tohru Honda as a friend. She managed to bring out the shyness of Souma Yuki and coax a generally bad-tempered Souma Kyo to be a little less rough on the edges. Even the cold Souma Hatori, was drawn to the young Tohru because her nature reminded him of his fiancée Kana Souma. { Don’t ask, they are distantly related …. } Each of the Juniishi’s life changes once they start to meet her. The story starts us of by letting us think that Yuki, Tohru and Kyo have something of a love triangle going on. In fact, most viewers would think that Yuki and Tohru is quite a cute couple. But watch the ending to find out who Tohru chooses.

Most memorable scene: Every scene with Tohru is amusing. She has the funniest expressions and reactions to all most every thing. Watch out for how she reacts every time the Juniishi changes from animal form to normal form. They are normally naked when returning back to their human form which causes Tohru to react really funny.

Souma Yuki. Juniishi form is a Rat. The first member of the juniishi. Quiet and reserved, he resembles a girl, if it weren’t for his clothing. Don’t be fooled by his soft appearance, this guy packs a mean punch. Trained in martial arts, he has never lost a fight with Kyo. Girls in his school adore him and have nicked name him Prince Yuki. Watch out for his fan club members. If you are wondering that with a curse like this, wouldn’t it be dangerous to go to school in a co-ed environment? Well Yuki choose this as he wanted to disobey Akito’s ruling and also to free himself from being like a caged bird all the time. Yuki, however, has developed excellent avoiding-the-female-embrace techniques during this time. Through Tohru, Yuki starts to be more drawn out from his shell. He avoids people because he thinks people cannot accept what he is, but when Tohru accept him unconditionally (mice and all ), he starts to see that life is not that bad. In later episodes, it is obvious that Yuki has fallen for Tohru. The romance of these 2 characters builds up gently and sweetly that you end up really supporting these two lead characters.

Most memorable scene(s): The onsen party, when Yuki gives Tohru a ribbon, you get an inkling he is starting to fall for her. Without giving too much away there is another sweet scene where at his brother’s costume shop with Tohru that will really make u smile.

Souma Kyo: The cat-form is not an official zodiac animal. Cheated by the rat in missing the zodiac line up, this forever sealed the animosity between a cat and mouse. In real-life Kyo and Yuki hate the sight of each other. Kyo has always tried to beat Yuki in most of everything and he undertook 4 months training in the mountains to try and beat Yuki. Kyo’s stubbornness is born out of the need to be accepted by everyone. Rough by nature, he slowly warms up to Tohru. I think his insight of humans changed when Tohru’s says that he has a good side inside of him some where. Kyo, is the total opposite of Yuki in school. Where Yuki is almost a loner, Kyo attracts a lot of attention from his classmates. They are more willing to talk to him and make fun of him. Nicknamed “NEKOZUKI” (cat-lover) and “kyon-kyon” in school, Kyo some how manages to make friends in the school in which Tohru and Yuki attends. And Yuki envies that Kyo is able to make friends so easily. Kyo however is jealous of Yuki being so calm and cool about everything. Kyo’s true demon nature reveals itself in the last few episodes.

Most memorable scene: When his little cat ears pop up from his hair when he is stressed!! And the sight of cats sticking to him like glue, are quite hilarious.

Souma Shigure: Juniishi form of a dog. The oldest of the 4 staying in the Souma house, Shigure acts like the unofficial guardian of Kyo and Yuki. Writer by occupation, Shigure seems a bit flaky and a bit perverted in certain instances. However, along other episodes, you will Shigure has a very keen eye in observing how Tohru managed to change both Yuki and Kyo. He always voices out what Kyo and Yuki always think about Tohru, but never dare to act out or say in front of her. Shigure is also part a group of Souma cousins who went to the same high school as Yuki, Kyo and Tohru. The other 2 cousins are Souma Hatori and Souma Ayame. Ayame is Yuki’s slightly effeminate older brother. Shigure is also a bane to his poor book agent. Constantly torturing her with the delays of his book deadlines and last minute cop-outs, one would think Shigure is nothing but real pain. However in the last few episodes, you will see a different side of Shigure, which shows his more serious side.

Most memorable scene: His torturing of the book-agent!! Classic!


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