After the accident in which she lost her mother, 16-year-old Tooru moves in with her grandfather, but due to his home being renovated, is unable to continue living with him. Claiming she will find someone to stay with but also fearing the criticism of her family and not wanting to burden any of her friends, Tooru resorts to secretly living on her own in a tent in the woods.
One night on her way back from work, she finds her tent buried underneath a landslide. Yuki Souma, the "prince" of her school, and his cousin Shigure Souma, a famous author, stumble across Tooru's situation and invite her to stay with them until her grandfather’s home renovations are complete.
Upon arriving at the Souma house, Tooru discovers their secret: if a Souma is hugged by someone of the opposite gender, they temporarily transform into one of the animals of the zodiac! However, this strange phenomenon is no laughing matter; rather, it is a terrible curse that holds a dark history. As she continues her journey, meeting more members of the zodiac family, will Tooru's kindhearted yet resilient nature be enough to prepare her for what lies behind the Souma household's doors?
Story & Characters
At first glance Furuba is just another Shoujo manga with nothing different to it; the average, beautiful, kind girl getting all the pretty boys. Okay so it really is that, however there's a special touch to the way the series develops itself and how you watch each character grow and interact with each other as the story progresses.
The story starts with Tohru Honda, your as average-as-you-can-get japanese girl who has lost her mother in an accident and was living alone in a tent in the Sohma's property. Of course she wasn't aware of that until they told her, to her surpirse they take her in in exchange for her doing all the housework (it was her who suggested not staying in the house 'for free'). It's when she's there that she discovers the family's biggest secret... The family has been cursed by the vengeful spirits of the Chinese Zodiac animals and when they are hugged by a member of the opposite sex they transform into the animal they were cursed by. When Tohru comes in their life they all learn to open up their heart more and realize that not all the people in the worlds are bad; this girl affects each one of them in a unique way.
It's a beautiful Anime with heart-touching subjects, there is much you can learn from it and definitely worth buying if the chance should present. There is just about everything in this series:bishonen, angst, drama,comedy, romance, shounen-ai hints and a light-hearted, kind bishojo showing us the way.
The character designs are beautiful and would characterize everyone in the series a bishonen and bishojo. The colors of the hairs and eyes of the Sohma Family match with the animal they were cursed by and it gives each one of them a unique touch.
Tohru's design is supposed to be as average as possible since she represents a normal japanese girl.
There's is also a 'big abuse' of Super-Deformed characters (Ex. Chibi form) but it just serves to highlight the emotion they are expressing and make the show even more funny.
The music is simply beautiful, although the 26-episode long series only has one opening(For Fruits Basket) and one ending (Chiisana Inori) (both performed by Ritsuko Okazaki) it serves it's purpose leaving you with a serene calm sensation!
The soundtrack used as background music is delicate and simple
However if you haven't watched the series and just purchase the soundtrack for the sheer pleasure of it you will be disappointed since it is nothing special by itself, you must see the anime first so you can relate each short song to a scene.
As far as the seiyuu's gone they all seemed to fir their character perfectly. Tohru's voice was Yui Horie who also voiced for Love Hina's Narusegawa Naru. Her sweet, sharp voice goes in tune with Tohru's personality perfectly.
You won't find a boring episode in this series. Each one develops and focuses's on a character's situation. Although the series was cut short abruptly and much ends were left untied (the manga is still running) seeing by itself will leave you satisfied (if not with a small crave for the continuity of it).
As mentioned before there's much you can learn from this anime since it deals with how we must see our own beauty and not be jealous of other's (among other important themes).
Fruits Basket is a show that might certainly sound interesting the moment you check the synopsis. People turning into the Chinese zodiac animals, dark and mysterious secrets surrounding them, cute, clueless main heroine – isn't that a great premise for a shoujo series? But only as long as it's executed accordingly.
I decided to watch Fruits Basket after seeing how high it is rated. I wouldn't normally watch a shoujo series, since I find most of them exaggerated and unrealistic – that's why, I expected Furuba to really change my opinion regarding them. Instead, I found Furuba to be exactly what I mostly disliked and avoided in this genre – with a really more unnatural and forced tone. Do not get me wrong; I do not hate Fruits Basket; yet I really couldn't feel anything else besides disappointment the moment I completed it, and this review explains why.
Furuba's story is surrounded by a dramatical and emo[tional] darkness upon which Tohru shines like a ray of redemptive hope. Because of that, 50% of the story is actually made up of Tohru's (and sometimes other characters' too) internal struggling monologues that pretty much unfold along the lines of "Is is right? Isn't it right? Is it wrong? Isn't it wrong?". The other 50% of the story might actually trick the viewer into believing that something happens - when it's usually just a repetition of the same overly used gags. There's no beginning, no development, no ending. It doesn't get anywhere.
To put it simply, Fruits Basket doesn't have a plot. Its entire 'story' could be summed up through the following sequence of (randomly ordered) events: Tohru acts dumb yet unbelievably nice which, in turn, causes other characters to also act this way, even though it isn't part of their personality, repeat; Kyo and Yuki fight, repeat; cliché and unfunny member of the Sohma family appears, repeat; Kyo and Yuki fight again, repeat; irrelevant episodic character that barely says a line throughout the whole series has an entire episode dedicated to themselves, repeat; Kyo and Yuki fight yet again, this time in a more dramatic light. Repeat.
Another bad aspect of the story is that it's ridiculously sweet, to the point that it loses all the bits of realism it could have had. It's clear that the creators wanted to have a mixed show, that doesn't only focus on the dramatical solving of tragic events, but also contains its funny moments. This in turn causes Furuba to have serious flaws, both in terms of execution and logic. Many times, the scenes change too quickly from overly-serious to (attempted) pink surrounded, humorous gags that pop up out of nowhere. Other times the events just don't add up. A clear example of this is Tohru living in a tent at the beginning of the series because she doesn't want to 'bother' anyone [thing which the viewer should find utterly amusing]. Apparently, she has a lot of people that care about her (grandfather, friends) yet they never check upon how she's doing. Yet somehow, the rest of her relatives actually go through the trouble of hiring a detective to find out where she lives when they could have simply followed her from school or asked her.
And lastly, in terms of storyline, Furuba is really stretched out for the amount of events it has to offer. Perhaps, had Furuba been a 13 episodes series and not a 26 one, with the same amount of story, it would have actually been entertaining. It's not just the slow pace that pretty much puts you to sleep; there's also the fact that sceneries, lights, wind are constantly emphasized just so that there'll be something to fill the gap and make an entire episode of something that could have been summed up in 5-10 mins.
Fruits Basket's characters are clear examples of shoujo genre gone wrong. Not only are they cliché, predictable and pretty much one-dimensional; they give off the feeling of being unnatural. There's something forced into them, whether it's the personality, the way they interact or their role. They seem to just be there for the sake of existing; therefore they don't have any apparent purpose or impact upon the viewer.
Tohru is a girl who's gone through a lot in her life, as it is clearly shown since the very beginning of the anime. Considering the amount of bad events she experienced, you'd expect her to be really introverted and (perhaps) pessimistic. Yet Tohru completely overthrows that, by not only being happy-go-lucky all the time, but also exaggeratedly clueless and nice to everybody, no matter the circumstances. There's a thin line between being inhumanly selfless and being ridiculously dumb, and Tohru seems to be stepping on it quite often. Because of that, most of the other characters seem to half divinize her. There's also another particular thing about Tohru. She doesn't seem to have any ambition for herself whatsoever, so she never asks for help – which brings up the question, is she really weak or is she really strong? Perhaps both, but she certainly isn't realistic or enjoyable.
Yuki is the least enjoyable out of the entire cast. Now, traps are one thing, effeminate characters other – but when some random character in the shows says: “Oh my, there's an interesting young person out there, but I can't tell whether it's a guy or a girl – isn't it exciting?”, that's a totally different thing. According to most of the other characters throughout the show and even himself, Yuki is a guy, though his personality, voice and appearance certainly don't show that. Why he was built that way is uncertain – there are a few attempts of making fun of this, but the humor fails, as usual.
Apart from when he's annoyingly correct by being the right person in the right place, Yuki is barely noticeable. However, his existence does seem to serve two purposes. First one is a Fruits Basket must: have a tragic, unexplainable and never actually detailed past that makes him dark and gloomy, which in turn asks for one of Tohru's miraculous healing techniques. Second is to serve as an opponent for Kyo – which is one of the most reused and unfunny gags throughout the show.
Kyo is probably the only character that actually suffers some sort of development. In the beginning, he's presented as a violent, leek-hating, anti-social idiot. In the end he's still violent and idiotic (though to a smaller scale), but at least he isn't lonely anymore and he's eaten leeks. Despite the fact that Kyo is also a cliché character, he's at least enjoyable, because he's a bit more realistic. Kyo has a lot of personality flaws, but there's one thing that compensates them: he at least sees Tohru as being weird and unhealthy for herself (which all the other characters seem to be blind to). Unfortunately, Kyo is never actually allowed to speak for himself since he's an outcast. It's clearly stated throughout the anime that the other Sohma members can't stand him; yet, as usual, it's never quite explained why. Despite this, Kyo could have had a lot of development and story going on around him. Unfortunately, the ending spoiled everything.
Sohma members+ Tohru's friends:
The rest of the Sohma family members and Tohru's friends were created so they would be as weird and different as possible, yet they all share the same characteristics. Their past is dark and tumultuous so they anchor around Tohru; on top of that, they are all one-dimensional commonly encountered types of characters. Shigure is the pervert, Kagura is the good-willed yet always screwing up girl, Momiji is the cute shouta boy, Risa is the sweet innocent girl and so on. But that's the end to it. There's nothing more to them; yet countless of repetitive unfunny gags are made of their only side. In the end, they are all too many and too similar to remember or enjoy.
ART AND SOUND
Furuba's art and sound are certainly nothing exceptional – yet they're not bad either. They all add up to the unrealistic, sweet and pink impression the show is trying to leave. There seems to be specific effort put into backgrounds and into the (often really big) eyes. The voice actors capture the personalities of the characters they portray really well (maybe sometimes too well, but it's in the series' nature to be exaggerated), especially during monologues or conflicts. The OP and ED were some of the very few generics that I constantly skipped – they were too slow-paced and fluffy for my taste. The background music also didn't really stand out – but is wasn't unpleasant.
Furuba really isn't enjoyable, unless you're a fan of slow-paced, warmth and fuzzy feelings inducing series that stretch too much and don't get anywhere. I expected something funny like Ouran or Yamato Nadeshiko before watching this; yet I was thoroughly disappointed. The whole anime seemed to be a mixture of randomly thrown in characters trying to act dramatic and special, but not leaving any particular positive impression. They were predictable, boring and irrelevant. Also, I really couldn't get over the few logic flaws (like Japan leaving its orphans to suffer in tents, Tohru being able to magically teleport herself from the forest to the cemetery and back to the forest [during the last episode] or the too sudden mood changes from tragic to overly happy).
Even though Fruits Basket had a pretty good premise to start from and quite the numerous cast of characters, it really couldn't get past the “Everything is so sad, oh! Let's bring Tohru in so it'll be nice and shiny” feeling. Furuba is a series that doesn't leave any positive feelings while watching and certainly not after being completed. The viewer is basically left where it all started from – no plot or character development whatsoever, nothing explained, nothing major accomplished. Therefore, it really doesn't get past the state of being a mediocre series with nothing special. read more
Fruits Basket is a wonderful and moving story which I consider myself fortunate enough to have been shown by a very close friend. This anime is so amazing it touch upon the strings of my heart. I laughed, I cried, and I truely felt for each of the characters.
The anime is centered around a young girl by the name of Tohru Honda, an amazing high school girl who is kind and honest. At the start of the anime she is still struggling to survive after her mothers tragic death. She is taken into the house hold of the cursed family, the Sohma's.
Is decently done, it is done beautifully but the main attraction of this anime is not the art but rather the story and the characters.
Again decently done, the intro and ending songs are a credit to the singer and composers. I'd keep them on my MP3 player. Other then that the rest of the sound track is well placed but doesnt reach out like a few other animes I know. Again decently done, but not the reason I love this anime.
Oh so many things I wanna type here. But I dont want to spoil anything. (I stongy feel that no review should even come close to touching a spoiler) Each character is amazing and wonderful. I cannot say more than each character has made me laugh, smile, cry, and think.
Story and Enjoyment
Each characters past and story is touching to discover and moving to watch. Each one is orginal, sad, and tragic. Can Tohru help break there curse, can Tohru bring happiness to this strange tragic family? If your like me you wont be able to stop yourself from watching to find out! If I could rank higher than a 10 for enjoyment I would!
Watched as a young teen: Loved it
Rewatch as an older teen: Hated it
(somewhat harsh review? please don't be offended)
Sure, when I first watched it I was caught up in the love story, and the humour of the series. I admit it, I was originally a fan! But recently I went back to rewatch what I had once found so brilliant, and I noticed something... I found it 'dreadful'.
It's a shoujo anime. Yes, it has a twist (or perhaps twists?), and a calming sort of mood to it, but almost everything is predictable, and there is certainly nothing appealing (to me) about most of the characters. Actually, the only I found tolerable (upon second viewing) was Haru, even then he wasn't exactly unique. Even Tohru's best friends were overused in the world of anime. An ex gang member, and a paranormal/psychic girl? Overused in shoujo, it seems... Though weren't be heart warmed when we discover how loyal they are to their friend Tohru who accepted them regardless of their quirks? Sure... If this is your first anime, maybe.
However, as far as entertainment goes, the series is very appealing to types who can stand the mary-sue infested reverse harem, such as this. In fact, for those types, this could very well be their favourite anime, and I can see why. It just isn't for me, and I'm sure anyone with any longing for character originality or story would agree. Though I understand the occasional desire to watch this sort of thing, it doesn't excuse the overall unbearable feeling it brings.
Still, a good watch for the younger romantic, or younger romantic at heart? read more
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