[Disclaimer: I am Reviewing the English Dub. Also, there may be some spoilers along the way. You have been warned!!!]
“I don’t think anyone is born knowing the reason why they’re here it’s just something you have to find as you go along”- Honda Tohru (Fruits Basket)
At first glance, Fruits Basket may appear to be an anime catered specifically to girls, but when looked closely, it is obvious that it can be enjoyed by a much wider audience. Since Fruits Basket is a reverse-harem series with elements of fantasy thrown in, it is only natural to bracket it in the realm of Shoujo anime. However, that is not the case because Fruits Basket adds depth and originality to the generic world of reverse-harems.
The Story is about an orphan girl named Tohru Honda whose life changes after encountering two members of the Sohma family: Shigure and Yuki. Ooh and guess what else? Similar to other fantasy shows, there is a curse upon the Sohma family, which turns them into their designated horoscope animals when hugged by the opposite sex. Fruits Basket is a loveable anime that essentially centralizes around Tohru Honda as she gets deeply involved with the Sohma family.
One of the good parts of the story is the fact, that they introduced a character in each episode, many times for comedic value while also efficiently advancing the story. The fact that the story had like no plot at points really made this worth watching and when it did have plot or story telling was spot on.
The subtle Romance that is seen here and there can be hard to notice if you have not seen an romance anime before if you have then it will be easy to notice, The romance parts of the show are not “lovey dovey” like in most romance anime it’s just enough there to make you go, “awwwwwww that’s cute”.
There is a love triangle between Yuki, Kyo, and Tohru, and then there are side characters who just loves “Prince Yuki” as he is so lovingly named.
The one flaw I had for the story was that at times the emotions were lacking in terms of the situation. For example, instances where there should have been seriousness, there wasn’t, and vice-versa. Some things were just simplified or brushed over.
Pros: Unlike most anime of the Shoujo genre tend to do with the over dramatic scenes (that can often make you hate the characters because you often cannot relate to them in these situations) these were very few and far between.
The animation compliments the story beautifully. It complements the mood of the Anime very well. It is pretty light-hearted water color art (I think). Personally, I love anime done with water colors but it’s not for everyone and I realize it can be a turn off to some folks. Yet, when it needed to be dark, the dark art style/animation was done beautifuly and captured the mood accordingly.
Something to point out is that the people doing the background added a lot detail which was wonderful to see. The characters moved in the background scenes furthering the story even more, such as continued fight scene’s occurring as if you were really there.
The accompanying music/dialog of the show is great. The soundtracks played in this anime fit with ongoing situation while also enhancing the viewer’s the mood accordingly. There is no soundtrack in this anime that is misplaced or out-of-place and the opening is very fitting for it tells the story abstractly for what is happening throughout the entirety of the shows. As the show wraps up it does tend to feels a little out-of-place towards the end of the show but at a very minimal level.
The voice cast they have for doing the show is marvelous. Everyone played their roles successfully and they were enjoyable to listen to. Two of the primary characters, Yuki and Kyo were a perfect fit for the characters they played, whereas Yuki’s brother was over the top in such a successful way that only anime can do. It was obvious that the voice cast team was carefully considered.
Characters are always one of three things likeable or unlikable or worse--indifferent. Personally, Fruits Basket had mostly all likable characters to some extent. Each character has a different personality and if feels like they gave each character individuality.
One character that was thoroughly enjoyable and even a role-model to some point is, Tohru Honda. The Shoujo genre is filled with the “simpleton” archetype. However, Tohru (although not the brightest) is an incredibly kind-hearted soul who holds this show up. She is the epitome of a kindred soul who actively helps out everyone that enters her life and impacts them in a positive way. Even though her life has been filled with hardships after she became an orphan, she always has a smile on her face. That is rarely seen in Characters who have not had a good life.
Kyo Sohma is the typical Guy who gets teased and picked on a lot by the other cast members. Kyo is the a person who has a hard time expressing emotions and is more kept to himself. He also has an outrageous rivalry with the other primary male character, Yuki. Eventually he opens up as the story progresses and he becomes more of a normal Human (although that is not quite right). He becomes the fan favorite as the show progresses and later on we learn that his life was not all rainbows and butterfly It is darker than we thought.
Yuki Sohma is a stereo typical dude in many ways. He is smart and hot and everyone wants to be his girlfriend, and he is the kind of person the males inspire to be. Unlike many shows he is extremely protective of Tohru throughout the whole show (surprisingly so is Kyo). To the credit of the show all the characters are flawed by their curse but with the help of Tohru they find all begin to find their way.
Shigure is the typical pervert comedy relief character done right almost to a “T”. The one flaw I had with his character is that his perverseness is played at some really strange times in the show, but he can be very serious and very manipulative.
The anime does a good job in creating a realistic and appealing characters, they are not two dimensional.
This show introduces characters like Kyo, Momji, and Hatori early on, and they too are very good characters that Tohru of course helps. Most of the characters are blessed with good development. Few shows have the ability to juggle this many characters this effectively. There are even character that have episodes entitled to them that help to flush that character out and give you a greater look into the Sohma family. I have to admit that some of the characters, after they were introduced, soon had me in tears. I felt sorry for them. The writers made one care about each character and in a different way.
Admittedly, some characters like Yuki Sohma’s character development were very subtle and discreet. The changes crept up on you, much like real life. Most of his changes were psychological. Out of the main cast he is the one that is done subtle and not at all normal for the Shoujo genre.
As for the extra “kawaii stuff”, you will have to decide for yourself.
The Yuki Fan-Club Girls, love ‘em or hate ‘em, this is something that only you can decide. Personally I liked them at the end for they also helped with character development. They made you stop and actually look at all the changes that had occurred in Yuki.
Over all, the enjoyment level for me was a 9/10. I had an amazing time watching this show during both its good and bad times. I gave this show a “9” because of its witty comedy, awesome characters, and a story that was overall intertwined. It is must see show. The whole time I watched it, I was entranced, with that being said, I hope all of you will take the take time and watch this surprisingly brilliant anime and enjoy it as much as