This Review contains spoilers.
“After all, a rice ball could never be part of a fruits basket.”
Series: Fruits Basket
Published: 2016, by Yen Press
Genre: Sequential Art, Manga, Fantasy, Romance, Graphic Novels, Young Adult
Contains: Strong language
I’ve held the Fruits Basket series close to my heart since I was younger, having fallen in love and devotedly collected the original manga series since it’s release in the UK. The moment I saw there was a collector’s edition I knew I had to own them, and I wasn’t disappointed. The collection has twelve chapters in the first volume, around three of the original volumes in one, with a beautifully designed cover of protagonist, Tohru Honda on the front and her Mother, Kyoko, on the back.
It tells the story of optimist, Tohru, who gets involved with a family cursed by the spirits of the zodiac. There are thirteen members cursed by the spirits, one for each of the zodiac, and one for the cat – based of a traditional folk tale involving the animal spirits attending a banquet, within which the rat tricks the cat out of being involved. Whenever a cursed member hugs someone of the opposite sex they turn into their according zodiac animal for an fluctuating amount of time, Although, the plot line may appear odd and slightly ridiculous, Natsuki Takaya creates an entertaining yet heartbreaking story of love, friendship and family relations. This, however, does not mean it falls short of tear-jerking events of abuse and struggling relationships outside the cursed Sohma family.
As mentioned previously, this series is one I’ve adored throughout my childhood, and one of the main reasons for this is the lack of despisable characters. Although, this is the first volume of a twelve book series, the character progression is already forming with Kyo Sohma, a high schooler who is introduced as an anger-fueled rebel. However, already there’s signs of his mellow, careful side whilst around Tohru. In his first scene, we’re shown him initially shouting at her whilst in the midst of fighting with Yuki, a fellow zodiac member. Yet, at around chapter seven, the pair put aside their differences to retrieve Tohru from her unloved home, where he comforts her. This scene is definitely one of my favourites in the volume, managing to break my heart at Tohru’s first sign of weakness, as readers are usually submitted to her strong will, and Kyo’s gentler side. The volume ends at chapter twelve; Hatori Sohma’s zodiac reveal. Since my first read of the series, this scene has been one of the most heartbreaking to me, revealing a past love interest and his ’embarrassing’ animal transformation. His character has always interested me, finding his mysterious demeanor and ability to erase memories a little out of place. However, I’m sure I’ll understand better the more I revisit.
Overall, my love for Fruits Basket is still breathing, and since rereading the first volume growing stronger once more.