Well, I survived week 12 of the Spring season. The drama man! The DRAMA! Oh well I got orders to glorious Japan for the moment so in the meantime whatever… For my LATE contribution to Reverse Harem month I’d like to introduce you all to a legend. This is a story about a young girl who is well quite frankly one of the most adorable ladies fiction will ever greet us with. Her joy and energy is absolutely uncontainable no matter what trials life puts her through! But this story is only partly about such an adorable and delicious Onigiri. The rest is about an old family that’s cursed with a troublesome burden. Ladies and gentlemen, it is my great pleasure today to revive my soul and review the Anime Classic, Fruits Basket.
Warnings: None, perfectly clean and safe for all ages.
Availability: It’s Funimation. Amazon has it, and I’m sure you can find it elsewhere no problems at all. This IS widely considered to be a classic.
Basic Premise: Fruits Basket is a 24 episode series following the life of a very unfortunate girl. Tohru Honda is our protagonist who is currently living in a tent because of various circumstances. Well she’s found out by the family that owns the land. The Sohma clan who decides to take her in. Problem is these Sohma types have a troublesome little surprise. If they’re embraced by someone of the opposite sex they’re turned into animals based on the animals of the Chinese Zodiac +1 (There be 12…+1!) The story focuses on relationships on a deep level and how this annoying curse can affect EVERYTHING. Tohru getting to know these 13 cursed individuals is what this series is about and it does this job well. (22/25)
Characters: Fruits Basket is a character driven series. There are 15 main characters (Tohru and our 14 Sohma family members) with a core cast of 4 and various other people in Tohru’s life rounding off the cast.
Tohru Honda: A Cheerful, upbeat, unstoppable girl with an iron will. The young girl has recently lost her mother the most precious family to her and is now for better or worse alone in the world. She doesn’t give into despair though and you’re going to go through the series wondering how she does it. Her ability to remain cheerful no matter what happens is a key point in this series. Her unqiue personality does however make sense considering her upbringing. Still doesn’t make her any less unique. Voiced by Laura Bailey and Horie Yui-san
Yuki Sohma: The First of the Sohma clan we meet. In Tohru’s class, he is known as a Prince due to his aloofness (caused by the curse) immensely popular with the ladies he carries a regal air wherever he goes but strip away appearances and we find a scarred and scared young man who isn’t good at getting along with others. He is the Mouse. He is voiced by Eric Vale and Hisakawa Aya-san
Shigure Sohma: Our troll, Shigure is a novelist who loves to tease absolutely everyone no matter what or when. He provides a good portion of our comic relief and serves as the ‘adult’ of the house. Shigure particularly loves trolling his editor. He is the Dog and is voiced by John Burgmeier and Okiayu Ryotaro-san
Kyo Sohma: Kyo is the Black Sheep of the family cursed by a deeper curse then the others. He is the Cat representing one version of the story of the Zodiac and is thus considered to be a terrible existence by the rest of the family.. He recently returned from a four month training experience in the mountains all to defeat his eternal rival Yuki. He’s hot-headed and very passionate. He is voiced by Jerry Jewell and Tomokazu Seki-san
Our core cast is joined by others including Tohru’s Best friends/surrogate family and of course the other cursed souls whom the anime doesn’t get to all of which is regrettable. The cast we do get though feels somewhat complete, but after reading the manga, I do lament those who were neglected. (20/25)
Animation: Well this was designed to be a shoujo, boys are Bishie, girls are somewhat realistic. Animation quality is pretty good. Nothing that really stands out which was the point I suppose. The Animation tells its story. (11.5/12.5)
Music: The one thing I have to say about the Music of this series is I don’t think I’ve ever heard a more unqiue opening then well… it’s simply entitled “For Fruits Basket.” It’s a very slow song. It doesn’t feel like an opening at all but I personally enjoy it. (11.5/12.5)
Production: Here’s where things get hairy. The anime covers about 50 chapters of the 134 chapters of the manga. What’s that? Why yes! there is plenty left out! Where’s Season 2? Nobody quite knows. The Anime was produced while the 8 year manga was still in production and both the Anime and the Manga were very very very well received! America even tried to get Studio DEEN to make more. I don’t think anyone knows why it never properly finished. Why Kyo went on his 4 month training journey. How Tohru was connected to both Kyo and Yuki when she was much younger. The two Zodiac animals they completely left out. Or even exactly what the hell the curse actually was! This really really weakened the anime and while some critics called it a good stopping point. I just stare and wonder why they didn’t finish it?! It’s a work only partly done! It’s not like it would not have sold? Why not?! Well it’s been too long now. No way to correct this mistake. Watch the anime, but finish this story in the manga PLEASE (14/25)
Story Premise- 22/25
Characters – 20/25
Animation – 11.5/12.5
Music – 11.5/12.5
Performance and Production – 14/25
Final Score – 79/100 = 79% – C
A well scored story hurt the most by production as in leaving it half finished for no discernible reason. Ugh oh well. Apparently between packing for GLORIOUS NIPPON and starting the Spring Animeseason that’ll ironically get cut to shreds since I’ll be working way too much for the next couple of months he thinks I’ll have time to tag team the first review of April Fooling Gag month. So! Next up on the Caijin Samurai is the most perverted unperverted series EVER The Samurai and I are teaming up to bring to you all…
Seitokai Yakuindomo (SYD)