Welcome one and all to another review. Today we will be reviewing Fruits Basket, a classic shoujo anime. This makes this anime the first shoujo anime we are covering, and for those who do not know what shoujo is, it means the anime is marketed for girls. LowKev will not be providing a review today, as he has not yet seen this series. Please be sure to watch out for minor SPOILERS.Now, without further ado, let us begin the review!
Summary: Tooru Honda is a 16-year-old orphaned girl who gets invited to live in the house of her classmate, the handsome boy Yuki Souma, and his cousins, 16-year-old Kyou and 27-year-old Shigure. However, these young men and parts of the rest of their family (both close and distant) hold a curse; if they are hugged by the opposite gender, they transform into animals of the Chinese zodiac. Everyday is an adventure for sweet Tooru, as she gets to know everyone in the large family better (especially Yuki and Kyou), in both common and bizarre situations. But, the Souma family curse is certainly no laughing matter… It also holds horrible cruelty and heartbreak. -MyAnimeList
The plot of Fruits Basket, at least for the anime, can best be described as a “meet and greet” plot. Most of the series revolves around getting to know various members of the Souma family who are afflicted with the curse. While this is all good in fine, it does not do much to set up a conflict within the story, with the only other major plot point being Tooru’s dealing with living with the Souma family. The series also suffers from an uneven pacing with there being heavy development early and late in the show, while the middle sort of drags, due again to the “meet and greet” nature. Lastly, the anime ends leaving the viewer unsatisfied as no matters revolving around the curse have been closed and the ending is very much open ended. While these flaws are rather obvious when watching, they do not detract from the enjoyment of the series as the plot is rather unique, and quite fun.
Fruits Basket best quality is its characters, without a doubt. Most characters receive a strong dose of development, and the Souma family characters are perhaps the most interesting. Their personalities are highly reflective of the Zodiac animal they stand for, and no two are alike. This creates an interesting duality to look at in these characters as most have their Zodiac personality but also how their curse has afflicted their pasts and presents. One flaw is the limited development of Tooru, who while she has plenty of backstory, does not grow nearly as significantly as many other characters in the story do. This weakness is not especially noticeable, however, but is a bit of a let down since she is the primary protagonist. The only other complaint is the lack of introduction to a couple of the Zodiac characters, notably the Horse and the Rooster.
As the animation is a bit old, some viewers may find it off putting or strange. Otherwise, the animation is pretty decent and clear, and does not detract quality wise from the show.
The soundtrack does a good job of setting moods for each scene, and for the most part is enjoyable. However, the opening does a poor job early on of setting the mood, as the series is generally more lighthearted early on and becomes more serious as one moves along. As such, the opening seems a bit out of place.
The themes in Fruits Basket revolve around family and acceptance most often, as much of what the plot deals with is Tooru accepting the Souma family’s secret. One major recurring element within the series is the seeming lightheartedness of the curse actually hides a lot of tragedy. The series deals a lot with how one’s past determines a character present day personality, and how people mask how they are feeling. Overall, the anime carries very powerful themes that everyone should consider. These themes are never lost either, as the series does a good job of not straining from its serious undertones even during the more comedy oriented moments. The tension of the series builds the whole way through, but is unresolved at the end, again due to the plot being cut short.
Final Score: 8.8/10
Final Grade: B
Fruits Basket was a fairly good anime. It had an interesting plot revolving around the Chinese zodiac signs. While the plot was interesting, it did move extremely slow at times. At some points I thought about dropping the anime because of how slow it felt, but if you stick with it gets pretty good and picks up a bit. I also loved a lot of the characters. The zodiac all had unique and likeable personalities. I did not like the animation style at first but it was something that I got used to and eventually enjoyed. I also did not like the ending of the anime. It sadly felt a bit incomplete, it was continued in the manga but this is an anime review and not a manga review so I am not counting that ending. All in all I enjoyed this anime and would give it a 6.5 out of 10. I would recommend this anime to people who are looking for a nice calming anime that has some romance and fantasy aspects tied into it. – B-Ro
Final Comments: Fruits Basket, despite its age, offers a charming story filled with a wide cast of characters that does not fail to entertain. However, the anime does have some obvious flaws in its plot.
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