Fruits Basket is a very old anime that holds a special place in my heart. That gives the review away, I know, but I do have a couple of things that I wasn’t super happy about when comparing it to the manga.
After the accident in which she lost her mother, 16-year-old Tohru 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, Tohru 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 Tohru’s situation and invite her to stay with them until her grandfather’s home renovations are complete.
Upon arriving at the Souma house, Tohru 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 Tohru’s kindhearted yet resilient nature be enough to prepare her for what lies behind the Souma household’s doors? – MyAnimeList.com
What I Liked About It
I think the best part of this show are the characters that fill it. There are many, most of them being members of the Souma family and therefore being cursed. The anime dove into most of their pasts (there were a few family members we didn’t get to meet) and made you genuinely care for them.
Tohru has been said to be annoying and dumb, but I disagree. Yes, she is a bit of an airhead, but she’s incredibly sincere and honestly wants the best for everyone. Every time I watch this show Tohru makes me wants to be better a person. She’s so selfless and positive that it’s infectious despite her troubled past.
She’s a great balance to her two best friends Hana and Uo, both of which have very strong personalities of their own. Even though the show technically revolves around the Souma’s curse, I feel like the real story lies within Tohru and how she changes the lives of everyone around her.
The story manages to be silly and sad all at once. The Souma’s turning into animals when hugged by the opposite gender is funny in its animation and reactions but really tragic when you think about it. The kids are getting older, some of them already adults, and the idea of not being able to hug or be intimate with someone you love is heartbreaking.
We see this a few times throughout the story, and the ‘arc’ that stuck out in my mind was Hatori’s. Out of all the family he was the closest to getting what they all dreamed about, just to have snatched away in the blink of an eye. I won’t spoil anything (though the anime is pretty old,) but that scenario was one of a few that made me cry.
What I Disliked
My main problem with the anime doesn’t have anything to do with the story itself but how the writers chose to change certain things when taking it from the manga.
One of these problems is with where they ended the anime. We get no resolution as far as Tohru’s future or whether she was able to break the curse. Now if you read the manga you’ll get a much better ending and a much longer story, but a lot of people don’t take the time needed to invest themselves in reading a longer series. It’s really unfortunate ho many fans missed out on the true conclusion to the story.
They don’t introduce every cursed member of the family. Rin, the horse, never makes an appearance despite being a pivitol part of Hatsuharu’s story. Her arc is actually one of my favorites and she ends up having a decent effect on the ending.
More important then Rin however, is Kureno Souma. We never see him at all in the anime despite him being the only member of the family who has actually managed to break the curse. He was formally the Rooster and is the reason why Akito has / kills birds.
Now I understand that bringing Kureno into the story would mean progressing said story, something the animators chose not to do. I get it. But it would’ve made the ending with Akito so much better if you understood his reasoning behind being so angry.
My biggest issue with the anime is that they never revealed Akito to be a woman, which she is. As I mentioned above, I know they had to be picky with what they chose to animate because of episode restrictions and such, but the point of the last episode is to get some kind of resolution with Akito. I feel like a big part of understanding her character is knowing why she’s pretending to be a man. She is a villain in the story, but the anime made her out to just be rude when there was so much more to her then we were told.
If you enjoyed the anime then you need to read the manga. It is such a good story, and not finishing it through to the end is an injustice to you as a fan. I really enjoy the anime for what it is. They brought the characters to life in an amazing way and it will always hold a special place in my heart.
Thank you so much for reading! If you have something you’d like to add to the discussion, please feel free to leave a comment. I love when you guys respond. It’s nice to have some conversation about something we mutually enjoy!