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Fruits Basket Series Box Set (2004)

1 rating: 5.0
Animation movie

Fruits Basket(the name refers to a children's game similar to "The Farmer in the Dell") has all the elements of a classicshojo(girl's) series: a sweetly domestic heroine, unconventional living arrangements, and two romantic candidates--one exquisitely … see full wiki

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1 review about Fruits Basket Series Box Set (2004)

As much as your heart believes

  • Aug 19, 2005
I have my daughters to thank for my discovery of "Fruits Basket." Without their interest in the manga and then the anime series, I probably never would have thought to give it a second glance. But I'm so glad that I did.

My first impression of the story was that it was the ultimate adolescent girl fantasy: a teenage girl meets several boys who, when she hugs them (usually by accident), they transform into animals of the Zodiac. What could be more precious...and nauseating? And yet, the story that develops from this premise -- a family whose members are cursed, generation upon generation, by the Zodiac animals -- is rich in character development and has much more depth than I originally expected. This is a story of mystery and love, told with both pathos and humor.

The animation for "Fruits Basket" is so beautiful as to defy description. I'd be hard-pressed to find a single frame of animation that wasn't worthy of displaying on a wall in a gallery somewhere, and when such gorgeous drawings are put together in such a clever, unexpected way, the result is absolutely breathtaking. The drawing style is light and funny, or somber and muted, or bright and colorful, as it serves the story and the characters.

And what characters! Tohru Honda is the driving force behind the story, the teenager who meets and befriends the Sohmas. Her story is a tragic one, but the brave face she puts on it and her ruthlessly positive outlook are admirable. Quite simply, Tohru has a way of looking at the world that is infectious, and affects everyone around her in surprising ways. Tohru's best friends prior to meeting the Sohmas are Uo and Hana, who make frequent appearances in the story and add a great deal to it. They go to school with Yuki Sohma (who changes into the Rat), the "Prince" of their school with his own fan club of appreciative girls. Yuki lives with an older relative, Shigure (the Dog), an eccentric writer and perhaps my personal favorite character of the whole series. Kyo Sohma (the Cat) also comes to live with them, and the long-standing antagonism between Kyo and Yuki quickly becomes the stuff of legend. As the series goes on, Tohru meets more members of the Sohma clan. Not all of them shape-change into animals, but many of them do, and before it's over she has met nearly every Zodiac animal. We come to know each of the Sohmas, and through them, more about Tohru as well. By the end of the show, these are characters that you can't help but care about.

"Fruits Basket" has a definite target audience -- adolescent girls like Tohru -- and as such, love and romance play a part. But the good thing is that romance is not the only underlying element of the story, and it's told in such a clever, charming way that it doesn't become cloying or overdone. Along the way, the story also examines love that turns to obsession, bonds of friendship, family ties, and acceptance of differences (sometimes big ones) between different people. This last theme, acceptance, runs through the whole series, but becomes most powerful in the last few episodes. If you think the original story of "Beauty and the Beast" but take away the Disney gloss and bring it back down to its classic roots, then add a background of Eastern rather than Western culture, you might be getting close to the sort of thematic effect "Fruits Basket" has.

These themes are all there under the surface of "Fruits Basket," but the surface is a story that made me laugh out loud more times than I can count, and made my eyes mist over almost as often. And in the last episode, it made me cry openly like a little kid -- not quiet tears that slip down your cheek, but the sort of tears that hurt your eyes and make your nose feel puffy. Only the most jaded heart could watch the whole series and not be moved by what happens in the last episode. If you think that a bunch of drawings and voices put together with the right story can't pack an emotional wallop...think again.

"Fruits Basket" is funny, it's honest, it's clever, it's beautiful to look at, it's unabashedly positive, and it's an absolute joy to watch. If you're an adult and you have kids (especially girls), don't pop this in the DVD player and walk away...sit down with them to watch it. It's the kind of thing that kids and adults can really enjoy together, and it's something that will stay with you afterwards. It's something that I think might just touch your heart, as it touched mine.

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October 12, 2010
This is one of my all time favs. I basically share your opinion of it exactly, even though it's been a long time since I've watched it. I really never thought I'd like since I was past the target audience age group, but now I think it's the reason I like smilar anime to this day. Awesome review, thanks!
October 10, 2010
Great review once again
October 02, 2010
I'm a fan of Fruits Basket as well, and I think you really hit the nail on the head with this review. Thank you so much for sharing it. :)
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