Fruits Basket (2001) Review

Kyo (Left), Shigure (Back),
Yuki (Right), Tohru (Front)

Every time I enter into a Barnes and Noble I have to check the manga section. I always have to see if there is anything new that I might have to pick up while secretly hoping to find Absolute Boyfriend. Anyway, most recently when I went, I found a collector’s edition of Fruits Basket as well as Fruits Basket Another. For some reason I really had the urge to re-watch it, as it was one of my all time favorites and I hadn’t watched it in what feels like forever. When I was in middle school, I had the Funimation channel on our TV. Every weekday had the same shows and I never failed to watch them every night. Among those shows was Fruits Basket.

Fruits Basket is a story following a high school girl named Tohru Honda. Miss Honda lacks common sense and is super clumsy. Due to the sudden loss of her mother, she is living in a tent in the woods while her grandfather’s house is being renovated. On her way to school one day, she stumbles across a house in the middle of the woods. She is then greeted by a classmate of hers, the mysterious Yuki Sohma. Now, Yuki is a rather quiet individual and keeps his distance from all of his classmates.

When a mudslide engulfs Miss Honda’s tent, she suddenly become homeless again and Yuki and his cousin Shigure give her a place to stay until her grandfather’s house is finished with the renovations. Just as Tohru begins to get settled in another disaster strikes from the sky. Another member of the Sohma family, Kyo, comes crashing through the roof. As Yuki and Kyo cannot seem to get along, a fight is soon to breakout. Que Tohru’s clumsiness, and she trips on a board trying to stop the fight and then suddenly Kyo transforms into a cat. Come to find out, the Sohma family is cursed by the Chinese zodiac animals and they transform when they are hugged by the opposite sex. The rest of the anime is Tohru getting closer to the Sohma family and the journey to breaking the curse surrounding them.

Tohru Honda with members of the Sohma family

I truly think my only complaint about Fruits Basket is that the 2001 anime didn’t cover the entire story. I understand that a lot of times companies only get a certain amount of content in their contract and use that to see how well received it is throughout the communities. My issue with that is that Fruits Basket was a hit. It had a very large fan base. So, I don’t understand why they didn’t finish the story. I think it bothers me as much as it does because where the anime ends, it just feels incomplete. The loose ends are not tied up at all and all you can think is what the heck just happened. I immediately went to my library to find the manga as soon as I finished that anime. I remember thinking “there is no way that this is how it ends”. I was right. The second half explains everything, and in my personal opinion is far superior to the first half. The ending was just super rushed and it kind of killed the entire show. Also, with the direction the anime took, Tohru didn’t even meet all the members of the zodiac. It again just feels unfinished and rushed. Finally, for being predominately female demographic, the lack of love story was shocking. Yes, it was a story of friendship, but they left out pretty much all of the love story between Kyo and Tohru. They hint at it, but there is never any solid evidence that there is a spark of romance between the two. Disappointing.

However, there are also many positive qualities to the show as well. First off, I absolutely love the concept of the story. Changing into animals when being embraced by the opposite sex due to a curse on a family, it was original and very interesting. It certainly won me over with the concept alone. Then of course, you can’t forget about the amazing characters. They all have their own distinct personalities. I found myself loving them all for different reasons. Kyo, for instance, his lack of charm and inability to communicate has its own charm. Yuki is super sweet and more on the shy side. Shigure and Hatzuharu always have me laughing with their personalities. The list could go on and on. There is not a single character that I dislike.

Another thing that I really enjoy is the music. The opening theme song fits perfectly for the show it is representing. There is something about it that I can’t help but love. I even downloaded the song to my Ipod forever ago. The closing song is pretty well done as well. However, my absolute favorite song is Momiji’s song he sings at the hot spring. It is super cute and honestly got stuck in my head a lot.

Overall, I truly love Fruits Basket. One way or another, it has made it into my heart forever. Whether it was the songs or the characters, I have so many special memories with it. If I am not basing Fruits Basket on the manga, it holds up on its own. It may not be perfect, but it is worth the time to check it out.

I feel like I am rating this one a little higher than I should. Maybe it is because it is just so nostalgic for me. Maybe it has something to do with how much I love the characters. I am not really sure. However, everything that I complained about will now be solved. Funimation has started to release a new reboot of Fruits Basket and from my understanding, the entire story will be included this time. I know there are either six or seven episodes currently out. I have not watched it yet because I am more of the binge watch kind of person, but you can bet as soon as all the episodes are out Fruits Basket will be at the top of my list. While we wait, I suggest you go watch the original (or pick up the manga).

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