Fruits Basket Vol. #06 (Mania.com)
Review Date: Wednesday, March 08, 2006
Release Date: Wednesday, December 01, 2004
Translated by:Alethea Nibley and Athena Nibley
What They Say
Delving into the recesses of Kyo's past, we find the Sohma trio returning home on a rainy day. There a mysterious man who has known Kyo for a long time meets them. Trust, loyalty and the bonds of family and friendship are tested, as Tohru must help Kyo deal with the "monsters" that he's been trying to avoid.
Tokyopop loves the series, and it shows. Continuing with the established cover style for this title, this volume's feature is Momiji, the rabbit, in his school uniform. He's captured in fine detail, from his tiny flower earrings to his purple fingernail polish (!). His image is repeated behind him in the now familiar transparent purple bar. Above his head is the Fruits Basket logo. The back cover is comprised of the Fruits Basket logo, a brief summary against a lavender and white background, and a yellow bunny in the corner (which rather resembles a skinny Pikachu).
The inside covers include full-color pictures against a lavender background. The front has a small picture (perhaps a little too small) of a smiling Tohru, and the back sports a picture of Tohru with Kyo and Yuki in animal form -- so cute! Extras include Zodiac information about the year of the rabbit, embedded author’s notes, and the "Fans Basket" section.
There is a great deal of drama in this volume. For those of you familiar with the anime, this volume contains the material that was used for TV series' climax, which was emotionally intense. Takaya does a wonderful job conveying that intensity through a mixture of screen tones, flashbacks, and close-ups. However, some of her action scenes are a little confusing and require a few moments of staring to figure out exactly what is going on.
While I do enjoy Takaya’s character designs, I do wish her characters were more distinct. Without the benefit of color (which is an advantage that the anime has), I often get confused between Akito and Yuki, Kagura and Tohru, and Shigure and Hatori. There’s a lovely title page for Ch. 34, and for the life of me, I can’t figure out if it’s Ayame or Yuki or another character.
Tokyopop keeps all honorifics (and any other funky nicknames) which is great for manga purists, but may be a little confusing for new readers. Newly introduced honorifics (as well as cultural notes) are explained in footnotes; however the text is very tiny, and a glossary would probably have better accommodated those who don’t pick up those details quickly. A couple of sound effects are translated with overlays or with tiny side text, but the majority is left untranslated.
CONTENT (may contain spoilers)
Chapters 31- 33 are Kyo-centric. After some comedy featuring a Kagura violent outburst, there is a surprise visit from Kazuma. Kazuma Sohma is Kyo’s shishou, his adopted father and martial arts instructor, and his visit is the catalyst that reveals much about Kyo’s past, the miserable fate of those possessed by the spirit of the cat, and Kyo’s greatest fears. Kazuma, Kyo’s shishou, sees how Kyo is prisoner of these fears and forces him to face them in a huge gamble where Tohru’s response will either make or break Kyo.
Chapter 34 touches on the impact that the events surrounding Kyo have on Yuki, Kagura, and Tohru, and the final chapter in this volume completely switches the focus from Kyo to Yuki as he tries to get to know big brother Ayame better by paying a visit to his extremely interesting fashion establishment.
For those familiar with the anime, this volume makes it quite obvious that the manga events were rearranged for the anime. The series uses the revelation of Kyo’s true form as the dramatic ending point of the series. In the manga, however it is simply a plot turning point. It’s a major one, but the story continues pushing on beyond it (there are still characters that need to be introduced!). Also, whereas the anime drags a lot of characters into this turning point, the manga version is solely a moment between Tohru and Kyo.
Chapter 34 is rather weak – I just feel like Yuki is being whiny in that chapter ( no, I’m not a big Yuki fan), and chapter 35 is the infamous visit to Ayame’s shop—which, despite the reordering of events, matches the anime version almost exactly.
What I enjoy about the manga version is that it delves deeply into histories that the anime only touches upon. Kazuma’s character and his motivation especially are more clearly presented than in the anime version, which felt rushed.
Mania Grade: A-
Art Rating: B+
Packaging Rating: A+
Text/Translatin Rating: B+
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Released By: TOKYOPOP
Orientation: Right to Left