Fruits Basket Vol. #16 (Mania.com)

By:Sakura Eries
Review Date: Wednesday, September 12, 2007
Release Date: Tuesday, April 10, 2007



Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Natsuki Takaya
Translated by:Alethea and Athena Nibley
Adapted by:Lianne Sentar

What They Say
Tragedy continues to smother the Sohma family, and it seems to be spreading to those connected to the Sohmas as well. Kyo has met Tohru's mother in the past, and his memory involves Tohru's birth. Is she ready to hear the truth about her mother and father? Meanwhile, Yuki declares his independence from the actions of others. How will Akito handle Yuki's declaration?

The Review
Kyo's troubled thoughts lead him to recall his memories of Tohru's mom Kyoko and her attempts to help him with his emotional burdens years ago. And thus, through Kyo, Takaya tells the remarkable story of how an encounter with a student teacher named Katsuya Honda transformed the dreaded delinquent known as the "Red Butterfly" into the adoring mother that Tohru still holds dear in her heart.

Meanwhile, Machi is going through life simply existing. For years, her life revolved around striving to meet the expectations of others, but in the end she was abandoned and left dulled and empty for her efforts. However, as Machi witnesses the changes taking place in Yuki, she finds herself moving towards change as well.

Volume 16 provides quite a bit of previously unknown background material on Tohru's parents and Machi, whom we haven't really seen outside the student council. While the connection between Kyo and Kyoko is vague, Kyo obviously knows more about Tohru's mother than he has let on. Kyo introduces and loosely narrates Kyoko's and Katsuya's story, but the story is largely told from Kyoko's perspective. Despite the hackneyed "forbidden romance between teacher and middle school student" aspect of Kyoko's and Katsuya's relationship, Takaya does touch on deep subjects regarding meaning, existence, purpose, and change. While Machi's circumstances are drastically different than Kyoko's, Takaya continues with similar themes as Machi grapples with the direction of her life and the necessity of her being.

Although much of this volume is dedicated to past events, flashbacks, and introspection on the part of Kyo and Machi, the story does move forward, and Yuki especially appears to be determined to progress beyond the person that he is, both at his school and within the Sohma family.

Extras include the Fans Basket section, embedded author's comments which includes results of a Furuba character popularity contest among Japanese readers, the cast of characters (which still does not include Kureno), and a nine-page excerpt from Volume 1 of Tokyopop's release of "Me and My Brothers."



Mania Grade: A-
Art Rating: A-
Packaging Rating: B
Text/Translatin Rating: B-
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Released By: TOKYOPOP
MSRP: 9.99
Pages: 216
ISBN: 978-1-59816-024-6
Size: B6
Orientation: Right to Left
Series: Fruits Basket