Fruits Basket Set (Thinpak) -

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  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: B
  • Packaging Rating: A
  • Menus Rating: A
  • Extras Rating: A+
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: FUNimation Entertainment, Ltd.
  • MSRP: 69.98
  • Running time: 650
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Fruits Basket

Fruits Basket Set (Thinpak)

By Jennifer Rocks     January 21, 2008
Release Date: November 20, 2007

Fruits Basket Set (Thinpak)
© FUNimation Entertainment, Ltd.

What They Say
The Sohma family is cursed; however, this is no ordinary family curse. When a member of the family is embraced by a person of the opposite gender, they transform into an animal of the Chinese Zodiac!

The Sohmas have managed to keep the curse private for generations, but when a young girl stumbles upon their secret, life in the Sohma household changes forever. Conflict erupts as zodiac rivals clash in this most unusual household. Young Tohru Honda must promise the secret will remain her own, or face the consequences!

Contains all 26 episodes!

The Review!
Dogs and Cats and Rats and . . . Onigiri, oh my! Fruits Basket is a classic story of a girl with a heart of gold who brightens the lives of those around her.

I primarily listened to the original Japanese stereo track. As a dialogue focused show, there isn’t much crazy sound work going on, but both language tracks were nice and clear. Oddly, the first handful of episodes were mixed very quietly; I had to crank up the volume to get to a normal listening level. All of the subsequent episodes were mixed normally. The music for the show is fantastic and perfectly sets the mood, whether it’s serious, comedic or romantic. As an added touch both the opening and closing themes are dubbed for the English track.

This is a very bright and colorful show, which is well captured in this transfer. However, there were some definite issues on my set up with aliasing on the fine line details in both pan and zoom shots. Aside from this, the show looks great with a very appealing simple and bright style.

The collectors box is made of sturdy cardboard and has a great piece of character art featured on both main panels. The art is of Tohru, Yuki, and Kyo and captures their personalities perfectly. The top and spine both have the show title over a white background. The bottom of the box has the technical information.

The thin keep cases are all made of clear plastic and feature dual artwork on the covers. Each outside front image has character artwork over a pastel gingham background. The backside has a listing of the episode number and a description of the episode. The inside image of each cover insert has great character vignette images. To really put this set over the top packaging-wise, each disc is printed in color with character art – disc one is Tohru in blue, two is Yuki in purple, three is Kyo in orange, and four is the trio in green. Lovely!

The menus use a soft background that is overlaid widescreen-style with a character image. Each menu screen on each disc has different character art featuring many of the various characters. The different menu pages each feature different musical cues from the show. The menus are all easy to navigate and quick to load.

This thinpak collection comes packed with extras. The standard goodies are all here, textless opening, character profiles, interview with the director and a gallery. There is no textless closing here, due to the style of recapping each episode during the credits rather than playing them over a set piece of animation. The English cast interview is interesting, in that it is an audio track played over art from the show. Without any visual cues it is easy to loose track of who is who. The Fruits Basket Room extras are fun, with Yui Horie, the voice of Tohru, interviewing her fellow cast mates – Aya Hisakawa (Yuki), Tomokazu Seki (Kyo), and Ryotaro Okiayu (Shigure). Another great feature are the eyecatch galleries, where Yui narrates and explains the eyecatch pieces used between scenes. It’s nice to see the cute artwork in the eyecatches, as they often flash by too quickly in the show to really get an idea of what you are seeing.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Tohru Honda has perfected the skill of looking on the bright side of life. Though she is an orphan, living alone in a small tent in the middle of a forest, keeping up her good grades at high school, as well as working nights to pay for her schooling, you would never guess it to look at her. Tohru is the essence of cheerfulness and faces hardships with a positive attitude while being extremely compassionate to everyone around her.

One morning as Tohru is walking through the forest to get to school, she stumbles upon a secluded house. It turns out that the cutest boy at school, Yuki Sohma, lives there with his uncle Shigure. They are shocked to discover that Tohru has been living on their land in a tent and quickly see the potential for a beneficial relationship. They offer Tohru a place to stay in exchange for her services as a housekeeper for them.

As Tohru settles in another member of the Sohma family, Kyo, arrives to challenge Yuki to a fight. Kyo and Yuki are rivals, though Kyo has not yet been able to best Yuki. Soon after Kyo’s arrival, Tohru discovers the Sohma family secret; that certain members of the family are born with the curse of being possessed by one of the twelve zodiac animals. Kyo is a special case, though he too suffers from the Sohma family curse, he is possessed by the cat spirit, who is not part of the zodiac thanks to some trickery on the part of the rat spirit. The curse manifests by causing the Sohmas to transform into their animal shape anytime they are hugged by a member of the opposite sex, or if they are stressed or weakened. Tohru is sworn to secrecy under the threat of having her memory erased.

The curse itself sets the stage for many wacky and hilarious hijinks. In particular the episode when Tohru’s friends, who are unaware of the curse, come over to help clean the house and Yuki, Kyo, and Shigure are constantly transforming is a riot. The show does comedy really well, and another highlight episode centers around the Yuki fanclub trying to get Tohru out of the way.

Though there are lots of great comedic moments, what the show really does best is the relationships and subtle character development. Most of the Sohma family members have a hard time dealing with the curse. Yuki has grown up being very quite and insecure despite his popularity at school. Kyo has a very brash and harsh attitude that he uses to cover his feelings of inferiority and loneliness. Tohru sees their problems and works to not only make them feel better about themselves, but to get along better with others, and in particular with each other.

As Tohru, Kyo, and Yuki become closer friends with one another, romantic tensions between the three build. Though there is never any real development on the romantic side of things, it’s clear that at some point in the future Tohru will have to make a choice. The rivalry between Yuki and Kyo increases as they vie for Tohru’s attention. In addition to these budding relationsips, Tohru meets many of the other members of the zodiac, who are each interesting and complex characters.

Further into the show we are given some hints that there is the possibility of someone breaking the Sohma curse. It’s clear that Shigure and some of the other Sohmas think that Tohru might be able to do so. As the series winds down, the possibility of breaking the curse is never really resolved. Despite the openness of the curse plot, the climax of the show is pretty spectacular and pushes Tohru to the limits of her ability to take everything thrown at her with a positive outlook. Naturally the friendship of Tohru, Kyo and Yuki wins out in the end, just as it should.

In Summary:
The everyday lives of Tohru and the Sohma family is enough to suck you in and make you want more. Though there isn’t much development plot-wise, ultimately the character relationships are so engaging that it doesn’t matter. The comedy is handled really well and coupled with the dramatic side makes this a show not to be missed. Definitely recommended.

Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Character Profiles,Textless Opening Song,Behind the Scenes Featurette,Akitaroh Daichi Interview,Fruits Basket Room No. 1,Eyecatch Gallery No. 1,Fruits Basket Room No. 2,Eyecatch Gallery No. 2,Fruits Basket Room No. 3,English Cast Interviews,Illustration Gallery

Review Equipment
Review Equipment: Samsung HLT6187S 61” DLP HDTV, Sony DVP-NS975V Progressive Scan Up Converting DVD player, Pioneer Elite VSX-81TXV DD/DTS receiver, HDMI cable, JBL Multi-Channel Speaker System with 100-Watt Subwoofer.


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