Fruits Basket Vol. #01 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: A

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  • Art Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: A
  • Text/Translatin Rating: A+
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Released By: TOKYOPOP
  • MSRP: 9.99
  • Pages: 216
  • ISBN: 1-59182-603-4
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left

Fruits Basket Vol. #01

By Megan Lavey     April 13, 2004
Release Date: February 10, 2004

Fruits Basket Vol.#01

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

What They Say
A family with an ancient curse - and the girl who will change their lives forever?

Tohru Honda was an orphan with no place to go until the mysterious Sohma family offered her a place to call home. Now her ordinary high school life is turned upside down as she?s introduced to the Sohma?s world of magical curses and family secrets. Discover for yourself the Secret of the Zodiac, and find out why Fruits Basket has won the hearts of readers the world over!

The Review
Packaging: This cover really appeals to the designer with me, in other words, good use of white space. Tohru is featured against a mostly white background with the signs of the zodiac in pink bubbles floating around her. A large sky blue bar comes down vertically on Tohru's left and in it is her in the same pose, but almost completely transparent. The logo, author's name and title are in a gradient shade of purplish pink that almost clashes with the picture but manages to squeak by. It's a very clean cover and I like it. The back cover has the same blue bar on white background with the summary in another blue box. The logo is printed over it.

The inside of the book has the same shape of blue with a colored picture of onigiri. The inside back cover has a beautiful color picture of Tohru, Kyo and Yuki. My one complaint? It could have been a lot bigger. I'd taken it!

Now it's time for Megsie-chan's logo check!

This logo is not exactly like the one used for the anime, but it's pretty close. It's simply Fruits Basket written in a font that suggests the fun nature of this series. A pinkish-purple gradient has been applied for this volume.

Artwork: This is the first time I've seen any of Natsuki Takaya's manga and I'm very pleased with the artwork throughout. It's the average shoujo artwork, which means lots of big, sparkly eyes, cute boys and the other conventions you'll find in shoujo art. It's not as good as Yu Watase's, but it's nowhere near as poor as Boys Over Flowers.

Orientation/SFX: Unflipped and untranslated

Text and Extras: Spot-checking the text, there's nothing out of place. Like in Ai Yori Aoshi, Tokyopop is retaining all of the honorifics. Wai for them!

Sliding this here since they did go to the trouble to translate and add stuff like this is how Tokyopop handled the extras. They included a fantastic interview with the English VA of Tohru as well as a letter explaining the popularity of Fruits Basket at the beginning of the book. Kudos for this! There's also a guide to the Chinese Zodiac which I found very helpful.

Review:I love Tohru. Her optimism and cheerfulness make people like Kathie Lee Gifford seem like the Wicked Witch of the West.

Tohru Honda has just lost her mother and is living in a tent because her grandfather is remodeling his house and wanted her to stay with friends for several months. Instead of being a burden on them though, she decides to camp out. She decides to explore the land she's made her new home on and comes across the house where the "prince" of the school, Yuki Sohma and his cousin, Shigure.

Yuki is odd though. He never touches a girl and actually shoved one away when she tried to hug him. But he's very kind to Tohru. He and Shigure take her in when she becomes ill and they help her recover. She discovers that Shigure and Yuki are the worst housekeepers and cooks known to man (finally, Akane from Ranma 1/2 and Kaoru from Rurouni Kenshin have been flung from their poor cooking perches). As Yuki get Tohru settled in her new home, another boy crashes through the ceiling and tries to attack Yuki. Tohru rushes to his defense, trips and winds up throwing her arms around the boy. The boy then turns into a cat.

This is Kyo's introduction and also how Tohru learns the secret of the Sohmas. If they are hugged by any member of the opposite sex, they will turn into the member of the Zodiac that they represent. Tohru promises to keep the secret. She becomes integrated into the family by meeting more members, but in the meantime tries in her own way to heal the rivalry between Kyo and Yuki. But then she gets word that her grandfather's renovations are complete...

I am really enjoying this series so far. Not only does it contain the typical shoujo storyline, but it's very intellectual. I find it funny that two series containing two heroes fighting their families - Kaoru in Ai Yori Aoshi and Yuki in Fruits Basket - are being released at the same time. However, so far, I'm liking Fruits Basket better than AYA. The characters are unique and Tohru really carries the book. In a way, it's like Inuyasha. The story is about Inuyasha, but it's Kagome who carries the torch through the series and is the person who keeps everyone going. Tohru is the same. Her cheerfulness is the only thing that keeps her going and you can see her struggle to maintain that facade. She knows it if it cracks, so does she. It makes her a very endearing character. I really want to slap her relatives though. Who wouldn't want such a cheerful girl?

Shigure is just plain fun, as well as the other members of the Sohma clan. Yuki is pretty mysterious and quiet while Kyo is loud and tends to be violent. Typical male shoujo heroes, but I like them. The pace of this book is fast and throws in different storyline twists that expose the background of a lot of the characters. What I like is how Tohru is involved, but the plot twists don't impact her directly.

Despite the cheery overtones, you can sense something dark at work here and the reasons why Yuki wants to escape the Sohma clan (stated early on) hang over the book. It makes you question everything that happens and really makes you think - something I adore. Very recommended.


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