Fruits Basket Vol. #02 -

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: 1-59182-604-7
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left

Fruits Basket Vol. #02

By Megan Lavey     April 04, 2004
Release Date: April 01, 2004

Fruits Basket Vol.#02

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

What They Say
Ever since Tohru Honda discovered the Zodiac secret of the Sohma clan, her eyes have been opened to a world of magic and wonder. But with such a great secret comes great responsibility. When her best friends Hana-chan and Uo-chan come to the Sohma house for a sleepover, Tohru has her work cut out for her keeping the "Cat" in the bag and the "Dog" on a leash.

The Review
Packaging: Once again, this cover really appeals to the designer with me with good use of white space and a consistent design that matches volume one. Yuki is featured this time, with the signs of the zodiac in pink bubbles floating around him. The zodiac sign for the rat is larger than the rest. A large violet bar comes down vertically on Yuki's left and in it is him 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 violet bar on white background with the summary in another blue box. The logo is printed over it. Yuki's Zodiac form is also featured on this cover.

The inside of the book has slightly deeper violet color with an odd picture of Tohru with red eyes on it. I didn't care for that picture, but I'm glad Tokyopop included it in color. The back inside cover has another beautiful color picture of Tohru, Kyo and Yuki. Like with volume one, I wish this picture was bigger.

Artwork: Takaya's style is a bit unique to me. While it's not completely unappealing, it's still pretty rough at the beginning of this volume. But as the pages slip by, it gets better and better until finally it smoothes out in the final chapters and looks really pretty. As the artwork improves, so does the attention to detail. There's a couple of pictures in the later chapters that are absolutely outstanding because of the detail. But sometimes, Yuki scares me with those big, alien-like eyes of his.

Orientation/SFX: Unflipped and mostly untranslated. A glossary is provided in the back for sound effects that were not translated, although there are plenty of panels with translated stuff sprinkled through the book.

Text: Nothing really leaped out at me here. It was a very smooth read and a good translation.

However, I do want to point out the extras included with this book. The last volume had a guide to the Zodiac. This one had a more in-depth look at the rat on the Zodiac plus rules on playing Rich Man, Poor Man. There is also artwork and a haiku a fan wrote. What I really like is how the translation guide at the back of the book includes visualizations of what some of the SFX, such as "doki doki" look like. I think that will bridge the transition a bit easier and it educates as well!

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Volume two picks up where volume one leaves off, with Tohru settling into her new home and Kyo and Yuki at each other's throats again?

But now, Shigure has agreed to let Tohru have some guests over. Her best friends, Uo-chan and Hana-chan are coming for a sleepover (much to Shigure's joy) so they can check up on her rooming situation with the Sohma clan. They made a promise that they would always watch over Tohru and they quickly discovered that the three men of the Sohmas vowed to as well in their own way.

Then the school festival comes, and along with that is Tohru's chance to meet two more members of the Sohma family, Hatori and Momiji. Hatori tells Tohru to come to the Sohma family complex, where she is told it is best to leave the family. The reason why has to do with Hatori's past, which is also explained. Meanwhile, Kyo and Yuki discover there's no place they'd rather be except by Tohru's side during New Year's.

For some reason I had a hard time getting through this volume. It was a much slower read than normal for me and I think that's due to the vast amount of information provided in these chapters. There's many complex relationships going on and the one that ties everything together is Tohru.

She really lives up to her onigiri nickname in this book, I think. She is the glue that helps keep everyone together and the reason why Kyo and Yuki do things they consider out of character. The volume really brings up more questions than it answers, but every time I see Tohru, I can't help not smiling. Her spirit is really infectious and she's cheerful in a way that's not grating on your nerves.

You can see Kyo and Yuki develop further as well and they start to emerge as rivals for Tohru herself. As pointed out, they're jealous of each other but the exact reasons aren't made clear. Another issue that isn't made clear is the role of Akito. Each mention of him makes him seem more and more sinister and he actually has me worried. What is with him that causes everyone to resent him? It's something I'm looking forward to finding out.

Fruits Basket is not a quick read. It's one that requires you to immerse yourself in the complex world of the Sohmas. But you find yourself rooting alongside Tohru and wonder how she manages to keep so cheerful with everything life throws at her. This series is more of a mystery to me than anything and I can't wait for the next book to come out. Highly recommended.


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