Fruits Basket Vol. #07 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B+

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Info:

  • Art Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: A-
  • Text/Translatin Rating: B
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Released By: TOKYOPOP
  • MSRP: 9.99
  • Pages: 199
  • ISBN: 159532402X
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left

Fruits Basket Vol. #07

By Sakura Eries     April 06, 2006
Release Date: February 01, 2005


Fruits Basket Vol.#07
© TOKYOPOP


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

What They Say


The Review
Packaging:
And this volume's coverboy is Dr. Hatori, the dragon/seahorse and the color of the month is rose. He's serious (as always) in his doctor's jacket and sitting cross-legged with his stethoscope in hand. His image is repeated behind him in a transparent rose bar. Above his head is the Fruits Basket logo. The back cover is comprised of the Fruits Basket logo, a brief summary against a rose and white background, and a yellow seahorse in the corner (how this is a dragon, I really don't get). The title page shows a picture of a groggy Hatori getting out of bed.

The inside covers include full-color pictures against a rose background. The front has a small picture of a contemplative Tohru, and the back sports a picture of Tohru with Kyo and Yuki in formal dress " absolutely squeeelicious! The guys are in tuxedos and looking rather protective around Tohru who's in a sleeveless pink and red gown. Fangirls might want to purchase this issue for this pic alone. Extras include a note from the new Tokyopop editor, embedded author's notes, and the "Fans Basket" section. For some reason, they've omitted the Zodiac information section for this issue. Copy quality is a little dark in the last chapter. Otherwise it's a pretty good print job.

Art:
In her author's notes, Takaya-sensei mentions a hand injury which forced her to have surgery. However, you wouldn't be able to tell from this volume. The quality is comparable to her previous work. She does seem to use more screentones to convey emotions instead of drawing background in these chapters though; however, the screentones work well and do not detract from the story. I do have an issue with her mini-zodiac animal heads though. She uses them to differentiate between speakers where there are many speakers involved in a discussion. Tohru's onigiri is always distinct, but the animals are less so. With so many animals, sometimes it's difficult to tell which animal is which. In a conversation between Hatori and Shigure, I had to stare at the bubbles for a second to figure out that the blobs drawn within the bubbles were the heads of a seahorse and a dog. Also, towards the end of chapter 38, it's a little difficult to tell from the bubbles which text are Hiro's thoughts and which are words voiced aloud.

Text/Translation:
Again, honorifics and Japanese nicknames are kept intact. The more common ones (like -san and -chan) are not explained, but the more unusual ones (as well as cultural notes) are explained in footnotes. Some sound effects are translated with overlays or with side text, but the majority is left untranslated. They do fairly good job with sound effects and honorific/cultural note explanations, but they tend to use a very small font (what, 4 point font?!).

There's a nice variation of text styles to match speakers' moods. The translation is solid for the most part, but there are a couple places where the Japanese doesn't quite make it smoothly into English. For instance, when Hiro makes the observation that Kisa likes Tohru, Kisa responds in the affirmative by saying, "...MM!" While this is fine as a Japanese interjection, it might be confusing to an American reader who mainly associates "mm!" with something that tastes good.

Content: (may contain spoilers)
The saga continues with the introduction of yet another Sohma Junnishi " Hiro, the ram. He's cute, but he's a smart mouthed kid, and seems to have a rather nasty mean streak. Miffed about all the talk in the family about Tohru, he decides to check her out for himself. Their initial meeting is little more than Hiro harrassing Tohru, and then topping it off by snatching Tohru's notebook- with her mother's photo inside! Fortunately, Momiji comes to Tohru's rescue, and a confrontation ensues at the Sohma dojo between Kyo, Tohru, Momiji, Kisa, and Hiro. Tohru gets her precious photo back, and the reason for Hiro's mean spiritedness is revealed: he likes Kisa and is jealous of the time Kisa and Tohru been spending together. Tohru, of course, forgives Hiro (in her own way).

Because Hiro wants to make Kisa happy, Tohru, Hiro, and Kisa end up spending a lot of time with each other. Hiro can't get himself to like Tohru, but he comes to the realization that as much as he despises Tohru, he despises himself even more- because he was unable to help Kisa when she needed help most. Tohru, however, encourages Hiro in Tohru-fashion, and in the end, Hiro winds up accepting Tohru (but in his own smart-alecky way).

Then we take a break from the travails of the Sohmas to focus on other characters. Chapters 39, 40, and 41 are dedicated to explaining Arisa's background and her relationship with the Hondas. The story goes back to when she was truly a delinquent and idolized the "Red Butterfly" Kyoko. That image is shattered, however, when she meets the "happy mommy" Kyoko and her daughter (Tohru). At first, Arisa's disgusted, but through certain circumstances, Arisa ends up being influenced by Kyoko and Tohru for the better.

And the last two chapters are focused on, oddly enough, Motoko, president of the Yuki fan club. In the midst of her efforts to determine the identities of Yuki's co-officers for next year's student council members, Motoko comes to grips with the fact that she will be forced to graduate and leave her precious Prince. But wait! She suddenly stumbles upon an opportunity to talk to Yuki face to face! How will she use this amazing chance!?

Comments
Of all the Juunishi introductions so far, Hiro's is the hardest to swallow. He's not a likeable character "I personally think he's a brat. While it's fine that Takaya includes such a disagreeable character into the story (because I can see how the curse can warp his personality), I don't like the way the storyline flows around him. He does nothing but insult Tohru, and she still thinks he's an "adorable" boy. Kyo's infuriated responses to his caustic remarks are much more believable. Also, the turning point where Hiro takes Tohru's words to heart is weak as well. If Hiro is indeed so hardened as to become closed off to the ones he cares about the most, why would he open himself up to Tohru within seconds of deriding her for her stupidity? However, the Hiro chapters do a good job of demonstrating the power of Akito's influence on the Juunishi.

Arisa fans will love this volume. Chapters 39, 40, and 41 delve into material that was barely touched upon in the anime. Arisa's transformation from delinquent to somewhat reformed delinquent is told quite beautifully.

Chapters 42 and 43 very closely follow the corresponding anime episode. While I usually love it when mangaka delve into the backgrounds of secondary characters, I thought that the anime would have been just fine without the Motoko introspection, and I feel the same way about the manga.

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