Fruits Basket Vol. #1 - Mania.com



Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: A

0 Comments | Add

 

Rate & Share:

 

Related Links:

 

Info:

  • Audio Rating: A
  • Video Rating: A
  • Packaging Rating: A
  • Menus Rating: A
  • Extras Rating: A+
  • Age Rating: All
  • Region: 2 - Japan
  • Released By: Starchild/King Records
  • MSRP: ¥3800
  • Running time: 75
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Fruits Basket

Fruits Basket Vol. #1

    March 17, 2002
Release Date: September 29, 2001


Fruits Basket Vol. #1
© Starchild/King Records


What They Say
A much talked about anime based on the comic that won the 'Kodansha Manga Award' of 2001. It is a story about a family cursed (?) by the twelve animal signs of the Chinese/Japanese zodiac. It's a heart warming sitcom type comedy. Contains episodes 1 & 2, plus bonus feature included.

The Review!
Video:

Really no complaints in this department. I honestly can?t find a thing wrong.

Audio:

The audio is very clean. The music levels are well balanced with the dialogue (one of my biggest pet peeves is when it isn?t).

Extras:

They really outdo themselves in this department. With over 25 minutes of extras on this disk alone, we are given on this one disk than your average American series release. Interviews include staff from Hana to Yume (manga publishers) in addition to the animation and production team. There?s also brief commentary from the major voice actors. Fruits Basket promotional videos and (this disks) episode synopses are shown with a voice over. There?s even the recording of the opening song, ?For Fruits Basket? by Ritsuko Okazaki. The in-package extra is a booklet that includes episode synopses told through screenshots and script dialogue. We also get mini-character bios complete with production sketches, a summary of the Chinese (Japanese) zodiac, including the story of the cat that was left out as well as other neat miscellany. All in all, this release is chock full of goodies.

Packaging:

This is a clear slipcase with Tooru on the cover. On the inside, is a slideshow presentation of the opening animation complete with ?For Fruits Basket? lyrics.

Menus:

The main menu has the same image as the cover art with the (complete song) ?For Fruits Basket? playing in the background. Each episode is individually accessible from the main menu and has its own separate menu from which you can select from either the opening theme, part one, part two, ending theme or next episode preview.

Content:

Episode One is essentially spoiled because I really don?t have any other way of establishing the premise. I guarantee it will have no effect on your enjoyment of this show.

Meet Tooru Honda and the Soumas!
Tooru Honda is our heroine. She is 16 and has recently been orphaned. Her father died when she was young and her mother was killed in a car crash. Not wanting to live with her paternal grandfather, she sets up camp (literally) in the forest. Living in a tent and working nights at her part time job, she?s remarkably cheerful. On her way to school one day she spies a house and stops by to see what?s on the porch. She sees twelve stones painted as the animals of the Chinese zodiac. Here she meets Shigure Souma. ?But there?s no cat?? she says. As is turns out Tooru?s mother told her the story of how the cat got left out of the Chinese zodiac. This obviously amuses Shigure. Shigure is the cousin of one of Tooru?s classmates Yuki Souma. Yuki happens to be the school heartthrob. ?Prince? Yuki even has his own fan club although he shies away from girls. Later that night while walking Shigure and Yuki see Tooru coming home from her part time job to her tent, which is set up on their land. Being shocked and having sympathy for her situation, they invite her to stay with them for the night. The long and the short of it is that in exchange for household chores (the Soumas are slobs), Tooru will be staying with Shigure and Yuki. All seems well until a boy bursts though the ceiling and challenges Yuki to a fight. - Meet Kyo Souma. In the confusion, Tooru slips and grabs Kyo from behind. In a puff of smoke, Kyo is gone and in his place is an orange cat. Freaking out, Tooru falls again into the arms of both Yuki and Shigure who proceed to be replaced by a rat and a dog respectively. And thus begins the story of Fruits Basket.

It seems that the Soumas are cursed. Anytime they embrace someone of the opposite sex they turn into their Chinese zodiac animal. These first two episodes serve to introduce us to the main characters and explain how Tooru ends up living with Shigure, Yuki and Kyo. When I first heard the Fruits Basket premise I thought ?That seems really silly. I don?t see how that could work.? Boy, am I eating my words now. This show has me hooked. The strength of this show is its characters. Each one is a completely unique personality. Most importantly, they don?t fall into the typical anime character clichés. Although Tooru is in most respects a proper Japanese high school girl, her two best friends who fiercely protect her are Uo-chan, an ex gang member and Hana-chan, a gothic (as in Wednesday Addams, age 16) denpa (?denpa? means radio waves but in this case it?s a pseudo-psychic that?s able to send out electrical waves, or so I gather). (I love these two). Every character is more than you expect them to be. This show has everything you could possibly want in an anime series (except mecha battles, I haven?t seen any of those). There?s romance, family drama, fighting, comedy, you name it - it?s got it. All of the elements work. Additionally, this show boasts a wonderful voice cast in a supremely good performance including Yui Horie (Naru Narusegawa in Love Hina) and Tomokaku Seki (Van, Chichiri, etc.). There are no disappointments here.

The only thing that bothers me at all about Fruits Basket is the orchestration of the soundtrack. Although the music does fit the show perfectly, it just can?t stand on it?s own. In my opinion, music will never sound as good on a Casio keyboard as it could if real instruments were playing it. There really is no excuse for this any more. There are amazing synthesizers out there that make it almost impossible to tell them from the real thing. Why make the music sound like it was written for an early 1990?s Playstation game? Still, the opening and closing songs (?For Fruits Basket? and ?Chiisana Inori?) bring a smile to my face when I hear them.

The bottom line is that Fruits Basket is a truly wonderful show that is destined to become a classic. I?d recommend it to anyone.

Features
Japanese Language

Review Equipment
Dell Inspiron 5000 with Toshiba DVD-ROM SD-C2402 and Sennhheiser HD570 Symphonic Headphones

COMMENTS AND RESPONSES



Be the first to add a comment to this article!


ADD A COMMENT

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Please click here to login.

POPULAR TOPICS