Fruits Basket Series Review


Honda Tohru’s mother died and she went to live with her grandfather. Unfortunately, he needed to move in with other family members and while the house was being renovated Tohru was asked to stay with a friend. Rather than troubling her friends, she moves into a tent. Then, one morning she comes across a house where the Prince of her school lives, Yuki Sohma. It turns out her tent is on Sohma land. After a landslide destroys the tent, Tohru finds herself living with Yuki but the Sohma’s have a little bit of a secret.


Alright, if you don’t like sweet, slow shows or fairly effeminate looking guys, you are probably going to pass on this one from the outset. However, if those elements aren’t going to make you walk away, you will probably find a really charming anime to watch filled with interesting characters who are all just a little bit (sometimes a lot) emotionally damaged and you can watch them grow closer together, or turn into animals. Then you can suffer from the absolute lack of resolution given by this series.


It is one of my pet hates when anime just stop without finalising anything. While one small bit of Kyo’s story is resolved, the greater mystery surrounding the Sohma’s is still completely a mystery, as is the vast majority of what is motivating some members of the family to act the way they do. And we don’t even meet all of the zodiac. For a story where members of the family are possessed by the spirit of the zodiac, to not introduce them all and not to continue the story is just purposefully leaving us hanging. As a result, this is one of the very, very, very few anime where I did go and read the manga after watching because I just couldn’t stand leaving the story where the anime dropped us. That said, I didn’t completely finish reading it. I read enough to start piecing together some of the mysteries that were bugging me and then cut my losses – still, the announcement of a rebooted anime series has got me very excited.


So with that said, how do I review Fruits Basket? It’s adorable.

Visually it kind of looks dated even for 2001 with very simple backgrounds and character designs that would look right at home in the 90’s, but it works well enough for the story unfolding here. However, be prepared for a lot of stillness on screen.

From a character point of view, Tohru is an air-headed protagonist who pretty much functions in ‘be sweet and don’t annoy anyone’ mode while voluntarily cooking and cleaning because she quite likes it. I really wonder if this is actually a thing in Japan where teenage girls actually enjoy cooking and cleaning for others who seem to be completely inept at living or whether this is a not so subtle message to the youth of Japan that typical gender roles should be maintained. Either way, it is something that generally irks me when watching anime, particularly in characters that don’t have much else to offer.


Fortunately, Fruits Basket as a whole offers more than what our protagonist brings to the table. Her two best friends are fantastic. Yeah, they are equally stereotypical (one is a standard reformed delinquent and the other the weird girl who senses vibes) but the balance they offer and their interactions with Tohru work really well. They also offer some of the more comedic moments during the school scenes.

Fruits Basket

The Sohma’s are also pretty interesting as a family. Individually, they all have scars from being part of a cursed family. Scars because of the way others outside the family deal with them and scars because of the trauma inflicted by the family. It’s interesting to watch and in honesty I would have preferred more focus on this at times. It was also this aspect that pushed me to go read some of this series because there’s a lot going on with the family and I am definitely hoping we get more of it in the reboot.


Tohru’s mother also needs a mention. For someone who is dead prior to the start of the series, she has a definite impact all the way through. Whether it is her lingering advice to Tohru about how to live, the inspiration she gives Tohru and her friends, or just the way characters who have never met her begin responding to her because of their interactions with Tohru, she’s a tangible force that moves the characters and plot. Not bad for someone who is dead and isn’t even appearing as some sort of spirit. It does however give the whole series a very human feeling as the loss of a parent should leave lingering traces.

Fruits Basket2.jpg

The opening theme is fantastic. Admittedly, it is slow but it sets the tone for the show and if you aren’t finding the theme engaging and sweet, while just a little bit wistful and nostalgic, you probably aren’t going to be the right audience for the show in the first place.

All and all, this was a great anime to watch but there just is no excuse for the lack of ending. If you are watching it just for the characters, you will love every minute of it. If you are hoping for the overall story with the curse of the Sohma’s to go somewhere, forget it.

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Fruits Basket Mini Shikishi Collection BOX (Set of 8 pack)
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13 thoughts on “Fruits Basket Series Review

  1. I enjoyed Fruits Basket. Tohru is definitely a people person. Her compassion in my opinion makes up for her lack of impressiveness. Also her positive outlook even while life continued to beat her done. That’s at least too me, is where she shines.

    If I remember correctly, Tohru mother had her really young. Her father was one of her mother teachers. Tohru is shunned by her family for that very reason. The kids had a hard life and she still smiles. That’s admirable.

  2. This is one of those awkward situations when the production of the anime actually began before the manga series was completed. Like you, I read the manga to get closure. Love your review!

  3. I started reading the Pandora Hearts manga for the same reason. This happens way too often. I’ve read that they do it to get people to buy the manga/visual novels. A plausible theory in my opinion.

    1. Normally I don’t bother. If the anime doesn’t finish I’m just done with it. As I said, Fruits Basket was a rare exception and even then I just kind of skimmed the manga to find the missing bits of information and once I was satisfied I stopped reading.

  4. Great review, haven’t watched this one yet, but then again am way behind on just about every Animeseries out there πŸ˜€ Might be checking this one out in the future.

  5. Didn’t care for this anime. Think it’s one of the most overhyped anime of all time. Everything in terms of story structure and character screamed “Stereotypical.” And the formula of having Tohru meet every member of the family just to listen to their problems and make ’em feel better with sweet words got repetitive really fast.

    It’s a nice review, but I don’t think it’d convince a lot of people who already have grievances with the show pre-watch.

  6. I’ve always had mixed feelings about whether or not to watch this one, because of the lack of really “going anywhere”.

    Perhaps one day I’ll get around to it πŸ˜›

    Nice review! Super informative!

    1. Glad you liked it. Yeah, it really isn’t going anywhere by itself even though it is pleasant enough just spending time with the cast.

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