Fruits Basket 2019 First Impressions

It’s finally getting a reboot, but has it delivered on fan expectations?

Another remake of a classic and like previous ones (the Sailor Moon reboot and the Cardcaptor continuation), I cannot help but be excited while at the same time feeling a little wary about what the results might be this time around. I’m pleased to say that episode one retains all the charm of the original anime series, with superior character designs and animation in general, and it even toned down the silliness of the fan club. So, you could say so far so good.

Fruits Basket - The Prince's Fan Club

In point of fact, it is a gorgeous first episode. Very screen capable as it introduces the core cast and establishes their base line relationships. The music and sound should also be applauded as being very affective and overall this is a first episode that manages to deliver for anyone who is already a fan of the franchise and has been wanting to see the reboot.

Fruits Basket - Tohru and Hanajima

What it perhaps doesn’t do so well is have any real hook for those new to the story. The happy girl down on her luck is a trope seen many times (even before the original Fruits Basket anime) and Honda Tohru here works well enough but isn’t charming enough on her own to be a selling point within this first episode, nor pitiable enough to invoke any kind of empathy. Instead she’s very much just being set up in her role which those who know the story will anticipate her growth and development but those who don’t will simply see a fairly standard and maybe not-so-interesting lead character.

Fruits Basket - Honda Tohru

Likewise the mystery of the Soma’s is established here and I’m very keen to see this version of the anime as the original really dropped the ball here (leaving me with a read the manga conclusion which I certainly did but I’d love to see the story actually play out in anime). But again, I’m not certain this first episode really does justice to where this story will go.

Fruits Basket - Yuki and the rats

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Is a beautiful but by-the-numbers opening necessarily a bad thing?

Not really. It was a wonderfully pleasant introduction to the series and the conclusion with the ‘reveal’ for the handful of people who didn’t know all works quite well. However, most of my excitement here is still coming from my general anticipation of what is coming rather than what was delivered in episode one. Everything here works but it isn’t anything exceptional.

Fruits Basket - Honda and her mother.

Here’s hoping this adaptation grows into the charming and emotional experience this story could easily become and at this stage I’m still very optimistic. I did however take a lot of screen caps because it is really good looking.

Thanks for reading
Karandi James
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Yona of the Dawn Volume 1 Manga Review: The Story Begins

This is a manga I’ve been recommended endlessly and I’ve actually really wanted to give it a go because the anime just kind of left me wanting the rest of the story. That said, there’s a long way to go before I get to anything new so how does volume 1 go at making me want to read on?

Anime Review: Akatsuki no Yona

Review:

Shoujo isn’t really my style and while there are a handful of romances near and dear to my heart, it isn’t exactly a genre I go out of my way to track down. Yona of the Dawn as an anime I found interesting, but I’ve never been the die-hard fan so many have become and in terms of red-headed heroines I would have taken Shirayuki over Yona any day. The reason for this I outlined quite clearly in my anime review. The story wasn’t finished. What we got was a very long introduction into what seemed like an amazing tale and then we never found out where it went. That kind of soured m overall enjoyment of it as it all just felt incomplete.

That issue isn’t solved by reading volume one of the manga and I knew I was committing to a far more long term project when I decided to try this manga but I don’t think I was prepared for how little would be covered in this first volume.

We meet Yona, Hak and her father and all three of these characters are as interesting as they came off in the anime and their relationship is interesting to see in action before Su Won comes along and pretty much crushes Yona’s world in an instant. It’s great to read and visually this manga is really quite gorgeous to look at, one of the few times I actually think I prefer the visuals here to the anime as there is a real richness to the detail in so many of the panels that seemed lacking in the anime.

Yona2

However, the first volume ends and we’ve barely seen Yona and Hak escape the palace and they haven’t even really gone anywhere yet. This pacing may very well kill my enthusiasm for finding out what lies beyond the end of the anime if it continues this slowly. Then again, it isn’t as though the book feels empty.

The anime did an excellent job of bringing these characters to life, but like with the visuals, there’s just a little something extra in the manga. A more nuanced approach to each character that makes them feel a little more real and a little more grounded, and all and all it was quite the pleasure to read.

If I had any disappointment it would be the book ended and I kind of felt I hadn’t got very far into a story I really do want to reach the end of at some point. Of course, if I’d read this without knowing the anime, I’d probably be equally disappointed in the heroine. She doesn’t come off looking all that great in this volume. And while I know that she is going to undertake a fairly wonderful tranformative journey, this starting point might have seriously put me off if I hadn’t gone in with the knowledge that this weak Princess was going to grow.

Hak on the other-hand comes off as a great character from the word go and Su Won remains a character I am endlessly intrigued by. I’m really hoping future volumes flesh out both of these characters more than the anime ever did as I really am keen to know more about them.

That said, I should thank everyone who has pushed this title at me as to be honest I’m pretty sure I will love reading forward. I have the second volume already though I haven’t read it quite yet (I have quite the stack of reviews to get through first of other books I’ve read), and depending on how that goes I might try to get two or three more volumes covered by the end of the year, but again, I’ll see how it goes.

I’d love to know your thoughts on this manga but please don’t spoil future volumes for me as while I’ve read heaps about this story already I’m trying really hard to take each volume as it comes.


Thanks for reading.

Karandi James

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