Everyone loves a good story, one that will keep you interested and wanting more and more as you go along. Fruits Basket or Furutsu Basuketto or just Furuba in Japan is such a story. The life stories taught in this show are amazing as well as what is in the manga. Even though the animated series didn’t cover the entire manga it still ends well and really does make you feel all warm inside when the last episode ends. Almost all of the episodes do stand on their own so watching them out of order is not going to get someone too confused but you really do want to watch them from the very beginning. Once you do watch them then get a hold of the manga so you can see how the whole story ends.
Well, now for some background on the story, it opens with a high school student named Toru Honda. (Of course if you watch it in Japanese it will be Honda Toru :) ) She is walking to school from where she is living in a tent and is as happy as can be. Why is this fact so important? It is because about 2 months previous she lost her mother and then 2 weeks earlier had to move out of her grandfathers house while it was being renovated. Instead of imposing on any of her friends she decided to stay in a tent in the middle of the woods. The woods though were owned by a wealthy family called the Sohma. On the day that the story opens she meets them for the first time.
Now I am not going to synopsis the entire list of episodes but this is a brief run down of events. As she is going to school she finds some painted stones that represent the Chinese Zodiac and meets the artist Shigure. Little does Toru know that her stopping to see them changes her life and the life of the Sohma family forever. You see the Sohma family is cursed by the Chinese Zodiac in that there are almost always 12 members of the family plus 2 others that carry the curse. For 13 of them the curse is rather physical in that they will change. This change is triggered by either great stress or if a member of the opposite sex that is not a member of the zodiac hugs them. Of course this leads to all sorts of comic antics with Toru in the house. Seems someone in the house is always transforming while Toru is around. Some even hug her on purpose because they think she is just so darn cute.
Even though there is a lot of comedy in the show it is also full of wisdom. When ever someone is down or is having problems trying to figure out how to do something or what to do, Toru is always around to help. She is a well spring of wisdom that she remembers from her mother. She is always saying “My mother always told me…” to anyone that she is trying to help. She was very close to her mother and tried to keep her alive in her heart by sharing the wisdom that she gave to Toru as well as carrying a picture of her mother around with her at all times. These pictures are very special to her and if anything happens to them it is as if her mother lay dieing all over again. She never does get over not having a picture of her mother but slowly others start to take her mothers place but never replace her in Toru’s heart. She is always going to love her mother and talk to her mother’s pictures. It is just the way that she is. Lets face it, if you lost your parents, both of them, while you were young and you still remembered them, I am sure you would be talking to the photos that you have of them all the time. Its just what people do and if we didn’t do that we really would not be human, would we.
Anyway as the story goes on she meets more and more members of the Zodiac and starts helping each and everyone of them become more confident and better people. She even does this with the ones that don’t want help and even has to face something so nasty and horrifying that she is in a daze and throwing up in one episode. It was her friends that helped her though that one and it lead up to the final episode of the anime. To see how she actually lifts the curse youi would have to read the manga as the anime only goes though maybe half of the story.
As to the 14th member that is cursed, that is Akito, the head of the family that has a secret that stays hidden in the shows but is reveled in the manga. Anyway, Akito thinks that all the other members of the Zodiac are just waiting for Akito to die. Akito has been lead to believe this and it causes most of the problems Akito has with the other members of the Zodiac and Sohma house. This doesn’t phase Toru and she does everything she can to help all the members Sohma family.
The story is also one of love, love of family, love of self, love of friends and the love of another that just can not be ignored as well as being loved. You see Toru is slowly falling in love with Kyo, the cat. (Remember I said there were 13 members that transformed. 12 Zodiac animals and the cat. To see the significance of the cat you will have to read the manga) Kyo is also falling deeply in love with Toru and doesn’t even realize it. You see glimpses of it as you watch the show and some sense are so heart warming they will make you cry. (Yes, I am a man and it made me cry, so there) Once you see the series or read the manga you will know why it can make a person cry. I have watched the anime with my wife a few times and we both have wet faces a lot while watching the show.
This is a definite must have for any family. It is perfect for kids and the adults will love it as well, though they may have to explain a few things about Shigure the dog. And boy is he a dog, more then you think. He is playing the entire family and laying all his hopes in Toru to heal the family. This is just one of the better anime series that I have seen. Even though there is not a lot of violence in it, children and teens should still really enjoy it.