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Fruits Basket Volume 1

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Fruits Basket Volume 1 Cover Artwork (TokyoPop)

Fruits Basket Volume 1

Natsuki Takaya

The Bottom Line

A manga/anime fan favorite, Fruits Basket has all the elements that makes shojo fans swoon: Cute girls and beautiful boys, light-hearted romance and slapstick humor, all wrapped up in a magical package. Volume 1 sets the stage, but the real drama and addictive appeal of this series becomes more apparent in later volumes.
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Pros

  • Cute girls and pretty boy characters
  • Quirky, likeable plotline with magical twists
  • Fun story spiced up with some deeper emotional themes to keep it interesting

Cons

  • The saucer-eyed characters pretty much all look alike
  • Sweet, schoolgirl romance and slapstick humor is probably only appealing to pre-teens/teens
  • A quirky, inconsequential start to a story that develops emotional weight and greater appeal later

Description

Guide Review - Fruits Basket Volume 1

In Fruits Basket Volume 1, readers are introduced to Tohru Honda, an incredibly upbeat teen. Her naïve optimism is almost bizarre considering that 1) her mother has died and 2) her family circumstances have forced her to live outdoors in a flimsy tent -- situations that would depress even the most resilient teen.

Hard to believe? Wait, it gets even better: Tohru soon finds herself living in the swank home of three beautiful but housekeeping-challenged boys, including Yuki Sohma, the mysterious school heartthrob. What could possibly make this even more improbable? The Sohma family are cursed; doomed to turn into Chinese zodiac animals whenever they're hugged by a member of the opposite sex.

What makes this series one of the most popular shojo titles ever? Maybe it's the bishonen or "beautiful boy" factor: The male characters in Fruits Basket are all... pretty. They’re androgynous, aloof, and on occasion, act pretty goofy: All characteristics that are cartoon catnip to shojo manga fans.

But don't get me wrong -- Fruits Basket more than just a pretty boy story. Behind their doe eyes, the characters of Furuba deal with some pretty heavy problems. For example, eternally-upbeat Tohru deals with being judged and rejected by her blood relatives and being bullied by some of her classmates. There’s slapstick humor to keep it from getting too dark, and sweet romantic moments to keep it away from shonen turf.

This first volume of Fruits Basket isn’t for everyone. It’s too girl-y for shonen fans and can be too silly for anyone older than age 16. Later volumes delve into much deeper emotional territory, and the story matures and becomes more appealing and addictive over time. So if you can get over the silliness of Volume 1, there are rewards ahead for the patient reader.

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Disclosure: A review copy was provided by the publisher. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.
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