Saturday, 9 November 2013

Fruits Basket: I Hope You Don’t Have A Weak Heart, ‘Cause This Adorable Manga Could Stop It!

A Review By: Amelia
I personally believe that the root of all cuteness in the world, stems from three things: smiling babies, cats, and Japanese manga. When I sat down to read Fruits Basket, I had no idea that my theory would be confirmed nearly a thousand times over!

Fruits Basket is a twenty-three volume manga about a family cursed by the Chinese zodiac. The curse manifests itself when the cursed person is hugged by someone of the opposite sex and the cursed person turns into an animal from the zodiac! The family deals with it in stride, but when a naïve teenage girl begins living with three of the cursed males of the family, crazy shenanigans ensue!

The author and artist behind the whole of the brilliant series Fruits Basket is Natsuki Takaya who has wanted to be a manga artist since she was in first grade. When Fruits Basket’s twenty-three volume run was complete, Takaya had written and drawn the top selling shōjo manga in North America and the second best selling in Japan.

There are a multitude of characters that appear throughout the twenty-three volumes, but if you narrow it down to characters you consistently see from volume-to-volume, there’s about a dozen. Narrow it down to characters in nearly every panel and you’re left with Tohru Honda, and Kyo and Yuki Sohma. Tohru is the kind-hearted, sweet, selfless, albeit a little naïve girl who, after a series of unfortunate events, has nowhere to live. Yuki and Kyo are the constantly fighting cousins who are two of thirteen people possessed by animals of the Chinese zodiac that Tohru comes to live with and share all kinds of wacky adventures! The characters are all very different and all very fleshed out with different personalities. They’re funny and unique and although some of them aren’t the kindest characters, they have their reasons for being unkind and it makes them all the more human.

The art style in Fruits Basket is a cutsie, quasi-realistic style. I say quasi-realistic because although the characters are drawn with correct human portions it’s still manga so characters’ eyes are huge, the boys androgynously sexy, and everyone has such beautiful and perfect hair it’s enough to drive someone mad! Aside from going crazy over the impossible hair standards though, the art style is really fitting to the story. Everything’s cute and cuddly: the characters’ expressions, their over-the-top reactions, the animal transformations–just everything is neat, crisp, and just so darn cute!

All in all, Fruits Basket is a great experience. It’s a ridiculous concept for a manga–I’ll be the first to admit that–but as it comes together, the story and characters, it’s an amazing experience. There’s romance and fantasy, humour and genuine emotion. The art is adorable and the story line even more so. I really can’t get enough of this manga and it has great re-readability.

My final thoughts on Fruits Basket are that you need to read this manga. Like, right now. It is so cute, so touching, and so SO funny. Tohru’s reactions to the family transforming into animals is enough to bring me back to this manga time and time again!

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