If there’s one thing I got into this quarantine, it would definitely be watching anime. I was never really the type to watch animated movies (I am more of a k-drama girl), but seeing all these Instagram stories and posts of people talking about their latest favorite animes really got me curious. That curiosity led me to watch Fruits Basket. It was one of the first anime shows I’ve ever watched, and it immediately got me hooked. I am still a newbie in the magical world of united stories, but this show will always hold a special place in my heart. I remember feeling empty after finishing the last episode because it was that good. Now that Netflix has recently released the second season, I thought it would be the perfect time to share more about this newfound show that I greatly enjoy.
© Studio Deen 2019
A little backtrack because I seem to have gotten too excited. Fruits Basket is an anime adaptation of a famous slice-of-life manga by Natsuki Tamaya. It was animated by Studio Deen, and it currently has three seasons as of today.
This sweet story is all about a high school girl named Tohru Honda. She becomes an orphan after her mother passes away, and she finds herself living in a tent out in the woods with only a few belongings and a picture frame of her smiling mom. Yuki and Shigure Soma find her by accident and decide to take her into their home. There she meets Kyo who she later becomes very close with. She meets many other members of the family and quickly finds out that the Soma family is possessed by zodiac animals which they transform into when they are hugged by a member of the opposite sex or when they are stressed or hurt– their animal forms are really cute. The Soma family faces many challenges and difficulties brought about by their zodiac spirits, leaving many of them with underlying problems like depression and anger issues, but Tohru’s bright personality and kind heart slowly helps them heal the emotional wounds they have hidden deep inside.
© Studio Deen 2019
Many of the famous animes today are very fast-paced which sets this story apart because it is slow in the sense where it does not get boring. The slow burn of this show allows the viewers to understand each character emotionally which is the focal point of the story. What keeps this story so interesting is seeing how the characters, most especially Kyo Soma, learn to love themselves through the kind gestures of Tohru. Kyo is a cat in the Chinese zodiac family, but he is never considered a part of them because the cat came in last in the zodiac race. This places him in more difficult situations than the rest because he is neglected by people he thinks are his family. His childhood was tough to say the least, and it affected him for the worst.
“The scariest and the most painful thing is to be hated by someone you truly love.”
This short passage by Kyo sums up all the emotional trauma he had to face as a young child and he continues to face as a teenage boy. He is caught up in his own small world because he is too scared to hurt others and become hurt. Tohru, who is also hiding a lot of pain in her heart, understands what Kyo is going through. They tend to get awkward when interacting with one another, but they cannot deny that they feel a connection on an emotional level that no other character would be able to do. It is truly a rollercoaster of emotions discovering their pain and watching how the entire story unfolds. Though this anime is marketed as a very light-hearted show, it has a deep message behind it which is a stark contrast to how the main character is portrayed. If I were to put it simply, watching this anime is like watching the characters fight against the dark nature of the show. It sends viewers a message on how simple acts of kindness can reach a wound that only compassion can ever heal. It is a reminder to be kind because we will never really know what others may be going through.
© Studio Deen 2019
Every episode is capped up with an ending song that talks about change. It fits well with the key concept of the storyline– that no one is really stuck – no matter what happened in the past. This is already occurring when the Soma household includes more individuals, and that change can especially be seen in the way the characters view life, and the battles their unusual situation brings. Overall, Fruits Basket is a very fun and fresh show for anime newbies, like me, that want to get into the anime world, but don’t know where to start. Though there are quite a few holes in the storyline of the first season that sometimes makes it a little too confusing, maybe the second season will have answers to all our questions.
Article by Renoa K. (Grade 10); Feature image by Marianne G. (Grade 9)
Reviews are uncommissioned, unpaid, and represent the personal views of the authors. They should not be taken to represent the views of Dragon’s Print and Cebu International School.