A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of watching Fruits Basket. This delightful children's series is the story of a girl named Tohru Honda. When the story opens we find that Tohruís mother has died in an accident, and she had been sent to live with her grandfather. When her grandfatherís house went under construction, he asked her to stay with friends until the construction was over, but not wanting to trouble anyone she decides to pitch a tent in the woods and live there. Fortunately, she has pitched her tent on the Sohma familyís property. Who is the Sohma family? They are a family that has been placed under a curse that for thirteen of its unlucky members, whenever they are hugged by someone of the opposite sex, or under great physical strain, turn into one of the twelve members of the chinese zodiac. Oh, and donít forget the cat, who was left out of the zodiac. Of course, Tohru had no idea what she was getting herself into when she agreed to live with two of the familyís members, to cook and clean in exchange for a room!
Although this series is made for children, I watched it with a bunch of teenage boys who, I think possibly, enjoyed it more than I did, so I can safely say that this is an anime just about anyone will appreciate. There are a few moments where it gets caught up in teaching a moral, which can get a little boring, but for the other 90% of this series when they are not, itís absolute, all out fun. The story line kept me interested for all 24 episodes. One thing I canít stand is filler episodes, and here is a series where you wouldnít find any of that. Every episode develops the plot which although has some Ranma-esque elements, has a very original feel to it... you know, as much as I love my mechas and my magical girls, you need something new to change things up every once in a while.
Even though this series can sometimes give you a sickeningly sweet feel to it, especially Tohru, who I think is just too perfect to be human, it is definitely a must see in my book. It has escaped some of the problems of other animes because of its originality and series length. Although I wish the idea of Kyoís true form and the little love triangle were developed more, I feel that the length of 24 episodes is just right for this series. If you are so desperate for more details, Tokyo Pop is finally releasing the manga, which I hear continues on past where the anime leaves off. Iíve read the first volume and I find it equally as fun as the anime. If youíre looking for something a little different, without all the blood and gore, this is definitely a series for you!