A basket full with (not so interesting) fruits

After the death of her mother, young Tohru Honda has been secretly living on her own in a tent. Her life changes forever when she stumbles upon the secret of the Sohma family, whose land she has been living on. The secret of the Sohma family is a Hereditary Curse that changes some members of the family into animals of the Eastern Zodiac when they are hugged by someone of the opposite sex that is not also a Zodiac member.
Now living with three members, every day is an adventure for sweet Tohru, as she gets to know all of the very different members of the Sohma family better, in both common and bizarre situations. But, the Sohma family curse is certainly no laughing matter… it also holds horrible cruelty and heartbreak. Despite this, the members of the Sohma family find a new peace thanks to the presence of Tohru.

Hailed as one of the best shojo series out there, during its five years in-print (2004-2009) it was the best-selling shojo manga series in America, and often the second best-selling manga series in the US period, beat only by a certain ninja. -from TV Tropes

Yes, I’m in mood for ranting. Popular stuff usually scares me away from them due to how overrated they get and the hype created around them. I must write one of these days what anime/manga I find good stuff but I can say for now they rarely concern something less than simple entertainment. Mainstream might try to be deep, like this one, but the result is lukewarm. 

Now don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t a masterpiece. I did appreciate the story and the character development. No holes in the stories, everything got explained and the characters changed smoothly. I came to like Ayame and his quirkiness, Shigure is a guilty pleasure (as I really don’t like his underground ways), Kisa was such a cute child, Tohru’s female friends rocked and Hatsuharu with Rin made the perfect couple together.

BUT somehow although the dramatic parent stories touched me (hell, I cried), I didn’t feel the story very alive. It was like reading while I was asleep or in trance… There was like a fog over the manga and… I can’t explain it better. It must be the overly sugary art with the very thin lines, the huge (oval) eyes without distinctive pupil, the sparkles and the long gaze techniques – I’m getting older, aren’t I? And let’s not forget the animal forms of the Sohma. Since their transformation is critical part of their tragedy makes no sense whatsoever to draw the animals so cute. They are called again and again monsters but I can only see plush toys…

Then there’s the anti-climatic resolve of the curse, the too coincidental childhood connections ( I mean gosh! Everyone knew Tohru’s mother??? ), bad humor most of the times, too much philosophy out of teenager mouths and especially of that idiot. Oh yes, I’m taking about Tohru: the cliché of the cute virgin with the golden heart that can change every one’s fate, she’s the slave of the male animals in there, never complains and always frets!

After Tohru, Akito was the one character whom I wanted to torture in every way possible until the end. Sorry, but no matter Akito’s problems… being so bitchy and going around making other people suffer… it’s unforgivable. At least Akito understood this, that’s why I calmed down a bit in the end.By the way what happened to Akito’s mother? I don’t remember her getting mentioned by the time the curtains fell.

The anime adaption was a bad joke, since it tried to be funny among the drama, but wasn’t very good at it. It also left many characters outside – and it makes sense since the anime doesn’t adapt all the volumes. It also changed and omitted many things. As for the music department, I’d like the op/ed to be more like the BGM during the series and not that peaceful. It does have a slice-of-life feeling with the episodic stories, but the romance, the comedy and drama are much more in focus and thus one would expect a more poignant or playful op/ed.

That’s all I guess. A mediocre result that left me pondering what I really feel about such a hit and why do people go crazy over it.

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9 thoughts on “A basket full with (not so interesting) fruits

  1. Nice post. 🙂 I've written about this before, but it's always bothered me that many people praise Fruits Basket as the best shojo series because many people who hold this opinion haven't actually read or watched much shojo. Like you, I got into Fruits Basket after hearing so much hype about it, but I just couldn't get attached to any of the characters, which is extremely important to me. This series was always bothersome to me because it gets praised for doing things (like balancing romance, comedy and drama) I feel other shojo series have done better, like Kodocha, Nana, and Boys Over Flowers.

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  2. Thanks for commenting and your good words!
    I haven'read/watched Kodocha or Boys over Flowers but I've tried watching Nana – I dropped it for reasons I don't remember, but I do remember finding Hachi the type of girl I really dislike.

    May I ask if you have a twitter account?

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  3. Thanks for commenting John Sato! And I'm glad I'm not alone on this opinion. Usually, I hear only good words about it. It's a nice change of pace to see someone understanding my feelings and judgement about this series.

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  4. You know, it's been a while since I made myself finish this, but I fully agree, especially on the “fog over the show” part. That was the exact impression I got from it. I agree with pretty much everything you've said here. Using my own rating system, and going from memory, this would be a perfect 5/10, utterly average.

    Nice review.

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  5. Oh my… I get what you want to say. It is one of my favorite mangas though… Probably because of the characters (all but Tohru, yep). But I have forgoten how exactly it ended as I felt it went painfully slow.
    Λοιπόν θα δω και τα άλλα posts όποτε μπορέσω. Έχει ζαχαροπλαστική μετα μουσικής απόψε!

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  6. Yes, the manga was way better than the anime, but that doesn't change the fact that there were lots of things that were simply ok or not of my taste. As I said perhaps it has some entertaining value, but beyond that, I don't think this story gave much to the reader (/viewer) apart from many tears perhaps. I kind of felt that some details were fake and if you've noticed I wasn't enthusiastic of none of the main characters.

    That doesn't mean that others can't enjoy it. I stated from the beginning that it's a rant post and has to do with my interests in anime.

    You can try finishing the manga and then drop back here to tell me your opinion (or ofc link me to a post you might make about it).

    Thanks so very much for commenting! ^^

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  7. So what this about the anime, manga, or both? I watched about four episodes of the manga but further enjoyed the manga. It was easier to enjoy in print.

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