Fruits Basket (フルーツバスケット) is a shōjo, supernatural fantasy, romcom, slice-of-life series that is the second anime adaptation of the manga originally written by Natsuki Takaya. It follows a young girl named Tōru Honda that is living in a tent in the middle of the woods while her grandfather’s home is being renovated. One day, by happenstance, a classmate of hers—Yūki Sōma—discovers her uncomfortable predicament and invites her to stay with him at his family home where he resides with his cousin. Shortly after accepting his offer, Tōru discovers that the Sōma family have a very peculiar secret.
To say that Fruits Basket is iconic feels like an understatement, especially with the sheer number of people who have been awaiting this new adaptation. The first anime for the franchise released nearly eighteen years ago with a finale that was somewhat bittersweet. I feel like since that time, fans have been eagerly anticipating a new reboot with the proper ending it deserves. Well, TMS Entertainment and director Yoshihide Ibata have heard the call and cries of otaku everywhere, and have finally blessed us with what I can only refer to as the most magical anime series airing this season.
The words that come to mind when I think about the first episode shall be reminiscent of many, many watchers. It is absolutely gorgeous with animation that exceeded my expectations. The wistfulness from seeing how Tōru, Yūki, and Shigure all met and became situated under one roof was overwhelming, particularly when Tōru speaks about her past and some of the tragedies that she has undergone. The comedically charming persona of an awkward Tōru who never wants to inconvenience or hurt other people is comforting and inspiring. The bickering and genetic distaste that Yūki and Kyō Sōma have for one another is entertaining as it can be mildly frustrating (in a good way, trust me). The series sings with nostalgia.
I remember the very first time that I saw the 2001 anime. I didn’t know a lick of a thing about the plot or characters. All I knew was that it came highly recommended to me by quite a few friends. I was told to watch it (or read it) when I needed to feel hope. The camaraderie is what I related to the most. Memories upon memories of my closest friends and my brother just filled my heart and mind as I sat there binging the anime. While I felt cheated by the ending, everything else about it gave me exactly what I was craving, hope.
When the breath-takingly minimalist omnibus editions began to release a couple of years ago, I jumped on the chance to finally read through the original manga. You can read my gushing amateur first impressions here, but long story short, it once again instilled me with the faith that no matter how tough life can get, as long I keep my chin up and hold on to my compassion, I can survive it. It’s a simple yet extraordinary notion. I’m almost done reading the series (my goal is to finish the rest of the volumes this upcoming week) and I cannot wait to re-live the story again in this fantastically adapted anime.
If you have never seen or read Fruits Basket, then I highly recommend that you give the first episode a try at the very least. The detail work is stunning, and the quality is as flawlessly minimalistic as the manga editions. What I mean by that is that everything is naturally sharp and smooth. There are no dramatic lines or risqué 3D graphic experiments. It’s classic, basic animation at its utmost finest. On top of that, you will get a story about friendships, growing up, learning to stand up for yourself, and the conviction that a single act of compassion can be the most powerful thing in the world.