Anime Theme Song of the Moment
Monster - Skrillex (Inuyasha Fan Made Video)

Monday, April 18, 2011

Fruits Basket

I had this entire post talking about the very first episode, but by the time I finished watching the last episode, I knew that what I wrote just wasn't going to cut it, not for this series.

Now, I haven't read any of the graphic novels this series was based on, but watching this series has made me want to read the whole thing!


Well, when people see the word "Japanese anime" or "graphic novel" all they think about are American cartoons and comics, and that is so not the case and does absolutely no justice to the artistry of the craft. The thing that sets anime/graphic novels/manga apart from most American comics is the strong literary essence that lives within each series. I admit, that some are comedic, but all involve the change or evolution of one or more characters that literary critics claim make Romeo and Juliet classic literature. Let me tell you, the transformations of the characters - and I'm not referring to the fact that they transform into animals either! - that I've witnessed in this series.

The character evolutions in this series are so strong and so emotional that they put these so-called classics to shame! I have yet to cry watching any version of any Shakespeare tragedy - It's not as if he created any characters I could connect with in any way! In fact I bet he didn't really care if the audience did care about his characters... - but I have managed to get so sucked into many anime stories and have found myself crying for the characters, just not as much as I found myself sucked in by Fruits Basket.

I honestly couldn't believe they didn't take this series further! For this reason, I plan on reading the graphic novel. Even though I watched the entire anime, I know that there are some things that differ from the one story to the other, so I want to experience the whole thing. I just can't help myself!

I read, a lot. I read every genre from romance to sci-fi to horror. I have a genuine appreciation for the story itself. One thing I can say is that most books I read don't offer this kind of glimpse into the human condition that Japanese Anime and graphic novels do. The more I watch, the more I appreciate not only the artistry that goes into the graphic side of the stories, but the depth of emotion that the authors pour into them when they are written.

It never ceases to amaze me how easy it is for me to put down many books, but it's damn near impossible to stop watching an anime series once I start it. I have a new series to add to my favorites... :)!

So, what is it about this series that's so great?

The title Fruits Basket seemed odd and I felt didn't really do the story justice. In fact, part of me wonders if that title chases readers away because they don't understand the depth of it's meaning.

"Fruits Basket" is the title of a children's game. Each child is assigned the name of a fruit, and then as the game progresses, the name of each fruit is called out, that child must find a new place to sit - basically musical chairs with fruit names. Tohru is not liked by her classmates, and they call her Onigiri (rice ball). It takes her a bit to realize the malicious intent of the children, but it doesn't phase her because she loves rice balls anyway.

So, she's a girl doesn't feel she really belongs anywhere. However, her mother does the best she can to Tohru feel loved. When an accident steals her mother's life, Tohru's world is completely toppled, but she doesn't let that get her down. To make matters worse, the house that she's supposed to live in with her father's relatives is being renovated and she is required to find alternative living arrangements until the remodel is completed. Rather than be a burden to her friends, she opts to camp in the woods temporarily.

When Tohru first meets classmate Yuki Sohma (outside of the schoolroom) and his cousin Shigure, and they discover her living conditions, they convince her to live with them. In exchange for room and meals, she becomes their housekeeper.

At first, she feels as though she's found a place to belong. Then, as the story progresses, and she learns their dark secret, she realizes that she doesn't really belong with them, that she's once again onigiri in a proverbial fruit basket. Some feel the relevance of the title stops when Yuki and his other cousin, Kyo, come to her "grandfather's" house (really the house of her relatives, now) to bring her back to live with them because they've realized that in the short time she lived there, they were used to having her there, and didn't want to be without her.

However, the relevance of the title goes far beyond that in the anime, and I'm curious to see if the relevance is as deep in the manga. As the story unfolds - in the anime anyway - we witness changes and evolutions in many of the Sohma family members. However, they aren't the only ones that must go through a trial. Tohru's true test comes at the end of the anime, when she learns Kyo's true form.

The anime builds up to and culminates with Tohru's reaction and response to what she witnesses not just from the truth of Kyo's true nature, but what she experiences at the hand of Akito - the leader, the most violent and most feared of the Sohma clan effected by the family secret. It is in these trials that she truly discovers if she belongs or if she's still just onigiri in a fruit basket.

I'm hoping the manga delves into this more, which is why I'm going to read it from the beginning.

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