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Favorite Episode
My favorite episode's probably the ninth one, when everybody's preparing to celebrate the new year. Tohru's friends, Saki and Arisa, are over at the Sohma place to help clean. And Kyo kept on having issues with the paper screen. Basically, he kept running into it (not of his own freewill), and so had to keep patching it up as Shigure's been bitching about how he always had to have repairs around the house with Kyo thumping about. Actually, this episode is my favorite because of Shigure. As a novelist, he had an assistant harrassing him about his deadline because she's pretty harrassed by the publisher herself. Shigure kept on going out of his way to avoid writing, which just freaks out his assistant. Apparently, he was procrastinating from doing a lot of writing over a short time period. A considerable part of the show was spent showing Shigure tormenting his assistant. Finally, in the end, he hands her a bound packet with a note saying that he's been done with his manuscript for a while already. Whee. Shigure's cool. I wonder why it's always the non-leading men who are cool. Maybe because they would probably lose their coolness if they did become leading men. Hmm.


Fruits Basket
Synopsis | Review

Yet another anime that has a name weird enough to make you feel funny when you ask a salesman if their store carries it. And if you think anime characters always have big eyes, think again. It's all relative. In comparison to Tohru, everybody else has normal-sized eyes. Notice how big her eyes are in the pictures?! Geez! They take up half her face! In extremely emotional moments, they take up three-quarters of her face. It can be kind of scary sometimes. Sure, big eyes are endearing. I still try to widen my eyes sometimes when I'm trying to persuade someone (and when logic fails). But there are moments during Fruits Basket when I ask myself why I'm watching somebody with eyes that take up three-quarters of her face. And it's not like they're the huge, comically limpid variety (think Nuriko when she's pleading with Tamahome to take Miaka so Hotohori will be available). Even in serious moments, Tohru's eyes are huge, and they're long-huge, not necessarily huge-huge.

Okay. I finally got that off my chest. It's been bugging me for a while that there's this shoujo anime character out there with long-huge eyes. The anime had 26 episodes and one special, which was a real-life, behind-the-scenes commentary. The anime was based off the manga created by Takaya Natsuki. Similar to Kare Kano, the manga continued long after the anime ended. The anime covered up to the sixth volume of the manga, which has over 12 volumes. So essentially, the manga is a hell lot longer than the anime. I haven't read its manga yet, but I was told that the storyline is well developed compared to the anime (of course), and that the TV producers tried to stick to the original storyline as much as possible.

Synopsis
Fruits Basket is about Honda Tohru. Her mother died in a car accident, and she had to live with her grandfather. But then his house had to be renovated, so he asked if she could move in with some of her friends. She assured him that this wouldn't be a problem. But rather than bother her friends, she decided to live in a tent in the woods.

The property she was living on actually belonged to the Sohma family. It was not long before Shigure and Yuki, the two family members who lived in a nearby house, found her camping out in their land. Tohru was kind of abashed when she realized who owned the land, because Yuki's known as the prince in their school, Kaiwaia High. Why, he even had his own fan club! She heard various rumors about him. One was that he's incredibly stand-offish. Once, a girl tried to throw her arms around him because she was just so taken by his beauty, and he just shoved her off and moved away. Gosh.

In person, though, Yuki seemed nice. And Shigure, a 27-year-old novelist, was thrilled to be around a high school girl. They let Tohru stay with them, especially after her tent got buried under a landslide. Which probably wasn't a good idea, because it wasn't long before Tohru found that the Sohma family is cursed. There are members of its family that turn into the Junishi--the animals of the Chinese Zodiac--when they are hugged by people of the opposite sex. They also transform when they're nervous. Being a klutz that she is, Tohru ended up tripping into Shigure and Yuki immediately after she moved in with them. Naturally, she was horrified that Shigure turned into a dog and Yuki turned into a mouse.

Then another guy entered into the picture. A guy named Kyo suddenly came barreling in and started fighting with Yuki. It turned out that he was the cat, which does not belong in the Junishi because as legend went, God sent an invitation to all animals for a party, but the mouse tricked the cat and told him that the party's later than it actually was. So while the cat slept, everybody was eating great food and having lots of good time. Whee. The cat resented the mouse ever since.

The story, when Tohru heard it as a child, struck a cord within her. She could remember a time when, as a child, her classmates would play the game Fruits Basket. Everybody would be given a name of a fruit, and when called, can join everybody else in the play. She was given the name riceball, which certainly wasn't a fruit. So she ended up sitting by herself for a long time. Tohru felt that Kyo had to put up with the same thing also. By the way, Kyo looked like a younger, more modern Tasuki. Even the way he prickles was reminiscent of Tasuki. Maybe that's why he was so appealing :D

Essentially, Fruits Basket is a story about belonging. Tohru meets other members of the Junishi and finds that each of them carry their personal hell because they couldn't get close to members of the opposite sex. And there are members of the Sohma family that didn't want her around, because she was basically a outsider who knew their secret.

Review
Fruits Basket has a huge fanbase that think this story is the most fantastic thing since sliced bread. I had some reservations with it. If you don't like hearing negative stuff about this anime, go here. Or you can check out another anime titles on this site :P Otherwise, read on :D

First, the positive stuff. The story's premise was great. I thought the whole thing with the Junishi was really cool. And the whole thing about them unable to be hugged is hilarious. Sure, it posed a challenge: how the hell can Tohru get close to any of them (Yuki or Kyo)?

And oh yeah, this show has a lot of bishounen. Whew. Until I watched Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne, I never thought there could be so much bishounen in one place (or show) at one time (well, one anime timeline, at least). I actually didn't care much about Yuki and Kyo. Sure, they're cute, but not really people to drool over. But Shigure's hot. So is Hatori, the one who transforms into a seahorse. Actually, he's supposed to be a dragon, but the TV producers were too wimpy to put a real dragon in the show. Now that would've been fun. Shigure and Hatori must be my two favorite characters in Fruits Basket. My second favorite episode was the one about Hatori's past. The whole scene with him using his power to erase memories was just so cool. Oh yeah, and did I mention Hatori's hot? He actually reminded me a lot of Mamoru.

Actually, most of the Junishi are likeable. Another character I really like here was Kisa, who transforms into a tiger. Rather, a baby tiger, because she's only in elementary. She has this tendency in the beginning to calmly clamp her tiger jaws down on Tohru's fingers and not let go. I also like Momiji, who transforms into a rabbit. Or bunny, actually. He was just a breath of fresh air. Especially after watching Tohru.

I guess I just ended up not liking Fruits Basket because of Tohru. For the most part, she's just insipid. Considering I have high tolerance for insipid characters (after all, I like shoujo anime), Tohru must be pretty special. It's just really annoying to watch people just walk all over her and then watch her meekly accepting it. Like when Kisa clamped down on her fingers. Tohru just silently bore it. Geez! Even in the climatic ending, she was still pretty spineless.

Actually, I got a beef with the ending too. Maybe that's because I haven't read the manga. But the ending left much to be desired. Tohru didn't stop being insipid and there really weren't closures for most of the characters in the show. Yeah, another one of those endings that ended not with a bang, but with a whimper. It seemed the TV producers tried to give closure to everybody in the show and just ended up focusing too much on trivial characters and too little on the main characters. I mean, really, did I care whether Yuki's fan club would be okay after watching them in only a couple of episodes before?

Overall, if you're into well-developed relationships, well-developed character storylines, and well-developed heroine personalities, Fruits Basket might not work. Although I must recommend it if you're looking for lots of eye candy, as the guys in it are hot. Actually, I just had a thought. If the TV people actually made an anime sequel to Fruits Basket, it might actually work. That's just because there's so much loose ends to pick up and run with.

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