TV Series, 2001, Funimation Entertainment (English), 26 episodes
Genre: Romance, Comedy
Tohru Honda is a Teenage girl who, a year after her mother’s death finds her self homeless and living in a tent. This tent happens to be on the property of the Sohma family, a rather large and wealthy family. As she is walking to school one day she notices a house closeby and that living in that house is Yuki Sohma, the “Prince” of her school. He walks her to school and later that evening her “home” is destroyed. Yuki and his Cousin Shigure invite Tohru to stay with them. Eventually they are joined by Kyo Sohma and at this point Tohru learns the big Sohma family secret! That certain members of the Sohma family are cursed and whenever they are hugged by members of the opposite sex they transform into the 12 animals of the Chinese Zodiac! (Plus the cat) As the series goes on Tohru meets more of those cursed by the Zodiac, but what the Sohma family is shocked to learn is how much they grow to need Tohru.
Story (10/10) I was enchanted by the use of the Chinese Zodiac woven into this storyline. Most of the story deals either Yuki or Kyo’s various problems (either apart or with each other, as they enjoy an intense rivalry) and how Tohru handles them and makes it better, or with her meeting the other members of the Zodiac and how she befriends them. One thing that should be noted is that the series kind of ends on a question mark. The curse isn’t lifted and there is no notion that it will be any time soon (You would have to look to the manga for that)
Characters: (9/10) There is a lot of Angst filled characters Fruits Basket. Considering what they deal with this is not altogether unexpected. However they are all nicely drawn and the only thing I would have to say (and it is even addressed in the anime) is it amazes me somewhat that considering Tohru’s life that she is always smiling. That seems a tad unrealistic, but then I have known people who were like that in real life. Sooner or later they will probably break down. Poor Tohru. Also the minor characters are also very well done and are very easy to get attached to.
Art/Animation: (9/10) I always thought the animation was light and pretty. Almost like it was painted with watercolors. The only thing that ever bothered me was when Tohru ever got seriously bothered then she was distorted. This actually only bothered me when it was done during a serious moment, like when either Kyo or Yuki was spilling his guts to her. It was distracting.
Voice Acting/Music: (8/10) To suit the Anime’s tone, the music is very lightly scored and subtle. However it is very repetitive. On the flip side of that it is rather catchy and can and will get stuck in your head.
Overall: (9/10) This is an anime that I enjoyed very much. It is light hearted, although there are some dark moments scattered here and there. The characters are easy to connect to, and the plot is believable even though it is shrouded in fantasy.