Synopses & Reviews
Tohru Honda was an orphan, living with her grandfather, when one day fate kicked her out of the house and she was forced to take up residence in a tent in the forest. Little did she know that the land she was staying on belonged to the Sohma family, a clan of beautiful and mysterious people. After stumbling upon the teenage squatter, the Sohmas invite Tohru to stay in their house in exchange for cooking and cleaning. Everything's going well until she discovers the Sohma family's greatest secret: when hugged by members of the opposite sex, they each turn into their Chinese Zodiac animal!
"Takaya's romantic comedy brims with teenage melodrama, corny humor and hijinks. In the vein of Ranma 1/2, the work's humor also derives from the transformation of humans into animals. It goes like this: Tohru Honda is unsinkable; when her mother dies and her grandfather denies her a place to live, the homeless high-schooler is determined to make it on her own by pitching a tent alone in the woods. En route to her tent one day, Tohru encounters Shigure, who informs her that the tent is pitched on his family property. He's appalled by her squalid living conditions and invites her to his estate. Tohru becomes part of the household on the condition that she helps guard their family secret: when hugged by members of the opposite sex, Shigure and his family transform into animals from the Chinese zodiac calendar. Tohru soon learns Shigure is the cousin of Yuki Sohma, a quiet, mysterious boy at her high school whom all the girls adore. (Yuki, incidentally, has spurned any female advances for fear of revealing his true form: a rat.) And it's not long before she finds out another cousin, Kyo, transforms into a cat. As an animal left off the zodiac, Kyo feels he's been wronged. As Tohru and Kyo become friends, they realize that as misfits they may have a chance at understanding each other. Similar to other romance manga, this tale's illustration style is cartoonish and whimsical. Each panel-packed page conveys a melodramatic event or upturn, giving the story a fast rhythm. (Feb.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
About the Author
Natsuki Takaya made her manga debut in 1992. She was born in Tokyo and her Blood Type is A.
Her previous series include:
Gen'eimusou - 5 vols - serialized in Hana to Yume
Tsubasa o motsu Mono (Men with Wings)
The enigmatic Sohma family shares a great secret, its members are possessed by spirits of the Chinese Zodiac, and when they are hugged by members of the opposite sex, they transform into their Zodiac animal! Tohru Honda, an orphaned high school freshman, is given lodging in the Sohma household in exchange for taking care of household chores. The humble Tohru is quite grateful for the Sohma family's generosity, and the longer she stays with them, the more they realize what a blessing she is in their lives, as well.
Fruits Basket, the manga, is the basis for the smash-hit runaway anime show of the same name. It is most eagerly-awaited manga series - as voted on by thousands of fans visiting the TOKYOPOP website - in many, many years.
Technically NOT a review, but we thought you might enjoy this quickie interview with Fruits Basket
manga editor, Jake Forbes
Question 1: What does 'Fruits Basket' mean and why is it important to the story?
Answer: Fruits Basket is the name of a game from Tohru Honda's childhood which is symbolic for her character. It's a pretty touching scene from volume 1 and I don't want to spoil it ... I hope you don't mind!
Question 2: Is the story of the Rat and the Cat true?
Answer: According to the legend, the Rat tricked the Cat to take his place at the Zodiac banquet. (Poor cat-san!) You can imagine the cat was pretty upset when he found out. This bitter rivalry lives on in the possessed Sohma family members.
Question 3: Do the characters exhibit personality traits consistent with the zodiac animals they turn into?
Answer: Yup! See if you can guess who is who before Tohru finds out.
Question 4: Which of the zodiac animals are you? Do you feel that it best describes your personality? Please explain.
Answer: I'm a snake. Hiss! They're supposed to be beautiful, romantic and clever -- who am I to argue? Like a snake, I also eat rodents whole -- huh? That's not part of the zodiac traits? D'oh! I guess I'm just weird.
Question 5: How did Tohru get the 'onigiri' nickname? Do you feel it reflects her personality?
Answer: The onigiri is a metaphor for Tohru's character on several levels. And it's not because she's wrapped in seaweed and a convenient snack food. You'll find out in the manga!
Question 6: If you were Tohru and discovered the Sohma family secret, would you:
A) Keep their secret and quietly go about your business.
B) Run away!
C) Other: explain.
D) Sell tickets and put the family on display.
Answer: I'm tempted to go with D, but I wouldn't want to risk pissing of Akito. He's got a NASTY temper. B. Definitely B.
Question 7: What does the term 'Yankee' mean in Japanese?
Answer: Yankee is a term for a female gangster. They wear long skirts and die their hair. One of Tohru's best friends, Uo-chan, is a kind-hearted yankee. As Tohru isn't one to stand up to bullies, it's a good thing she has such an imposing friend watching her back.
Question 8: If you could be any character, who would you be?
Answer: Definitely Shigure. He's got a great attitude and he gets to stand back from the drama of the series and manipulate things from the sidelines. And he's a writer. Sitting at home in a kimono, tossing out a smutty novel or two to pay the bills while you work on your next masterpiece -- that's the life!
Question 9: What is your favorite color? What is the capital of Assyria?
Answer: Red. No, BLUE! AAAaaaaaaghhhhhh!
Question 10: What is best in life?
Answer: Seeing the latest Lord of the Rings movie for the first time! But as that that won't happen again, I guess I'd have to say reading a good book in a comfy chair.