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Jason Thompson's House of 1000 Manga - Fruits Basket


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Alexis.Anagram



Joined: 26 Jan 2011
Posts: 95
Location: Mishopshno; Somewhere in SoCal

PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2012 10:42 pm Reply with quote
Wow, easily my favorite manga; quite possibly my favorite book series. It's a bit strange, but these books (and the anime, initially) were one of the major ways in which I bonded with my younger sister; we would lay next to each other and I would read her the volumes as in-character as I could get (I do a mean Ayame, if I may say so myself) while she looked at the pictures. We cried during the last pages of the final volume. What can I say; Fruits Basket is my Harry Potter.

Of course, as a queer reader, it was unbearably irritating for me with all of the (admittedly inevitable) hetconning that went on with a number of the characters. The spoiler[big reveal about Akito was simultaneously affirming for me and then disappointing as she started dressing femme and "realigning" with her sex; I was really hoping (in vain) that Takaya would use her as a way to break down gender constructs and provide a sort of thematic rationale for all of the non-normative romantic and sexual attractions and behaviors that had been explored throughout the series.] A real wasted opportunity in my opinion.

That said, I would disagree that the ending was as neat as all that. Not every character ended up with someone. spoiler[Momiji and Kagura are actually the biggest casualties of the whole story; particularly the former, who is left alone and just sort of vaguely hopeful at the end of it all. My personal headcanon is that he goes on to engage in a healthy (queer, because if Momiji isn't one of my folks there is no real justice!) relationship with someone who's as kind Tohru, without all of the lingering mommy issues; someone who can really be there for him and help him heal.]

All in all, though, Takaya's story-telling and character building is just so strong that I can't help but love Fruits Basket with this kind of overwhelming conviction. I have to give her a lot of credit for affecting the generally underwhelming "love triangle" plot device with a great deal more class, depth and interest than most series can muster (the awfully managed spoiler[Hikaru-Haruhi-Tamaki-(and Kaoru meh) mess of OHSHC comes to mind)] and Kyo's and Tohru's relationship has to be one of the top manga supercouples of all time. The series is classic shojo that hits every element spot-on. Enough said. <3
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Vata Raven



Joined: 21 May 2007
Posts: 694
Location: TN

PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2012 11:56 pm Reply with quote
cl-shojo wrote:
Vataraven wrote:
Quote:
I read shojo, I just don't touch shojos with females leads. Lead females are so damn annoying to me, so I'll never pick up Fruits Basket.


Well that means you're missing out on about 85% of all shojo series out there, huh? There are some great female shojo leads out there - from strong, intelligent ones like Yuri in Red River to funny, wacky ones like Sana in Kodocha. Not all of them are like Tohru (or even worse, Hatsumi from Hot Gimmick *shudders*).

Then that is my issue. I will NOT buy shojo with a female lead, I can't stand how most females are written. I'll take male leads over a female any day. I'll enjoy reading Natsume's Book of Friends and God Child any day. And since male leads are rare, means I limit on the crap I buy.
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willag
Crazy FangirlCrazy Fangirl


Joined: 21 Apr 2010
Posts: 2293

PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2012 12:20 am Reply with quote
Well, since JesuOtaku didn't do it herself...

PLUG PLUG PLUG!!!

Fruits Basket ~the radio drama~

And the Facebook fan page: https://www.facebook.com/​groups/​229776223812515/​

This is seriously one of the best fan things to come out in YEARS. I stumbled upon it last year and shared it with my sister, who is also a big fan of Fruits Basket. I kept it as a surprise until our road trip together to Ohio (the weekend was spent hanging out with old friends from my old college... she came along with me so that we could have some sister bonding time). The entire ride there and back was spent listening to all of the videos that came out at the time. I think she fell in love with it even more than myself. I will forever treasure this series if for nothing else than these amazing memories that were created. Thanks, JesuOtaku.

Well, anyways, it is seriously well done. The voice-acting is amazing, the adaption and direction by JesuOtaku is superb (you can truly tell how much she cares for the series)... it's so professionally done. And the humor is on spot.

The voices fit the characters so so soooooo well. They've become the voices for the characters when I read the manga now.

[/plug]
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JesuOtaku



Joined: 15 Jan 2008
Posts: 2679
Location: SoCal

PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2012 12:37 am Reply with quote
willag wrote:
Well, since JesuOtaku didn't do it herself...

PLUG PLUG PLUG!!!

Fruits Basket ~the radio drama~

And the Facebook fan page: https://www.facebook.com/​groups/​229776223812515/​


<3 Very Happy I linked to it in my mega-post discussing the article, but yeah, I didn't want to just post on Jason's article with my own junk, that'd be rude.

~That being said~, if you are a fan of Fruits Basket, I know the cast and I would love it if you'd give the radio show a listen and give us a friendly hello on Facebook. It's a standalone adaptation of the manga, chapter by chapter, fully dramatized, scored and foleyed...I'd like to think we've done justice to the emotional resonance of the manga that the anime never quite accomplished, and it already accomplished a lot, just...didn't breach the subtlety of the manga that we tried to recreate here.

I'm finishing work on eps. 20 and 21 right now so they can go up tomorrow and the day after. So we're midways through volume 4 of the manga content-wise, it takes a while to put together, but we all love the story so much we wanted to give it dramatic life in a way that could be done on our nonexistent budget. Anyway, not to distract from Jason's article or the general Fruits Basket chat, but yeah, Furuba fans: have a listen to the show and tell us what you think. ^U^ d
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catandmouse



Joined: 02 Mar 2011
Posts: 17

PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2012 1:23 am Reply with quote
RestlessOne wrote:
Also, the fact that spoiler[Kazuma, right out the blue, is implied to be dating Tohru's teenage friends, who happens to be the same age as his son. There absolutely no build-up, except for Kyo having a misunderstanding volumes before the end.]

To me, it felt like the author was trying too hard to pair up every character with someone else. I know it's shoujo, but c'mon.


This, so much. It's really the only complaint I have about the manga. That relationship felt so out of place and unneeded, not to mention the age gap bothered me. That one as well as some of the others felt like they were included just so everyone would end up with someone which felt very unnecessary.[/quote]

I hated that...so I pretend like it just didn't really happen (since If I am remembering correctly, it was never explicitly stated that they did end up together) I just decided to ignore that, or else I would really lose all enjoyment in an otherwise enjoyable manga.
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AlanMintaka



Joined: 23 Oct 2011
Posts: 85

PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2012 2:22 am Reply with quote
Hi,
After seeing the Anime series, I researched the Manga and bought the 6 TokyoPop "digest" editions plus the single volumes to complete the set. Then I read the entire thing front to back in a single sitting - except that my sitting was much longer than yours! Aside from being a slower reader, I was getting used to the Manga layout for the first time. I had a little trouble getting adapting, and kept having to re-read many of the panels to get the sequencing correct.

I couldn't have picked a better way to learn how to read Manga. It's a fantastic story.

Like you, I found the ending a little sad in ways that the author probably did not intend. In addition to all the points you've made, I was disappointed in the spoiler["re-cap" of Tohru's and Kyo's lives together as presented by the framed family photos.]

spoiler[Obviously this sort of presentation has its limits, since we have to infer the identities of most of the people in those photos. However, there are some absences we can identify: Tohru's school friends, Arisa Uotani ("Yankee") and Saki Hanajima ("goth" psychic).]

spoiler[Their absence from the photos bothered me quite a bit. There were many "friends for life" messages in the last few volumes of the Manga. As you've pointed out in your review, the author seems to have gone out of her way to tie up loose ends in terms of romantic pairings. That closure was not given to Tohru's friends. ]

spoiler[The "friends for life" context previous to that photo montage would suggest that Tohru and her friends did indeed share many quality moments in their future together. I just wish that some of those moments had been included in the photo collection, perhaps also with her friends' families. ]

RE closures: spoiler[I considered the business with Aki and the "gouged eyeball" to be in part an expression of mercy towards Aki. I liked the story arc in that sense, a story of forgiveness. ]

Thanks for sharing your thoughts about the series in that review. I've never seen an exhaustive review of the entire Manga series until now, and it was great to hear from someone else who "slugged it out" and appreciated so many of the aspects of this great story.

Happy viewing,
Alan Mintaka
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Mohawk52



Joined: 16 Oct 2003
Posts: 7174
Location: England, UK

PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2012 2:27 am Reply with quote
Vata Raven wrote:
cl-shojo wrote:
Vataraven wrote:
Quote:
I read shojo, I just don't touch shojos with females leads. Lead females are so damn annoying to me, so I'll never pick up Fruits Basket.


Well that means you're missing out on about 85% of all shojo series out there, huh? There are some great female shojo leads out there - from strong, intelligent ones like Yuri in Red River to funny, wacky ones like Sana in Kodocha. Not all of them are like Tohru (or even worse, Hatsumi from Hot Gimmick *shudders*).

Then that is my issue. I will NOT buy shojo with a female lead, I can't stand how most females are written. I'll take male leads over a female any day. I'll enjoy reading Natsume's Book of Friends and God Child any day. And since male leads are rare, means I limit on the crap I buy.
Dengeki Daisy is one that could change your mind.
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st_owly
Get off my lawn!Get off my lawn!


Joined: 20 May 2008
Posts: 3303
Location: Edinburgh, UK

PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2012 3:02 am Reply with quote
Vata Raven wrote:
cl-shojo wrote:
Vataraven wrote:
Quote:
I read shojo, I just don't touch shojos with females leads. Lead females are so damn annoying to me, so I'll never pick up Fruits Basket.


Well that means you're missing out on about 85% of all shojo series out there, huh? There are some great female shojo leads out there - from strong, intelligent ones like Yuri in Red River to funny, wacky ones like Sana in Kodocha. Not all of them are like Tohru (or even worse, Hatsumi from Hot Gimmick *shudders*).

Then that is my issue. I will NOT buy shojo with a female lead, I can't stand how most females are written. I'll take male leads over a female any day. I'll enjoy reading Natsume's Book of Friends and God Child any day. And since male leads are rare, means I limit on the crap I buy.


Wow, you are incredibly closed minded Rolling Eyes Yes, a lot of shojo leads are weak, but that doesn't mean they all are. I dare you to tell me that Basara is crap, and that has a female lead who is quite possibly one of the strongest characters in manga, period. I could name you plenty of shojo manga with a strong female lead. Story of Saiunkoku is another good one for example, as is Devil and Her Love Song. I could go on, but I don't think anyone will convince you otherwise. Your loss though.
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28076004505531



Joined: 25 Oct 2008
Posts: 124
Location: Ohio, USA

PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2012 12:13 pm Reply with quote
I just wish they had animated everything on the manga. Anime would have been much better.
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Vata Raven



Joined: 21 May 2007
Posts: 694
Location: TN

PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2012 3:47 pm Reply with quote
Mohawk52 wrote:
Dengeki Daisy is one that could change your mind.

Eh, no it won't.

st_owly wrote:
Wow, you are incredibly closed minded Rolling Eyes Yes, a lot of shojo leads are weak, but that doesn't mean they all are. I dare you to tell me that Basara is crap, and that has a female lead who is quite possibly one of the strongest characters in manga, period. I could name you plenty of shojo manga with a strong female lead. Story of Saiunkoku is another good one for example, as is Devil and Her Love Song. I could go on, but I don't think anyone will convince you otherwise. Your loss though.

It's still a female. I can't relate to them no matter how "strong" they are. I can relate more to Celty from Durarara or Major from Ghost in the Shell. I might be female, but I act more like a guy than a female, I relate more to male leads, they're written better to me, and not to forget, and male leads in shojo are much rarer and more refreshing then female leads, which come a dime a dozen.


Last edited by Vata Raven on Fri Sep 21, 2012 4:13 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Spastic Minnow
It...it's not like I post for you or anything!It...it's not like I post for you or anything!


Joined: 02 May 2006
Posts: 2944
Location: Milwaukee

PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2012 4:10 pm Reply with quote
I'm late to the idea of actually buying manga. Now don't get too mad, I have never read many scanalations. If I read manga in the past it was mostly as a combination of library copies and the slightly less sinister practice of reading entire volumes while seated in a cushy Borders chair. That's how I read Fruits basket. In the past year I've picked up a few of the series I read in this way from second-hand resale shops. Mostly Half Price Books. Kare Kano, Genshiken, Ai Yori Aoshi, and the new Omnibuses of Love Hina. I'm pretty sure Fruits Basket is next, I see them on the shelves occasionally and I calculate the prices in my head and check to see if all the volumes are there.

Your article reminds me of the problem of a library and book store reader. I've never been able to read the series from beginning to end and it is something that I'd like to do.
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littlegreenwolf
Crazy FangirlCrazy Fangirl


Joined: 10 Aug 2002
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2012 5:00 pm Reply with quote
Fruits Basket is still in my top 5 of all time favorite shoujo. It's like chicken soup for your soul. You laugh, and you cry, and it makes you realise there are different sorts of strengths. I'm sick of hearing how people rag on about Tohru being weak and spineless when it's obvious that when it gets down to the important stuff she puts herself out on a line to protect her friends. She's so introverted and such a pushover and she was never teased or anything - really?

The first volume shows how she was teased as a child, that even obviously traumatized Tohru psychologically to a degree. I'm sure many of us haven't been teased non-stop growing up, but can still probably recall this one instance in Elementry school or something where the group of kids just didn't accept you. That's the first time your brain kicks into high gear and you start criticizing your actions, and you change your behavior to either try and fit in better, or to offend less. But really when all is said and done you don't need need to go through trying to change yourself so that society can accept you, you just need the one person you care about to.

It's how we work and Fruits Basket works so well with us because it's a shining example of how horrible humanity can be, while at the same time shines a light on the good things about it. It plays with basic social psychology, shines a light on the dark times we all have had, and gives us hope. The ending is anti-magical, but the goal was humanity from the get go, and there's nothing more human than how it ended. By the end I stopped caring about the supernatural and animal transformations, and just basically cared about the mental well-being of all the characters. I can see how marathoning the series would make the change obvious, but when you spend years following it at a slower pace, practically growing along with the characters you just don't really notice.

Is it the best shoujo manga we've gotten here in America? I can't say. I do know that when I have co-workers who want to try out manga for the first time, 4 times out of 5 I give them volume 1 of Fruits Basket and then usually ask me to borrow more. In terms of age level, yes I think Fruits Basket is perhaps the best teenage targeted shoujo manga we've had, possibly even out of shonen. When we get to the more mature manga though we find plenty of other manga equally, if not possibly even more well written in terms of psychology and story.

And oh how I miss those little author notes to the sides. I think out of all of them, Yuu Watase went nuts the most talking about Video games. Her and Naoko Takeuchi. I think Kaori Yuki also wrote about them like crazy too. I know these little sections were put in to cover the areas advertisements in the magazines would originally take place in, but to shonen manga not have the same advertising format? It seems to me we get to learn a lot more about shojo manga authors because of these little columns and never anything about the shonen ones... though I think the early volumes of Naruto had something like them.

Speaking of which, I too didn't really like just getting the time-line breakdown of random ideas. Usually I love this column, and I'm not saying that reading a whole slew of manga in 48 hours isn't a lot of work. It's just that... I enjoy your more retrospective articles that break down what make a particular manga stand out versus this time line commentary. The commentary is amusing, but it feels like you just didn't bother to think about and gather your thoughts on the manga when all is said and done. Fruits Basket deserved a more thought-out review in the end.

Vata: Not all males think alike, and not all females do as you state you yourself think more "male". Personalities differ based on upbringing and environment, and manga try to incorporate people of many personalities. There are plenty of tom boys in shojo manga, and you're missing out with your unfounded prejudice against them. A lot of manga depend on the reader seeing their self as the main character, but the really good ones manage to make a reader enjoy the story whether or not they can see their self as the main character, male or female. And then you have those where sex doesn't even matter.

Basically, I think you need Utena in your life. But not the manga, watch the anime. Expand your mind and enjoy the next level of your fandom.
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Wooga
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Joined: 22 Jun 2007
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2012 6:20 pm Reply with quote
I never really liked this manga. Everyone says it is a masterpiece, and three times a friend has made me try to read it. All three tries, I just couldn't get very far. I try to be open-minded, but this series just wasn't for me. I think it was mainly the art style. The eyes are sharp and pointy, and Momiji was such obvious shota-bait. And you could really tell the author wanted us to feel sorry to Kyo.It seemed like she was just bashing us over the head with the obvious.
And the way she drew animals as simple blobs...not even cartoony simple, they just looked like emoticons. I like manga with more realistic drawn animals like Inubaka. I have no complaint against Tohru though. She was an interesting main and I liked her two strange friends.

Who knows, maybe one day in the future I will sit down and read it. I mean, I can understand why people like it, I just don't think its the best shojo manga ever. No offense to its fans.
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HyugaHinata



Joined: 25 Jun 2005
Posts: 1845

PostPosted: Sun Sep 23, 2012 6:45 am Reply with quote
One error I found in the article (otherwise awesome, btw):


Quote:
spoiler[11:23
Yuki's teacher tells him that he has low self-esteem and that he needs to learn to like himself. But Yuki scoffs, "What does that mean? I only know things that I hate about myself. Even if you force yourself to find good things, it feels so empty. People like your teacher just don't get it. I think…when you hear someone say they like you, for the first time…then you can begin to like yourself."]


Isn't this about the letter that spoiler[Kisa's class sends to her as a piss-poor excuse for an apology and a way to make themselves feel better so they can chuck more manure at her when she does return?]
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machetecat



Joined: 06 Jan 2010
Posts: 362

PostPosted: Sun Sep 23, 2012 3:51 pm Reply with quote
HyugaHinata wrote:
One error I found in the article (otherwise awesome, btw):


Quote:
spoiler[11:23
Yuki's teacher tells him that he has low self-esteem and that he needs to learn to like himself. But Yuki scoffs, "What does that mean? I only know things that I hate about myself. Even if you force yourself to find good things, it feels so empty. People like your teacher just don't get it. I think…when you hear someone say they like you, for the first time…then you can begin to like yourself."]


Isn't this about the letter that spoiler[Kisa's class sends to her as a piss-poor excuse for an apology and a way to make themselves feel better so they can chuck more manure at her when she does return?]


Actually,spoiler[ the letter was sent to Kisa by the teacher. The teacher doesn't really understand the problem beyond "kids are teasing the little girl", so she gives the advice she THINKS is right. But the class didn't send it, it was the teacher trying and failing to be wise.]
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