The Second Time Around Syndrome
I hate this…no wait, actually this is the greatest thing ever.
Seriously why couldn’t I stand this the first time around?
Ever go from hating to loving something? It happens to me a lot when I hear a song I dislike too many times and it grows on me, but rarely do I find this happening with television. However, Fruits Basket is an exception to this rule. It was one of the first anime I watched after my initial induction into anime. I’d decided that I wanted to watch something light hearted after watching a lot of shows with dark storylines. So I did a little research and Fruits Basket was a good choice. It was comedic and had romance, but there was also a really unique and fascinating story I could get into. People turning into animals when they hug the opposite sex? That’s so interesting!
So I started up good ol’ Netflix…and was really turned off by the show by the time I’d hit episode 3 or 4. By the end I was hating it. It was just THAT bad. Initially I gave the show a 3/10.
Now I give the show a 7/10.
In case you don’t know, recently orphaned Tohru Honda is living on her own in the woods until she finds herself in the house of the Sohma family. This family possesses an ancient curse- whenever they hug a member of the opposite sex they turn into a member of the Chinese zodiac. Tohru is given the opportunity to live with the Sohma family as their housekeeper. Soon she befriends the two handsome students who live there. There’s Yuki, the charming but withdrawn prince whose animal is the rat. And then there’s Kyo, the extremely short tempered one. His animal is the cat. Oh, did I mention that everyone in the Sohma family has, well, issues? The series proceeds to follow the antics the three teenagers get themselves into- from a trip to the hot springs to the school festival to buying Valentine’s Day chocolates.
What did I dislike about the show? It was just too cutesy for me. Don’t get me wrong, I squeal at puppies as much as the next girl, but this was just cutesy overload. To add to that, I didn’t find the jokes amusing, couldn’t stand the little rabbit boy, and found the overall tone of the show obnoxious. How then did I find it in my heart to fall in love with this anime?
The manga. My friend and I were browsing a bookstore and she pulled Fruits Basket off the shelf and raved about it. I’d already seen the anime but she made it sound so appealing that, crazy as it sounds, I decided to give the manga a read.
I couldn’t put it down.
Let me explain. Fruits Basket can seem off putting to an older viewer such as myself with the childish animation and the way all the characters deliver dialogue in an over the top sort of way. Pick up the manga and all the sounds are in your head. In the manga it was still upbeat, comedic, and light hearted, but it wasn’t as in my face loud because I didn’t read it that way. This is one of the reasons I love reading. Not only that but the manga goes into much more detail than the anime does and looking at Takaya develop the younger characters from skinny, awkward teenagers to full grown young adults by the end of the series is a real treat. Also I was able to appreciate the message behind the series. As lame as it sounds you’ll find yourself wanting to be a better person because of Tohru. Her smiling personality is for sure contagious! Plus, Tohru/Kyo. Need I say more?
The manga is not perfect. The secondary storylines can be tedious. There are a lot of chapters devoted to characters at school or people you simply don’t care about. Everyone has a tragic past, and I mean everyone from the entire Sohma family, to Tohru’s friends, to Tohru herself. Be thankful you didn’t have parents from this anime, because all of them either abuse/neglect their children or are dead. The characters can feel a little less developed than they should be at times, but the series on the whole is a must read for those who don’t mind cute stories about an overly optimistic teenager and her really, really screwed up friends.
Back to the anime then. I was so in love with the manga I had to give the anime a second chance. It was exactly the same as the first time, but I appreciated it so much more. Shoot, I even laughed at jokes I’d previously found stupid.
So no, Fruits Basket is far from perfect, but damn does it have a way of pulling you in. It’s not for everyone but if you’re into cute romances and the occasional tear jerker episode, this just may be your anime.
I did manage to give it a second chance and truly appreciate it.
It has its flaws, but on the other hand it kept me up reading until 3 am.