Series Thoughts: Fruits Basket

    Everyone should be impressed – I have managed to finish a series. This is unusual for me, especially during such a stressful time as the past 4 months have been. I got lucky and was able to get most of the series through my library and the last 5 volumes my friend let me borrow shortly after my daughter was born so I blazed through the ending. This is a testament to the series, it was wonderful.

fruit

Fruits Basket by Natsuki Takaya

Source: Library & Borrowed from a friend
TL;DR: Don’t sleep on this if you haven’t read it. I feel dumb having it ignored it for so many years. 

Thoughts:

  • Favorite characters were definitely Kyo, Momo, and Shigure.
  • I feel so silly having ignored this series. I remember my sister reading them devotedly in high school and I remember thinking ‘Those look kinda neat but I’m sure they’re not for me’ based on just the fact that she was reading them. I thought they’d be nothing but a silly romance. It has it’s romance but the series is surprisingly heavy and dark at times.
  • The themes of this series were far denser than I thought they’d be. The main one that I picked up on and really got me was motherhood. There was a constant repetition in the stories and the character interactions that dwelled on mothers. Either how the characters viewed and interacted with their mothers or how certain characters began to fill those roles for others.
    This was probably a right read at the right moment as I read this entire series over the last part of my first full term pregnancy. So naturally becoming and being a Mom was big on my mind. The attention to the detail of what it would be like to be a mother to a child you couldn’t hold really got to me. That coupled with those same children’s thoughts on their mother and their relationships, it was something I found very profound at times.
  • Obsessive love was also a huge theme, especially so in Akito’s story and wow did that one really disturb me. He (no spoilers here), and his mother really portrayed a cycle of abuse and manipulation that was intense. I spent so much time early in the series hating Akito that by the time we got his story I don’t know that I was fully ready for it. On that same hand I don’t know if it was entirely successful as a redemption, I’m still on the fence in some ways.
  • I enjoyed seeing the evolution of the art style from the 1st to 23rd volume. There is something about watching someone’s style evolve that really helps to make you feel involved in a series. It’s a very feminine style for a very emotional and feminine story but it fits and works well.
  • There were some dated ideas, especially in relation to some of the relationships in the story. Some large age differences really marked a few of the relationships, a common thing to see in Japanese manga of the period, and those I know can bother people.

I would 100% recommend this. It’s a series I plan on collecting as I see them at the used bookstore because it’s one I’ll want to revisit and one I’ll likely let my daughter read once she’s an acceptable age. It has a few dated elements but otherwise the story holds and a lot of the messages and themes are well worth reading and experiencing. It has very cute packaging but inside it has a lot of impact and heart. If you enjoy contemporary fiction/comics and don’t mind committing to a long series this is one I’d say you should try out.

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