Shoujo manga series created by TAKAYA Natsuki (pseudonym, real name unknown) serialized in the bi-weekly Hana to Yume (Flower and Dream) magazine. Also a 26-episode anime series, adapted from the manga by DAICHI Akitaro (director).
Often abbreviated as "Furuba".
Fruits Basket follows the life of high school student HONDA Tohru, recently orphaned when her mother is killed in a car crash. When we first meet her she has had to leave her Grandfather's house and unwilling to impose on her friends, is living in a tent in the woods. Despite suffering many hardships, Honda remains cheerful and optimistic.
One day Tohru comes upon a house in the woods which is the home of some young men from the Sohma family, including SOHMA Yuki, a worshipped but aloof boy from her school. Feeling sorry for her, and desperate to end their take-out eating habits and pig sty living, the Sohma's offer her their spare room in exchange for cooking and housework. When her tent is buried in a landslide, she has no option but to accept.
Tohru soon discovers the Sohma family's secret, and the reason why Yuki is so private: each member of the family is possessed by an animal spirit from the Chinese Zodiac, and transforms into that animal when hugged by the opposite sex! When she promises to keep their secret, the Sohma's allow Tohru to keep her memories rather than hypnotically erasing them, a fate that has previously befallen all who have found them out.
The story follows the lives of Tohru and the Sohma family, as they deal with each other and a society where neither quite fit in.
Fruits Basket is the epitome of a heart warming comedy drama, and is often very moving. A frequent complaint by detractors is that Tohru is unrealistically genuine and/or a male chauvinist fantasy woman. I think this opinion misses the point of the series (and also the fact that it is written by a woman for girls), as well as mindlessly echoing the current popular western fads of "gritty realism", dystopia, and anti-escapism.
HONDA Tohru (female)
Age: 16-17; Height: 156.7cm; Weight: 46kg; Bloodtype: O
An orphaned high school student, Tohru ends up sharing house with Shigure, Yuki and Kyo. She's very well mannered, loves to cook, is an excellent housekeeper and has an after school job as a cleaner to help pay her tuition fees.
SOHMA Yuki (male)
Age: 16-17; Height: 170.5cm; Weight: 54kg; Bloodtype: A
Yuki is the rat of the zodiac. Known as "The Prince" at school, Yuki is very pretty and has many admirers at school, but has a hard time being social. With Tohru's help, Yuki is able to slowly loosen up. Generally quiet and polite, Yuki is an amazing martial artist that enjoys gardening.
SOHMA Kyo (male)
Age: 16-17; Height: 171.3cm; Weight: 56kg; Bloodtype: A
Kyo is the cat, an animal not in the zodiac but which legend says would have been were it not tricked by the rat into missing the induction dinner. Kyo deems Yuki as his rival and has dedicated his entire life to someday beating him. His hobbies include martial arts and sleeping. Kyo is studious and gets good grades at school, and is also a decent cook.
SOHMA Shigure (male)
Age: 27; Height: 178cm; Weight: 68.5kg; Bloodtype: AB
Shigure is the dog of the zodiac and the owner of the house where he, Tohru, Yuki and Kyo live. He's a writer who writes both academic books and romance novels. He loves to drink tea, eat takoyaki (a japanese snack made of octopus), drive his publisher crazy, sleep in late and smoke.
SOHMA Kagura (female)
Age: 18-19; Height: 150.5cm; Weight: 51 kg; Bloodtype: B
Kagura is the boar of the zodiac. She has been dedicated in her love for Kyo since they were young, and is convinced she will marry him. Despite this love, she often loses her head and beats him senseless when he does something to anger her. As one of the three female members of the zodiac, she is able to hug any of the male members and neither she nor they transform.
SOHMA Akito (male)
Age: ??; Height: 163.8cm; Weight: 43kg; Bloodtype: AB
Akito is the head of the Sohma clan. He is very frail and his health is poor. He has a definite mean streak and has physically and emotionally scarred many members of the Sohma family.
UOTANI Arisa, "Uo-chan" (female)
Age: 16-17; Height: 168.5cm; Weight: 47kg; Bloodtype: O
Uo-chan is a former gang member (Japanese neighborhood street gangs are called "Yankee"s. She is not an American.) and has been one of Tohru's closest friends, since Tohru's mother helped her escape from the gang. Uo-chan is tough, brash, sometimes violent, wears long skirts, carries a steel pipe, and often speaks like a guy. Uo likes to play cards, protect Tohru from Yuki's fangirls, and swim.
HANAJIMA Saki, "Hana-chan" (female)
Age: 16-17; Height: 162cm; Weight: 52kg; Bloodtype: AB
Hana-chan is a goth psychic ("denpa" in Japanese), and has the ability to sense people's auras and send out electric waves. Like Uo-chan, she is extremely protective of Tohru, the one person who has truly accepted her. She is very observant, polite and loves to eat sweets.
SOHMA Hiro (male)
Age: 11-12; Height: 150cm; Weight: 38kg; Bloodtype: AB
SOHMA Hatori (male)
Age: 27; Height: 182cm; Weight: 69kg; Bloodtype: A
SOHMA Ayame (male)
Age: 27; Height: 175cm; Weight: 63kg; Bloodtype: O
SOHMA Momiji (male)
Age: 15-16; Height: 155.8cm; Weight: 47.5kg; Bloodtype: O
SOHMA Hatsuharu, "Haru" (male)
Age: 15-16; Height: 170.2cm; Weight: 57.5kg; Bloodtype: O
SOHMA Kisa (female)
Age: 12-13; Height: 145cm; Weight: 32kg; Bloodtype: A
SOHMA Ritsu (male cross-dresser)
Age: 20-21; Height: 174.3cm; Weight: 59kg; Bloodtype: AB
SOHMA Isuzu, "Rin" (female)
About the Name
The phrase "fruits basket" means simply a basket of fruit in Japan. Bear in mind that in Japan, where arable land is in short supply and fresh food very expensive, a basket of fresh fruit is a costly and desirable item. It is written in Japanese as フルーツバスケット, fu-ru-u-tsu ba-su-ke-t-to, where the "tsu" sound means we end up with the plural S on "Fruits".
The series is named after the childrens' game, Fruits Basket which plays a role in the plot.
As at the time of writing, Fruits Basket is still being serialised in Hana to Yume, and 10 collected volumes each containing 6 or 7 stories, have been released. An 11th volume is due in February 2003. So far no English translation of the manga has been made.
The Fruits Basket anime is a 26-episode series adapted by DAICHI Akitaro, whose other anime works include: Tsukikage Ran; Jubei-chan; Komodo no Omocha (Child's Toy); Now and Then, Here and There; and Elf Princess Rane. It aired on TV channel TV Tokyo from July 5 to December 27, 2001, at 18:00 on Thursdays.
The anime series closely follows the manga up to approximately the end of volume 8 of the collections.
Studio: Studio Deen
Director: DAICHI Akitaro
Assistant Director: MIYAZAKI Nagisa
Series Story Editor: NAKASE Rika
Character Design: HAYASHI Akemi
Music: MUTO Seji
Seiyuu (Voice Actors)
HONDA Tohru - HORIE Yui
SOHMA Yuki - HISAKAWA Aya
SOHMA Kyo - SEKI Tomokazu
SOHMA Shigure - OKIAKU Ryoutarou
SOHMA Kagura - MITSUISHI Kotono
SOHMA Momiji - SAITO Ayaka
SOHMA Hatori - INOUE Kazuhiko
SOHMA Hatsuharu - SYUAMA Akio
SOHMA Ayame - MIYAMOTO Mitsuru
SOHMA Akito - WAKABA Murasaki
UOTANI Arisa - IMAI Yuka
HANAJIMA Saki - YASUHARA Reiko
HONDA Kyoko - YASUHARA Reiko
At the time of writing FUNimation have released the first of four volumes of Fruits Basket on DVD in R1, containing the first 6 episodes with both English subtitles and an English dub.
Note on Romanization
The name spellings used here are only one possible romanization, and have been chosen to correspond as much as possible to the officially licensed R1 DVD names. Names are given in Japanese order, with the family name first. Family names have been capitalized to emphasize this fact.
Dai Bouken's Fruits Basket Site: http://www.geocities.com/ai_no_hyde/Fruits_Basket.html
Official TV Tokyo site: http://www.tv-tokyo.co.jp/fruits_basket/
FUNimation site: http://www.fruits-basket.com/
Many of the character descriptions are paraphrased directly from Dai Bouken's site, which is an excellent Furuba resource.