Directed By: Yoshihide Ibata
Audio: Japanese, English
Format: DVD, Blu-Ray, Collector’s Limited Edition Dual Format, Digital
Licensed By: Manga Entertainment UK
Release Date: Out Now
Tohru Honda is a cheerful and dependable high school girl, who always goes about her day with a bright smile on her face. However, she is now an orphan after the tragic loss of her mother, now Tohru lives amongst the forest in a tent as she does not wish to be a burden on her extended family. Tohru is soon discovered camping on land belonging to the Soma family. Fortunately she escapes what would have been a fatal landslide and is invited to board at the Soma family home in the woods. It’s not long before Tohru steps upon the Soma family secret. A number of Soma family individuals are cursed with the zodiac spirits, if they were to be hugged by the opposite gender, they would suddenly turn into their zodiac animal. Now Tohru is forced to bare this secret, but it does bring her closer to her Soma family classmates and housemates. Just how will the Soma’s survive attending a co-ed high school, and has Tohru really learned all about the Zodiac curse?
Fruits Basket is one of my all time favorite mangas, so I may be a bit biased in this review. Many of you are either fans of this series from when it was first adapted into an anime back in 2001, or perhaps maybe even further back to when the manga was first released by TokyoPop. Some of you readers may even just be new fans or this is the first time you have come across this show. Either way, this new 2019 anime adaption is breathtaking and even manages to surpass the original anime, both in animation quality and the amount of reference material they will be covering from the manga. From what I gather, they will be adapting all 23 volumes of the manga in this anime! Something that wasn’t done with the original, as the manga was still being released all the way up to 2006, a solid 5 years after the original anime ended. This show is more of a slice of life anime, mixed with the supernatural because of the zodiac curse put on the Somas, but is also in the romantic genre. Tohru becomes one very lucky girl once she takes up residence in the Soma household, as she becomes the centre focus of the Soma family. She unknowingly gathers the attention of the teenage Soma boys that live under the same roof, and thus she becomes involved in a reverse harem. A term I only discovered a number of years back from watching Ouran HighSchool Host Club. Can you name that episode in the comments below?
There are many different characters in this show, and even in Part One we do meet a good number of those cursed under the Zodiac. As the episodes progress, we gradually get to meet more members of the Soma family that share the same curse. It is usually by the end of the episode do we find out what animal they represent. To newcomers it’s a great deal of fun to figure out, for myself, it was more fun watching it all unfold a second time with this new adaptation. The main three are of course, the Rat, Cat and Dog, all of which reside under the same roof as Tohru. Personalities clash daily, as do most objects in the house. So far the biggest mystery of all is to do with Shigure and how honest he truly is. Also the unchallenged power Akito holds over the Soma family. As you go along you will meet more characters and discover more shippings, but for myself it will always be Kyo and Tohro.
Within these 13 episodes we have seen how ferocious Yuki and Kyo fight when they see one another, the hurtful encounters begin to decrease slowly once Tohru moves into the household. I say Tohru’s calm and nurturing nature has brought a new form of peace to the Soma home, although it does become strained every now and then, not as many doors are broken even just for Shigure’s benefit alone. Ultimately Kyo and Yuki soon begin to look out for Tohru and even make sure to escort her home from work in the evenings. Their relationships progress from mere housemates to friends and perhaps even more over the course of this anime adaption.
- Commentaries for Episodes 4 & 7 from some of the US voice actors
- Fruits Basket Tell All Inside the Episode, for episodes 1,4,7,10 and 13, with input from the US voice cast and Funimation ADR Director Caitlyn Glass
- Textless Opening and Closing Songs
Fruits Basket 2019 only begun airing on FunimationNow back in April 2019, so it has had an incredibly quick turn around for UK anime standards to actually be getting a physical release this early! So a massive congratulations to all at Manga Entertainment UK for making this possible and I hope this is the standard we should learn to expect and appreciate from here on out from them. Not only is this particular release getting the standard DVD and BluRay treatment, but has also been upgraded to a Collector’s Limited Dual Format Edition, which will not only include a BluRay release but will also have a digital copy. This Collector’s edition will include some art cards and three zodiac paperweights, much like what Tohru first saw when she first visited the Soma home. Although it was a complete missed opportunity to include the rat and cat versions together, it does however feature the riceball (Tohru), the rat and cow/ox.
This was certainly a release worth waiting for and in all honesty, we weren’t waiting very long at all after its debut on FunimationNow. The English voice cast mostly stayed the same and didn’t require re-casting, as the original voice actors returned to reprise their characters. In my opinion I think they have done a better job in their performances second time around, after having over 15 years of a break from the show. If you haven’t already, go out there and track down the manga series and the original anime. You can get the anime now from MVM Entertainment, watch it through and compare yourself which one you prefer more. The manga has already been re-released in collectors omnibus editions by Yen Press, so don’t worry about tracking down the old TokyoPop versions.