Anime Review: Fruits Basket (2019)

Our little family has been watching a lot of anime series and movies in Netflix since the pandemic started. I got really sick at the first week of July which forced me to take a few days off from work. I could not find anything interesting to watch in Netflix during the first day of my sick leave. My plan was to start another KDrama, but I’ve seen a lot of social media posts from my friends saying how this and that KDrama made them more stressed out after watching. I was looking for something light and uplifting, so I went to check out some anime series. I remember that Rei, an office friend, recommended Fruits Basket months ago. She said that the original version was her favorite when she was a teenager.

Image from Netflix

I found what my sick and weak body was yearning for after watching the first couple of episodes. The animation was cute, and for some odd reason, it gave me some sort of “warmth” while I was watching it. I wasn’t able to watch the original version, so I had no idea what the story is about. The plot presented on the first few episodes was enough to keep me intrigued and wanting for more. 


Fruits Basket is about Tohru Honda, a high school orphan girl who became temporarily homeless. Not wanting to trouble her relatives and two best friends, she put up a tent in the woods hoping to stay afloat. With some bizarre twist of fate, her tent was destroyed by a landslide. This was discovered by Shigure and her classmate, Yuki. Wanting to help Tohru,  Shigure offered to let her stay in his house where Yuki also lives. The chaos starts when Tohru discovers that Yuki, Shigure, and the other members of the Sohma family are cursed. They turn into zodiac animals when they’re exhausted, too emotional or hugged by the opposite sex.

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Like what I said earlier, it was light and feel-good at the first few episodes. It seriously cheered me up while I was nursing a flu. Teenagers Tohru, Kyo and Yuki living in one roof with the crazy Shigure seems to be a perfect recipe for a wholesome romantic-comedy anime series.

Cute, right?

Ehhhhh, wrong answer! 

The plot just gets crazier and darker as I watch more! I remember saying, “What the heck, Rei?! What the?!” HAHAHAHAHA! I thought it was going to simply be a cutesy high school love triangle where the girl will struggle in choosing between two guys who turn into a mouse and a cat. Apparently, I was wrong!

Very, very, very wrong, actually!

I must admit that when you pay more attention, there are some parts of the story which I find problematic and cringe-worthy. I mean, grooming and a grownup getting into a relationship with a minor are just two of the many things that I dread as a parent. But other than this, Fruits Basket was able to effectively tackle a lot of things that are still deemed taboo in this day and age. Fruits Basket offers more than its cute animation and nice soundtrack as it talks about mental illness, suicide, childhood trauma, various forms of abuse, and toxic family behaviors.

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Watching Fruits Basket is like a rollercoaster ride. One moment I am gushing over the romantic scenes which remind me of teenage love, the next thing I know I’m already crying while feeling the character’s pain. One moment I am smiling at the kind of sweet friendship that Tohru shares with Hana and Uo, and the next thing I know, watching their past reminds me that every person has a cross to bear and that most hide them from other people. The storytelling is superb as I was able to empathize with the characters, no matter how evil or twisted I think some of them are. It was so effective in making me not only understand but also somehow live through their pains.

Fruits Basket discussing taboo topics was such an eye-opener. Now that I’m also a parent, it somehow reminded me of the weight of every word I say and every choice I make for my kid. Most of the Sohmas look devious and evil, but the truth is, most of them are mere victims. They think that the curse is turning into an animal, but in reality, the true curse is being trapped in generational trauma. It’s liberating to see the development of each character as they fight their own inner demons.


It’s just ironic that I shied away from watching KDramas because of their stressful plots, yet here I am enthusiastically writing at how I like an anime series with such complex plot. Haha! But believe me when I say that this is an anime series worth watching. I know I’m already too late in doing this review, but in case you haven’t seen this yet, then consider this a recommendation. Hihi.

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