Title: Fruits Basket
Genre: Drama, Supernatural
Publisher: Hakusensha (JP), Yen Press (US)
Story/Art: Natsuki Takaya
Serialized in: Hana to Yume
Translation: Sheldon Drzka
Original Release Date: February 21, 2017
Review copy provided by Yen Press.
Fruits Basket does something shocking this time around. Brace yourselves:
Tohru and Kyo return.
Yes, after being MIA for far too long, Takaya finally brings the heroine and the cat back into the picture… for two chapters. Then we go back to Yuki because I know you’re all dying to see him meet Kakeru’s girlfriend. What, you weren’t? Shocker. (This is sarcasm by the way.)
It’s not that I mind Yuki. I just don’t like how Fruits Basket seems to forget that while this is an ensemble cast, the heroine should actually appear and actually do something. Seeing Yuki spend some time with his brother and his student council friends is fun. Seeing Yuki hog the story isn’t.
Fortunately, in the second half of the volume, Yuki steps aside for to let Tohru and Kyo take the reins.
Tohru finally realizes her feelings for Kyo are more than just platonic, and she struggles with how this will change her life and the lives of those around her. Shigure makes it plain Kyo’s future internment is not the Zodiac members’ concern. Kagura (remember her?) and Momiji (who has undergone a growth spurt) deal with jealousy. Plus the shadow of Kyoko follows both Tohru and Kyo.
Surprisingly, while this volume is about everyone moving toward the future, quite a bit of time is dedicated to the past. Ren and Akito’s mother-daughter relationship (well, lack of relationship) is explained along with Kyo’s encounters with Kyoko and Tohru’s feelings toward her father. I’ve always felt Tohru’s “dirty part” of herself (her words, not mine) was pretty eye-rolling, and even her selfishness still makes her feel like a Mary Sue. On the other end of the spectrum are Akito and Ren. Both women keep throwing tantrums based on what they believe they’re owed. They’re both possessive and greedy, perfect foils to Tohru’s “greedy” wish to be with Kyo. The omnibus ends with several shocking moments as the three women’s desires all seem to fall apart.
As for the art, the biggest shocker comes in the form of Momiji. The little rabbit suddenly looks his age — perhaps even older. His sudden romantic interest in Tohru aside, Momiji’s aging seems sudden and makes him look like a clone of the other guys. I wanted him to stay youthful-looking like Honey from Ouran High School Host Club. I also must add that Kakeru and Machi actually look good on the covers. They just seem to be drawn better in Takaya’s modern style than some of the other characters.
All in all, this volume would have been almost perfect if it weren’t for what was originally the second half of the 19th volume. I mentally checked out during these hundred or so pages. Fortunately, the rest of the omnibus is full of supernatural intrigue, drama, and romance — everything that makes Fruits Basket shine. Tohru and Kyo fans in particular should celebrate and should run post-haste to their bookstore to end the long drought.
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