Almost every Fruits Basket fan will be happy with this volume. Well, we did say almost...

Fruits Basket Collector's Edition Volume 9Title: Fruits Basket
Genre: Drama, Supernatural
Publisher: Hakusensha (JP), Yen Press (US)
Story/Artist: Natsuki Takaya
Serialized in: Hana to Yume
Translation: Sheldon Drzka
Original Release Date: January 24, 2017
Review copy provided by Yen Press.

Hey, good news: Fruits Basket finally remembers this ISN’T Yuki’s story.

Unfortunately, I’ll let Kyo explain the problem.:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kyo Fruits Basket shockYes, Tohru x Kyo fans, you have dialed the wrong number. Considering this is an omnibus, there isn’t quite as notable a fluff drought as in the original TOKYOPOP releases, but they still take a backseat in importance.

By far, the biggest draw to this volume is Akito. Tohru finally discovers the truth about the head of the Sohma family, and Akito’s warped relationships with the zodiac and mother Ren provide a heavy dose of psychological drama. Shigure and Kureno treat Akito completely differently, and this unhealthy love triangle indirectly affects a lot of other people. The biggest victim of Akito’s wrath is Rin. She wants to break the curse for Haru’s sake, and her sudden disappearance makes the others uneasy. Tohru has already been weighed down by Kureno’s rejection of Arisa, and between those two and Kyo’s seeming acceptance of his future, she spends a lot of time in tears.

But as much as readers want to (and probably should) hate Akito, we meet someone who perhaps is even more deserving of their fury: Akito’s mother Ren. From the flashbacks we see Akito’s childhood was not as idyllic as what one would think a god would have. But while Ren is certainly in the running for a Horrible Mother Award, she also makes some very valid points about Akito’s obsession with the zodiac bond. This sort of mental conflict helps dull the fact the supposed main couple is pretty much ignored in favor of… pretty much everyone else. I mean, did we really need a whole chapter where the head of the Yuki fan club confesses to Yuki? Heck, even Hana gets more of a nice fluff scene with Tohru than Kyo! (Man, I love her. I wish I could read a whole series starring the Hanajima siblings.)

I’ve already said a lot about the art and the translation in my previous reviews, so I’ll save us both some time and not rehash my thoughts too much. I do feel like the dialogue flowed more smoothly here than in some of the earlier ones. Unfortunately, the art still feels a little rough on characters like Yuki, but Rin’s new haircut actually ages her in a positive way. She looks mature, not old like a lot of the others.

All in all, this latest volume is much more engaging than the previous. With more insight what makes Akito tick, what’s behind Shigure’s smile, and how various characters feel about each other, almost every Fruits Basket fan will be happy. Sorry, Kyo lovers. Try again next time.