Sunday, March 4, 2012

Aurora's best of Manga! Volume 3 - Fruits Basket

#1 - The World God Only Knows
#2 - Fairy Tail

#3 - Fruits Basket

The first manga to make me openly weep, and make me think “what do I do with myself now that the story is over?”

In this 23 volume completed series Natsuki Takaya weaves a sad and emotionally wrought story about a clan who has been cursed for hundreds of years, and the ever-optimistic girl who comes to learn their secret.

Our protagonist is Tohru, an adorable, if slightly slow, high school student who has not only lost her parents, but in order to unburden her family and friends is living in a tent by herself. She soon learns that she has unknowingly built her tent on the property of the school’s prince, Sohma Yuki. Partly out of pity, and partly in desperate need of the help, Yuki and his older cousin Shigure take in Tohru in exchange for her cleaning and cooking skills. Soon after this move, another cousin – Kyo – enters the fray, and the family secret is accidentally let out of the bag: when hugged or embraced by a member of the opposite sex, these three turn into talking animals. Not just any animals, of course, but each cursed member of the family turns into a member of the twelve animals of the Chinese Zodiac, plus the cat who is part of the original legend.

Sound complicated enough? Trust me, that just skims the surface of how intricately this curse weaves sorrow and disdain throughout this family. In typical shojou fashion the tale is all about how love and acceptance heals all and solves the world’s problems, but the torment that Natsuki-sensei puts her characters her through is heart-wrenching. I don’t think I spent a single page of the last two volumes without tears in my eyes. I vacillated back and forth between happy tears and sad tears, but definitely tears the whole time.

This was one of the first shojou manga that I read, and I’m glad I read it before I watched the anime. I love the anime, but it just kind of stops… it doesn’t even introduce the entire cast! I know that it was limited by the boundary of 24 episodes, but it still leaves me saying: “but it’s not finished yet!!!”

So, I’m going to leave this review kind of short, because if I go on I would ruin it for those of you looking for a good “chick-flick” manga equivalent. I can only gush about how wonderful the story telling is so much before it becomes tired. All I can say is, if you’re going to read one, and only one shojou manga, make it this one.

Until the next time,
Matta ne!

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