‘Fruits Basket’ shares stories of tender, damaged characters


One of the most enthralling parts of characterization in stories is the ability to capture and harness raw emotion. 

For character driven plots, it’s a basic necessity to have a story that viewers can relate and grow attached to. After all, characters are what keep stories thriving.

A grand example of a character-driven story is the 2019 revival of popular anime series “Fruits Basket”, which easily succeeds its 2001 predecessor by taking more time to explore its tender and damaged characters in more depth, giving each of them a chance in the spotlight.

The show is based on the Japanese manga of the same name created by Natsuki Takaya. It follows Tohru Honda, an orphaned girl who encounters Kyo, Yuki and Shigure Soma, who are three of the twelve members of the Soma family who are possessed by the animals of the Chinese zodiac. When stressed, sick or hugged by members of the opposite sex, those possessed by the Chinese zodiac turn into the animal they are individually cursed with.

While this plot may seem silly or strange, the overall story of the show is significantly raw and vibrant. “Fruits Basket” is about accepting people and their damaged parts, and loving them despite it all. The story exhibits Tohru growing close with the Soma family and learning their story, discovering in what ways the members are broken by their curse. 

Tohru is a great main character to lead this sort of story. She’s a sweet and impeccably positive person. Despite having such tragedy maring her past, she looks on the bright side of things and teaches people that they are worth loving, no matter how broken they may be. 

Tohru isn’t perfect. She’s also emotionally broken. However, this is what makes her such a strong character. Despite the tragedy that’s befallen her, she’s selfless and makes an effort to help others with everything she can muster. It’s difficult not to fall in love with Tohru and her sweet positivity when it generates hope not only in the story but also in the viewer.

Other characters in the show shine alongside Tohru. There’s Yuki and Kyo Soma, two members of the family possessed by the Chinese zodiac who are in the same age range as Tohru. 

Both suffer by being different from normal members of their family. Yuki is seen as a perfect prodigy with a charming demeanor, but he’s secretly a person who desperately tries to hide his insecurities. Kyo is short-tempered and feisty, normally getting the short end of the stick as an outcast, but wanting to be loved for himself. 

The two are inexplicably different, but they share many things they don’t seem to realize, which is such an interesting juxtaposition that keeps audiences hoping for the realization to come in the end, so they can finally be themselves and get along.

Although Tohru is the lead in this story, you learn so much about characters such as Yuki and Kyo through her growing relationship with them and the interactions they have together. They all grow emotionally through many hardships by not only learning to love themselves and each other but also by learning what friendship and bonding truly are.

That’s what makes this story so vibrant and different. The incorporation of raw emotion in its characters, as well as showing there will always be rainy and sunny days but despite it all, life still goes on, is so real and captures the complications of life and how people grow. It showcases the beauty and tragedies of life.

“Fruits Basket,” tells the story of many emotionally scarred characters through beautiful art and consistent development. It shows that people who are damaged are worth loving, and when you find people who accept you and all the broken pieces you may have, those people are worth keeping close.

5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)