This is a general review for the Fruits Basket series, but I may add specific reviews to certain volumes.
This manga series will always hold a special...moreThis is a general review for the Fruits Basket series, but I may add specific reviews to certain volumes.
This manga series will always hold a special place in my favorite books collection, possibly because it was the first one I ever read. But also because it rivals "text" books in terms of character, plot, and sheer emotion.
It starts off misleadingly simple. Tohru Honda, a young orphan who recently lost her beloved mother, is living in the woods to avoid being taken to her unsavory relatives. By chance, she wanders past the home of three charismatic young men one day; Shigure, Yuki, and Kyo Sohma. Sympathetic to her situation, they offer her a temporary place in their household. But it doesn't take long for Tohru to realize they are hiding an astonishing secret. The three of them, as well as the other thirteen members of the Sohma clan, are cursed by the spirits of the thirteen animals of the Chinese zodiac. Each time they are too closely touched by a member of the opposite sex, they transform into their spirit animal.
And as the story goes on, you are drawn inexorably into its very heart. The way that Tohru meets each Sohma, each with painful memories, angry scars, burdens of sorrow; each grappling desperately with the pain of being alone, unable to truly become close to another. The way Tohru's kind heart and pure spirit slowly begin to work their simple magic on the Sohma family. And the way each character comes to terms with love, life, the past, family, and their own identity. And of course, as with every story, there is the romance; the warring cousins Kyo and Yuki, both of them falling in very different ways for Tohru.
I laughed. I cried. I clutched the book with anger and fear and suspense and hope. I tried to pick favorites from the immense cast of characters, and came up with about fifteen. This manga was not just a passing "fun" series that was good for a laugh. I truly became deeply attached to it. (less)
One of the funniest things, manga or book, that I've ever read, this series is a classic of light-hearted fun mixed with character development and tou...moreOne of the funniest things, manga or book, that I've ever read, this series is a classic of light-hearted fun mixed with character development and touching truth.
Haruhi is a smart, snarky, quiet girl moving under the radar at the prestigious Ouran Academy. Compared to the rest of the school's wealthy students, she's a nobody, so she devotes herself to studying, often dressing as a boy to avoid further notice.
But Haruhi's whole life gets thrown a loop the day she goes looking for a quiet place to study...and instead walks into the Host Club, an eccentric and charismatic group of good-looking guys dedicated to entertaining females. Haruhi wants nothing to do with them, but as fate would have it, one series of unlucky happenings later, Haruhi gets roped into service as a host. The only problem is that the club members, at least at first, believe Haruhi is a boy.
So begins a wild, hilarious, oddly warm tale, as Haruhi slowly develops an involuntary affection for the crazy Host Club. Sweet and childlike Honey, with a sweet tooth and mad karate skills; Mori, Honey's loyal bodyguard and the club stoic; calm and sharp-minded Kyoya, the club's overseer and vice president; irrepressible and sly twins Hikaru and Kaoru; and the club's handsome, manic, and hilarious president Tamaki. They all have something to teach Haruhi in their odd ways, and she in turn will touch each of their lives in ways none of them could have imagined.
One of my favorite mangas ever, the characters and the humor make it. But there's real substance sometimes, which makes it even better. But ultimately it's the story of a girl who discovers a place she fits in...in the place she least expects.(less)
**spoiler alert** As I think many fans of Fruits Basket can tell you, this is far and away one of the most important, heartwrenching, beautiful volume...more**spoiler alert** As I think many fans of Fruits Basket can tell you, this is far and away one of the most important, heartwrenching, beautiful volumes of the manga. It is undoubtedly a turning point in many ways.
Many times over the course of the series, Fruits Basket caused a lump to come to my throat. But as I read this one, I found myself actually shedding tears. The combination of art, dialogue, and scene setup came together to create an amazingly moving scenario. Even now, Tohru's outburst (I almost want to call it a soliloquy) to Kyo remains one of my favorite parts from the entire series. The flashbacks to Kyo's childhood were heart-tearing, but that only made Tohru's assertion that much more striking. And honestly, I can't see how someone could keep from crying when Tohru carries cat-Kyo home in her arms...that single panel made me stop, close the volume, and take deep breaths for about a minute, composing my emotions. Kazuma-sensei kneeling was just the crowning touch.
This is also, by the way, the volume that made me certain that, no matter what, Tohru and Kyo were meant to be together. :)(less)
Another one of my favorite mangas, also introduced to me by my friend, this one is nice because it hits a good, solid medium between shojo (female app...moreAnother one of my favorite mangas, also introduced to me by my friend, this one is nice because it hits a good, solid medium between shojo (female appeal) and shounen (male appeal).
Daisuke Niwa has been trained to be a thief ever since he can remember; his mother and grandfather have constantly drilled him in lockpicking, trap avoidance, stealth, and use of his wits. He doesn't really understand the purpose behind it, just that it's a "family tradition." And despite the fact that he knows how to pick a lock and disarm a booby trap, Daisuke can't get his crush Risa to notice him at all.
But then one day while looking a picture of Risa, something very strange happens. Daisuke transforms into someone totally different...the tall, winged, dark-haired, sleek phantom thief Dark, who has been striking across the city and stealing precious art museum pieces. No one knows who he is or is able to catch him. And now Daisuke realizes that this is the true family tradition...the Niwa men have harbored the soul of the phantom Dark for generations as an alter-ego, awakened by strong romantic feelings.
Now formerly ordinary 14-year-old Daisuke has a whole world of problems to navigate; his crush Risa, her tomboyish sister Riku, and his classmate Satoshi, who may also be harboring an age-old phantom being. Besides that, he's also being pressured to steal art pieces by night, carrying out Dark's calling. And his biggest problem may just the snarky, hot-tempered, arrogant, and stubborn Dark, who's inside Daisuke's mind and body to stay, whether either of them like it or not.
There's action, there's romance, a bit of humor, and fun characters that you develop affection for easily. Not the deepest or most layered manga out there, but one of my definite favorites nonetheless.(less)