So, back when I was in high school, I went through a few misguided and rocky relationships, one of which occurred when I was a sophomore. While it wasn’t a particularly nasty break-up, the relationship itself needed quite a bit of work (we went to separate schools and lived in separate towns and this was before either of us could drive) and we eventually decided to it was best to call it off.
But one great thing I got out of it (aside from my first real kiss) was an introduction to manga.
Before this time, I’d never picked up manga and wasn’t particularly interested in doing so. At this time, I was into contemporary romance and historicals, so reading a book that consisted mostly of pictures? And had to be read backwards? Meh, I wasn’t too interested.
That was, until, my ex told me about one he thought I would like – a girly manga called Fruits Basket. Fruits Basket centers around an orphan girl, Tohru Honda, who – while her grandfather is renovating his home – lives in a tent. That is until the Sohmas discover her on their land and invite her to live with them. Little does she know, though, that the Sohmas are afflicted with a curse. A curse that, when they are hugged by the opposite sex, they transform into a Chinese Zodian animal.
So, my interest was piqued. I went out to the store and bought my first graphic novel ever. And I swear to God I devoured that thing in thirty minutes. I instantly fell in love with Takaya’s creative premise for a series, as well as her humor and beautiful prose. You wouldn’t think that a manga could invoke such emotion, but she manages to do so with ease. Before too long, I fell in love with Tohru, Yuki, Kyo and all the other Sohmas. I found myself shipping certain characters and practically crying at certain parts in the series.
So it goes without saying that I begged and begged my mother to go out and buy the next book in the series right after I finished one. She grudgingly humored my fascination, complaining all the while about a ten dollar “comic”, but before long I had all the books in my possession and completely fell in love with the world Takaya created. I bought Fruits Basket wall scrolls, Fruits Basket plushies, Fruits Basket DVDs, calendars and even had a Fruits Basket cake for my sixteenth birthday. I was crazy obsessed – and I still have all those mementos to this day! I even roleplayed it over the internet with friends from all over the world – many of which I’ve known for several years now.
Not too long ago, I decided to pick up the series again. It had been close to ten years since I last read it and I figured I was well overdue for a reintroduction. So, I dusted off the first volume and cracked it open again.
The crucial question here: does it hold up?
And my answer: you better believe it does.
It’s just as magical and romantic as I remember and it was great getting to know the characters again, at least how they were at the beginning of the series, before they had a chance to grow and change. And while I’ve read a few other mangas since being introduced to them, this will always remain my favorite and have a special place in my heart. If you love fluff and romance, as well as manga, this is a great series to look into!