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Anime, Fruits Basket, and Crushes on Fictional Characters

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/fruitsbasket.jpg
from left to right: Kyo, Shigure(top), Tohru(holding cat), and Yuki.

I recently started watching my first anime EVER, Fruits Basket(フルーツバスケット Furūtsu Basuketto?).

Here is the summary:

 After the death of her mother, young Tohru Honda has been secretly living on her own in a tent. Her life changes forever when she stumbles upon the secret of the Sohma family, whose land she has been living on. They are afflicted by a Hereditary Curse that changes some members of the family into animals of the Eastern Zodiac when they are hugged by someone of the opposite sex that is not also a Zodiac member.

Now living with three of the Sohma family, every day is an adventure for sweet Tohru, as she gets to know all of the very different family members better, in both common and bizarre situations. But, the Sohma family curse is certainly no laughing matter...it also holds horrible cruelty and heartbreak. Despite this, the members of the Sohma family find a new peace thanks to the presence of Tohru.Hailed as one of the best shojo series out there, during its five years in-print (2004-2009) it was the best-selling shojo manga series in America, and often the second best-selling manga series period.


 Previously, I purposefully stayed away from anime and manga, but since many of my friends were into it, I picked up a few things. The difference between anime and manga is anime=TV shows and movies and manga=graphic novels. There are different genres of anime and manga, including shojo(which includes Fruits Basket and Sailor Moon, and marketed to teen girls) and shonen(marketed to teen boys). 

Technically this wasn't my first anime or manga EVER, as I have watched Hayao Miyazaki's "adaption" of Howl's Moving Castle and LOVED it, and read the manga adaptions of the Maximum Ride novels. But since those were both adaptions of a Western novel I don't think they really counted.

~~~~

There are several reasons which I have stayed clear of manga/anime until now.

The first is that I just never had any interest in graphic novels/TV shows in general, preferring to read books with things like fonts and plots and character development and things left to the imagination. This is still true, as Fruits Basket has joined Dance Moms and The Clone Wars as the only shows I watch. And I have still never read any graphic novel that was not an adaption of a real novel.

The second is that shojo and other manga and anime, usually as a rule, incorporates many supernatural and paranormal elements, such as witchcraft, ghosts, demons, etc. Fruits Basket has had an extremely light dose of it so far, but still. I am not afraid of those things, because I subscribe to a greater power, but no need to invite it in any closer than it already is, y'know?

The third reason is this. While I don't doubt the shojo Japanese style as a worthwhile art form, I have never really felt comfortable with the way it chases perfection and ideal of the human body. Almost every person drawn in that style is slender, flawless, and unrealistically gorgeous. The guys are beautiful(and somwhat weirdly feminine) in a way that very few real guys have any chance of measuring up to. This isn't a really concrete reason to dislike something, but it was still enough. 

~~~~
http://images.wikia.com/fruits-basket/images/5/5b/Ayame_Sohma.jpg 
Ayame Sohma. And yes, he's a guy. See what I mean?

Now on to Fruits Basket.

I adore this anime series. It is blindingly humorous, sweet, fluffy, and addicting. It is easy to see why it has become such a seller.  It is rather hard to describe, but I think any girl would be interested in it even if she wasn't interested in manga/anime or the zodiac.

I have to give credit to TLF's amazing DuchessSatineKenobi for pushing it on to me. XD I was interested because I was looking up music videos for Chicago's  "When You're Good To Mama" because my dance studio's performing company had an adorable dance to it. And there was a fan video of Ayame Sohma to that song. I saw the description and I was like "Fruits Basket? Isn't that the anime Satine keeps talking about?" There was some funny stuff in that video, so I checked it out. And never looked back :P

And in case you were wondering, I go for the English dub all the way. No subtitles for me!

The characters are all extremely lovable, and there's something just inherently cool about the Sohmas. There are only a couple introduced every episode, and since they're so queer in contrast to ordinary people, they just have that "superhuman cool" allure. When Momiji blinked those adorable brown eyes and said "I'm Momiji Sohma. What's the matter, Yuki, you look like a girl!" I'm sure everybody gave their computers high fives and was like "heck yeah" XD

The characters and situations are like a warm, happy dream or memory, swirling their way up from my gut and taking up residence in my heart, where I smile just at remembering.  And there are some genuinely funny parts at least one in every episode. I look forward to every episode. Often, watching and then reminiscing about episodes is the highlight of my day.

I do have to say some things about it though XD.

The characters, for the most part, are completely flawless. And by that, I mean there isn't anything wrong with them. Which means there IS something wrong with them! Perfect characters are fun,  but they're not realistic! I love the characters, but like, they're perfect! Which is weird!

...
This is confusing, so I'll detail it. The main character, Tohru, is cheerful, hardworking, optimistic, patient, and wise. No faults whatsoever(except an inability to stand up for herself, which isn't really a fault because it's an extreme version of selflessness.)

The second main character, Yuki, is reserved, strong n' silent, a great martial artist, quiet, kind, and polite. His only fault(not really a fault, just a device to make the audience love him more) is his shyness. And his inability to get along with Kyo.

Kyo is the only faulty MC in Fruits Basket, and he's so obviously faulty it's like the producers put him there so no one could accuse them of having cliched characters("Look! Our characters are NOT all perfect! Look at Kyo! It's like we removed the faults from all the other characters and stuffed them into Kyo!")
He has, to put it lightly , anger management and jealousy issues and a major lack of filter between brain and mouth.

Like I said earlier, a lot of the love for the characters comes from their adorable gorgeous appearances. If the characters were drawn plainly or realistically, people wouldn't love them half as much. I guess that's normal in the manga/anime world. It wouldn't count for a bucket of  squid in the book world, just sayin,


http://media.comicvine.com/uploads/2/21294/560798-momijisohma_large.jpg
 Momiji Sohma

Another issue is the plotting. Or lack thereof. Fruits Basket reminds me a lot of fanfiction. In which not a lot happens, but the plots are contrived and manipulated to put characters in either deliciously awkward or what if? situations. I've heard the plot picks up after a while, but seriously. 

Put Yuki in a dress? Check.
Have Momiji and Hatori come and freak out Yuki &Co in front of the whole school? Check.
Have an episode where Tohru's normal friends come visit the Sohma house and accidentally transform them a crap ton of times and they have to try and hide it? (For the record, this episode contains two of the funniest Shigure scenes EVER).

Check.

I mean, they're funny and entertaining fluff. Like cotton candy and Maximum Ride. There's nothing harmful about them and there is pro-social content(Girls could all take a lesson from the optimistic, patient, loving, compassionate, and hard-working Tohru, for example.) They do have technical "lessons" for each episode, but they're usually at Level 1 in Life Lessons( ie. "Friendship is good!" "People do have good qualities!" "Envy is bad!") I think(or hope) that we're all past the point when we have to learn those things.

~~~~~~

And now, a little something on fictional crushes.

http://img1.ak.crunchyroll.com/i/spire2/05282008/8/a/6/4/8a6427e55efd50_full.jpg






http://images.wikia.com/fruitsbasket/images/2/25/Yuki_01.jpg 









Kyo Sôma: One of these days, I'll make you say you're sorry!
Yuki Sôma: [looking bored] I'm sorry.
Kyo Sôma:  ARGH! That's not what I meant! Don't you have any shame?
Yuki Sôma: [still looking bored] Yes, I'm ashamed to be seen with you, shouting in public.
Kyo Sôma: Oh that's it! We're taking this outside!
Yuki Sôma: [still looking bored] We ARE outside, you stupid cat. 


This, yall, is Yuki Sohma. He is pretty much everything anybody could want in a guy ever. He's cute, kind, polite, reserved, selfless, sensitive (in a masculine way), intelligent,  and witty. He's undefeated in martial arts, and a natural leader.

In the story, he is literally called "Prince Charming"(or just Prince Yuki) and has a literal Prince Yuki Fan Club of squeally fangirls who annoy both Tohru and Yuki. Girls fall over their feet for him. 

If I were a character, I would definitely be in the Prince Yuki Fan Club. But I don't really have that much of a crush on him.(It's more like whenever those big, disproportionally purple eyes fill with tears or look longingly at something, I'm like "NOO YUKI PLZ DON"T CRY I"M GOING TO CRY! LET ME WRAP YOU IN A BLANKET AND HUG YOOUUU".)

Fictional crushes are a fun way to spend your time, but you can set yourself up for a lot of disappointment, cause there's no one on earth capable of measuring up to them because they came from someone's mind. You're just going to be disappointed by the guys you meet in real life XD.

 Sort of a tragedy really XD

I hope you check out Fruits Basket soon! I'm going to watch the next episode now. The preview looks really strange and awesome.

You can watch Fruits Basket free, legal, and straight from the source at funmation.com(or google fruits basket).


My current desktop wallpaper:.

 
http://www.wallpaperbang.com/wallpaper/fruits-basket-wallpaper-3.jpg

Comments

  1. You, my friend, are a fruit basket.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. YOUR FACE IS A FRUIT BASKET. SO THERE.

      Delete
  2. Oh, what have you done to me?!? I watched Episode 1 and 2 (kinda short, ain't they?) on YouTube, and need more. Oh so much more. Yuki, oh oh OH Yuki!!

    Can you message the funmation link to me on TLF? I tried searching, but it came up empty. :-/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'll put it here for anyone who wants to see it.

      http://www.funimation.com/fruits-basket

      it's been kinda slow lately so here's another one:
      http://www.hulu.com/fruits-basket

      Search the episode number in the box. (just write "episode 1", "episode 2", etc.) Two will come up-be sure to watch the one without closed captions, that's the dub.

      -Enjoy!

      Delete
  3. I used to be really into quite a few animes, but I grew out of it before I ever got the chance to watch Fruits Basket. Ones I did watch were Death Note, Kare Kono, Ouran Highschool Host Club, Shugo Chara, Nana, aaaand there was one more but I can't remember waht it was called.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. :PP I've never heard of any of them except the Ouran Highschool Host Club. Were they any good?

      Delete
    2. Ouran is fantastic. Love it to pieces. I've heard the first season of Death Note is good. But Amaranthine, you need to read Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle. Don't want the anime first, read the mange first. I'M BEGGING YOU.

      Delete
  4. Glad you are enjoying it so far. I've been watching it too and so far, I like it a lot(though I do agree that the characters do seem a little too perfect, but I still like them). I like other animes, especially the films made by Studio Ghibli, they are really, really good.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I'm so glad you decided to watch it! It's so addicting and the books are even better!

    Glad you like it, enjoy the rest of the series!

    <333 Satine

    ReplyDelete
  6. A lot of things like what seem like "perfect characters" and very flawed characters like Kyo, I've never seen as an attempt by the editors to balance things out or whatnot, because it's a general "cliche" if you will of manga/anime. But I can see how you would see it like that.... for some reason Japanese stuff is completely separate in my head.... and almost revered o_O Plus I have been addicted to fantastic manga art for years, and it can do no wrong xD

    You need to move to my neighborhood, or I need to move to yours. I wish I could spaz with you in real life. In person. It would be fantastic.

    ReplyDelete

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