Rummanah Aasi
 Manga Mondays is a meme hosted by Alison at Alison Can Read where bloggers can share their passion for reading mangas. It's a great place to get new manga titles to try and to meet new bloggers.  I have been slowly working my way through the widely popular and critically acclaimed Fruits Basket manga series. Fruits Basket is a completed series with a total of 23 volumes.

Description: A family with an ancient curse...

And the girl who will change their lives forever...

Tohru Honda was an orphan with no place to go until the mysterious Sohma family offered her a place to call home. Now her ordinary high school life is turned upside down as she's introduced to the Sohma's world of magical curses and family secrets.

Review: I would highly recommend reading Fruits Basket to readers who want to try reading manga, but are not sure where to start. The series is complete so you don't have to wait for volumes to be released. It also has a broad range of genres ranging from cute romantic comedy to serious reflection on what it means to grow up and change, which makes the series very appealing to a wide variety of readers. 
  It took me a while to get my footing in this series. The first few volumes felt repetitive as we watch Tohru learn about the Sohma clan's curse and meet each member of the Chinese zodiac. Once we have the initial meet and greet of the large cast of characters, the story switches its focus from exploring the zodiac to the relationships between the characters and it was at this point where I got hooked into the manga series. 
 The characters of Fruits Basket gives the manga its emotional depth and heart. Tohru is a selfless and resilient heroine who is consistently positive and full of life despite the hardships she has faced. Some readers may see her as a stereotypical shojo girl who is clumsy, ditzy, and naive, but I would strongly disagree. Tohru is a symbol of warmth, love, and acceptance. She knows there will be times when life will have some steep lows, but she tries her best to be happy and do her best. Tohru is a stark contrast to those of the Sohma family. For many members of the Sohma family, Tohru fills a void in many different ways ranging from a mother figure to a sister and to a friend.
  The Sohma family's curse in which hugging a member of the opposite sex will turn them into their zodic animal is initially used for comedy relief in the first few volumes, but as the manga continues the curse is used metaphorically for their phobia of growing up and assimilating to the outside world. The interactions within the Sohma family are surprisingly heart wrenching, dark, claustrophobic, and cold as the characters are pretty much void of any emotional attachment until Tohru comes into their lives. Any attempts of being remotely happy are squashed under the iron fist of the Sohma family leader who 'chains' himself to everyone. Even the innocent children are not spared and almost all of their parents have abandoned and neglected them. I was very surprised about the dark and mature issues in this manga series given the volume's cheery and cute cover art.
 As the manga processes, its characters also grow and change both physically, emotionally, and mentally. I really liked how the author focused on all of her main characters, giving them their own subplot stories that are critical to the manga's overall plot arc and themes.  
 I did have a few issues with the artwork in the manga series. In the first few volumes, the art looked too compressed and squished in their panels. There were many times I was confused as to who the characters are because they look so much alike, but it did get better as the manga moved along and the author becoming more comfortable with her characters and story.
 While I did have some lingering questions that were not addressed in the story, I was overall pleased with how everything came together. There were a few volumes that seemed to be a bit filler and I would have combined them, but that is not unusual for manga series. There are certainly dark moments throughout the manga series, but the ending was full of hope and heart. I can certainly see why many people chose this series to begin their manga reading journey and I would definitely recommend it. I plan on watching the anime shortly.

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution:  The first few volumes in this manga are suitable for tweens, however, as the series continues mature situations and themes are explored. There is some language, suggestive nudity, crude humor, allusions to sex, and depictions of emotional abuse in the manga series.Recommended for strong Grade 7 readers and up. 

If you like this book try: Sand Chronicles by Hinako Ashihara
4 Responses
  1. One of these days, I promise I will try a manga book. I really am curious.

  2. Interesting... that the manga changed as the author's confidence grew. Usually they strive to have it uniform throughout. I might check it out for that aspect alone. I love progress. :)

  3. Kindlemom Says:

    Thanks so much for the recommendation, this does sound like it has a great premises!

  4. Great to see your review! It's been such a long time since I read this series but it was my first and I still love it. I need to get back to manga. Ever since I moved 3 years ago and my library had little manga selection, I've gotten out of the habit.

    BTW, are you going to BEA since it will be nearby?

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