Title: Fruits Basket Collector’s Edition Volume 1
Author: Natsuki Takaya
Publisher: Yen Press
Page count: 392
Publication Date: June 28, 2016
After having been out of print for nearly a decade, Fruits Basket returns in a beautiful omnibus collection licensed by Yen Press. As the VP and Publishing Director of Yen Press, Kurt Hassler noted in the December 2015 announcement, Fruits Basket along with a few other franchises transformed the market and helped welcome female readers to the world of manga and comics.
Now readers once again have the opportunity to jump in and enjoy this best-selling, well-loved series. Thanks to the new release of Fruits Basket, I can get my hands on the series for the very first time. Those of us who missed out on the first English publication now have the perfect opportunity to jump in.
Optimistic and cheerful high schooler Tohru Honda always wears a smile – but people don’t know that a family tragedy turned her life upside down. When she has to find a place to stay, Tohru decides that she can’t burden her friends – so she pitches a tent! Little does she know, her new home is on private land belonging to a mysterious family that soon discovers her secret living arrangement. Fortunately, the Sohma clan is generous and offers to take her in. Too bad Tohru quickly discovers, when hugged by a member of the opposite sex, they turn into animals of the Chinese Zodiac! Can Tohru maintain their secret while remaining under the radar at school?
In this volume, we follow Tohru from when she has to leave her grandfather’s house to her tent living. Her grandfather doesn’t seem very sympathetic to her situation. A family tragedy forces her to move in with him and then he gives her the boot(temporarily) because he needs to renovate the house so that other family members can move in with him. He simply suggests she go find somewhere else to stay until he gives her the ok to come home. At first everything seems to be going well. The weather is nice, her friends don’t know her situation, and she continues to go to school. Then one day her tenting secret is discovered – by the very people who own the land she’s camping on. As I mentioned in the brief summary above, the Sohmas welcome her into their home and even set her up with a bedroom. In the meantime a mini-tragedy strikes, destroying Tohru’s campsite and burying everything she had. This is when the good nature of the Sohma’s shine through because they go above and beyond to make her feel welcome in their house.
As the story progresses, Tohru discovers they have an interesting secret – they can’t be hugged by a member of the opposite sex. It temporarily transforms them into an animal of the Chinese Zodiac. Of course, they don’t willingly volunteer this information. Tohru, who becomes fascinated with this knowledge, plans on guessing the identities of everyone in the household. She attempts to form a bond with the outcast animal (cat) without much luck. As the omnibus volume continues, the two do discover that they have a lot in common.
Eventually Tohru’s friends discover her new living situation at the Sohma house and are perplexed and suspicious. One of the Sohmas happen to be the high school hunk while the others remain mysterious to them. They evaluate her living situation and decide the Sohmas are alright, although one of Tohru’s friends senses a strange energy coming from them. This friend continues to remain suspicious of the Sohmas, but that comes into play later on in the series.
Despite their differences, Tohru Honda becomes like a member of the family. When it’s time for her to move back in with her grandfather, she complies but feels a certain emptiness in her heart. Luckily, the Sohmas feel the same way about her and decide to do something about it.
I am really glad that I had the opportunity to get into a loved series that I simply missed during the first go-around. If anyone is looking for a heartfelt story that is complimented by a good balance of humor, this is a great time to starting reading Fruits Basket.
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**This item was provided for review.