If I could describe the anime series Fruits Basket in only one word, it would be 'charming.' Utterly adorable and I'm kind of in love with it.
It takes a lot to make my cry at a fictional story, so when I say that there were some moments in Fruits Basket that made me tear up a little, that's saying a lot. It's primarily a comedy and a very funny one at that, but there are some moments that are genuinely tragic and work really well because the characters are so well developed, and you care about them.
The premise is reasonably simple. Recently orphaned high school student Tohru Honda becomes a live in housekeeper for three young men who are members of the wealthy Sohma family. Before you think something sleazy is going on, don't worry, the Sohma boys not only won't lay a hand on her, they are incapable of doing so. They are afflicted by a strange family curse that causes them to turn into one of the animals of the Chinese zodiac when they are weak or hugged by a member of the opposite sex. Hijinks ensue.
-Tohru's saintlike personality and near-constant gullibility got a bit annoying after a while, but overall she's still a well developed character whom I like. The way she deals with the loss of her mother is very well done.
-I liked the continued emphasis on Tohru's female friendships, and that said female friends were more than stereotypical cut outs. Uotani and Hanajima are well developed characters in their own right. They also provide a lot of the comedy without merely existing to be comedic foils for other characters, which is also nice to see. I love fiction that focuses on female friendship, so I really enjoyed this aspect of the series.
-The animation in this series is... not great. It's pretty cheap and there are some obvious moments where they cut corners. That being said, the artwork is very nice to look at and the expressiveness of the faces almost makes up for the cheap animation. But then again, my favourite anime is and always will be Sailor Moon. Cheap and dated animation clearly doesn't bother me that much. It's a matter of taste.
- The ending of Fruits Basket leaves a lot to be desired, and it's my understanding that this bothers a lot of fans of the series. It doesn't really resolve anything and the only answers we get bring up even more questions. It's also my understanding that these plot points get resolved in the manga, and while the anime is widely loved, the manga is regarded as a lot better. So guess what I'm reading in my spare time!
I give Fruits Basket an A-. If you're looking for something to watch while curled up on the sofa with a hot glass of milk after a stressful day, this may well be it.