lace_agate: (kisa smile)
[personal profile] lace_agate
I've reread a whole lot of Fruits Basket lately and have been pondering the story and its characters again. I remember the first time I read it I was expecting a comedy-romance with a bit of drama thrown in, and I was surprised by how angsty it got, although I liked the extra depth that the darker elements added to the storyline.

On rereading, I felt that I could better understand the series's genre. Fruits Basket is a romance in the Shakespearean sense of the word: a story with some very dark dark elements, but also comedy, fantasy and magic, an overall redemptive theme and a happy ending. There are no comeuppances at the end of Fruits Basket, and even the nastiest characters are redeemed or at least humanised.
I love the characters. I've previously mentioned that I read stories for the characters, and for me the characters are Fruits Basket's main drawcard. While I love Tohru, Kyo and Yuki, I feel that a lot of the series's minor characters are underappreciated. For me, Rin and Machi are particular favourites, and I love seeing them grow and become stronger and more comfortable in themselves throughout the series. Yuki and Kakeru's friendship is also a treat to read, and in many ways I found Yuki's character arc the most compelling of the three main characters', I like the way Yuki gradually comes out of his shell goes in his own direction rather than continuing to rely on Tohru (this is not a judgement of Kyo or Tohru, just a comment on the sort of story I personally like to read).
Another thing I like about the series is the narration style, with (usually) a different character narrating each chapter, and even very minor characters such as Motoko Minagawa getting a day in the limelight. It's an effective way of conveying the motivations and thoughts of all the members of the story's large and varied cast.
Even on the nth reading, several parts of the story can still make me tear up: several of the backstories, the moment when Rin accepts Tohru's support, the lifting of the curse and the final two chapters in particular. I think a lot of this still works because the understated way in which a lot of these scenes are written leaves plenty of room for the reader's emotional reactions (if that makes any sense).
All in all, I still love this series. If you haven't read it, you should give it a try.

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