ANIME MINOR JEWELS SERIES
Full list of the review series can be found on this page, 3rd post from bottom:
Fruits Basket is a shojo romance with low fantasy elements that does a somewhat better job then the average of its brood out there. But beyond that, it still leaves a lot to be desired. Being animated by that piece of shit Studio DEEN is the biggest reason for it. They almost always mess up in whatever show they are making.
The lead character is by far the most archetypical shojo lead you can think of. Orphan, kind, always cheery, naive, frail, does her best to do right, and has eyes half her head. Fate places her to mess with a family of cursed people, for each one of them transforms into an animal if he is hugged by a member of the opposite genre. The plot is basically about every member of the family being an emo at first because of the curse and the girl doing cheery things to make them all happy.
STORY SECTION: 4/10
Analysis: Premise 1/2, Pacing 1/2, Complexity 1/2, Plausibility 0/2, Conclusion 1/2
The story is by far the weakest part of the show as it is there only as an excuse for Tohru, the shojo lead TM, to be placed in situations where she needs to keep the secret of the curse hidden from other people, as well as gaining the support of the Sohma family and slowly make them all more open to others. It is mostly comedy and drama but doesn’t really lead anywhere, since the curse remains impossible to be lifted and progress is limited to making people happier with her super positive attitude. I can’t say the story is basically its characters either, as most segments are disjoined from one another and to the most part feel as stand alone arcs.
Since the manga was back then still on-going, the anime went for an anime original ending that seems to be rather out of place. Dark and violent, aiming to leave you with good last impressions. Overall, I can’t say I was thrilled with anything going on in it, as it was all basically a light hearted fantasy romance and not an actually serious tale around secrets and betrayal.
CHARACTER SECTION: 7/10
Analysis: Presence 2/2, Personality 2/2, Backdrop 1/2, Development 1/2, Catharsis 1/2
The cast begins in the most stereotypical way possible. We have the usual line of stereotypes, from bishonens, to gays, to genki kids, to tragic men, to tsunderes… and yes, Tohru herself. The thing is, everybody gets his spot in the story and thanks to a long line of flashbacks and the shojo lead TM snooping around where she shouldn’t, all of them are given immersion. Also, again because of Tohru’s constant meddling and persistent optimism, all of them begin as closed minded, angry, scared individuals and end up being far more open and happier. That in effect counts as character development. But not clear catharsis because the curse is still there and the anime is not fully adapting the story.
There is a great variety of characters and despite their stereotypes, the interaction and opening up amongst them create a very good feeling for the genre of the show.
ART & SOUND SECTIONS: 7/10
Art Analysis: General Artwork 2/2, Character Figures 2/2, Backgrounds 1/2, Animation 1/2, Visual Effects 1/2
Sound Analysis: Voice Acting 2/3, Music Themes 3/4, Sound Effects 2/3
The production values do not excel in details or colouring but they are effective for this type of show. Although human and animal figures are drawn rather simplistic and there is a lot of deformity during comedy, the easy going nature of the story almost makes that unimportant. Although the soundtrack has a few good pieces only, they are enough to work, while voice acting is fitting with each character.
There is a huge amount of nude in this anime because when the Sohmas transform, their clothes do not. That leaves them naked when they turn back to humans and in need to hide from other people until they dress once more. Although this is done for comedy purposes, it is still enough spicy fan service for the fujoshis because most are drawn handsomely.
VALUE & ENJOYMENT SECTIONS: 4/10
Value Analysis: Historical Value 2/3, Rewatchability 1/3, Memorability 1/4
Enjoyment Analysis: Art 1/1, Sound 0/2, Story 1/3, Characters 2/4
For a shojo it is entertaining if you like the character interactions. The story is otherwise very simple and I never quite understood how these cursed people ever manage to have babies if they can’t even hug another person. I also didn’t like how the curse was used as nothing but a monolith plot devise with no possible salvation on sight. The same premise was for example used in Ranma ½ and over there all the objective was to get rid of the curse.
But, heck, it could be far worse if you see what DEEN has done to other franchices. Not a great show but cute to have a nice time.