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Manga: Fruits Basket

After the death of her mother, young Tohru Honda has been secretly living on her own in a tent. Her life changes forever when she stumbles upon the secret of the Sohma family, whose land she has been living on. They are afflicted by a Hereditary Curse that changes some members of the family into animals of the Eastern Zodiac when they are hugged by someone of the opposite sex that is not also a Zodiac member.

Now living with three of the Sohma family, every day is an adventure for sweet Tohru, as she gets to know all of the very different family members better, in both common and bizarre situations. But, the Sohma family curse is certainly no laughing matter...it also holds horrible cruelty and heartbreak. Despite this, the members of the Sohma family find a new peace thanks to the presence of Tohru.

Hailed as one of the best shojo series out there, during its seven years in-print (1999-2006) it was the best-selling shojo manga series in America, and often the second best-selling manga series in the US period, beat only by a certain ninja. The company publishing it in English has gone under, but because of its popularity, copies of it are cheap and readily available in shops and sites such as Ebay. It was/is the 'gateway' story of many people new to manga, beautifully combining comedy, drama, and heartwarming into one long, deceptively complex story.

The Mangaka is Natsuki Takaya whose name is a pseudonym. She's also left-handed, but due to a hand injury necessitating a leave of absence from the series, the anime would have Overtook the Manga, had it continued any longer than it did.

Also see this page for tropes that can be applied directly to the characters.

Watch it on Hulu here.

This show provides examples of:

  • Abusive Parents: Be thankful you weren't raised in this series. If your parents aren't abusive, they'll be dead in five minutes. The only characters who don't have abusive parents grow up to hate themselves. In the case of the Sohma's, it's partially justified: being cursed and locked in abuse cycles for generations doesn't make them good parent material.
    • If you want a full list, we've got:
      • Yuki and Ayame, whose parents kicked Ayame out at a very young age and used Yuki's existence purely for the fact that cursed Sohma family members equal a hefty government income for some reason.
      • Kyo, whose dad blames him for his mom to committing suicide, despite the fact it was his abusing her for giving birth to the cat that drove her to it.
      • Momiji, whose mother went insane over the fact that her son could turn into a rabbit, and chose to have all her memories of him erased.
      • Rin, whose parents were actually fun and nurturing until she asked them a simple question, then they flipped out and mentally abused her so badly that she eventually began to suffer Panic Disorder, and eventually abandoned her after their mental abuse left her hospitalized.
      • Kyoko Honda, whose parents focused more on what neighbors thought than what their daughter wanted and kicked her out.
      • Arisa Uotani, whose father was an alcoholic and whose mother left him for another man. Though a quick scene in the present shows that her relationship with her father is better now.
      • Kakeru Manabe and Machi Kuragi, whose father is filthy rich and as a result, their respective mothers forced them to be the best (at least until Kakeru finally told his mom to shut the fuck up).
      • While Kagura isn't hit with as much abuse as the others, her parents are always fighting. They fought so much that she spent a large portion of her childhood hating herself, believing that they fought because she was one of the zodiac.
      • Hatori's parents are never shown, but we're to assume that he was abused as well.
      • Kyoko's parents, who verbally and mentally abused her regularly due to her "making the family look bad" by being the Red Butterfly. In particular, her relationship with her mother was awful, and repeating this cycle is her biggest fear when she discovers she's pregnant.
      • Akito is actually one of the characters who received the worst abuse. Ren, her mother, hated her for getting attention from Akira, her father, and thus proceeded to mistreat and belittle her at every turn, one of the worst examples being forcing her to live as a man so that she could be the only woman Akira loved.
      • For a very short while, Kyoko was this to Tohru, in the form of neglect. After Kazuya's death, Kyoko fell into a state of despair in which she did nothing but lie on the floor all day, not feeding or looking after her daughter. Kazuya's father often came to their home to take care of Tohru, and for days he was not around, Tohru took care of both herself and her mother. She gets better when she travels to the sea to commit suicide, and hears a child crying for her mother. This reminds her of her daughter, alone at home, and she rushes back to Tohru, vowing to never abandon her again.
    • Notable aversions:
      • Tohru's mother and father (for the short time he got to be a father) were exemplary.
      • Haru's mother appears very briefly in a later chapter, telling Haru that he's got a call about Rin being in the hospital and seeming pretty concerned about him. He also mentions that he isn't sure if she'll yell at him or laugh over how he went Black and trashed a classroom. On the other hand, it was mentioned that he suffered emotional abuse from other (unnamed) relatives, mainly because he was the spirit of the Ox and the myth portrays the Ox as being a dumb animal that was manipulated by the rat. This is the cause of his anger issues, which his parents enrolled him in karate classes to help him deal with.
      • In a refreshing change, Shigure's parents are briefly shown, and he seems to have a slightly disinterested but relatively stable relationship with them (as he does with most people) - he chats with them at a party in Volume 17 without too much fuss.
      • Kisa's dad, Ritsu's dad, and Yuki and Ayame's dad are never shown. We never know what to assume with them.
      • And finally, we have Hiro, the brat who's lucky enough to NOT have any abusive parents or ANY abuse past. Lucky him. Also, ironically, Saki Hanajima's parents aren't abusive either, and are actually quite loving, despite Saki having frightening psychic powers.
  • Adaptation Dye-Job: Tohru's eyes are changed from brown to blue and Kyo's bracelet is no longer red and white (which changes its origins). There are other hair and eye variations too, however Tohru's the most prominent.
    • Kazuma Sohma, aka Shishou, has his hair changed from brown to silver.
  • Adaptation Induced Plot Hole: The anime made the wrong call on Akito's gender. To be fair, this wasn't revealed until a much later point in the manga than the anime ended on.
  • Adult Fear:
    • Invoked in a flashback. Tohru's mother Kyouko comes from an abusive household where her parents heavily neglected her and kicked her out of home right before her then-counselor and later-husband Katsuya came to ask them for marriage approval, so once she finds out she's carrying a baby, she has a Heroic BSOD due to being terrified that her relationship with Tohru would go the way of hers with her own mother.
    • For a double-hitter, while Kyoko is a good mother to Tohru, she dies not long before the series starts. Her last thoughts, as she lies bleeding to death in the road, are complete panic at the idea that her daughter will be left all alone and uncared for. This carries over to Hanajima and Uotani (who are Tohru's friends, but also act as surrogate parents at times), who are shocked to learn that while they thought Tohru was living with relatives, she'd spent a week living in a tent. Elpecially considering that Tohru's only relatives come from Kazuya's side and, save for her grandfather, they all hate her. (And when she has to stay with them for a while, they treat her like absolute shit.)
    • There's also the massive amounts of child abuse in general, both physical and psychological. Most of the characters are able to escape or overcome it by the end of the series, but it's still horrifying, especially considering how well most of it is covered up. And it's made even worse when the biggest of the abusers. turns out to have been one of the most abused victims. For a really selfish and petty reason, too.
  • All-Loving Hero: Tohru Honda
  • Always Camp: Ayame Sohma
  • Animorphism: There is one person corresponding to each animal in the Eastern Zodiac, as well as a cat. Hair color and personality appear to be linked to the animal spirit the person possesses, which causes problems for the people cursed by animals with exotic coloring.
    • Hilariously lampshaded with Hatsuharu (the cow): To prove to the overeager student council's president that his hair is naturally white with black roots, he drags him into the boys' bathroom and shows him his pubic hair. Of course, when Tohru asks Hatsuharu how he did it, and due to the fact that Haru is in 'black' mode and isn't really thinking straight, things end with a double Mega Ton Punch.
  • Art Evolution: The art gets very noticeably better as the manga goes on, starting from around the end of volume 2.
  • Audio Adaptation: There's an old CD drama that was released by Hana to Yume before the anime started, featuring short original stories. It also had a different voice cast.
    • There is also a new DVD released to celebrate Takaya's 20 years as a manga author via making a drama CD version of the last chapters.
    • Online reviewer JesuOtaku has been doing a radio drama adaptation of the manga. Episodes and downloads can be found here.
  • Babies Ever After: The epilogue shows us Tohru and Kyo's grandchildren.
  • The Beastmaster: The Zodiac members do have the ability to attract and (sometimes) control whatever animal they are possessed by. However, only Yuki is seen actually utilizing the latter ability in the early chapters to help him dig out Tohru's belongings after her tent is buried in the aftermath of a landslide.
    • Kyo is regularly mocked by people who don't know his secret, who suggest that he should become a "Cat Trainer" given how cats are attracted to him.
  • The Beautiful Elite: Practically everyone, but especially the Sohmas.
  • Berserk Button: Yuki is pretty much a walking berserk button for Kyo.
  • Big Bad: Akito is directly responsible for a good portion of the problems several of the Sohmas dealt with. Ren was the one that ultimately pushed Akito over the edge.
  • Big Damn Heroes: When Yuki goes with his mother to a parent teacher meeting to discuss his future post high-school, she coldly dictates her chosen path for him, ignoring or overriding both Yuki and his teacher's objections... Until Ayame shows up, drives their mother into Rage Quitting, and takes over the meeting. This marks the point of true reconciliation between the brothers.
  • Big Screwed-Up Family: Where to begin?
  • Bishie Sparkle: With an entire cast of bishonen, this naturally happens a lot, but most notably during Tohru's daydream of "if Yuki and Kyo got along".
  • Blank White Eyes: Used to great effect throughout the series, especially by mild-mannered characters shocked with the insanity around them.
  • Boyfriend Bluff: Kyo pulls a non-verbal version of this to protect Tohru from some guys that want to take advantage of her.
  • Bratty Half-Pint: Hiro Sohma
  • Break Up Demand: Akito is fond of this. She breaks up Rin and Haru, and also Hiro and Kisa.
  • Brooding Boy, Gentle Girl: Kyo and Tohru fit this to a T. To a lesser extent, Hiro and Kisa as well.
  • Broken Bird: Isuzu/Rin Sohma. And Akito.
  • Bug Buzz: Ah, the perfect summer sound!
  • But Not Too Foreign: Momiji is half-German and speaks German fluently from time to time in the manga.
  • Call Back: One of the last chapters of the manga has Tohru falling off a cliffside that crumbles underneath her - the same cliffside that Shigure told her was unstable in the very first chapter.
  • Cast Full of Pretty Boys: Justified and lampshaded as the Sohma being The Beautiful Elite, but in fact it goes way further than just them.
  • Censor Steam: When the Sohmas turn back from animals into (completely naked) humans, the transformation is accompanied by smoke clouds that handily obscure almost everything but the character's face.
  • Cerebus Syndrome: Although the general message of the anime is one of The Power of Friendship and The Power of Love, the buried angst from the Dysfunction Junction becomes dominating in the later manga volumes.
  • Cerebus Retcon: Early on in the manga, Kyo and Yuki's rivalry is Played for Laughs. The reasons behind it, revealed in later volumes, are... decidedly not.
  • The Chessmaster: Ren Sohma
  • Chekhov's Gun: The manga is full of them (almost all are cut out in the anime adaptation) including Kyo's beads but most noticeably the little red hat that Tohru owns. It is shown sitting in her tent on the very first page, hanging off the iconic picture of her mother. Turns out to be one of the most driving plot devices as Tohru has a dream remembering her receiving the hat from a little boy when she was lost as a child and he led her home and in the second volume goes into full detail about the event. But while hinting at the significance of this story, what at first seems like it might only be a cute accidental meeting as we don't know whether the mysterious boy is Yuki or Kyo at first and when we find it was Yuki it is still unsure who the Official Couple will be, it actually turns out to weave into a whole Jigsaw Puzzle Plot between Kyo, Yuki and Tohru's Dark and Troubled Past where Everyone Is Related in ways that ultimately turn every character relationship on their head and clears up all their past actions towards each other, in one Reveal right after another. All because a little red hat.
  • Childhood Marriage Promise: Subversion: Kyo's promise to Kagura was extracted by her threatening him with a knife (or a large rock in the anime).
  • The Clan: Well, the Sohmas.
  • Cleaning Up Romantic Loose Ends: In the manga, most obviously with Yuki.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Kagura Sohma is a genuinely nice girl, but around Kyo she tends to switch into berserker mode, leaving the object of her 'affection' a crumpled heap on the ground before she knows it. ("My love! Who did this to you??") Kyo is rightly terrified when she first appears.
    • The Prince Yuki Fan Club is the definition of this trope although their leader, Motoko, later realizes she's being selfish about what Yuki wants after an attempt to confront Hanajima backfires and Hana questions them about being too pushy and forceful towards Yuki. She then speaks to Yuki and gets over him.
    • Akito is an enormous one. She has her reasons and eventually gets over it. Her mother is even worse.
  • Color Failure: Usually Kyo after Kagura visits.
  • Covered in Mud: At one point, Tohru's uniform is dirty from the mudslide that fell on her tent. Once she gets cleaned up, one of Yuki's fan club, jealous that Tohru arrived at school with Yuki, says "That mud looked so good on you".
  • Cross-Popping Veins: Parodied. After Kagura causes a big mess at Shigure's house, Kyo yells at Shigure for being too easy going about the incident. Shigure promptly reaches down and sticks a large, red set of veins to his head, declaring "Now I'm mad," and removing them a moment later. And Kyo in cat form is seen often sporting these.
  • Cursed with Awesome: Averted with Hatori, whose transformation symbolizes that the curse is weakening and so he becomes a seahorse instead of a dragon.
    • Played straight with Kureno, who transforms into a bird and thus has the ability to fly (though he only mentiones this briefly in a flashback and his animal form flying is never actually shown).
  • The Cutie: Tohru Honda and Kisa Sohma
  • Dark-Skinned Redhead: Kyo is darker skinned than everyone else, at any rate. Could be partially due to his curse, partly to how much time he spends outside.
  • Dénouement Episode: The final episode of the anime is largely this.
  • Don't Try This at Home: After tripping Kyo (who was running at breakneck speed), Hatsuharu then breaks the fourth wall to say that doing this could cause serious injury to anyone besides Kyo.
    • Which prompts Kyo to yell back "Don't try it here, either! And who the hell are you talking to anyways?!"
  • Due to the Dead: Many characters assist in proper respects to Tohru's dead mother.
  • Dysfunction Junction: Everyone has a tragic past, screwed up family history, and/or other significant psychological issues. Parents in general tend to be abusive, neglectful, ashamed of their childrens' forms, or dead. Some characters slip into states of violent psychosis when excited or annoyed.
    • On a lighter note, the rampant cross-dressing in the Sohma family seems almost normal by comparison to the myriad accounts of abuse and neglect.
    • In the manga, a brief look into Kimi Todo's backstory shows her getting teased in middle school, with the girls wondering aloud why she doesn't just go hang out with the boys and get by on her looks. And then Kimi subverts your expectations hilariously.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: For all the love and friendship this series has, there's also a lot of pain.
  • Eastern Zodiac: There is a character for each animal in the zodiac, plus a cat and the 'god' who arranged the legendary banquet. "God" doesn't get a transformation, however, it does have the power to manipulate the other spirits at will, forcing them to do anything it asks. They also love it unconditionally and can never blame it for anything. Unfortunately for the owner of the dragon spirit, a little wordplay means that instead of turning into an actual dragon (which would be badass), he turns into a 竜の落し子 (tatsu no otoshigo; "baby dragon"), or seahorse. However, Shigure in the manga says that the curse is falling apart and even the animal forms are half-baked forms of what they used to be, and he actually says: "Look at Hatori, for example.". While the traditional legend says there was one banquet and that the rat tricked the cat into missing it, the end of the manga reveals what really happened: the animals partied with the god all the time, but when they started approaching death, the god came up with a drink of reincarnation and gave some to the unconscious and dying cat. The cat woke up after drinking it and gave a Who Wants to Live Forever? speech that pissed everyone else off. Completely Missing the Point, they felt betrayed by the cat, drank the elixir, and died at some later point.
  • Even the Guys Want Him: Yuki Sohma
  • Everyone Is Related: Both in the sense that half the cast is actually biologically related to each other (the Sohma family is HUGE), but also in that the characters all manage to have some sort of connection to each other. The friend Yuki makes at school, for example? His girlfriend's father just happened to be the driver of the car that ran into Tohru's mother. Tohru's homeroom teacher? She just happens to be a friend of Shigure, Hatori and Ayame, and is in love - and by the end of the series, most likely on her way to being an official couple- with Hatori. The most obvious example, however, is that Tohru just happened to have met Yuki as a child, and Kyo just happened to know her mother.
  • Evil Matriarch: Ren Sohma, in spades.
  • Foreshadowing: In the first chapter, Shigure tells Tohru that the hillsides are weak. In chapter 121, when Tohru is trying to befriend Akito, the cliff crumbles underneath her and she falls.
    • In chapter 19, the female student council assistants imagine Momiji in the male uniform after a growth spurt, accurately.
  • Forgotten First Meeting: Tohru met Yuki when they were younger. Yuki remembers that first meeting, but think that Tohru doesn't (in actuality, she does).
  • The First Cut Is the Deepest: Kana to Hatori
  • Fractured Fairy Tale: When they realize how woefully miscast they are in a play of "Cinderella", they rewrite it into "Sorta Cinderella" and invert a great deal of it. It manages to be a Crowning Moment of Funny and very (unintentionally) touching at the same time.
  • Foot Focus: Most characters don't wear socks and they walk barefeet in houses for most of the time.
  • Gang Of Bullies: Motoko Minagawa leads a small group of girls who routinely make life a little more difficult for the main character.
  • Gender-Blender Name: "Tohru" is a boy's name; all of the male Zodiac members have names or nicknames that are either girl's names or unisex. There's also Akito who is a girl but was given a boy's name and raised as one. Several other characters outside of the Sohma family have gender-blender names, such as Saki's younger brother Megumi.
    • In the case of Tohru, it's commented on quite frequently. Her father chose the name, because he wanted Tohru to be like when "you add something salty to something sweet to bring out the flavor".
  • Godiva Hair: When Censor Steam just isn't enough... (Rin gets this due to her Rapunzel Hair.)
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Yuki's fangirls toward Tohru. And anyone else who so much as looks at Yuki.
  • Groupie Brigade: Despite not being a really "famous" person," Yuki is regularly stalked by a vast brigade of obsessive fangirls.
  • Hair Colors: Correspond to the person's animal form, and it is remarked upon as unusual... Poor Kisa.
    • Lampshaded/parodied with Haru, when the school president insists he'll never believe black and white are Haru's natural hair colors. Cue Hatsuharu dragging said president into the bathroom.
  • Harem Nanny: Shigure Sohma
  • Homage: The plot is rather reminiscent of "Beauty and the Beast".
  • Hereditary Curse: A curse that changes some members of the family into animals of the Eastern Zodiac when they are hugged by someone of the opposite sex that is not also a member of the family.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: The Mabudachi Trio (Shigure, Ayame, and Hatori).
  • Hime Cut: Isuzu/Rin Sohma until it gets crudely sheared by Akito in a punishable rage.
  • Hot Springs Episode: Kyo, Tohru, Momiji and Yuki visit the hot springs resort owned by the Sohma family. Not as much fanservice for guys, but (considering the cast of bishonen) a fair amount for the female audience.
  • I Banged Your Mom: Shigure had sex with Ren, Akito's mom, in retaliation for Akito favoring Kureno and also because Ren is basically the image of Akito might have been had Ren not demanded Akito be raised as a boy. Not Played for Laughs, and this is apparently the reason why Akito exiled Shigure to live apart from the Sohma clan..
  • I Just Want to Be Loved: Mostly everybody.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: In the manga, Motoko eventually says this to Yuki.
    • This ultimately is how Tohru's friends feel about Kyo dating and "taking" Tohru from them - they don't mind, as long as he makes her happy.
  • I Know Your True Name: Megumi Hanajima, Hana's little brother, claims to be able to curse a person if he knows his name. Every member of Yuki's fanclub accidentally reveals her name to him, to their horror, except one. ("Nice to meet you, Number Two-san.")
  • Innocent Cohabitation: Tohru Honda and three male members of the Sohma family.
  • Instant Bandages: Kyo gets these after being tripped.
  • Instant Fan Club: Yuki has a small, very determined fan club. One episode is centered on their possessive, inconsiderate attitude. Though in the manga, the leader (Motoko Minagawa) actually gets over it.
    • According to the anime, almost half the entire school's female population is part of Yuki's fan club. We never see them though.
    • In the manga, Kyo eventually has his own fan club.
  • Involuntary Shapeshifting: Members of the Zodiac transform when weak or hugged by the opposite sex.
  • Japanese Delinquents: Uotani and Kyoko when she was a teenager.
  • Karma Houdini: Multiple characters, and It Makes Sense in Context. Two of the main themes in the series are forgiveness and second chances, after all.
    • Akito — however, this particular culprit does show remorse for the shit she pulled on everyone, even realizing with horror that there's simply no way to obtain forgiveness from the most abused members of the cast. That, and she has now the knowledge to break off the cycle of abuse that was started by Ren...
    • Ren really doesn't get punished for all of the emotional abuse and trickery she racks up over the course of the manga. Although she still doesn't end up too well, given that Akito is able to move past her manipulations and thus can't be tormented by Ren anymore, leaving Ren just a slightly crazy woman who is ignored and/or disliked by the Zodiac, a lot of the servants, and the family at large.
      • Fate Worse than Death: Considering how a good part of Ren's motivation her desire to completely ruin Akito, this might actually be the best punishment ever for her. Now Akito is free and somewhat redeemed, and she will be more or less happy from now on — while Ren will always be there to see this and will never get over herself.
    • The neglectful or actively Abusive Parents or get away relatively unscathed. Rin's Abusive Parents? Well, Hatsuharu called them out, and Rin went to live with Kagura, but no action is actually taken against them. Momiji's mother? Retains the "perfect life" that her husband created for her at Momiji's expense — even his violin lessons were stopped when his little sister decided she wanted to play. Perhaps the latter's mental fragility gets her off the hook, but considering what her son went through...
  • Kick the Dog: One of Akito's hobbies.
    • Ren is also quite fond of it. Really, that's almost certainly where Akito picked it up from.
  • Kissing Cousins: A good portion of the official couples. Shigure/Akito, Haru/Rin, Hiro/Kisa, Hatori/Kana, Kagura's feelings for Kyo. Possibly justified by the size of the family, and that Hatori and Kana had never met each other before their first meeting.
  • The Klutz: Tohru Honda
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia
  • Last Disrespects:
    • When Katsuya Honda passes away, his relatives' conversations during the funeral ceremony quickly devolve from the circumstances surrounding his death to expressing their disapproval of Kyoko by berating or gossiping about her, saying that Katsuya was better off single. In a separate recollection of the same funeral, Tohru's grandfather brings up how the relatives would say disparaging remarks toward Tohru right in her face, thinking she would not understand.
    • Kyo's biological father chooses his mother's funeral ceremony to start scene/argument with Kyo, using the latter's inability to approach his mother's grave in front of the family as an excuse.
  • Lethal Chef: Kazuma and Yuki Sohma
  • Let's Have Another Baby: Tohru's parents in their Back Story. They were never able to.
  • Longing Look
  • Long-Haired Pretty Boy: Ayame in spades.
  • Love Triangle: The Kyo/Tohru/Yuki is the main one of the series, with both Yuki and Kyo having Ship Tease moments with Tohru. Kyo wins.
  • Magic Pants: Totally averted. Retrieving clothes is the first priority of any of the family members after they turn back human.
  • Mama's Baby, Papa's Maybe: During Katsuya's aforementioned funeral, Tohru's relatives openly speculate if Tohru was born from an affair. Their "evidence" was that Tohru didn't physically resemble Katsuya, and that Kyoko was a Former Teen Rebel.
  • May-December Romance: Kyoko/Katsuya, with an age difference of eight years. Uotani/Kureno, with a difference of nine years. And Saki/Kazuma, with a difference of at least 20 years. Takaya has said she likes May-December romances.
    • Also possibly Akito/Shigure, who are between seven and nine years apart.
  • Mind Rape: Kana, thanks to Akito manipulating her after the incident with Hatori and driving her into madness, and Yuki, thanks to Akito's psychological abuse when they were kids.
    • Very ironically, Akito is a victim of Mind Rape from much earlier: it came from her mother Ren, who after years of horrendous mental and emotional abuse, drove Akito to think that the Sohmas would abandon her forever for somebody else...who turned out to be Tohru, who also was able to save Akito from herself.
    • It's implied that Tohru herself went through this as a child, when her father died and she had to listen to her relatives talk about how Kyoko was a good-for-nothing bitch who didn't properly care for Katsuya and probably was having affairs, how Tohru was probably an illegitimate child, and how "a child like that is no consolation". Ouch.
  • Minor Living Alone:
    • Although she has friends and family she could stay with if she wasn't too polite to ask, Tohru decides to try to live on her own after she's orphaned. In a tent. Fortunately, the Sohmas are persistent enough to get her to stay with them...although one could just as easily question the logic of moving in with three guys she barely knows.
    • Around the time she's starting high school, Machi is kicked out of the house after a kind gesture is misconstrued as attempted murder.
    • Momiji was forced to leave his parents when he was about eight, and by the time the series begins, he has a house of his own on the Sohma estate. There would have been plenty of servants around, and Hatori seems to look after him when he has the time, but he's very independent by the time he enters high school.
  • Morning Routine
  • Mutual Envy: Both Yuki and Kyo envy each others circumstances and personalities, Kyo wants to be acknolowged by the main house of Sohma and as part of the Zodiac so he envies Yuki who being the mouse, gets a privileged place over Kyo and even the other members of the zodiac, Yuki on the other hand has always been in a Gilded Cage, due to turning into a mouse if a girls hug him, he maintains distance and doesn' t have any real friends, nor does he know how to make them, he envies Kyo's personality, outgoing nature, and ability to bond so easily with others.
  • Never Got to Say Goodbye: Tohru always said goodbye to her mother, except for the one day her mother ended up dying in a car accident. This comes up again as a lesson about no second chances near the end of the manga. In the manga, there's is a flashback with Kyoko saying the same thing about Tohru's father Katsuya.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: The point of Ren's bet with Akito to not erase Tohru's memories was to allow the Zodiac to gravitate towards a stranger and away from Akito (aka "God"), proving to Akito that the bond between the Zodiac and God was false and that no one truly loved her, thereby pushing her into the Despair Event Horizon. The end result was the breaking of the Zodiac curse, Akito pulling a Heel-Face Turn and Ren being left with nothing but her rage.
  • No Fourth Wall: After tripping Kyo, Hatsuharu turns to warn viewers "Don't Try This at Home" and in the English dub, Kyo asks him who the hell he's talking to. Later, Tohru comments "Somehow this has turned into a fighting anime."
  • No Sense of Direction: Hatsuharu Sohma
  • No Sense of Humor: Hatori Sohma
  • Odd-Shaped Panel
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Shigure, though it's more like "Obfuscating Goofiness".
  • Official Couple: Given the too-huge-to-be-listed number of these (every major character is in one, and most minor characters as well), this is pretty much the Trope Codifier.
    • It's easier to list the exceptions. The only characters who aren't part of some sort of relationship at the end are Momiji, Kagura, Megumi Hanajima, and Kimi Toudou.
  • Only Sane Man: Hatori, but mostly with Ayame and Shigure.
    Shigure: Yup, we were inseparable! So much so that they called us the Mabudachi Trio/Three Musketeers.
    Tohru: Really?
    Kyo: More like the Three Idiots if you ask me.
    Yuki: How did Hatori put up with you for so long?
  • Our Dragons Are Different: Rather than becoming a mythological creature, the "dragon" Hatori becomes a sea dragon.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: While not called werebeasts, each member has a single and unique alternate animal form, brought about by being hugged by non-Zodiac members of opposite sex. The animals are a cat, rat, dog, tiger, rabbit, dragon (seahorse), ox, snake, sheep, monkey, horse and rooster (sparrow).
    • Also, the person possessed by the cat will turn into a foul-smelling monster if their prayer-bead bracelet is removed.
  • Overtook the Manga: Barely averted. Due to Natsuki Takaya's hand injury necessitating a leave of absence from the series, the anime would have done this had it continued any longer than it did.
  • The Patient Has Left the Building: Rin is taken to the hospital to be treated for malnourishment. She wakes up when no doctors are around to check on her and, having no idea what she's doing there or why she was not imprisoned in the Cat's room as she promised, she promptly left and began wandering the streets in a dazed stupor.
  • Personality Powers: While more obvious for certain characters than others, their animal forms tend to reflect their personalities: Yuki (the rat) is quiet and shrewd and pretty screwed up mentally, Kyo (the cat) is impulsive and hotheaded but defrosts to certain people he chooses, Shigure (the dog) is laidback and friendly, etc.
  • Pimped-Out Dress: When she and Yuki visit Ayame's shop, Tohru gets dolled up in one by Mine, causing Yuki to have a "Romantic BSOD".
    • Not to mention the dress Ayame had been wearing a few minutes before.
    • Ayame's store tends to deal with these in general. The ones he provides for the girls in the cast of "Sorta Cinderella" are pretty nice as well, with Mine loving Hanajima's request for a "pure black" one.
  • Please Don't Leave Me: Akito says this after Kureno's curse breaks.
    • A variant is done when Tohru dreams that she is back in her old apartment, and it is the morning that her mother left and was hit by a car. While she dreams that she is stuck in her bed, she mentally screams for her mother to not leave or else she'll die.
  • Plucky Girl: Tohru Honda and Kagura Sohma.
  • Posthumous Character: Kyoko Honda.
  • The Power of Friendship: Tohru's kindness, healing the hearts of the Zodiac members.
    • Yuki's later friendship (such as it is) with Kakeru also helps him out a good bit.
  • The Power of Love: There are about six Official Couples by the end, and everyone's lives are improved as a result.
  • Puppy Love: Hiro and Kisa Sohma.
  • Raised as the Opposite Gender: Akito in the manga.
  • Rapunzel Hair: Isuzu/Rin, Ren, and Ayame all have incredibly long hair. Hanajima and Minagawa are borderline.
    • Isuzu loses hers during one of Akito's rages later on. She doesn't grow it back.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Kyo and Yuki, respectively.
  • Reincarnation: The agents of the curse, not the characters themselves.
  • Rescue Hug: At one time, Tohru trips and falls down a slope, prompting both Yuki and Kyo to try to rescue her, accidentally hug her, and turn into animals.
  • Rousseau Was Right: In the end, the only real "antagonist" of the series was the misunderstanding brought on by the curse and the closed nature of the Sohma family, and even the worst individuals are revealed to be scared and lonely onside. A good example is the rivalry between Yuki and Kyo: both actually hold the other in esteem, but their jealousy and perception of the "curse" prevents them from saying so until they have no choice.
  • School Idol: Yuki, complete with an insane fan club.
  • Shout-Out: Early on in the manga, Tohru refers to the massive garbage pile in the Sohma's kitchen as "the Sea of Decay".
    • In the episode where Tohru is visited by her friends in the Souhma house, Hanajima sees Kyo and Yuki fighting and says they remind her of a show called something with the name "Jerry" in it (completely unaware as to how close a similarity she actually was making). No doubt she was speaking the thoughts of many a western viewer/reader.
  • Single-Target Sexuality: Run, Kyo, run! Kagura's coming!
  • Social Services Does Not Exist: Tohru is living in a tent in the woods at the beginning of the series, and the Sohma kids have all been so abused/neglected that they're barely able to socialize at school. Justified in that Tohru always and constantly makes clear she does not want to be a burden to anyone, probably including any social service that would be responsible for her (not to mention she sees it as a training for the harsh real life), so she apparently took care that Social Services never learned about her one-week-adventure with the tent. And the big messed up Sohma family are secluded and rich and stick to themselves, so Social Services could hardly step in.
    • Not to mention, poor Tohru was loathed by her remaining family except for her grandfather, who can't do a lot about it since he's extremely old and sickly. When she has to live with them, her aunt and cousins treat her in a really horrifying manner - they don't beat her up, okay, but they badmouth her and her Missing Mom every five minutes. At that rate, it was for the best for her to not stay with them.
  • Sound Effect Bleep: Hana, in the first episode/chapter.
    Hanajima: I could *beep!* her with electro-poison waves.
  • Speech Bubbles: Odd shapes and different fonts are used extensively, especially in the English edition.
  • Spit Take: Shigure pulls one off in the manga when he learns that Tohru is still stuck using her middle-school swimsuit.
    • He does it again (though right at the edge of the panel, so it's easy not to notice, and nobody calls him out on it like in the above example) when Ayame orders Tohru to immediately remove all her clothes in volume 8.
  • Split Personality: Hatsuharu Sohma's "black" side.
  • Staying with Friends: What Tohru insists she's doing until people find out otherwise.
  • Stock Shoujo Bullying Tactics: Kisa is the victim of a version of the ignore tactic. First everyone in her class ignores her, and then whenever she says something everyone starts to giggle. This turns her into a Cute Mute.
  • Strange Minds Think Alike: Ayame and Mine have no problem understanding each other. In another scene, Hatsuharu talks to Kakeru like he's giving away Yuki to be married. Kakeru jumps into the bit without missing a beat.
  • Stress Vomit: Kyo throws up some Bishie Sparkle after a stressful conversation with his father.
  • Surrogate Soliloquy: Tohru talking to a picture of her dead mother.
  • Tall, Dark and Handsome: Hatori Sohma
  • There Are No Therapists: See Dysfunction Junction, above, and the lack of any comforting figures (parents included).
  • There Was a Door: Some part of poor Shigure's house is nearly constantly being repaired as a result. Causes of damage usually involve Kagura or Kyo, either kicking something or being kicked into something.
    • Kagura appears to have a tendency to break her own house, given a scene where she punches a door and her mother comments "Kagura, that's the second time you've broken that door in as many months."
  • Title Drop: The title references a memory that Tohru had of a game she once played in Kindergarten called "Fruits Basket" (essentially Duck-Duck-Goose, only with fruit names). She was assigned the name of "onigiri" (rice ball) and was never called on, leaving her to conclude that "there was no room for an onigiri in a Fruits Basket".
  • To Become Human: The curse greatly restricts the social freedom of the afflicted and binds them to the head of the Sohma family. Emphasized more in the events after the anime.
  • Transformation Fiction: The story partly focuses on the Sohma family, the ones cursed to transform into animals of the Eastern Zodiac when hugged by the member of the opposite sex that's also not a Zodiac member.
  • Trash of the Titans: How Shigure's house was until Tohru moved in. A throwaway gag later reveals that his bedroom remains like this.
    • Machi's apartment wasn't much better.
  • Traumatic Haircut: Isuzu/Rin gets one after a run-in with Akito late in the manga.
  • Troubled, but Cute: Kyo, who starts out as an Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy.
  • Tsundere: Kyo is a male example.
    • Kagura is a straight Type B example.
    • Before having her mental breakdown, Akito was one. When Yuki looks back on those times, he remembers Akito yelling at him for coughing too much, then calming down and gently picking up a bowl that fell over.
  • Twisted Echo Cut: In the second to last chapter.
  • Useless Bystander Parent: Momiji's dad. Despite promising to make up for his wife's rejection of her son, all he does is enable her neglect, coddling her so that she never even has to see the son she abandoned. He has his reasons (Momiji's mother was apparently fragile to the point of nervous breakdown), but we only see Momiji's dad making the boy's life even more difficult in his quest to shield his wife, such as demanding apologies when Momiji accidentally runs into his mother and sister, and ending his beloved violin lessons so that his sister had unobstructed access to Momiji's tutor. He clearly acknowledges that what happened to Momiji was wrong, but takes his wife's side to the detriment of his son.
  • Villainous Crossdresser: Akito in the manga, prior to her Heel-Face Turn.
  • Vomit Discretion Shot: In the manga, Kyo's expulsion is discreetly covered...by Bishie Sparkle! Also Tohru, in an off-panel shot while chasing after Kyo in the cat's true form, as well as in the manga flashback when Kyoko is first revealed to be pregnant, she's leaning over the sink.
  • WTH, Casting Agency?: In-universe obvious example. Playing "Cinderella" at the school festival? Fantastic idea! Tohru will be perfect in the role of… What do you mean, she was cast as the mean stepsister? Prince Charming Kyo has no chance of rejecting the stepsister, in this case.
    • And when the characters realize it, instead of switching a few actors, they completely warp the story so it fits the actors personality. At the end of the play, we have actually no idea what was part of the rewriting, what was the actors going Off the Rails.
  • Windows Match the Drapes: Tohru and most of the Zodiac members, in the manga, anyway.
  • Wholesome Crossdresser: Ritsu Sohma
  • Yandere: Kagura, given that she shows her love to Kyo through harassment and violence.
    • Akito. Holy SHIT, Akito.
      • And HOO LEE SHEEET, Ren.
  • Yaoi Fangirl: In the manga, Hatori explains that he's seen Yuki naked because he's a doctor. One of the female students says "I'm relieved, but kind of disappointed."
  • Zettai Ryouiki: Sometimes seen on characters like Rin and Motoko.

FreakyCreator/ABC 3 Gawayn
FLCLCreator/TokyopopFutari Ecchi
FLCLCreator/MVM Entertainment.hack//Quantum
From Up on Poppy HillMadmanEntertainment/Anime & MangaFullmetal Alchemist
FreezingCreator/FU NimationFullmetal Alchemist
Digimon FrontierTransformation FictionHelp! I'm a Fish
FLCLCreator/HuluFullmetal Alchemist
Final Fantasy: UnlimitedAnime of the 2000sGalaxy Angel
From Up on Poppy HillAnimeFullmetal Alchemist
Agent PeacockImageSource/Anime & MangaEastern Zodiac
From Far AwayShoujo DemographicFull Moon o Sagashite
Fairy TailDramedyFullmetal Alchemist
From Far AwayMangaFuan no Tane

alternative title(s): Fruits Basket; Fruits Basket
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