is one of the most popular shoujo series in both its manga and animated form and has zealous defenders ready to tear apart its detractors. I know because a friend of mine posted a critical review of it and he got hate mail over it for months. Regardless, I will follow in his footsteps and explain why this series is overrated.
The main reason why Fruits Basket
is so beloved, I think (BTW, I have friends who like it so I sympathize with both points of view), is because of its original premise. Not the hugging thing, but the emphasis on emotional problems and human companionship over generic romance (which is what most Shoujo
revolves around). From what I've read, Tooru genuinely cares about the Souma boys, and although they're all very pretty 'cause it's a shoujo manga, she doesn't seem to have ROMANTIC FEELINGS
for them. It's all about helping people with their problems and forming healthy relationships with them.
That said, it is poorly executed. First off, although part of me has a tug of sympathy and smiles on Tooru for her cute Pollyanna-ness
, she is unrealistic. She is totally a Purity Sue
. C'mon. Her only possible
flaw is being psychotically concerned with others and dismissive of her own substantial problems. People like that do not exist, period. It may be nice and heart-warming, but it's also annoying because it makes the whole series seem that phony.
And then there's everything else. Takaya is a so-so writer and her characters aren't very interesting. From what I've read, for the most part, it's difficult to sympathize with their dramas. Kyo in particular is a jerk and it's frustrating to see Tooru feel sorry for him when he's being so pointlessly hostile. The martial arts aspect feels tacked-on. Heck, even the Zodiac premise is dumb. O noes, I turn into animals when someone hugs me. Cute, cute animals. How can I live with myself?
I also find the English translation by Tokyopop to be unnatural-sounding and inappropriate with the tone at times. Finally, the art is mediocre (by professional standards, at least); in particular, the eyes look creepy most of the time.
I have both read the manga and watched the anime, and although I understand that the anime cuts off the story rather badly, I enjoyed it more than the manga from what I saw.