It’s the summer of 2021, and with the pandemic still circulating the entire world, people can’t fully experience summer like they used to. So, like most people, I explored the collections of streaming sites to entertain myself. While scrolling through the webpage, an anime appeared on the recommendation list, titled Fruits Basket. It sounded familiar, so I looked it up and did some research before watching it to avoid wasting my time with a poorly made anime.
In my investigation, I saw plenty of blogs and videos saying that it was a fantastic anime, and it changed their lives. Of course, what they’re saying might be hyperbole, but this got me more curious. As I delved deeper, I found that this anime has a mixed bag of fans with boys and girls of different ages. But, the most common are young women.
So, it had me thinking. Why do these young adult women love this series so much? Their answers could be summarized into five reasons: the nostalgia it gives, the main character that you can’t help but idolize, other characters you can relate with, a story with multiple genres, and the knowledge and wisdom it gives about life and relationships.
Reminiscing the Good Old Days
By the definition of the word, nostalgia means you have a longing for the past, particularly those happy memories that go with it. So, one would wonder why Fruits Basket brings nostalgia if the anime was released in 2019. Well, it turns out that the 2019 anime wasn’t the first time it got animated.
Fruits Basket already had an anime way back in 2001. It ran for twenty-six episodes and was a hit show in Japan, parts of Asia, and the US. So it’s pretty evident as to why it would give someone nostalgia. The show reminded these young women of their fond memories when they were children and life was easy. They’d probably watched the show during the mornings before school and remembered the joy the anime gave them while watching it.
And, now that their old show has a reboot with updated art and is three seasons long, they can’t help but give it some love and appreciation for reminding them of the good ole days.
Role Model Protagonist
No matter their gender or preference, kids always look up to someone and imitate what they do. That’s why a good role model is essential to have. Commonly, it’s the parents who act as role models to their children. But in reality, that’s not always the case. If that happens, whatever the reason may be, the child would usually find another person to emulate.
Some of the fans of this show found a role model in Fruits Basket’s main protagonist. Tohru Honda is an orphan girl in high school with uncaring relatives. When her mother died, nobody wanted to take her in, so they left her to her senile grandfather. Even then, her relatives had to ask Tohru to stay with a friend because the house her grandpa lived in needed some renovations.
But, despite her instances, she always maintained a positive attitude and kind heart. You’ll see more of this when she meets the other characters. For example, when she first learned the secret of the Soma family, she didn’t judge them quickly. And, as she got to know them better, she understood their struggle and empathized and helped with each of their hardships.
Being A Role Model
When kids first watched this show way back in 2001, girls were the first to gravitate towards Tohru because she’s also a girl. The protagonist showed them that even if you experience trials in life, you still need to have a positive outlook and be kind to others because they probably also have problems.
She became a de facto person/character that little girls get to idolize, especially if they don’t see that in their household. So it’s no exaggeration when people, not just women, say that watching Fruits Basket helped them be better people because the anime showed them an alternative path in dealing with grief and challenging life.
Naturally, the show doesn’t revolve around the main protagonist. Instead, the anime has many side characters and deuteragonists, people who are below the protagonist and above the side characters in terms of importance. Most of those characters have generic personalities, but some notable ones got fleshed out. As a result, we see their different struggles and growth in life, making them more human and relatable, in a sense.
The Soma Family Members
Without spoiling too much of the Fruits Basket story, the Soma Family members have a curse put upon them. This curse makes it hard for them to live a normal life and has affected their relationships with others, even their loved ones. In the slightest, some of them have a hard time making friends, while some were left by their mothers in one way or another.
You see these characters adjust their way of life and personalities to avoid pain and suffering. In real life, we do the same thing because we don’t want to set expectations and get hurt by others. In this way, as you watch through the series, you would unexpectedly find things that you find similar to them and empathize with their plights because you’ve felt that way too.
Arisa and Saki
Arisa Uotani and Saki Hanajima are Tohru’s best friends. They’ve been friends for a long time and are inseparable in some ways. They may seem like the stereotypical best friends characters, but they also have their own story to tell.
Arisa was a former delinquent and joined gangs as early as fifth grade. So when she met her idol Kyoko Honda, a former gang leader, and Tohru’s mom, she was surprised at how much she’s changed. This personality shift showed her that she could change for the better.
On the other hand, Saki is a girl who her classmates ostracized for being weird. Without getting too much into detail, this experience led her to become alone and untrusting of others. However, she changed when both Saki and Tohru fought for her and wanted to be her friend no matter what.
Fruit’s Basket’s Genre-defying Story
If you think about it, most stories that are well-loved by many are stories with multiple genres. For example, Game of Thrones was a mix of fantasy, thriller, drama, and action rolled into one, and this series enthralled everybody.
Similarly, in some ways, Fruits Basket also has a story that defies one genre. On the cover, it looks like a simple shoujo anime, but it’s actually a mixture of the supernatural, drama, slice of life, and comedy.
Fruits Basket is many things for many people. It is an anime that gives young girls a glimpse of who they could become if they show warmth, understanding, and kindness to others. And, it showed them that they are not alone in their struggles because the characters had the same struggles too.
This anime has given everybody in their fanbase a sense of hope that life can be good in a world where many are selfish and ignorant. I now understand why so many young women, and people in general, love this series. So, if what you’ve read got you curious, now’s the perfect time to check it out in your streaming services.
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