Fruits Basket Vol. 2 (英語) ペーパーバック – 2004/4/13
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Ever since Tohru Honda discovered the Zodiac secret of the Sohma clan, her eyes have been opened to a world of magic and wonder. She's about to find out that with such a great secret comes great responsibility. With sleepovers, school festivals and holidays bringing outsiders into Sohma turf, Tohru has her work cut out for her keeping the "Cat" in the bag, and the "Dog" on a leash.
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Tohru is moving into her newly furnished room, and her pals (wave-reading goth Saki and toughgrrl Hana) decide to stay over to make sure that the guys will take care of their cheerful friend. And when New Year's rolls around, Kyo and Yuki find themselves wondering what to do -- go to the main house with the other family, or stay with Tohru?
And at the school, the students are planning a cultural festival, and Tohru encounters two other Sohmas -- the chilly doctor Hatori, and the effusive half-German Momiji, who is instantly pals with Tohru. But Tohru learns of a different side to the zodiac members' lives, when she hears about Hatori's tragic past.
The first volume of "Fruits Basket" was all about introducing the characters and getting them into the same house. And in the second volume, Takaya gets to flesh out the cast with new characters and new storylines, and hints about the more sinister aspects of the Sohma family's curse, and the family head Akito.
The storylines in general are darker here, especially the harrowing flashbacks of Hatori's love affair with his ex-fiancee, and the bitterly chilly way that it fell apart. But Takaya also sprinkles it with happier moments, such as the naughty novels, the preparations for the cultural festival ("She brought an IRON PIPE to school!"), and poor Yuki having to wear a dress, much to the delight of his crazed fangirls.
There are also some new dimensions shown in Tohru here. Sure, she's always cheerful and pleasant, but Takaya hints that she is actually quite lonely now, despite the presence of her friends. But the zodiac members also get some development -- including Tohru's whole talk with Kyo about the "umeboshi" on people's backs.
The second volume of "Fruits Basket" is even better than the first, and introduces the mix of tragedy and comedy that Takaya is so good at. And it will only get better.
And the second "Fruits Basket Ultimate Edition" -- which brings together the third and fourth volumes of the manga -- expands the zodiac Sohmas even further. And while the plot is still riddled with deliciously wild comedy and hints of romance, Natsuki Takaya starts weaving some darker threads into the story.
While on an endurance run, Tohru sees a white-haired man lying by the roadside, and rushes to help -- only to find that he's Hatsuharu Sohma, a punky teenager who's come to challenge Kyo. But then Yuki collapses from an asthma attack -- and Haru's cursed form is the only one that can get him home discreetly.
Things get even more awkward when Valentine's Day rolls around: Kyo finds himself being violently wooed by Kagura, and dragged on a double-date while Shigure pays a visit to Hatori. A month later, Momiji unveils a surprise for Tohru -- a trip to a hot spring resort, run by a very easily upset "concubine." It gives our heroes a chance to relax and recuperate.
But not for long -- as Momiji and Haru join Tohru's high school, she accidentally bumps into Akito, the head of the family, who proceeds to quietly threaten Yuki. And later on, Tohru ends up having a snake slither up her shirt -- only to find that it's Yuki's estranged older brother, the flamboyant, charmingly arrogant Ayame. He is now desperately trying to mend the rift -- and Tohru wants to help, of course.
When the anniversary of Tohru's mother's death rolls around, the Sohmas become involved in the lighthearted ritual at her graveside. But Hana hints at a dark connection between Tohru's mother and Kyo -- and Tohru finds out the saddening story about Momiji's own mother, and why she doesn't remember her own son.
The first "ultimate edition" laid the groundwork and started introducing our lovable Sohmas with their very embarrassing curses. And the second volume proceeds to introduce a few more -- some of them quite important and memorable -- and fleshes out the ones we've already been introduced to. And Takaya was clearly having fun with it.
In fact, most of the story is fun -- we get lots of slapstick, violent falls, leeks in the mouth, suicide threats from Shigure's miserable editor, and the occasional martial arts battle. The new characters add their own brands of comedy, whether it's Ayame curling up in bed with an outraged Kyo, or Haru demonstrating to the class president that... uh, the carpet matches the oddly-coloured drapes ("Did he show him?!" "He showed him!").
But Takaya starts exploring darker avenues -- some nasty secrets are being kept from our teenage heroes, and she drops some broad hints that Kyo is somehow connected to Kyoko Honda's death. And her strong, elegant artwork has become even more assured, especially in the more poignant moments -- such as Shigure's musings on the "dream of love."
And we get some new zodiac characters, including the charmingly cruel Akito. Haru is a great character -- a placid, serene boy who can slip into a violent, lecherous rage when he gets really mad. His "black" side provides plenty of entertainment. But the real scene-stealer is Ayame -- flamboyant, flirtatious, socially inept, an astounding liar, and very arrogant ("Now please, lust after me!"). He's utterly lovable, although you can see why Yuki can't stand him.
But Takaya doesn't neglect the other characters who have already been introduced -- Shigure confesses that he has some darker, selfish motives. And we find out that despite Momiji's perpetually chirpy personality, he has a tragic history of his own -- in a way, his story is even worse than Tohru's, and it's heartbreaking to imagine this sunny child being rejected so cruelly.
The second "Fruits Basket: Ultimate Edition" continues the comedic antics of our favorite cursed family, but some of the darker threads are beginning to show. A glorious little read.
Tohru Honda is a very pleasant and independent High-school girl. When her mom dies, and her grandfather cannot give her a home, she decides that everyone would be happy is she lived by herself...in a tent. On her way to school, she meets Shigure, who just happens to be "Prince" Yuki's cousin, the school heart-throb. She also meets another relative of Yuki's; Kyo, a foul tempered red-head. But what is *really* strange about the three? They have a curse, that when hugged by the opposite sex, they turn into their animal of the zodiac. Tohru is given the chance to live their if she keeps their weird secret. So...everything will be alright? Maybe if this weren't an anime.
Now, a quick guide to Japanese Honorifics (titles) used in Fruits Basket
-san is the most common honorific. Comparable to Mr. or Ms.
-kun is an informal and intimate honorific used by superiors addressing inferiors, or by males of roughly the same age and status. Also used among male friends.
-chan is the imformal diminutive of -san, used by children to refer to friends and family members, or by family members, close friends, lovers, pets, etc.
-sama is the most formal honorific used in everyday conversation. Used in addressing one of much higher rank.