As Jason points out, “this is the manga that kept Tokyopop alive from 2004 to 2009.” It was remarkably popular in the U.S. market and probably the best-known shojo at the time. It’s the story of a self-sacrificing girl who gets involved with a family where everyone turns into one of the animals from the Chinese zodiac when embraced.
His walk through the series brought back a lot of memories from when I read it — and then gave it up back in 2007. I wish I’d had his notes then; I might have stayed with it longer. For example, he points out:
Here’s one way in which Fruits Basket is special: I actually like these little meditations on kindness and loneliness and sociability that the characters say in this manga. They aren’t cheesy, instead, they are pretty wise and thoughtful.
He also sums up the appeal of the series as, “When the characters aren’t wracked with sobs thinking about how their parents abused them, this manga is full of summer homes and vacations and good times…. The supernatural elements of the series seem to be fading as it goes on, which is sort of a pity, because Takaya is really good at drawing cute animals.”
I never did finish Fruits Basket, and I imagine I never will, since the books are out of print. Did you read it? Looking back, did you enjoy it? Do you recommend others seek it out?