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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Fruits Basket 3 Puddles of Memories
Fruits Basket 3 Puddles of Memories
FUNimation // Unrated // February 20, 2007
List Price: $19.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Todd Douglass Jr. | posted November 12, 2007 | E-mail the Author
Buy from Amazon.com
C O N T E N T
V I D E O
A U D I O
E X T R A S
R E P L A Y
A D V I C E
Highly Recommended
E - M A I L
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P R I N T
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The Show:

Like Gunslinger Girl, Desert Punk, Burst Angel, and Samurai 7, Fruits Basket is another one of the more popular FUNimation series that is being re-released as a more affordable brand. This is essentially a way of moving old stock but fans benefit big time. These are some top notch series at a significantly cheaper price and who can complain about that? In the case of Fruits Basket I personally missed it the first time around and thankfully with this release I was finally able to go back and check it out. As it turns out this was a fantastic series that I'm ashamed to have not seen until now; give it a chance and I'm sure you'll feel the same way.

The show originated from a manga that was created by Natsuki Takaya in 1999. Two years after the fact Fruits Basket was released in its anime form and was produced by Studio Deen (Fate/Stay Night, Law of Ueki). With 26 episodes backing its peculiar story, Fruits Basket became a success in Japan and it wasn't long until American audiences latched onto it. I personally stumbled upon a plethora of accessories, shirts, and the like from the series at 2007's Anime Boston and even caught glimpses of a few cosplayers.

Fruits Basket is, at its core, a shoujo romance tale. In many ways the story could be considered a reverse harem because a female stars at the center of a character roster with a bunch of boys. Sure there are plenty of other girls and some apparent cross-dressers in between, but no matter how you slice it Tohru Honda is the one in the middle of everything.

Things have come a long way for Tohru since the humble pie she was eating when we first met her. The girl's mother had just passed away in a car accident and after her grandfather had to renovate the house she decided to rough it in a tent. Lucky for her she bumped into the Sohma residence and they took her in. Her classmate Yuki Sohma is one of the cutest guys in school but something is strange within his household. The catch with Fruits Basket is that the Sohma family is cursed by the zodiac and they turn into their sign whenever they are hugged by someone of the opposite sex.

In the second volume we received a whopping six episodes of Fruits Basket goodness. During the early episodes the show explored the curse concept further as it introduced more members of the Sohma family. Momiji and Hatori, who turn into a rabbit and seahorse respectively, throw some interesting wrenches into the plotline. For instance Hatori attempted to get Tohru to leave the Sohma family with the threat of a mind-wipe looming over her head. This gave Tohru a big developmental boost as a character and really made for some interesting interactions within the series. The volume also explored some fundamentals in anime such as the festival, New Years, Valentine's Day, and hot spring visit. Granted these episodes didn't really push any boundaries but it's safe to say that the show's twisted charm gave each their own flare.

This time around FUNimation has supplied us with a staggering seven episodes on one disc! Frankly, with the way publishers place three or four episodes on a single DVD I was shocked to see this many available here. That's been a benchmark of this series and it's one of the reasons that the affordable price structure is even better in this case. At any rate, it's the episodes here (not the price) that make the third volume so damned good.

One of the things that has drawn me into Fruits Basket is the abundant amount of emotion and fact that the show isn't afraid to tackle some hard issues. In between the goofy bits there is always room for sadness and many of these episodes explore this very trait. It's also interesting to point out that with seven episodes here there are still new characters being introduced. Normally I find this to be a turn off with anime as the series begins to wind down but somehow Fruits Basket makes it work. The focus is split appropriately enough and you'll never forget about the main characters or grow too attached to the new ones.

Things start off here with the next year of high school as Tohru and Yuki head back for another term. This time around they aren't going back alone though and some of the other Sohma family members are joining them; namely Momiji and Haru. Head of the Sohma family, Akito, also makes an appearance in this episode and it brings about some interesting tidbits regarding Yuki's past. In the second episode another Sohma member is revealed and this time it's a guy who turns into a snake. Naturally Tohru is a little spooked when she first comes across him due to the way they met but he turns out to be Yuki's older brother, Ayame.

Along with Ayame comes some intriguing new combinations with Shigure and the rest of the Sohma's. He seems to have a happy-go-lucky personality but it appears as though that's just a fa├žade and there is a bit of tension between him and Yuki. As these episodes unfold we learn some interesting things and with other new members of the Sohma's like Kisa, the tiger the show continued to get even more insane. In the spirit of keeping things as spoiler free as possible I'm going to cut some of the discussion short right there. After all there are seven episodes on this disc and as you'd imagine that covers a lot of ground with the series.

Before I wrap this review up I would like to bring up my favorite episode from this volume since it displayed everything that I love about this show. Episode 15 focuses on Tohru and the anniversary of her mother's death. She goes through a lot as she thinks back upon her mother and it gives an opportunity to bond with Momiji. The two share a similar tale and the way the episode handles such a tragedy really pulls at the heartstrings. Of course in between there are a few laughs as well but the emotion is there in spades and it's hard to not get emotional as you become attached to the characters.

Once again Fruits Basket knocked it out of the park in my opinion. The seven episodes here cover a broad array of topics and though the roster is starting to get slightly cluttered the series balances its new and old characters well enough. Solid writing and well-developed characters are the backbone of this show and though it's nearing the end there is no loss of quality. If you haven't seen this series before then get off your butt and pick it up; you won't be disappointed!

The DVD:

Video:

With the series being broadcast in 2001 it's not surprising to see a full frame aspect ratio attached to the DVD. The very surprising thing is that FUNimation was able to squeeze seven episodes onto this disc with no loss in terms of quality. As with the previous efforts for this show the picture throughout this volume remained vibrant, sharp, and clean. At no time did I spot defects such as compression blocking or artifacts and grain was kept very minimal. This leaves the show beautiful looking which helps to elevate the wonderful character designs and bright backgrounds.

Audio:

Also not shocking with regards to the presentation is the fact that both the English and Japanese languages are served up here as 2.0 stereo pieces. Technically speaking both audio tracks are fine with no flaw but they are just underwhelming in the grand scheme of things. The presence on the soundstage is nowhere near as dynamic as it could have been though I suppose it didn't have to be due to the abundance of dialogue rather than sound effects. Fortunately the dubbing quality for both languages is solid enough and I found myself enjoying both the English and Japanese dubs.

Extras:

Woah! Wait a minute...FUNimation squeezed seven episodes onto this disc and there are STILL some bonus features? Why doesn't this happen more often! Granted there are some light things such as trailers, eye-catch gallery, and character profiles but another "Fruits Basket Room" also makes an appearance. This time around Kyo's voice actor, Tomokazu Seki, is interviewed by Yui Horie (Tohru). If you have watched the show then you already know that the two of them have some great chemistry and it shows during this segment. They really ham it up and have a good time with the interview which gives it some nice energy.

Final Thoughts:

Fruits Basket may only be six years old but the series is arguably a classic. The subject matter feels somewhat fresh, the characters are endearing, and the story is a lot of fun. These seven episodes push the envelope in terms of character and plot development. New faces and sad moments blanket this volume and give it a proper amount of weight and I can't stress enough how much this series will draw you in. If you haven't checked it out yet then FUNimation's re-release is a must. The price is just right and you get a lot of quality anime bang for your buck. Highly Recommended


Check out more of my reviews here. Head on over to my anime blog as well for random musings and reviews of anime, manga, and stuff from Japan!

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