フルーツバスケット/Fruits Basket

[Screenshot]I watch altogether too much shoujo to be a manly man. But that’s OK—I’m comfortable in my skin and, damn, shoujo has much better characters. Fruits Basket is kind of all over the place to my mind: the characterization is pure shoujo, the slapstick aspect is basically a variant on a gimmick from Ranma, and the visual style is mostly simplified and sparse, but it makes sparing use of both traditional semiotic deformations and some of a more modern school of distortion (I’m thinking of one effect in particular that’s very lainish). The visual works: the general effect is one of clean austerity, which somewhat tempers and sobers the occasional zany humor. The description may make this show sound diffuse and meandering, but, trust me, it works, not least of all because the story keeps moving and keeps interesting. I’m hoping for some more characterization of Uo and Hana in later episodes: it’s not clear how Tohru got involved with ciperic thugs but i’m imagining there’s a good reason (which has been very obliquely hinted at).

All in all, a tasty work, altohguh some oddities of the American release struck me. First, they translated the themes on the audio track. I’ve never seen that done before (although they valiantly tried to translate the karaoke of the theme song in the DNA2 OVA, but, uh, I digress). Also, the sub and dub seem to vary pretty wildly on occasion, and both are kind of stilted at times. But I hope this is an issue which gets ironed out in later episodes.

See also: IMDB, Wikipedia, Anime News Network, AniDB.

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