Thursday, September 01, 2005


Among the more constructive of my activities during my recent blogging hiatus was pushing forwards with reading Fruits Basket in Japanese. Currently I’m over halfway through volume 16 (vol. 17 is the most recent volume in Japan). I’d been intending to write something about Fruits Basket, perhaps while discussing Bill Sherman’s review of the first five English-language volumes in TCJ #269; but David Welsh beat me to the punch, and did it so well that there isn’t much left for me to say. Welsh brings out well what would have been my main point: that the manga is darker, and more serious, than one would gather from either Sherman’s review or what I’ve written about it so far (or from the anime, for that matter). And Welsh is only up to volume 7: things become even darker in subsequent volumes, beginning with volume 9, though there’s still a leaven of comedy.

One aspect of Takaya’s writing is unmentioned by Welsh, because it first becomes apparent in later volumes than he covers: as we learn more about the characters’ backstories, things that seemed uncomplicated, or even mainly comedic, in the early volumes take on new meanings. I can’t go into details without spoilers, obviously, but this has already happened with several characters, including Kyou and Yuki. And I gather there are major revelations coming in vol. 17. I’d love to see an interview with Takaya discussing how much she had planned out in advance when she started.

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