One of the first manga I picked up was Fruits Basket. It was one of the first wildly popular shojo series released in English. The manga is 23 volumes and the entirety is available in English. This series was pretty interesting and enjoyable to read, but I found certain sections to be confusing. Now on to the review!
Our main character, Tohru Honda is a perfect example of the "where are the parents" phenomenon. Prior to the series, her mother is killed, and so she moves in with her grandfather. Renovations on his house begins, and Tohru says she will stay with a classmate. Instead, Tohru sets up a tent in the woods and works to support herself. One day, a mudslide hits her tent, and she no longer has a place to stay. Yuki Sohma, a boy from her class, sees her on the side of the road near his house. Somehow Tohru ends up living with Yuki and his uncle Shiguire, doing housework and cooking in exchange for a place to stay.
The Sohma family is cursed. Twelve members of the family turn into a zodiac animal when stressed or hugged by a member of the opposite gender. They try to keep this secret from Tohru, but when she finds out, she vows to break the curse so they will no longer suffer. As Tohru continues to live with them, she meets the other members of the family with the zodiac curse. The thirteenth zodiac member (the cat, Kyo) is ostracized from the family, and ends up living with them. This creates a love triangle between Yuki, Kyo, and Tohru.
Overall, this manga was really good. The stories were individually interesting, and the many characters were easy to distinguish from each other. The overall plot confused me, to be honest, which made the later climax seem a bit out of place. I really enjoyed reading this series, and so did many others. Over 2 million English volumes were sold, and the final volume remained on the New York Times Manga Bestseller list for 12 weeks. The anime adaptation was aired on the Funimation channel, which helped it to reach a broad audience in the US. Overall, this series is well worth checking out if you're looking for something classic to read.
Hope Burns Bright