Alright so this one is one of my personal top five list, and it gets that honor for a number of reasons. It is a beautiful medley of sweet and sorrow.
It has wonderful moments of joy that are portrayed with an amazing set of animation and fantastical story telling. It is definitely not what I had previously thought upon first glance and is one I am glad to have taken a second look at.
Upon first glance it appears to be an atypical pop anime. Girly themed and I am ashamed to say I almost passed it over for fear of weak story telling. Though the manga and the anime do have several differences it transitioned quite well to the animation stage.
Some of the differences are small such as character personality changes which are not all that bad but then there are characters that are left out and that does leave something to be desired.
Let’s start with a brief summary of what the show is about and while some of the plot movements are given this is a nearly spoiler free review as the series is truly one to be watched and enjoyed, which could be said of any series reviewed.
The series tells the story of Tohru Honda, an orphan girl who, after meeting Yuki, Kyo, and Shigure Sohma, learns that twelve members of the Sohma family are possessed by the animals of the Chinese Zodiac.
They are cursed to turn into their animal forms when they are weak, stressed, or when they are embraced by anyone of the opposite sex that is not possessed by a zodiacal spirit. In the anime it is possible to transform through torso contact.
Now throughout the series we meet a lot of characters with beautiful personalities but Tohru is the one to be watched and she is a beautiful, heart wrenching, optimistic, young lady. This one spares us of none of the emotions that it has set out to get from us and like another favorite Attack on Titan, it has its highs and it has some very lows that don’t pull away from real emotions.
When high school student Tohru Honda’s mother dies in a car crash on her way to work, Tohru decides to live with her grandfather. Renovations on the house and unsupportive and unkind family members cause her to move out of her grandfather’s house temporarily and, since she has nowhere else to go, Tohru begins living in a tent and supporting herself.
This all works in theory until she is found out by Yuki Sohma and his cousin Shigure. After an incident leaves her with no roof over her head, Yuki and Shigure invite her to live with them. The first day Tohru moves into the Sohma house, an orange haired teenager crashes through the roof of her new bedroom and starts attacking Yuki.
This new comer is Kyo, Yuki and Shigure’s aggressively angry cousin. Once Kyo loses quickly to Yuki, he tries to fight him again. When he’s about to attack, Tohru tries to stop him, but slips on an article of clothing, making her slip and fall onto Kyo’s back. When this happens, Tohru discovers something big about the Sohma’s.
The Sohmas live with a curse. Twelve members of the family (not including Kyo, who is the cat) are possessed by spirits of the Chinese Zodiac and turn into their zodiac animal when they are weak, under stress, embarrassed, or when hugged by someone of the opposite sex.
When Tohru discovers the Sohmas’ secret, she promises not to tell and is allowed to keep living with them. Although the Sohmas’ curse is deeper and darker than Tohru realized, her presence and her acceptance of them soon becomes a large, positive influence on those possessed by the zodiac.
She sets out to break the curse and, on the way, meets and discovers the Sohma’s vengeful zodiac spirits. Each has a different personality, just like the animals in the Chinese Zodiac. One by one, Tohru’s existence changes the Sohma clan’s lives forever.
This is about the furthest I will go. The series brings us to meet almost all of the members of the Sohma family and we get to see how each enter into and interact with the girl who was never supposed to know their secret.
The series honestly gets a 9 out of 10 and it not because it isn’t good nor not worth the time it takes to watch the 26 episode series. I give it that because while the animation, the voice actors, and the score work in harmony, pieces of the puzzle are left out and while the series does leave us with a close that provides closure, it leaves you wanting to know more and to meet the other members of the Sohma family and it leaves several questions and loopholes open.
Now, all this being said, to be fair this is only for the anime itself. The original one not the newest relaunch in 2019. That friends will be a different review and potentially even a comparison just to see how the two takes match up.
I would love to hear your thoughts on the series below, who is your favorite character ( Mine is absolutely the adorable Momiji, which makes perfect sense since I am the year of the rabbit ^_^)? Favorite moment? Leave us a comment below!