Ripe or Spoiled?: Fruits Basket Another Vol. 1 Review
The original Fruits Basket is a cult classic with both the manga and its anime adaptation considered must-haves. Fans were ecstatic to hear the series was receiving a sequel in Fruits Basket Another Vol. 1. However, now they find themselves confused by the new series.
For instead of it following Tohru Honda, Fruits Basket Another Vol. 1 follows a girl named Sawa Mitoma. Sawa is a brand new character with no connections to Tohru, the Sohma Family, or the original series. But, despite this change, does Fruits Basket Another Vol. 1 live up to its predecessor? Well, let’s rummage through this basket and find out.
The Plot of Fruits Basket Another Vol. 1
Fruits Basket Another Vol. 1 follows high school freshman, Sawa Mitoma. She is a girl with an extremely low opinion of herself who tries hard to avoid interacting with people. Her low self-esteem makes her see herself as an eyesore and burden to everyone around her. It is for this reason, Sawa mainly spends her days wallowing in self-hatred.
On Sawa’s first day of school, she arrives late, and a teacher scolds her. Suddenly, a boy named Mutsuki intervenes and helps her avoid trouble. He asks her to meet him in the student council office, and there she meets another boy named Hajime. When entering the room, she accidentally injures Hajime and, out of fear, runs away.
The next day, she reunites with both Hajime and Mutsuki who help her deal with her landlord. (Who was berating her about Sawa’s frequently absent mother.) Sawa starts crying in front of them because she feels like a burden. But, after both boys console her, Sawa asks to make up for injuring Hajime the day before. It is here that Mutsuki decides to make her a part of the student council.
While Sawa is at first reluctant, in order to change herself, she agrees to join. Sawa works hard to be less self-deprecating and begins building her self-esteem by interacting with Hajime and Mutsuki. (Who turn out to be Sohmas.) She also interacts with other Sohma family members and feels the embrace of friendship and family for the first time.
The Characters of Fruits Basket Another Vol. 1
Fruits Basket Another Vol. 1 introduces many new Sohma Family members. However, this section will only
focus on the main characters.
The series’ main protagonist, Sawa Mitoma is a high school girl with a low
opinion of herself. After living with bullying and a rough home life, she
considers herself a burden and avoids human interaction.
Sawa meets Hajime and Mutsuki Sohma on her first day of school, and that meeting changes her life. Mutsuki assigns her to the student council where she works to better herself. While there, she meets other members of the Sohma Family who include her in their outings, making her feel accepted.
As the volume progresses, Sawa starts to apologize less and thank more. She also allows herself to smile and enjoy life which she felt unworthy of doing before.
Mutsuki Sohma is the student council vice-president and the only child of Yuki Sohma and Machi Kuragi. He is a mischievous person, shown to take after his uncle, Ayame Sohma, more than his parents. However, like his parents, he is a disorganized person who cannot keep anything tidy.
He is the one who brings Sawa into the student council in order to help her develop a self-esteem. Despite his playful attitude, Mutsuki shows great care for his family and Sawa.
He currently lives with Hajime and another relative in order to attend his
parents’ old school.
Hajime Sohma is the student council president and the eldest son of Kyo Sohma and Tohru Honda. Like his father, he has a quick-to-anger personality. However, he also shows a nurturing side similar to his mother’s.
He is the first to berate Sawa about her meek personality, but he does this out of concern. He is the designated “older brother” or “papa” of the Sohma group, much to his irritation.
Hajime currently lives with Mutsuki and another relative away from his
parents in order to attend their old high school.
Does Fruits Basket Another Vol. 1 Live Up to Its Predecessor?
To say Fruits Basket Another Vol. 1 is exactly like its prequel series would be a lie. This series barely relates to its predecessor outside of the off-screen mentions or cameos of characters from Fruits Basket. However, this does not mean this sequel has nothing to offer. To fully understand, here is a breakdown of the manga’s pros and cons.
The Pros of Fruits Basket Another Vol. 1
Fruits Basket Another Vol. 1 provides an interesting juxtaposition to its predecessor. Instead of having
a peppy main character, it follows a depressed one. There is also the
interesting dynamic of the Sohma Family providing emotional support instead of
the main character. This role reversal portrays just how much of an impact
Tohru Honda had on the family.
By observing how sympathetic and nurturing the Sohma Family becomes, readers witness Tohru’s influence on the children’s parents. The Sohma children’s parents passed down Tohru’s positive traits to them, who in turn, pass them down to Sawa.
While the main focus of Fruits Basket, the “Sohma Curse,” is absent, its heart is still there. The emotional support and healing remains; i.e. Fruits Basket Another Vol. 1 keeps Tohru Honda’s kind legacy alive. There are heartfelt moments in the sequel that are reminiscent to the prequel’s which should stir nostalgia in every fan.
The Cons of Fruits Basket Another Vol. 1
Fruits Basket Another Vol. 1 feels like a self-insertion fan fiction at times. With Sawa having no connection to the original series, she serves as a slate for readers to insert themselves in. The sequel also gives off a “fan-service” atmosphere with all the Sohma children it introduces. It feels like this series’ creation occurred just to show readers which characters had children together.
This sequel adds nothing to the original series and does not feel remotely
necessary. The main character, Sawa, while pitiable, is such a downer that she
gets annoying at times. While readers try hard to sympathize with her
situation, the constant self-hatred gets old.
Also, the lack of the “Zodiac Curse” makes this series seem like any old high school manga. If not for the occasional mentioning of Fruits Basket characters, it would be hard to relate this to the original.
Is Fruits Basket Another Vol. 1 Worth the Read?
Despite the issues surrounding the reason for its existence, Fruits Basket Another Vol. 1 is worth the read. Any fan of the original series should meet the children of the previous series’ characters. Readers will witness just how much the Sohma Family has developed thanks to Tohru. The series is harmless regardless of its problems. It will not affect the way fans view the original Fruits Basket whatsoever.
So, is the series ripe? No, it is not. But, is it spoiled? No, far from it. Overall, Fruits Basket Another Vol. 1 is like finding a rice ball in a fruits basket. One does not know why it is there but is happy to see it regardless.