chomiji: A chibi cartoon of Hotaru from the manga Samurai Deeper Kyo, with a book. Caption: Manga Joy (Manga joy!)
[personal profile] chomiji

Help, I've been mugged by a volume of shoujo manga!

Yes, it's true. I picked up vol. 4 of Fruits Basket for cheap at Balticon over the 3-day weekend ... and that was the beginning of the end. I've been conquered by "America's most popular shoujo manga."

I have actually gobbled down volumes 4-10, but I'm forcing myself to break it up and think about it a little more. I bought 5-7 on Sunday night, and then picked up 8-10 on Wednesday afternoon. And I want more, more, more. (And so does the Young Lady.)

Fruits Basket, vols. 4-7 (review)

What was so overwhelming about vol. 4 was that everything was ratcheted up several notches. The humor was suddenly so vivid that I laughed out loud more than once. I especially loved Kyo's reaction to Momiji's wardrobe choice for the first day of high school (probably because I was equally appalled ... >sigh<), and then Hatsuharu's passionate defense of civil rights in dress ... especially his "dirty pool" (on several counts) with the student body president. Ayame is, of course, a scream, and he and Shigure are hysterical together ("Not in front of the children!"). I also think it's interesting that his stories of bamboozling the school authorities with BS and outrageous sexual bravura are told so close to Hatsuharu's similar assault on poor Takei (who may never be the same again ...). Of course Hatsuharu has a lot more emotional investment in what he does, while Ayame is just messin' with their heads ... but it's interesting. And both of them really love Yuki, too.

And then the pathos ... ahh, I'm just a big marshmallow on the inside. Momiji's backstory totally killed me, even though I don't really care for the character. But I've been on both sides of that equation: I've been the child of a mentally disturbed mother, and I've been a new mother with postpartum depression. When Tohru and Momiji were crying, and she hugged him and he turned into a bunny, still crying - well, that was it. I lost it.

And I haven't even mentioned Tohru & co.'s visit to her mother's grave, or Kyo watching Tohru sleep on the porch. And that was all in one volume.

Not everything in every volume is successful. Yuki's various encounters with characters at school - both his fellow student officers and the silly geese in the secret Yuki fan club - don't do much for me. And although Tohru's ignorance of what exactly it was that Hatsuharu showed the school president in the bathroom was funny - and gave Hatsuharu a chance for a marvellously lewd piece of behavior (which very appropriately earned him a smackdown from both Kyo and Yuki) - I'm not sure I buy it. The girl is 16 already, for God's sake ... . And yes, she's just too damn good and nice - but you know, Hatsuharu is even more insightful than she is a good deal of the time.

But so much of it is good and effective and moving: The "Mabudachi Trio" having their heart-to-heart session at the lake house. Hatsuharu calmly letting Kisa, in her tiger form, bite him as he explains what's up with her, because he's so worried. Kisa's mother, at her wits' end and looking so completely tired and bewildered. Kisa turning back into an equally bewildered and miserable little girl in Tohru's arms. Kyo overcoming his famous hatred of leeks to cook a decent pot of soup for Tohru when she's sick. Hanajima's little brother, Megumi, creatively helping his sister get rid of the catty Yuki fan girls. Haru worrying about both Kyo and Tohru in school, and reading Tohru like a book as she frets silently before him, and then confronting Yuki and confessing that he himself is worried as well. Ayame's real joy at having Yuki visit his shop ... and the horrible irony of what he sells, versus the constraints that he has to bear on his own search for romance. Hiro's insights into his own behavior, so mature that they're a terrible burden for a boy of 11. Uo's misery over seeing her friend Tohru in her old school swimsuit, and her determination to solve the problem, and involve all those who love Tohru in the solution.

And the three real killers for me: the whole business over Kyo's other form - and Takaya is very clever in having smell be a part of it: smell is much more visceral and primitive than sight - and his relationship with his Shishou; Uo's backstory and her relationship with Tohru's mother; and Shigure's kindness, which I'm having to question on the basis of things I'm reading in other people's reviews. I have to hope that what he seems to be up to is worth it in the end, for all of them.

Alright, Takaya-sensei: you've got me. I'm in it for the long haul.

Date: 2007-06-02 05:30 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
In the end, FB seduces everyone... eeeeevvvveeeerrrrryyyyooooonnnneeeee.

Momiji annoys me, yet I like him(aside from Akito *stabs* I like all the FB characters)

While I think it's overdone, I actually tend to find Tohru's extreme naivette believable, though it's largely because, while I wasn't as unbelievably good and pure as she is, I was only a few steps above her in that department at that age myself(my mother-through no fault of her own-wasn't really available when it was time for "the talk" and never realized I never got it, and I didn't realize there was need for one until I was 17 or so...)

Yuki is fun with the other Sohma's, but he's rather dull on his own, fond of him as I am.

Date: 2007-06-04 04:11 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Well, I have decent spoilers for what's not out here but not all for Shigure, but as far as I know, Shigure, despite VERY questionable romantic preferences, has everyone's best interests at heart.

Momiji has his moments, but mostly he gets by because only a monster would hate the Sohma kids, really.

Akito is a evil psychotic sadistic *********** who abuses children and likes to force varying degrees of "relations"(from just touching to much more) on male relations and thinks putting young female cousins in the hospital is a fun passtime. And that's the less horrible stuff. Akito wins the "bad person" award.

My sex ed class was the anatomical equivalent of technical mumbo jumbo and "premarital sex is'll get a disease." It was to discourage teens from doing it any more than they already were, not to clue you in on anything about it. they even have sex ed in Japan?

Date: 2007-06-06 05:18 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
heh...everytime they transform, Tohru either passes out or or is facing the nearest wall.

As far as Ayame goes, I'm sure for Tohru that was a rather unique experience at the time...rather like having 3 good looking guys poof into animals...with Yuki, it was probably his instinctive reaction to be pissed off at Ayame.

Akito is one of the few manga characters I utterly despise.

Date: 2007-06-27 07:44 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Ya know, I almost named my dog after Shigure, but my dog is a girl...but then I went and named her after a boy anyway. I love Shigure!
Oh no! NOT SEX ED! I had that crap if 5th grade and it certainly was seperated but then we watched the boy video and stuff after the girl crap was over. I couldnt keep myself from laughing.

Date: 2007-06-02 06:22 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
sadly enough, i never liked this manga. couldn't stand the characters, especially the main one. the only character i took a liking to was the Kyo, the cat.

Date: 2007-06-04 11:32 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
i have never read Saiyuki but i have some of the dvds. Pretty good though sometimes some episode were pointless. i like the fact that it was sorta like a knock-off of the chinese tale "Journey to the West"

Date: 2007-06-05 09:28 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
at first i was only attracted to SDK because of Kyo since i was one of the few who actually saw the anime before reading the manga. i just love his attitude and everything about him. Then i got to reading the manga because i was sorta piss off at the ending for the anime (my friends and i got into an argument over who it was at the end, Kyo or Kyoshiro?). Then as the anime progress, i just love the friendship dynamites of it all. Kyo can denied it all he wants but friendship means alot to him. and it's so funny, i love almost all the characters!
I bought the dvds for Saiyuki because i read the review about it's similarities to Journey to the West (Which is my favorite all time Chinese tale!). I love it for it's differences in characters' attitude. i mean, come on, who wouldn't love a killing monk?! Goku wasn't as powerful as i had hope but he's so funny and cute! and the friendship dynamites is also there so i got hooked.

Date: 2007-06-27 07:41 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
my friends and I got into the same argument...and then when my brother bought it he and my dad and I got into the same fight.

Date: 2007-06-27 07:49 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
which one did you argue for? i always thought it was Kyo.

Date: 2007-06-27 07:39 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I can't expain why, but I LOVE fruits basket! I DO want to roast momiji...there is only so much cute I can take...and its in German wich is probably the least cutest language EVER...its just so WRONG! Now maybe...if he was older, taking ritilin and out of the closet...we could totally hang. ^_^

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