Monday, July 12, 2010

Manga Monday (6): Fruits Basket by Natsuki Takaya vol. 5 & 6

Fruits Basket - Natsuki Takaya vol. 5 & 6

What Is The Chinese Zodiac?

I love that Fruits Basket is not just a fun book to read; it's teaching me about the Chinese zodiac, something I've never bothered to learn before. The Chinese Zodiac is basically a calendar on a 12-year cycle. Each year is represented by a different animal. Each animal has different personality traits. 

1. Rat: Forthright, tenacious, intense, meticulous, charismatic, sensitive, hardworking, industrious, charming, eloquent, sociable, artistic, shrewd. Can be manipulative, vindictive, self-destructive, mendacious, venal, obstinate, critical, over-ambitious, ruthless, intolerant, scheming.
2. Ox: Dependable, ambitious, calm, methodical, born leader, patient, hardworking, conventional, steady, modest, logical, resolute, tenacious. Can be stubborn, narrow-minded, materialistic, rigid, demanding.
3. Tiger: Unpredictable, rebellious, colorful, powerful, passionate, daring, impulsive, vigorous, stimulating, sincere, affectionate, humanitarian, generous. Can be restless, reckless, impatient, quick-tempered, obstinate, selfish, aggressive, moody.
4. Rabbit: Gracious, good friend, kind, sensitive, soft-spoken, amiable, elegant, reserved, cautious, artistic, thorough, tender, self-assured, shy, astute, compassionate, lucky, flexible. Can be moody, detached, superficial, self-indulgent, opportunistic, stubborn.
5. Dragon: Magnanimous, stately, vigorous, strong, self-assured, proud, noble, direct, dignified, jealous, eccentric, intellectual, fiery, passionate, decisive, pioneering, artistic, generous, loyal. Can be tactless, arrogant, imperious, tyrannical, demanding, intolerant, dogmatic, violent, impetuous, brash.
6. Snake: Deep thinker, wise, mystic, graceful, soft-spoken, sensual, creative, prudent, shrewd, elegant, cautious, responsible, calm, strong, constant, purposeful. Can be loner, bad communicator, possessive, hedonistic, self-doubting, distrustful, mendacious, suffocating, cold.
7. Horse: Cheerful, popular, quick-witted, changeable, earthy, perceptive, talkative, agile—mentally and physically, magnetic, intelligent, astute, flexible, open-minded. Can be fickle, arrogant, childish, anxious, rude, gullible, stubborn.
8. Sheep: Righteous, sincere, sympathetic, mild-mannered, shy, artistic, creative, gentle, compassionate, understanding, mothering, determined, peaceful, generous, seeks security. Can be moody, indecisive, over-passive, worrier, pessimistic, over-sensitive, complainer, weak-willed.
9. Monkey: Inventor, motivator, improviser, quick-witted, inquisitive, flexible, innovative, problem solver, self-assured, sociable, artistic, polite, dignified, competitive, objective, factual, intellectual. Can be egotistical, vain, selfish, reckless, snobbish, deceptive, manipulative, cunning, jealous, suspicious
10. Rooster: Acute, neat, meticulous, organized, self-assured, decisive, conservative, critical, perfectionist, alert, zealous, practical, scientific, responsible. Can be over zealous and critical, puritanical, egotistical, abrasive, opinionated, given to empty bravado.
11. Dog: Honest, intelligent, straightforward, loyal, sense of justice and fair play, attractive, amicable, unpretentious, sociable, open-minded, idealistic, moralistic, practical, affectionate, sensitive, easy going. Can be cynical, lazy, cold, judgmental, pessimistic, worrier, stubborn, quarrelsome.
12. Pig: Honest, gallant, sturdy, sociable, peace-loving, patient, loyal, hard-working, trusting, sincere, calm, understanding, thoughtful, scrupulous, passionate, intelligent. Can be na├»ve, over-reliant, self-indulgent, gullible, fatalistic, materialistic.

(courtesy of Wikipedia).

Summary/Review Vol 5 & 6

My summaries/reviews of the Fruits Basket series may contain spoilers, but I think it's difficult to adequately describe a volume of manga without talking about major aspects of the plot.

Fruits Basket vol. 5: Volume 5 starts a series of more serious volumes. We see the darker side of the Sohma curse. The Sohmas and Tohru are spending the spring holiday week at the family  vacation home. Hatsuharu arrives unexpectedly with a new Sohma member - Kisa, the tiger. Kisa is a junior high girl who was brutally teased about her unusual hair and eye colors. Many of the Sohmas have endured similar bullying. Kisa was so disturbed that she completely stopped speaking. Tohru, conjuring the wise advice of her mother, helps Kisa find her voice again. There's also a hilarious chapter where the leaders of the Yuki Fan Club try to get to Tohru through Hanajima. Luckily Hana-chan sees right through them. She is a steadfast friend.

Fruits Basket vol. 6: Another serious volume. We learn much more about Kyo and his tumultuous past. Shisou, Kyo's longtime martial arts instructor comes to visit. He is like a father to Kyo. He encourages Kyo to be brave and display his true form to Tohru. Kyo is ashamed and horrified that Tohru will see him as he truly is. But he underestimates Tohru's compassion and love. Kyo falls even more deeply in love with Tohru; unfortunately, Yuki's love for Tohru is also growing. The love triangle is become more and more apparent, even though Tohru, Kyo, and Yuki deny it, even to themselves.


  1. I think I fall under "monkey" on the calendar, but I can't remember for sure. It's been a very long time since I ate at a Chinese restaurant where they had the calendars! (But monkey sounds pretty accurate, so that's probably it ;) )

  2. Which animal is for which year?

  3. Born 1968, I'm a monkey and, of coures, am all the positive things - as for the negative things? No, they are so wrong.


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