Fruits Basket Collector’s Edition, Vol. 5

By Natsuki Takaya. Released in Japan by Hakusensha, serialized in the magazine Hana to Yume. Released in North America by Yen Press. Translated by Sheldon Drzka.

Fruits Basket is, in large part, about a family and its cycles of abuse, and how it makes everyone suffer and endure. That’s why it’s so nice to see, in this omnibus, that there are at least one or two of the main characters whose families are not torn apart by physical abuse, hatred, neglect, suicide, or death. Hanajima during her childhood is, unlike what I talked about with Hiro last time, going through something that the reader is not going to understand, and she really needs to have someone that’s in her corner besides her little brother. I love the fact that immediately after Hana decides to be friends with Tohru and Uo, despite the fact that she may hurt them, she gains control over her powers, as if a switch is flipped. And then there’s Hiro’s mother, who is not only the one Sohma who unreservedly loves her child, but is also pregnant again, which makes everyone happy because the kid can’t be cursed, as all the Zodiac exist already. (More on this later.)


There’s actually quite a lot of setup for future plots and pairings here, as clearly Takaya has been told that this is a big enough hit that she can take as much time as she wants. (Ironically, this is also where she hurt her hand, so a long hiatus came between the last volume and this one. The art style will eventually be greatly affected by this, but not just yet.) We meet another Sohma, but not via Tohru and her all-loving heart – this time it’s Uotani, who runs into a handsome yet absentminded young man in her part-time job and seems to fall for him immediately. (The fact that she says he reminds her of Tohru does not help Furuba’s yuri fans at all.) But Kureno seems to be more attached to Akito than the other Sohmas are, and therefore nothing really happens with it.

And then there’s Mayu, who we’ve met as the teacher of Tohru’s class, and were also told was close friends with Kana, Hatori’s lost love. Here we learn that she was in love with Hatori herself, but was so determined not to get in the way that she ended up dating Shigure, even though they’re clearly toxic for each other. (I suspect Shigure enjoyed this more… he seems to love toxic relationships.) Hatori is the stoic type who’s unable to grieve, and so Mayu is the one that grieves for him, for the life that he was never able to live. And Shigure is the manipulator who enjoys both messing with people for the lulz and also giving hem a push whether they want it or not. It’s quite interesting that this arc ends with a flashforward that shows Hatori and Mayu, many years later, together – things will change soon.

There is, of course, drama here as well, most of it stemming from the trip to the beachhouse the Sohmas take during their vacation. (We do meet Kyo’s father, and it is important to Kyo’s character, but he’s so unpleasant and awful I’d rather just not talk about him.) Hiro continues to lash out at things he finds annoying, and Tohru, who is effortlessly close to Kisa in a way he can’t seem to manage, is the biggest thing. It’s quite telling that Hiro is upset at Tohru’s obsession with her late mother – he’s the only one in the entire group who’s always had a warm and loving mother, and so he can’t possibly understand why she would be like this. Kyo, whose mother, it is heavily hinted, killed herself, gets Tohru far better, and immediately figures out that a) Tohru isn’t her usual self, and b) it’s probably because Hiro was rude. He’s maturing rapidly.

The book ends on an ominous note: Akito has followed the Sohmas and is at a neighboring beachhouse, and they all have to go visit – bar Tohru, who is thankfully not invited, and Kyo, who’s always excluded. Kisa being thankful Tohru won’t be there as she worries that Akito will abuse her is one of the saddest moments in the entire book, and will carry over directly into the next omnibus, where Akito decides to pay Tohru a visit after all. Again, if you haven’t read Furuba before, do so, and if you have, these omnibuses are a good opportunity for a reread.

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