Fruits Basket Another Vol. 1 by Natsuki Takaya

My Rating: 3.5 stars

This is the second time I’ve given out half stars on here. I usually just round up or down depending on the book, but I had a lot of conflicting feelings about Fruits Basket Another. A little background is needed to understand my feelings; Fruits Basket has been my favorite manga since I started reading it in middle school. The series was still being released at that point. I remember squealing in delight with my friends when a new volume came out. So in many ways, picking up the first volume of Fruits Basket Another felt like coming home. I had so much fun being back in this world, and it was so exciting to see appearances from minor characters in the original series. One of my favorite things about the first series is it’s ability to make me die laughing one moment and sob uncontrollably the next. The comedy remains intact in the new series; I laughed out loud multiple times. And I’m sure Takaya will break my heart once again (or more than once) in later volumes.

My biggest problem is that the second generation is essentially carbon copies of the original characters. Hajime, Kyo and Tohru’s son, looks and acts exactly like Kyo in the later volumes of the original series. Sawa is basically just Tohru with different family trauma and a less positive attitude. The only one with a slightly more distinct personality and appearance is Yuki and Machi’s son, Mutsuki. He definitely resembles Yuki, but he has a slightly different hair style so I didn’t feel like I was looking at the same character. And while he’s inherited some traits and habits from his parents (the sea of decay makes an appearance), he also has a bit of Ayame in him, which was fun. Ultimately, having the same characters rehashed was disappointing to me. If I wanted the same characters, I’d go reread the original. Hopefully the characters will get their own, more distinct personalities in the rest of the volumes.

I also spent the majority of the book confused. Sawa has just started school and doesn’t know anyone, yet somehow all the Sohmas seem to know her. It’s obviously a plot point; I think it’s possible her memories were erased. But it still makes it confusing to read. It also resulted in the pace feeling off. Since they all seem to know Sawa, they just act like they’re friends immediately and drag her along for the ride. While things moved quickly in the original, there was a reason for it; Tohru moved into the Sohma house because her tent was destroyed in a mudslide. There is no equivalent to that here. They meet Sawa, force her onto the student council, and are suddenly bringing her home for dinner. It just felt too fast and left my head spinning.

Overall, Fruits Basket Another is not nearly as good as the original, but I still ordered the other two volumes. While I was disappointed due to my high expectations, being back in the Fruits Basket world made me happy and I want to see how things play out.

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