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Let's Stay Together. . . forever. . .

After the death of her widowed mother, the highschool student Tohru Honda has been secretly living on her own in a tent, since her paternal grandfather's home is under repairs and the rest of her family either is out of the question (her mom's) or mistreats her (her dad's, save for the grandpa). Her life changes forever when she stumbles upon the secret of the rich and powerful Sohma family, whose land she has been living on. They are afflicted by a Hereditary Curse that changes some members of the family into animals of the Eastern Zodiac when either they are under absolutely unbereble stress or they are hugged by someone of the opposite sex that is not also a Zodiac member.

Now living with three members of the Sohma clan (her classmate and friend Yuki, Yuki's cousin Kyo who's just moved in, and their older cousin plus guardian Shigure) and working as her housekeeper in exchange for it, every day is an adventure for sweet Tohru, as she gets to know all of the very different family members better, in both common and bizarre situations. But the Sohma family curse is certainly no laughing matter... it also holds horrible cruelty and heartbreak, due to how it affects the clan's relationships between themselves and the rest of the world. Despite this, the members of the Sohma family find a new peace thanks to the presence of Tohru, which leads her to also make discoveries about herself. . . All of this eventually leads her and her newfound Sohma friends to start defying the curse itself and especially the cruel leader of the clan, the much-feared Akito Sohma, who turns out to be a very troubled and broken individual rather than a simple Card-Carrying Villain.

Written by the manga author Natsuki Takaya (real name: Nana Hatake), Fruits Basket (also known as Furuba) ran in Hakusensha's Hana to Yume shoujo magazine from 1998 to 2006. Hailed as one of the best shojo series out there, during its five years in-print in the USA (2004-2009) it was the best-selling shojo manga series in America, and often the second best-selling manga series in the US period, beat only by a certain ninja.

Also see this page for tropes that can be applied directly to the characters.

An animated version was aired in 2001, and it had 26 episodes. A new anime was announced in 2018, and its first season and its 25 episodes ran from April to September 2019; the second season, which also had 25 episodes went from April to September 2020, and the third and last one (Fruits Basket: The Final) ran from April to July 2021. There's also another anime on the work for 2022, said to cover things that were taken out from the second series (specifically, the relationship between Tohru's parents Katsuya and Kyouko); a stage play is also in the works,

There is also a sequel, Fruits Basket Another, which takes place around 20 years after everything and features a girl named Sawa Mitoma and the children of some of the FB characters (plus sidestories written after the end of the proper story). It ran through 2015 (both online and in paper) and had three volumes (and will have some additional chapters).

Tropes used in Fruits Basket include:

  • Abusive Parents: Be thankful you weren't raised in this series.
  • Adaptation Dye Job: In the first anime Tohru's eyes are changed from brown to blue and Kyo's bracelet is no longer red and white (which changes its origins). There are other hair and eye variations too, however Tohru's the most prominent.
    • Kazuma Sohma, aka Shishou, has his hair changed from brown to silver.
    • In the 2019 anime, Tohru's eyes and Kazuma's hair are back to brown.
  • All-Loving Hero: Tohru, Tohru, HOLY SHIT TOHRU. She's a bit more of a Broken Messiah in the manga and second anime, though.
  • Always Camp: Ayame Sohma
  • Animorphism: There is one person corresponding to each animal in the Eastern Zodiac, as well as a cat. Hair color and personality appear to be linked to the animal spirit the person possesses, which causes problems for the people cursed by animals with exotic coloring.
    • Hilariously lampshaded with Hatsuharu (the cow): To prove to the overeager student council's president Takei that his hair is naturally white with black roots, he drags him into the boys' bathroom and shows him his pubic hair. Of course, when Tohru asks Hatsuharu how he did it, and due to the fact that Haru is in 'black' mode and isn't really thinking straight, things end with a double Megaton Punch.
  • Babies Ever After: The epilogue shows us Tohru and Kyo's second son and his wife... plus their daughter.
  • The Beast Master: The Zodiac members do have the ability to attract and (sometimes) control whatever animal they are possessed by. However, only Yuki is seen actually utilizing the latter ability in the early chapters, asking the local rats to help him dig out Tohru's belongings after her tent is buried in the aftermath of a landslide.
    • Kyo is regularly mocked by people who don't know his secret, who suggest that he should become a "Cat Trainer" given how cats are attracted to him.
  • The Beautiful Elite: Practically everyone, but especially the Sohmas.
  • Berserk Button: When Kyo admits he wish he were more like Yuki, Yuki flips out.
  • Big Bad: Akito is directly responsible for a good portion of the problems several of the Sohmas dealt with. . .
  • Bigger Bad: At the same time, Akito's evil mother Ren is the one to blame for Akito's behavior and beliefs.
  • Big Screwed-Up Family: Where to begin?
  • Bishie Sparkle: With an entire cast of Bishonen, this naturally happens a lot, but most notably during Tohru's daydream of "if Yuki and Kyo got along".
  • Blank White Eyes: Used to great effect throughout the series, especially by mild-mannered characters shocked with the insanity around them.
  • Boyfriend Bluff: Kyo pulls a non-verbal version of this to protect Tohru from some guys that want to take advantage of her.
  • Bratty Half-Pint: Hiro Sohma, especially early on
  • Break Up Demand: Akito is fond of this. Akito doesn't so much demand break ups verbally so much as does something to one half of the relationship that leads the other half to break the relationship off. The worst example would probably have to be between Hatori and Kana. Akito doesn't simply tell Hatori and his fiancée they aren't allowed to wed. No, Akito flies into a rage, grabs Kana By the Hair (in the 2019 anime), smashes a vase into Hatori's eye (2001 anime) or puhses him into a mirror (manga and 2019 anime), and tells Kana that Hatori's nearly blind because of her, leading Kana into a severe depression that then led Hatori to erase her memories of their entire relationship.
  • Brooding Boy, Gentle Girl: Kyo and Tohru fit this to a T. To a lesser extent, Hiro and Kisa as well.
  • Broken Bird: Isuzu/Rin Sohma. And Akito.
  • Bug Buzz: Ah, the perfect summer sound!
  • But Not Too Foreign: Momiji is half-German and speaks German fluently from time to time in the manga.
  • Cast Full of Pretty Boys: Justified and lampshaded as the Sohma being The Beautiful Elite, but in fact it goes way further than just them.
  • Censor Steam: When the Sohmas turn back from animals into (completely naked) humans, the transformation is accompanied by smoke clouds that handily obscure almost everything but the character's face.
  • Cerebus Syndrome: Although the general message of the first anime is one of The Power of Friendship and The Power of Love, the buried angst from the Dysfunction Junction becomes dominating in the later manga volumes and in the second and third seasons of the second anime.
  • The Chessmaster: Ren Sohma tries to be this against her much abused child, Akito. She's not.
  • Childhood Marriage Promise: Subversion: Kyo's promise to Kagura was extracted by her threatening him with a knife (manga and second anime) or a large rock (first anime).
  • The Clan: Well, the Sohmas.
  • Cleaning Up Romantic Loose Ends: In the manga and second anime, most obviously with Yuki.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Kagura Sohma is a genuinely nice girl, but around Kyo she tends to switch into berserker mode, leaving the object of her 'affection' a crumpled heap on the ground before she knows it. ("My love! Who did this to you??") Kyo is rightly terrified when she first appears.
    • The Prince Yuki Fan Club is the definition of this trope although their leader, Motoko, later realizes she's being selfish about what Yuki wants after an attempt to confront Hanajima backfires and Hana questions them about being too pushy and forceful towards Yuki. She then speaks to Yuki and gets over him.
    • Akito is an enormous one. She has her reasons and eventually gets over it.
    • Her mother is even worse, since her jealousy is geared towrds her child nd it basically ruins said child's life and everyone else's until Tohru arrives.
  • Color Failure: Usually Kyo after Kagura visits.
  • Covered in Mud: At one point, Tohru's uniform is dirty from the mudslide that fell on her tent. Once she gets cleaned up, one of Yuki's fan club, jealous that Tohru arrived at school with Yuki, says "That mud looked so good on you".
  • Crazy Jealous Guy: Kyou is a bit of this to Tohru, but not to the extreme.
  • Cross-Popping Veins: Parodied. After Kagura causes a big mess at Shigure's house, Kyo yells at Shigure for being too easy going about the incident. Shigure promptly reaches down and sticks a large, red set of veins to his head, declaring "Now I'm mad," and removing them a moment later. And Kyo in cat form is seen often sporting these.
  • Dark-Skinned Redhead: Kyo is darker skinned than everyone else, at any rate. Could be partially due to his curse, partly to how much time he spends outside.
  • Dead Little Sister: Several, to varying degrees. Hatsuharu and Hiro each feel that they failed to protect someone they loved (Rin for Haru; Kisa and later Rin as well for Hiro), though no one died. Averted apparently with Tohru, whose mother (and father) died, because her warm personality is the point of the series.
  • Denouement Episode: The final episode of the first anime is largely this, though the Troubled Production got in the way.
  • Don't Try This At Home: After tripping Kyo (who was running at breakneck speed), Hatsuharu then breaks the fourth wall to say that doing this could cause serious injury to anyone besides Kyo. Which prompts Kyo to yell back "Don't try it here, either! And who the hell are you talking to anyways?!"
  • Due to the Dead: Many characters assist in proper respects to Tohru's dead mother.
  • Dysfunction Junction: Everyone has a tragic past, screwed up family history, and/or other significant psychological issues. Parents in general tend to be abusive, neglectful, ashamed of their childrens' forms, or dead.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: For all the love and friendship this series has, there's also a lot of pain.
  • Eastern Zodiac: There is a character for each animal in the zodiac, plus a cat and the 'god' who arranged the legendary banquet. "God" doesn't get a transformation, however, it does have the power to manipulate the other spirits at will, forcing them to do anything it asks. They also love it unconditionally and can never blame it for anything. Unfortunately for the owner of the dragon spirit, a little wordplay means that instead of turning into an actual dragon (which would be badass), he turns into a 竜の落し子 (tatsu no otoshigo; "baby dragon"), or seahorse. However... Shigure in the manga and second series says that the curse is falling apart and even the animal forms are half-baked forms of what they used to be, and he actually says: "Look at Hatori, for example.". While the traditional legend says there was one banquet and that the rat tricked the cat into missing it, the end of the manga reveals what really happened: the animals partied with the god all the time, but when they started approaching death, the god came up with a drink of reincarnation and gave some to the unconscious and dying cat. The cat woke up after drinking it and gave a Who Wants to Live Forever? speech that pissed everyone else off. Completely Missing the Point, they felt betrayed by the cat, drank the elixir, and died at some later point.
  • Even the Guys Want Him: Yuki Sohma
  • Everyone Is Related: Both in the sense that half the cast is actually biologically related to each other (the Sohma family is HUGE), but also in that the characters all manage to have some sort of connection to each other. The friend Yuki makes at school, for example? In the manga Manabu's girlfriend's father just happened to be the driver of the car that ran into Tohru's mother. Tohru's homeroom teacher? Mayuko just happens to be a friend of Shigure, Hatori and Ayame, and is in love - and by the end of the series, most likely on her way to being an Official Couple- with Hatori. The most obvious example, however, is that Tohru just happened to have met Yuki as a child, and Kyo just happened to know her mother Kyouko.
  • Evil Matriarch: Ren Sohma, in spades.
  • Foreshadowing: In the first chapter/episode, Shigure tells Tohru that the hillsides are weak. In chapter 121 / episode nine of the second anime's third season, when Tohru is trying to befriend Akito, the cliff crumbles underneath her and she falls.
    • In chapter 19, the female student council assistants imagine Momiji in the male uniform after a growth spurt, accurately.
  • Forgotten First Meeting: Tohru met Yuki when they were younger. Yuki remembers that first meeting, but think that Tohru doesn't (in actuality, she does).
  • The First Cut Is the Deepest - The One That Got Away: Kana to Hatori.
  • Fractured Fairy Tale: When they realize how woefully miscast they are in a play of "Cinderella", they rewrite it into "Sorta Cinderella" and invert a great deal of it. It manages to be a Crowning Moment of Funny and very (unintentionally) touching at the same time.
  • Gang of Bullies: Motoko Minagawa leads a small group of girls who routinely make life a little more difficult for the main character.
  • Gender Blender Name: "Tohru" is a boy's name; several of the male Zodiac members have girl's names.
    • In the case of Tohru, it's commented on quite frequently. Her father Katsuya chose the name, because he wanted Tohru to be like when "you add something salty to something sweet to bring out the flavor".
  • Gilded Cage: The Sohma Estate is a gigantic sort-of mini city with more than one traditional Big Fancy House where the members of the clan (cursed or not) live in (including Shigure's home where he lives with Tohru, Kyo and Yuki, which is simple compared to others but still very big); it also hosts several amenities like a hot spring, a cottage, a dojo, an hospital, some businesses owned by the clan (like the lovely building where Momiji's father works), etc. However, the entrance of any outsiders is extremely limited (ie., Shigure had to ask for permission to let Tohru work and live at his house) and the leader, Akito Sohma, is the Big Bad of the series and keeps a very tight control of the clan as a whole via mood swings, Corporal Punishment, etc. And there's the "little matter" of the Cat's Room. . . 
    • Yuki is the one who has it worse, since as the Rat of the Zodiac he was stuck as God/Akito's "playmate" and "pet" for a long time, unable to fully interact with other kids his age. It's lampshaded when he's seen as a little kid hitching a ride in a limo with a teen Akito... but is staring sadly at Kyo, Haru and Kagura who are happily walking together somewhere else (probably school).
    • Later, Kureno is seen as Akito's sort-of right hand man partially to hide how his curse has been broken. Unlike Yuki, who gets to be somewhat free when he moves into Shigure's house, he stays almost all the time with Akito and thus has barely seen the outside world...
  • Godiva Hair: When Censor Steam just isn't enough... (Rin gets this due to her Rapunzel Hair.)
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Yuki's fangirls toward Tohru. And anyone else who so much as looks at Yuki.
  • Groupie Brigade: Despite not being a really "famous" person," Yuki is regularly stalked by a vast brigade of obsessive fangirls.
  • Hair Colors: Correspond to the person's animal form, and it is remarked upon as unusual... Poor Kisa.
    • Lampshaded/parodied with Haru, when the school president insists he'll never believe black and white are Haru's natural hair colors. Cue Hatsuharu dragging said president into the bathroom.
  • Harem Nanny: Shigure Sohma
  • Homage: The plot is rather reminiscent of Beauty and The Beast.
  • Hereditary Curse: A curse that changes some members of the family into animals of the Eastern Zodiac when they are hugged by someone of the opposite sex that is not also a member of the family, or they're VERY sick or VERY stressed out. And, especially in the manga and second anime, leaves them all but powerless in front of their God aka Akito.
  • Heterosexual Life Partners: The Mabudachi Trio (Shigure, Ayame, and Hatori).
  • Hime Cut: Isuzu/Rin Sohma until it gets crudely sheared by Akito in a punishable rage.
  • Hot Mom: Ren Sohma
    • When Kyoko was alive, so was she. And Tohru is nearly bowled over when she sees a picture of Momiji's German mother, while Yuki's homeroom is rather stunned when they see his mother.
  • Hot Springs Episode: Kyo, Tohru, Momiji and Yuki visit the hot springs resort owned by the Sohma family. Not as much fanservice for guys, but (considering the cast of Bishonen) a fair amount for the female audience.
  • Hotter and Sexier: In the manga, Rin was wearing a camisole when she and a topless Haru were in bed. In the second anime, both are naked.
    • In the manga, when Akito wakes up from a dream she had about Shigure, she was in a limo with Kureno. In the second anime's rendition of that scene, she and Kureno are together in bed, and while nothing is actually shown it's obvious that they had sex.
  • I Banged Your Mom: Shigure had sex with Ren, Akito's mom, to both get at Akito for sleeping with Kureno and because Ren looks like Akito would've looked like if she wasn't forcibly raised as a guy. Not Played for Laughs.
  • I Just Want to Be Loved: Mostly everybody.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: In the manga and second anime, Motoko eventually says this to Yuki.
    • This ultimately is how Tohru's friends feel about Kyo dating and "taking" Tohru from them - they don't mind, as long as he makes her happy.
  • I Know Your True Name: Megumi Hanajima, Hana's little brother, claims to be able to curse a person if he knows his name. Every member of Yuki's fanclub accidentally reveals her name to him, to their horror, except one. ("Nice to meet you, Number Two-san.")
  • Innocent Cohabitation: Tohru Honda and three male members of the Sohma family.
  • Instant Bandages: Kyo gets these after being tripped.
  • Instant Fanclub: Yuki has a small, very determined fan club. One episode is centered on their possessive, inconsiderate attitude. Though in the manga and second series, the leader (Motoko Minagawa) actually gets over it.
    • According to the first anime, almost half the entire school's female population is part of Yuki's fan club. We never see them though.
    • In the manga and second series, Kyo eventually has his own fan club.
  • Involuntary Shapeshifting: Members of the Zodiac transform when weak or hugged by the opposite sex.
  • Japanese Delinquents: Uotani and Kyoko when she was a teenager.
  • Karma Houdini: Multiple characters, and it It Makes Sense in Context. Two of the main themes in the series are forgiveness and second chances, after all.
    • Akito subverts this via showing sincere remorse for the shit she pulled on everyone, even realizing with horror that there's no way to obtain forgiveness from the most abused members of the cast, like Isuzu. Plus the Zodiacs DO leave her in one way or another, and only her Love Interest Shigure stays by her side unconditionally.
    • Ren really doesn't get punished for all of the emotional abuse and trickery she racks up over the course of the manga and second series.. But she still doesn't end up too well, given that Akito is able to move past her manipulations and thus can't be tormented by Ren anymore, leaving Ren just a crazy woman who is ignored and/or disliked by the Zodiac, a lot of the servants, and the family at large. So it could be said that her "Karma Houdini" is, actually, the WORST thing that could ever happen to her.
  • Kick the Dog: One of Akito's hobbies. And then it's revealed that he used to be the kicked puppy, which made him the person he is.
  • Kissing Cousins: A good portion of the official couples. Shigure/Akito, Haru/Rin, Hiro/Kisa, Hatori/Kana, Kagura's feelings for Kyo. Possibly justified by the size of the family, and that Hatori and Kana had never met each other before their first meeting.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia
  • Lethal Chef: Kazuma and Yuki Sohma
  • Let's Have Another Baby: Tohru's parents in their Backstory. They were never able to.
  • Longing Look: Everywhere.
  • Magic Pants: Totally averted. Retrieving clothes is the first priority of any of the family members after they turn back human.
  • May-December Romance: Kyoko/Katsuya are a minor case, with an age difference of eight years. Uotani/Kureno, with a difference of nine years. And Saki/Kazuma, with a difference of at least 20 years - though according to the sequel, Saki married a foreigner man. Takaya has said she likes May-December romances
    • Also possibly Akito/Shigure, who are between seven and nine years apart.
  • Mind Rape: Kana, thanks to Akito manipulating her after the incident with Hatori and driving her into madness, and Yuki, thanks to Akito's psychological abuse when they were kids.
    • Very ironically, Akito is a victim of Mind Rape from much earlier: it came from her mother Ren, who after years of horrendous mental and emotional abuse, drove Akito to think that the Sohmas would abandon her forever for somebody else...who turned out to be Tohru, who also was able to save Akito from herself.
    • It's implied that Tohru herself went through this as a child, when her father died and she had to listen to her relatives talk about how Kyoko was a good-for-nothing bitch who didn't properly care for Katsuya and probably was having affairs, how Tohru was probably an illegitimate child, and how "a child like that is no consolation". Ouch.
  • Morning Routine
  • Never Got to Say Goodbye: Tohru always said goodbye to her mother, except for the one day Kyoko ended up dying in a car accident since poor Tohru overslept from studying all night long. This comes up again as a lesson about no second chances near the end of the manga.
    • In the manga, there's is a flashback with Kyoko saying the same thing about Tohru's father Katsuya.
    • One of the reasons why Ren hates Akito so much is that the latter was at the side of the dying Akira and the first was NOT.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: The point of Ren's bet with Akito to not erase Tohru's memories was to allow the Zodiac to gravitate towards a stranger and away from Akito (aka "God"), proving to Akito that the bond between the Zodiac and God was false and that no one truly loved her, thereby pushing her into the Despair Event Horizon. The end result was the breaking of the Zodiac curse, Akito pulling a Heel Face Turn and Ren being left with nothing but her rage.
  • No Fourth Wall: After tripping Kyo, Hatsuharu turns to warn viewers "Don't Try This At Home". Later, Tohru comments "Somehow this has turned into a fighting anime."
  • No Sense of Direction: Hatsuharu Sohma.
  • No Sense of Humor: Hatori Sohma
  • Odd-Shaped Panel
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Shigure, though it's more like "Obfuscating Goofiness". Underneath his jokes and cheery behavior there's a frighteningly smart, vindictive manipulative young man.
  • Official Couple: Given the too-huge-to-be-listed number of these (every major character is in one, and most minor characters as well), this is pretty much the Trope Codifier. It's easier to list the exceptions: the only characters who aren't part of some sort of relationship at the end are Momiji, Kagura, Megumi Hanajima, and Kimi Toudou.
  • Only Sane Man: Hatori, but mostly with Ayame and Shigure.

 Shigure: Yup, we were inseparable! So much so that they called us the Mabudachi Trio/Three Musketeers.

Tohru: Really?

Kyo: More like the Three Idiots if you ask me.

Yuki: How did Hatori put up with you for so long?

  • Our Dragons Are Different: Rather than becoming a mythological creature, the "dragon" Hatori becomes a sea dragon.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: While not called werebeasts, each member has a single and unique alternate animal form, brought about by being hugged by non-Zodiac members of opposite sex. The animals are a cat, rat, dog, tiger, rabbit, dragon (seahorse), ox, snake, sheep, monkey, horse and rooster (sparrow).
    • Also, the person possessed by the cat will turn into a foul-smelling monster if their prayer-bead bracelet is removed.
  • Overtook the Manga: Barely averted. Due to Natsuki Takaya's hand injury necessitating a leave of absence from the series, the first anime would have done this had it continued any longer than it did. And the second anime was made several years after the manga ended.
  • Personality Powers: While more obvious for certain characters than others, their animal forms tend to reflect their personalities: Yuki (the rat) is quiet and shrewd and pretty screwed up mentally, Kyo (the cat) is impulsive and hotheaded but defrosts to a few select people, Shigure (the dog) is laidback and friendly (on the outside, in the manga and second series), etc.
  • Pimped-Out Dress: When she and Yuki visit Ayame's shop, Tohru gets dolled up in one by Mine, causing Yuki to have a "Romantic BSOD".
    • Not to mention the dress Ayame had been wearing a few minutes before.
    • Ayame's store tends to deal with these in general. The ones he provides for the girls in the cast of "Sorta Cinderella" are pretty nice as well, with Mine loving Hanajima's request for a "pure black" one.
  • Please Don't Leave Me: Akito, who's terrified of abandonment, says this after Kureno's curse breaks when both of them are teens..
    • A variant is done when Tohru dreams that she is back in her old apartment, and it is the morning that her mother left and was hit by a car. While she dreams that she is stuck in her bed, she mentally screams for her mother to not leave or else she'll die.
    • Akito also says this to Momiji when he's released from the Curse. Momiji politely refuses.
  • Plucky Girl: Tohru Honda, Kimi Todou and Kagura Sohma
  • Posthumous Character: Kyoko Honda
  • Puppy Love: Hiro and Kisa Sohma. He's about to finish elementary school, she's just entered junior high.
  • The Power of Friendship: Tohru's kindness, healing the hearts of the Zodiac members.
    • Yuki's later friendship (such as it is) with Kakeru also helps him out a good bit.
  • The Power of Love: There are about six Official Couples by the end, and everyone's lives are improved as a result.
  • Raised as the Opposite Gender: Akito in the manga and second anime. Not the first TV series since it ended before The Reveal.
  • Reincarnation: The agents of the curse, not the characters themselves.
  • Rapunzel Hair: Isuzu/Rin, Ren, and Ayame all have incredibly long hair. Hanajima and Minagawa are borderline. Isuzu loses hers during one of Akito's rages later on, and doesn't grow it back.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Kyo and Yuki, respectively.
  • Rousseau Was Right: In the end, the only real "antagonist" of the series was the misunderstanding brought on by the curse and the closed nature of the Sohma family, and even the worst individuals are revealed to be scared and lonely onside. A good example is the rivalry between Yuki and Kyo: both actually hold the other in esteem, but their jealousy and perception of the "curse" prevents them from saying so until they have no choice.
  • The Scapegoat: According to Shigure, this is why the Cat is so despised by the Zodiacs.
  • Schedule Slip: Takaya broke her left hand - her drawing hand - while working on the 8th book, forcing her to take an extended break from the series. This is one of the reasons that the first anime ended the way it did, the other reason was the Creative Differences between her and anime director Akitaroh Daichi.
  • School Idol: Yuki, complete with an insane fan club.
  • Shout-Out: Early on in the manga, Tohru refers to the massive garbage pile in the Sohma's kitchen as "the Sea of Decay".
  • Single-Target Sexuality: Run, Kyo, run! Kagura's coming!
    • Also, Shigure towards Akito.
  • Social Services Does Not Exist: Tohru is living in a tent in the woods at the beginning of the series, and the Sohma kids have all been so abused/neglected that they're barely able to socialize at school. Justified in that Tohru always and constantly makes clear she does not want to be a burden to anyone, probably including any social service that would be responsible for her (not to mention she sees it as a training for the harsh real life), so she apparently took care that Social Services never learned about her one-week-adventure with the tent. And the big messed up Sohma family are secluded and VERY rich and stick to themselves, so Social Services could hardly step in.
    • Not to mention, poor Tohru was loathed by her remaining family except for her grandfather, who can't do a lot about it since he's extremely old and sickly. When she has to live with them for a while, her aunt and cousins badmouth her and her Missing Mom every five minutes. At that rate, it was for the best for her to return to the Sohma's house.
  • Sound Effect Bleep: Hana, in the first episode/chapter.

  Hanajima: I could *beep!* her with electro-poison waves.

  • Speech Bubbles: Odd shapes and different fonts are used extensively, especially in the English edition.
  • Spit Take: Shigure pulls one off in the manga when he learns that Tohru is still stuck using her middle-school swimsuit.
    • He does it again (though right at the edge of the panel, so it's easy not to notice, and nobody calls him out on it like in the above example) when Ayame orders Tohru to immediately remove all her clothes in volume 8.
  • Split Personality: Hatsuharu Sohma's "black" side.
  • Staying with Friends: What Tohru insists she's doing until people find out otherwise.
  • Stock Shoujo Bullying Tactics: The title of the manga itself comes from a bullying-related incident that happened to Tohru, the protagonist. Fruits Basket Turnover is a child's game based on assigning fruits names to the players and calling them up by turns. Tohru was always called "onigiri" alias "rice ball", and soon she realized that since she'd never be called forth, the kids did that to bully her.
    • In highschool, Tohru is harassed by the Alpha Bitch Motoko and her Girl Posse for being close friends with the very popular Yuki Sohma, whom the girls idolize and adore... though Tohru's best friends, Arisa and Saki, do their best to protect her. The bullies go as far as rigging the cast for a School Play that Tohru and Yuki are supposed to be in, and as Tohru's friends try to undo this "damage", Hilarity Ensues.
    • Kisa Sohma is a middle schooler whose uncommon hair color upsets her classmates, who subject her to the "silencing" tactic: they refuse to speak to her, then mock her if she ever says anything. That's why she becomes a Cute Mute until Tohru reaches for her.
    • Saki used to be terrorized by bullies in elementary school (causing her to snap and use her Psychic Powers on a bully boy, almost killing him) and junior high, until Arisa and Tohru reached for her.
  • Surrogate Soliloquy: Tohru talking to a picture of her dead mother.
  • Tall, Dark and Bishoujo: Isuzu/Rin and Ren Sohma
  • Tall, Dark and Handsome: Hatori Sohma
  • The Cutie: Tohru Honda and Kisa Sohma
  • The Klutz: Tohru Honda
  • There Are No Therapists: See Dysfunction Junction, above, and the lack of almost any comforting figures (parents included).
  • There Was a Door: Some part of poor Shigure's house is nearly constantly being repaired as a result. Causes of damage usually involve Kagura or Kyo, either kicking something or being kicked into something.
    • Kagura appears to have a tendency to break her own house, given a scene where she punches a door and her mother comments "Kagura, that's the second time you've broken that door in as many months."
  • Title Drop: The title references a memory that Tohru had of a game she once played in Kindergarten called "Fruits Basket" (essentially Duck-Duck-Goose, only with fruit names). She was assigned the name of "onigiri" (rice ball) and was never called on, leaving her to conclude that "there was no room for an onigiri in a Fruits Basket".
  • Twisted Echo Cut: In the second to last chapter.
  • To Become Human: The curse greatly restricts the social freedom of the afflicted and binds them to the head of the Sohma family. Emphasized more in the events after the first anime, and later in the second one.
  • Trash of the Titans: How Shigure's house was until Tohru moved in. A throwaway gag later reveals that his bedroom remains like this.
    • Machi's apartment wasn't much better. She has a reason for it, though: she fucking loathes perfection in itself, due to her harsh upbringing where her mom pushed her to be "perfect".
  • Traumatic Haircut: Isuzu/Rin gets one after a run-in with Akito late in the story.
  • Troubled but Cute: Kyo, who starts out as a borderline Arrogant Kung Fu Guy. He has very tragic reasons, however.
  • Tsundere: Kyo is a male example.
    • Kagura is a straight Type B example.
    • Before having her mental breakdown, Akito was one. When Yuki looks back on those times, he remembers Akito yelling at him for coughing too much, then calming down and gently picking up a bowl that fell over.
  • Vile Villain, Saccharine Show: The series seems to be about the adventures and misadventures of Tohru Honda and the Sohma clan as they try to deal with the clan's Hereditary Curse. Enter the leader of the clan and God of the Zodiac, the very violent and VERY troubled Akito... and later enter Akito's abusive mother and the Bigger Bad, Ren...
  • Villainous Crossdresser: Akito in the manga and second anime, prior to her Heel Face Turn.
  • Vomit Discretion Shot: In the manga, Kyo's expulsion is discreetly Bishie Sparkle! Also Tohru, in an off-panel shot while chasing after Kyo in the cat's true form, as well as in the manga flashback when Kyoko is first revealed to be pregnant, she's leaning over the sink.
  • WTH? Casting Agency: In-universe obvious example. Playing Cinderella at the school festival? Fantastic idea! Tohru will be perfect in the role of… What do you mean, she was cast as the mean stepsister? Charming Prince Kyo has no chance of rejecting the stepsister, in this case.
    • And when the characters realize it, instead of switching a few actors, they completely warp the story so it fits the actors personality. At the end of the play, we have actually no idea what was part of the rewriting, what was the actors going Off the Rails.
  • Windows Match the Drapes: Tohru and most of the Zodiac members, in the manga and second anime, anyway.
  • Wholesome Crossdresser: Ritsu Sohma
  • Yandere: Kagura, given that she shows her love to Kyo through harassment and violence. She does realize that it's wrong, however, and stops doing so.
    • Akito. Holy SHIT, Akito. She eventually gets better, buit it takes her years and a huge effort. (Plus Tohru almost dying when she's trying to redeem her)
    • Ren is the worst one, though.
  • Yaoi Fangirl: In the manga, Hatori explains that he's seen Yuki naked because he's a doctor. One of the female students says "I'm relieved, but kind of disappointed."
  • Zettai Ryouiki: Sometimes seen on characters like Rin and Motoko.