Overall Rating: A to the cute power
Synopsis: Fruits Basket is a shōjo manga series created by Natsuki Takaya that follows the life of Tohru Honda. When the series begins, Tohru is living in a tent in the woods after being recently orphaned when her mother died in a car accident. Somehow, Tohru is able to remain optimistic despite all the shit she has had to go through.
While wandering through the forest she's living in, she runs across the house of the Sohma family. As it happens, Tohru goes to school with Yuki Sohma, who is known as the Prince, because of how fucking hot he is. Yuki and his cousin Shigure take pity on Tohru and invite her to live with them in exchange for doing the cleaning and cooking for them. Soon, Tohru learns that the Sohmas are hiding a terrible secret...they turn into cute animal versions of the zodiac if they are hugged by a member of the opposite sex that isn't also a Sohma. Things just get crazier when she meets more of the family.
Fruits Basket is the best kind of romance series, the kind with lots of crushes, but nothing overt, and interesting relationships (not necessarily the romantic kind). Take, for instance, when Kyo Sohma shows up. As I mentioned in the summary, the Sohmas all turn into cute versions of the zodiac when hugged by a member of the opposite sex. Yuki is the rat, Shigure is the dog, and Kyo is the cat. You may be thinking that there is no cat in the zodiac, and you would be right. However, there is a legend that says the cat would have would have been in the zodiac, if it had not been tricked by the rat into missing the induction feast. As a result, Kyo hates Yuki, and constantly tries to fight him. Unfortunately, for Kyo, he can't even land a decent hit on Yuki, let alone beat him up.
It's easy to love this series. The back story on the various members of the Sohma family is interesting (why does Kyo hate Yuki so much?) and trying to figure out which member of the zodiac new characters are is lots of fun (I love the Dragon's zodiac form). If you're looking for something light and fun to read, Fruits Basket is a good choice. Beware though, the series is 23 volumes long!