Fruits Basket

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Furuba Radio Drama, March 2011 and continuing
The website to this radio drama (, gives a good summary of the basic scenario. Ir is the story of a young woman, Tohru Honda (Heather McDonald), who decides to live in a tent after her mother passes away. However she discovers to her cost that the woods belong to the rich and influential Sohoma family. The three young men living there - Kyo (Phil Burgraff), Yuki (Evan Bremer), and Shigura (Jesse Froia)  take Tohra in after her tent is buried after a landslide; she soon discovers that there's something strange about them.  They have been cursed for hundreds of years, and are now possessed by spirits from the Chinese zodiac. In certain circumstances they transform into animals. Tohru agrees to keep the secret, but discovers that life with the family is no bed of roses ...

First and foremost this is a serial about transformation; not only involving the Sohoma family, but Tohru herself. In the pilot episode, she comes across as immature, perhaps tied too closely to her mother's apron-strings, but once she is cast out into the wilderness she had to acquire maturity rapidly. The woods themselves symbolize the unknown; through her various adventures therein, Tohru transforms herself from an adolescent into a self-possessed young woman. She comes of age, so to speak.

Fruits Basket uses the fairytale format to make some sharp observations on gender. Tohru has been brought up to be a pliant person, willingly agreeing to conform to what her world expects from her. However her experiences with the Sohoma family teach her a lot about looking after herself, and resisting the boys' attempts to dominate her. They might possess the kind of transformative capacities that are beyond her; but this does not give them licence to treat her as a plaything. They have to learn that she shares their capacity for self-determination.

Structured as a series of episodes lasting twenty or so minutes each, Fruits Basket is a compelling drama, ably performed by a predominantly youthful cast. Ably adapted from the Japanese shojo manga series by Jesu Otaku (who also directed), I recommend the drama as being well worth a listen.