Fruits Basket TV Poster Image

Fruits Basket

Thoughtful anime has great messages for older tweens.
Popular with kids

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The show deals thoughtfully with tough issues like death, depression, and most prominently, the emotions of feeling different from your peers. The Sohma family members hide a big secret that could prove harmful in the wrong hands, but their relationship with Tohru reminds them (and viewers) of the inherent good in most people. Through the characters' evolution, viewers see strong examples of empathy, self-control, inner strength, and deep spiritualism. Occasionally teen girls are snarky with each other. 

Positive role models

A mixed bag. Some struggle to control feelings of anger and self-consciousness, and the effort makes them act out against those who love them. Others are better role models, exhibiting patience and kindness even when it's not necessarily deserved. Tohru is the best of the bunch, approaching an uncertain situation with a willingness to embrace differences and ultimately changing many hearts through her generosity. 


Verbal and physical conflict is loud and often violent with the characters hitting, punching, and kicking each other. When they're in their vengeful animal form, they use their unique qualities in spats as well.


Feelings develop between two main characters, but the physical contact is kept to a minimum. 


Occasionally "hell," "suck," "shut up," and name-calling like "stupid." 

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Fruits Basket is a heartwarming anime series with strong themes of friendship, inner strength, and spiritualism. Although it explores some pretty weighty issues like the death of a parent, suicide, and depression, its overwhelmingly positive messages point to trusting relationships as the key to happiness. There's a lot of conflict between the characters because of a family secret, and conflict often evolves into physical fighting with little result. You'll also hear some language ("hell," "suck," "shut up") and name-calling when tempers flare. Ultimately, though, this thoughtful show expertly illustrates the importance of self-acceptance and respecting differences in others. 

What's the story?

FRUITS BASKET opens to the story of recently orphaned Tohru Honda (voiced by Laura Bailey) stumbling upon the closely guarded secret of the Sohma family, whose 13 members bear a curse that can turn them into embodiments of the Chinese zodiac animals when they're stressed or if they touch a member of the opposite gender. When she promises to keep their secret, they invite her to live with them as a housekeeper, which allows her to get to know them -- and their alter egos -- better over time. She's drawn to Kyo (Jerry Jewell), a fiery teen who embodies the resentfulness of his animal form, the cat whom legend says was left off the Zodiac because of the rat's trickery. Meanwhile Yuki (Eric Vale), the rat, harbors feelings for her as well, which complicates matters in the Sohma home. Determined to help her adoptive family, Tohru sets out to break the curse that holds them hostage.

Is it any good?


This series is a surprisingly warm-and-fuzzy addition to the anime genre, thanks to overwhelmingly positive themes about strong relationships built on trust and mutual respect. Flashy, loud, and often weighted down by blatant marketing (Pokemon and Bakugan, anyone?), anime is an acquired taste, and it doesn't strike a chord with everyone. But because of Tohru's generosity and kindness, the guarded Sohmas come to appreciate long-avoided companionship in an unexpected way, which eventually proves life-saving to everyone involved.

Despite its exceptional attributes, some of Fruits Baskets' content still demands a tween's maturity, particularly in the periodic language and the often-violent feelings that surround the characters' circumstances. But if yours tune in, they'll also witness an evolving teen relationship that favors patience and devotion over physical infatuation, and several emotional journeys out of despair and loss, all tied together by a strong underlying spiritualism. 

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about coping with feelings of sadness or loss, like Tohru does in Fruits Basket. Have your kids ever dealt with issues like these? How does confiding in someone help? To whom do they go for a sympathetic ear when it's needed? 

  • Tweens: Do you feel much pressure to conform to how your peers dress or act? Are you ever self-conscious about the qualities that set you apart from them? How does it feel to be different from the pack? 

  • Conflict is a constant presence in the characters' lives. How do your kids resolve differences with siblings or friends? Is violence ever the right answer? 

  • How do the characters in Fruits Basket demonstrate empathy? Why is this an important character strength?

TV details

Premiere date:October 29, 2002
Cast:Laura Bailey, Jerry Jewell, Eric Vale
Genre:Kids' Animation
Topics:Brothers and sisters, Great girl role models, Misfits and underdogs
Character strengths:Empathy
TV rating:TV-PG
Available on:DVD, Streaming

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Adult Written byCocktailSquid October 19, 2014

This is a great starter anime

The series is all about friendship and how caring about someone can change their life dramatically. All of the characters deal with things that are traumatic in their past (like the main character losing her mother) and are uplifted by the friendships around them. There is some flirty interaction, but none of it is adult in nature. Also several characters are cursed to turn into animals when someone hugs them, and when they turn back, they are naked and have to put their clothes back on. There is no nudity, and it is always handled in a comical way that is non-threatening. It ends in a very positive way, with a great message that kids in this age range should be able to understand and appreciate.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Kid, 12 years old October 23, 2015

10+ :Depends on maturity

To be honest, this all depends on the maturity of the person watching. If you don't handle seeing fights or other mild violence or mild cursing well then I don't recommend it. Great Messages: As the story goes on, the characters learn and share many lessons about kindness and love. Great Role Models: The main character, Tohru, is the best role model. She tells the others about kindness, confidence and is also very modest. She tries her best to not be mean to people- though she goes a bit overboard while trying not to be a bother. Most of the characters have flaws(such as a bad temper or prejudice), but they apply their learnt lesson as the series progresses. Violence & Scary stuff: Two characters, Yuki and Kyo, dont get along very well and are often in fights, but it's mostly for comedy as Kyo always fails. Kyo also has a fight, though cut short, with his relative, Haru. Kyo's true form is shown at the end of the series, which would be scary to some people. Kagura often goes from being sweet to Kyo, to beating him up, but it is mostly for comedy. Sexy Stuff: There are crushes and growing romances, as well as reverse harlem (love triangles) which is solved bu the end of the series. The Sohma's under the curse are naked when they transform back to normal, but nothing is shown. Language: This mostly depends on your maturity. F*** and sh** are not heard in the show, mostly beeped out, but there is a bit of language such as ugly bastard, dirty b*tch or damn. It's mild to most people, including me, but as I said, it depends on maturity. Drinking/Drugs/Smoking: There isnt much of that in this show. I might have seen someone smoke once in a short scene but I'm not sure (I could be mixing it up with another anime). Consumerism: N/A
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Teen, 13 years old Written byAnimeReviewer June 16, 2014

Beautiful show that should be viewed

This anime will make you cry. The characters are amazing. It changed how I view the world. The only thing inappropriate is the cussing, and since kids play Call of Duty nowadays, it should be viewed by most kids.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models