Fruits Basket

Common Sense Media says

Thoughtful anime has great messages for older tweens.





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 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. 

Parents say

Kids say

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?


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 Fruits Basket is a surprisingly warm-and-fuzzy addition to this genre, thanks to overwhelmingly positive themes about strong relationships built on trust and mutual respect. 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 the show's 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. 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? 

TV details

Cast:Laura Bailey, Jerry Jewell, Eric Vale
Genre:Kids' Animation
Topics:Brothers and sisters, Great girl role models, Misfits and underdogs
TV rating:TV-PG
Available on:DVD, Streaming

This review of Fruits Basket was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Teen, 14 years old Written byTorissaNikole December 23, 2014

Loved it, some may not

MESSAGE/CHARACTERS: The characters all deal with their own inner-demons, which makes for a good sense of realism. Sometimes, the way the main character responds to things feels unmotivated and unrealistic -- as if the writers were trying too hard to make her good -- VIOLENCE: The violence is at a medium frequency level, not graphic, and some of it is comical. SEX: The main character is a high-school girl who lives with three boys, one older, two her own age. One of them makes infrequent flirtatious jokes, which is looked down upon by the others. There is a developing crush from both boys on the girl (creating an infamous love-triangle), but it is resolved in the end. No nudity, sex, kissing (there may have been one or two strays that were not plot or character-relevant), or innuendo. As in most animes, the girls' clothes are ridiculously short, but you never actually see anything. SWEARING: There is an amount of swearing (limited to damn, bastard and hell) that might make some younger kids uncomfortable, but wasn't necessarily overboard. CONSUMERISM: N/A Dri/Dru/S: No references to drugs, and I don't think there were any drinking or smoking references either (there may have been one or two short scenes with a minor character smoking or drinking leisurely at a party, but I don't specifically remember any.) SPIRITUAL THEMES: [SPOILERS] The entire Sohma family are possessed by the spirits of the Chinese Zodiac. This is not depicted in a scary way, and they aren't exactly influenced by the spirits so to speak. They are really just sharing a body with it, to the point it has changed their DNA and made it so that whenever they embrace someone of the opposite gender, they transform into the animal representation of the spirit that possesses them. At the end, Kyo's true form is revealed, although it is really the true form of the spirit that possesses him. His transformation may be slightly scary for younger kids. COMMENTS: I really, really did like this show. At first, I was cautious: I always am with anime. But I feel that it was well-written and had several very funny moments that have made me eager to rewatch the show multiple times. I would totally recommend this, as long as you don't have problems with the fact she is living with two boys, the language frequency, and the fact they are all possessed by spirits.
What other families should know
Great messages
Too much swearing
Teen, 16 years old Written byNeko Miku November 7, 2014


This anime is a great starter anime (If they don't watch Pokemon). As far as swearing, h*ll is used and a character calls another one d*mn rat. ( LITTLE SPOILER He wasn't calling him rat as in a name. He turns INTO a rat) The main character lives with a bunch of boys but no nudity. Your child may not be comfortable with this. In the anime, two main characters show love for each other. I think if yor child is 11+ (maybe 10) they can watch it.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
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


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