A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
The show intends to entertain, but it also exposes kids to some concepts of the Chinese Zodiac and related legends.
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.
Violence & Scariness
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.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Feelings develop between two main characters, but the physical contact is kept to a minimum.
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Occasionally "hell," "suck," "shut up," and name-calling like "stupid."
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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.
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.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.