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"Fruits Basket (Vol. 2)" Mixes Into a Wonderful Smoothie

Fruits Basket Volume 1 (previous review) was a great DVD: Six episodes of a terrific story packaged with good extras. Does Volume 2 keep it up?

Oh yeah. In fact, this one may be even better.

The background: After her mother died, Tohru Honda ended up living with the Sohmas. (Kyo’s the brash one, Yuki’s the Prince, and Shigure’s the slacker writer.) The twist: When hugged by a member of the opposite gender, a Sohma will turn into one of the twelve animals of the Chinese Zodiac.

As with the last volume, you get six episodes (7-12) on the new DVD. That’s a surprising number, considering that FUNimation’s discs typically will only include three. With these episodes, you’re getting into the darker part of the series. Sure, it’s still a comedy, but when a character’s nearly blinded, you can tell this series won’t be completely lighthearted. And with a new batch of episodes we also get new characters: Momiji, a boy with an apparent crush on Tohru; Hatori, the doctor of the family; and Hatsuharu, a fighter testing his skills against Kyo. Episodes go from the standard issue Hot Springs Episode (a feature of any animé) and the School Festival Episode (complete with cross-dressing Yuki) to some drama and darkness involving Hatori. There’s not a stinker in the bunch.

Sound and video are excellent. Extras? Hoo boy: You get two lengthy interviews (one from the director at a animé con and the other featuring Tohru’s Japanese actress interviewing Yuki’s Japanese actress). Both interviews are solidly informative (although the interview with the actresses is the more interesting of the two), and it is interesting to hear about the production process from the slightly different perspectives of an actress and a director. There’s also a video of all the eye-catches, with subtitles and Tohru’s Japanese VA explaining the characters in the clips. Extras also include character bios and trailers. In all, FUNimation definitely went the extra mile in both length and quality of the features.

If you enjoyed the first Fruits Basket you should definitely pick this one up as well. It is easily one of FUNimation’s best releases.

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