Fruits Basket - Impermanence and Change as it applies to Relationships and Self

Title: Fruits Basket

Series Identifier: Manga, full-run volumes 1-23 (Tokyopop) or 1-12 (Yen Press).

Format: Manga. Also has 2019 anime adaptation.


  • Manga/Anime
  • Drama
  • Family drama
  • Fantasy/Supernatural
  • Romance
  • Comedy
  • Young Adult

Conversation Topic:

  • Betrayal
  • Burnout
  • Change
  • Consequences
  • Cultural representation
  • Death
  • Difficult emotions
  • Family
  • Fear
  • Feeling alone
  • Finding Oneself/Identity Development
  • Guilt
  • Honesty/Lies
  • Leadership
  • Love
  • Making new friends
  • Moral dilemma
  • Power struggle
  • Problem Solving
  • Resilience
  • Revenge
  • Standing up for others
  • Strong female role models
  • Standing up for oneself
  • Trust
  • Redemption
  • Sacrifice for others
  • Taking responsibility for one’s actions
  • Working with others

Relatable Experience:

  • Abuse
  • Acceptance
  • Blended Family
  • Breakup
  • Bullying
  • Clarity/Understanding
  • Coming of age/Getting older
  • Death
  • Depression
  • Disability
  • Fear/Anxiety
  • Fighting
  • Foster Care/Adoption
  • Making Others Worry
  • Health (Physical)
  • Loss (other than death)
  • Guilt
  • New Life Event (New Rules)
  • Single parent
  • Suicide
  • Trauma


  • Fruits Basket is a story that thematically addresses cyclical familial/institutional abuse and trauma through a broad view on resistence to impermanence, change, and balance in relationships and individual identity being the root cause behind abusive, unhealthy, and toxic situations. The series hosts a large cast of characters who all deal with their unique struggles and trauma, where most readers can find at least one character they deeply relate to. The story relays it themes through a heavily cultural lens, but is still relatable to many readers around the world. However, it may be particularly relatable to those struggling with the balance between their individual identity and a cultural emphasis on the family unit.


  • This series is one of the most deeply influential things from my young life. It has retained its learning and therapuetic power for me throughout the years. The series greatly inspired me in studying abuse, trauma, and child development, my professional career trajectory, and has helped me cope with my own experiences.

As an undergrad, I wrote a thesis on the series entitled,
The “Bond” and the “Curse”: The Duality of Identity and Illness in Natsuki Takaya’s “Fruits Basket”

This paper may act as a good primer to understand the deeper themes and pyschological and cultural relevance of the series.

Link to Content:

More in-depth exploration of themes from the series can be found here.

1 Like

Yes, Yes Absolutely this!

Here’s my two cents on how Fruits Basket was deeply influential for me growing up!

My GT Story: On Psychiatry and Anime