Saturday, February 18, 2023

Fruits Basket Another volume 4 (manga review)

A young teen boy in a black suite with shaggy hair stares out at the reader
    If you're reading "Fruits Basket Another", then you love Natsuki Takaya and her series "Fruits Basket." So do you really need a critical review of volume 4, the final volume? Probably not. So don't expect me to get all analytical here. I just don't want to be that person in regards to this series.
    In this volume, we get a long, single, final chapter to the "Another" series, we also get the six part "Three Musketeers Arc" and some warm fuzzies at the end with the original series.
    The final chapter, just like the prior three volumes, goes by at a frenetic pace, without necessarily a clear goal or arc in mind. In fact, from the first volume to this one, there's quite the shift in which characters are the focus (and honestly, I had trouble remember who was who after such a long publishing delay between volumes). Is that a criticism? No. If this was a "formal" series I'd be tempted to dig into it's pacing, organization, and narrative structure. But I continue to view this as being more akin to fan-service to those, like myself, who love the original "Fruits Basket." So no matter how it's presented, I love living in their world and meeting their children.
    What I do particularly like about this volume, and actually wish was made into a full series in it's own right, is Shiki's relationship with his mother. For those who haven't seen the original series, I won't spoil who his mother is. But this chapter offers a fascinating glimpse into the fallout that character experienced after the original series. And I thought, as with all that Takaya-sensei does, it is remarkably kind and sensitive even to a character that could be very hard to sympathize with. 
    I did read somewhere that this final chapter, with it's focus on Shiki, was actually a "one-shot" and not necessarily part of the prior three volumes, which may account of the shift in narrative perspective. Either way, I would have wanted much more time with him, just like I would have wanted much more time with Sawa (the primary lead in the first three volumes - although they're frenetic with focus as well). But I'll take anything that Takaya-sensei wants to give us. I love her art, I love the feeling, and if nothing else, this was some relatively light, hopeful fun with that bit of bittersweetness that is so strong in her works.


Please legitimately purchase or borrow manga and anime. Never read scanlations or watch fansubs. Those rob the creators of the income they need to survive and reduce the chance of manga and anime being legitimately released in English.

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