Tag Archives: School Rumble

Fruits Basket: The Zodiac for Girls… and Guys

I’d seen an episode of this a while and at the time I didn’t think much of it. I thought, “Okay, this shows quite… interesting. People hug each other and turn into animals. Okay…” Little did I know I just needed to give this show a bit of a chance and it would all be good.

Fruits Basket is a show about a little orphan girl, Tohru Honda (Laura Bailey) who stumbles upon a house belonging to Yuki Sohma (Eric Vale) and his two cousins, Shigure (John Burgmeier) and Kyo (Jerry Jewell). Little does Tohru know that Yuki and the rest of the Sohma family have members who transform into the 13 animals of the Chinese Zodiac when hugged by the opposite sex or put under stress. An odd plot device, I know, but for this, it works out marvelously.

The basic plot of the show deals with Tohru living with and helping the 3 Sohmas with their daily life. She encounters several of the other Zodiac members along the way, and the end of this anime (never to be continued, it deals with only the first 8 manga) leaves us heart-wrenched and begging for more.  I won’t divulge any more than that when it comes to the plot, but it’s worth a shot for a watching.

I know what you’re thinking. At first this anime sounds a bit gay. True. It is a Shojo manga. (For my audience, a Shojo manga is an manga/anime geared towards girls 10-18.) But when I watch anime, I go in with an open and interested mind. And this one was just fine. This anime has great humor, a reserved, cute, yet melancholy feel and art style that mixes the humor and warm feelings with a bit of sadness. Not a lot happens in the way of action or violence, but it’s the characters and their stories that fuel this anime, and that always works well.

Besides this, there are some great voice actors that appear in this. The second I saw the list, I thought, “Yes. Not gonna watch this subbed.” We have Chistopher Sabat who does a hilariously good job. (I’m not gonna say who plays what, it would give away the fun of discovering which characters are what animals and such.) As I mentioned before, Eric Vale (my favorite, TRUNKS) is fantastic along with a good opposite to him, Jerry Jewell, the always pissed off character actor. One of my favorites in this anime is John Burgmeier, he was fantastic as Shigure and became my favorite character almost instantly. His voice really added a great warmness quality to the character with that bit of outlandish perversion. There’s Kent Williams, who always does a great job. (I mean come on, Eri’s Butler in School Rumble?) Aaron Dismuke also makes a great appearance in his pre-puberty days and Mike McFarland has a great episode that kept me laughing the whole time. (I’ll just say cross-dressing apologizer.)

The songs were great, the plots of every episode were endearing, and the comedy was fantastic. This glimpse into the life of animals and relationships is really a worthwhile watch. 7.5 out of 10.

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Ouran High School Host Club (Not as strange as I thought)

So recently, as I’ve been constantly doing, I watched another anime. It’s one of my girlfriend’s favorite, and I thought, hey, sure, why not? Yes, it was Ouran High School Host Club, and I was a bit confused at first. But if she hadn’t prepared me already for what was going to happen with School Rumble, I would’ve been lost beyond belief. And I wouldn’t have enjoyed it as much as I did.

So here’s the story. I feel it only holds constant for a few episodes and then the rest of the show is left to its own devices. But, I digress. Haruhi Fujioka, (Caitlin Glass) is a “commoner” student, allowed to attend Ouran Academy, a very well to do school full of the social and economic elite. Through her merit, Haruhi is allowed to attend, finds the Host Club, and embarks on an endless list of shenanigans that left me laughing with confusion. (The initial plot is that Haruhi breaks a vase that is quite expensive that the Host Club owns.)

First impressions. This show is quite homoerotic. The Hitachiin twins, (Voiced by Todd Haberkorn and Greg Ayres) Hikaru and Kaoru, give off the distinct impression of homosexual taboo incest. Played up to attract more girls, granted, but still rather hard to swallow. The comedy in this show is quite ridiculous, typical of anime, I find. (i.e. weird comic faces, strange noises, etc.) But over time, I find it to be quite funny. I always laugh when Tamaki (Vic Mignogna) mopes in a corner after facing some sort of ridicule. The comedy when it comes to Haruhi’s commoner status is hilarious, especially when the Host Club visits her at home and at the trading expo.

OH, AND DID I FORGET ONE VERY IMPORTANT THING?!?!? Haruhi, to pay back her debt to the Host Club, must dress as a boy. And although nobody else can apparently tell, she has short hair as some girls do, and is voiced by Caitlin Glass. Oh well, it’s a nice comment on the role of gender. There are a few episodes concerned with Tamaki’s and the twins’ feelings towards Haruhi,  and the discovery of Haruhi’s gender by others, but it all works out in the end. Trust me.

One thing that stands out to me about this show is the all-star American cast that voices the members of the Host Club. As I already mentioned, Caitlin Glass does a great job as Haruhi, the gender bender. Vic Mignogna, who I had the pleasure of meeting a week ago, is incredible as always as the flamboyant Tamaki. Along with the twins to round out these powerhouses, we have J. Michael Tatum as the money-crunching Kyoya, who in the end, becomes my favorite character. Honey is done fantastically by Luci Christian, a voice she also uses for Tenma from School Rumble. And last, but not least, Travis Willingham creates an amazing dynamic character with his “Hmm’s” and “Ahhh’s” and “Ahem’s” as Mori, Honey’s “protector.”

And if it wasn’t good enough, the guest appearances by voice actors like Aaron Dismuke, Christopher Sabat, (AMAZING) and Brina Palencia, it makes for an episode by episode guest star that is hard to top for any show. Yes, I quite enjoy voice actors and love following their bodies of work.

The humor’s great, the voice acting is superb, and the guys are metrosexual. What more could you ask for from an anime? Definitely 8 out of 10.