What They Say
Find out everything you ever wanted to know about the world of Fruits Basket! Filled with character profiles, color illustrations, quizzes, stickers, behind-the-scenes with Takaya-sensei, and volume recaps through the entire 23-volume series, this collection also includes previously unpublished material.
In terms of production value, Fruits Basket Banquet is disappointing. Some may like the fact that Tokyopop produced the 205 page book in the B6 size so that it looks just like another volume of Furuba manga. However, given the content within the cover, I think they did themselves a disservice not printing the book in a larger size. Because the games and poll sections incorporate numerous excerpts from the manga, a single page of Banquet often displays several miniaturized Furuba manga pages. Unfortunately, on a B6-sized page, it is difficult to read the text or even figure out the action of these mini-pages, which detracts from the overall entertainment value.
In addition, Banquet contains a surprising amount of text, but to make all those interviews and fan comments fit, Tokyopop uses very small fonts (we’re talking three or four point font here) and rather interesting formatting. Illustration captions are often rotated 90 degrees, and strangely enough, three chunks of text are also rotated in the mangaka interview section. Considering how popular the series is, I think Tokyopop should’ve gone for a larger, more readable format even if they had to charge a higher price.
The bulk of the book is printed in black-and-white, but it does include 16 color pages on glossy stock. Several of the color illustrations appear to be color versions of splash art from the manga, but there are new illustrations in the mix. The quality of the black-and-white portion of the book is comparable to what you’d find in the manga series; in other words, the paper and binding are satisfactory, and the print runs dark in places. The trim of the pages is sloppy; the layout includes section headers, and most of these are partly cut off.
Font size and orientation aside, the text reads fine, although I found it strange that the Table of Contents (which actually isn’t very user-friendly) is located on page 12.
Fruits Basket Banquet is a book designed for fans of the Fruits Basket manga series. Except for mention in the interview sections, the book does not include any material from the Fruits Basket anime. Although it does have several pages of illustrations (some of which are in color), it’s better called a fan book than an artbook. The bulk of the book is taken up by the results of popularity polls, and most of the illustrations that aren’t clips from the manga series are fan art.
Contents of Banquet include:
Pictures of selected Furuba merchandise (marketed in Japan)
Excerpts of Furuba translations from around the world
Results of the Best Chapter, Best Couple and Combo, and Most Popular Character Contest (based upon a 2006 Internet popularity poll taken in Japan)
Furuba themed fortune-telling and a Furuba themed adventure game
Several Furuba themed quizzes
A two-part interview with Takaya-sensei
An eight page bonus character contest commentary manga
A Furuba themed glossary (please note: the entries are catalogued according to the Japanese language so nothing is in alphabetical order).
This book was originally produced for a Japanese audience. As such, all fan comments and fan art are from Japanese fans. They may or may not interest Western readers, but one thing that should pique the interest of all Furuba fans is the remarks that Takaya-sensei sprinkles throughout the book. She shares her thoughts and reflections on characters and their development as well as her experience producing this manga. In addition, you get to find out how she envisions the post-series futures of various Furuba characters.
And if you haven’t guessed by now, Banquet is full of spoilers. In fact, it goes over key points of the plot in quite a bit of detail. So if you’re new to Furuba or haven’t finished the series yet, you may want to wait before picking it up.
This book is packed with various Furuba fan material, from polls to interviews, and the character profiles are extremely detailed with plenty of (Japanese) fan commentary. Be prepared for eyestrain though, the print is excruciatingly small throughout the book.
Content Grade: A- Art Grade: N/A Packaging Grade: C Text/Translation Grade: B
Age Rating: 13+ Released By: TOKYOPOP Release Date: Apri 27th, 2010 MSRP: $14.99
In addition to being one of the manga reviewers here, I’m an aspiring writer. My short stories have been published in anthologies and Scape e-zine. I also have novel-length projects in the works. Find links to my works at my blog: sqeries.wordpress.com.