Since its initial release in 2001, Fruits Basket has cemented itself as one of the most popular titles in the shoujo anime genre. The recent 2019 remake of Fruits Basket has only served to provide further proof that the story of Tohru Honda and the Sohma family is a timeless tale of love and friendship.
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Fruits Basket’s themes of spirits, curses, love, and friendship are popular tropes in other anime, as well. While some series attempt to subvert these tropes and play up the comedic aspects of their stories, others take a more serious approach and attempt to tell stories full of thoughtful characters and intense drama. Whichever method is the case, there are a number of excellent anime series like Fruits Basket that fans of the show could also grow to love.
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Updated on April 17th, 2022, by Tanner Fox: While popular shonen series such as My Hero Academia, Dragon Ball, and Naruto likely spring to mind as archetypal examples of anime, Shoujo series like Fruits Baskets play an important role in the medium. Often featuring intricately-developed characters and tense romantic plots and themes, they provide a crucial contrast to the high-octane battles and over-the-top action scenes of some of anime’s most notable names. With over 60 episodes in its latest incarnation and just over 20 in its former, Fruits Basket is relatively lengthy, though fans will doubtlessly be left wanting more after binging the series.
Natsume’s Book of Friends (2008 – 2017)
Stream On Funimation
A finalist for the first Manga Taisho award in 2008, Natsume’s Book of Friends was later adapted into an anime that spanned six seasons and several feature films. The story is centered around Natsume, an orphaned teenage boy who has the ability to see yokai or spirits. He inherits an object called the Book of Friends from his grandmother which allows him to control spirits whose names are written in the book.
However, rather than use the book to control spirits, Natsume chooses to release spirits instead and even forms a close bond with a precocious spirit called Madara. The overall effect is a story brimming with optimism and full of beautiful imagery.
Skip Beat! (2008 – 2009)
Stream On VRV
Kyoko, a young girl, spends much of her life looking after her childhood friend Shotaro. When he absconds to Tokyo to pursue his dreams of becoming a star, she follows him, but, once he beings to attain fame, he reveals that he had no feelings for Kyoko and essentially thought of her as a live-in maid.
Heartbroken and betrayed, Kyoko then sets out to become a bigger star than Shotaro in an adorable tale of heartbreak and triumph. While it’s not quite as memorable as Fruits Baskets, Skip Beat! seems to hit many of the same notes as the famous Shoujo series.
Stream On CrunchyRoll
Boasting a unique storyline and magnificent visuals, Orange has established itself as one of the most intriguing and emotional anime series of the past decade. One day, Naho Takamiya begins to receive letters sent from herself 10 years in the future. The letters instruct her to somehow avoid making the biggest mistake of her life and that the mistake has to do with a new transfer student, Kakeru Naruse.
What follows is a slowly unfolding but thoughtful story that is sure to require viewers to have more than a few tissues readily at hand. Orange serves as an example that it’s possible to tell an old story in new and interesting ways.
Boarding School Juliet (2018)
Stream On Amazon Prime
The Dahlia Academy Boarding School hosts students from two rival nations. Segregated into separate dorms and collectively known as the Black Dogs and the White Cats, the two factions are always at each others’ throats, but the leaders of the two dormitories, Romio Inuzuka and Juliet Persia, are secretly in love with each other, though they must keep their romance hidden.
A very, very loose adaptation of the famous Shakespeare play Romeo and Juliet, Boarding School Juliet combines cutesy Shojou tropes with hilariously over-the-top action sequences to create something that, while silly, is undeniably unique.
My Love Story!! (2015)
Stream On Hulu
Fruits Basket is not only full of touching moments, but it also includes tons of laughs, and the same is true for My Love Story!!. Takeo Goda is a hulking giant of a high schooler who desperately wants to find true love, but every girl he likes falls for his handsome best friend, Makoto Sunakawa.
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One day, Takeo saves Rinko Yamata, a shy girl who loves to bake, and he is instantly smitten. Rinko feels the same way about Takeo, but neither of them is able to express how they feel. My Love Story!! offers a fun spin on the love triangle story with its fresh take on high school romance and goofball humor.
Fly Me To The Moon (2020 – )
Stream On CrunchyRoll
Fly Me To The Moon, also known as Tonikawa, centers on Nasa, an intelligent boy who is frequently bullied because of his odd name. He channels his frustration into his studies and eventually becomes a prodigy, but his plans for the future are changed when he’s nearly hit by a bus but is saved by a mysterious girl with whom he becomes smitten.
A romantic comedy that heavily emphasizes its adorable art style, Fly Me To The Moon is a fantastic series for those who couldn’t get enough of series like Fruits Basket.
Kamisama Kiss (2012 – 2015)
Stream On Hulu
The beginning of Kamisama Kiss starts off very similar to Fruits Basket. Like Tohru Honda, Nanami Momozono is a homeless high schooler who is kicked out of her apartment due to her father’s gambling debts. The kindhearted Nanami is invited to live at a shrine after saving an earth deity named Mikage, where she meets Mikage’s familiar, Tomoe.
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Over time, Nanami finds herself falling for Tomoe, and, despite the taboo against yokai filling in love with humans, Tomoe beings to feel the same way about Nanami. Throughout the series, Kamisama Kiss explores these themes of love and breaking barriers in a heartwarming fashion.
Kobato (2009 – 2010)
Stream On Peacock
Kobato tells the story of the incredibly sweet titular character who is tasked with filling a bottle with the tears of those with healed hearts before the end of four seasons. She’s accompanied on her quest by Ioryogi, a mystical stuffed animal who may be able to return to his true form should Kobato be successful.
Adorable and intent on pulling at the heartstrings of viewers, Kobato echoes many of the themes of drama and romance seen in Fruits Basket. It also embraces elements of folklore and mysticism unique to Japan, something in which Fruits Basket also dabbles.
Your Life In April (2014 – 2015)
Stream On HBO Max
Your Life In April is a spirited tale of how living life to the fullest is never a waste of time. Kosei Arima is a piano prodigy who loses his ability to hear himself play the piano after his mother dies suddenly. Years later, he meets a young violin player, Kaori Miyazono, whose free-spirited nature entices him back to the world of music.
Kaori’s and Kosei’s relationship blossoms as does their music as they grow closer to each other. The series features one of the best anime soundtracks of all time—which is really saying something—as well as amazing performances and visuals.
Kakuriyo: Bed And Breakfast For Spirits (2018)
Stream On CrunchyRoll
Kakuriyo: Bed And Breakfast For Spirits hits on many of the major tropes established in Fruits Basket. Aoi Tsubaki is a college student who is able to see Ayakashi, a type of lesser yokai. One day, Aoi encounters an Ayakashi named Odanna, who ends up kidnapping her and taking her to the Hidden Realm, the world where spirits live. Odanna asks Aoi to marry him in order to pay off a debt her father owes him. Aoi manages to talk Odanna into letting her work at his inn, and the two’s relationship develops from there.
The series manages to weave together magical and romantic elements into a visually pleasing narrative that is quirky and charming.
My Little Monster (2012)
Stream On CrunchyRoll
The themes of learning how to socialize and accepting one’s true feelings are important concepts in Fruits Basket, and the same is true for My Little Monster. Shizuku Mizutani is a studious student who has little interest in anything else but her plans for the future until she meets fellow classmate Haru Yoshida.
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Shizuku is considered cold and callous, while Haru is seen as wild and violent, but the two strike up an unlikely friendship and develop feelings for each other. Together, they grow to care for each other and learn how to express themselves to their family and friends. This odd couple story manages to take familiar themes and make them feel fun and new thanks to great performances from the main characters.
Lovely Complex (2007)
Stream On CrunchyRoll
A buddy comedy that also doubles as a love story, Lovely Complex is an example of how opposites attract. Risa Koizumi is a very tall girl for her age, while her friend, Atsushi Otani, is very short for his age. The two friends are always joking around with each other, but, when they both end up developing a crush on other people, they make a pact to help each other find love.
Their endeavors fail, but they end up growing closer together, and, along the way, discover that, when it comes to true love, size doesn’t really matter after all.
Kimi Ni Todoke: From Me To You (2006 – 2017)
Stream On Hulu
Another nominee for the first Manga Taisho award as well as a winner for Best Shojo Manga at the Kodansha Manga Awards, Kimi ni Todoke is an uplifting coming of age story.
15-year-old Sawako Kuronuma is ostracized by her classmates despite being a sweet and easy-going girl. Her life changes when a popular boy, Kazehaya, starts a relationship with her and Sawako begins to make new friends. Kimi no Todoke: From Me To You, treats fans to a charming love saga about misfits that defy expectations.
Ouran High School Host Club (2006)
Stream On Netflix
A fresh take on the themes of mistaken identity and the reverse harem, Ouran High School Host Club manages to parody many of the tropes common in shoujo anime.
Haruhi Fujioka is a student at the prestigious Ouran Academy. One day, she accidentally breaks an expensive vase owned by the Host Club, and its all-male members force her to become a member of the club. After donning a male persona, Haruhi learns what it takes to be a host, and hilarity ensues. The show has been a fan favorite since its release over 15 years ago largely due to its tongue-in-cheek style and self-aware humor.
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About The Author
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Patrick Sather is a writer based in Irvine, California. A graduate of the University of Nebraska – Lincoln with Bachelor of Arts in creative writing, he strives to create engaging content for ScreenRant readers. He currently works in finance, but dreams of one day owning his own board game and escape room cafe. He splits his free time between writing about anime, working on his first novel, talking philosophy with his wife and chasing around his infant daughter.
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