Fruits Basket 18 by Natsuki Takaya: A

From the back cover:
As rumors swirl about Machi trying to kill her little brother, Kakeru figures that the only person who can get the truth out of her is Yuki. But when the two of them visit her, they learn a shocking secret. Later, Motoko wants to tell Yuki her feelings before she graduates and leaves the school—and him—forever. But will their parting be such sweet sorrow?

If Shigure was the stand-out character in volume 17, this time it was Hatsuharu.

The first few chapters were good—we got more background on Machi and the chapter featuring Motoko was actually far better than I’d anticipated. It dealt with the bittersweet feelings of graduation in a general sort of way, and I really liked it. I also discovered, courtesy of a flashback to the previous occasion when Motoko spoke of her feelings to Yuki, that while I used to think I preferred Takaya’s old drawing style to the current designs, that’s no longer the case. The old style looked really weird to me.

Things got even better in the second half of the volume. After learning from Hiro some of the things Rin had suffered due to her relationship with him, and hearing from Yuki that no one had seen Rin in a while, Haru went to confront Akito about what had happened to her. A riveting and thoroughly awesome confrontation ensued. If there were any character who would dare to get physical with Akito in their rage, it would be Haru.

It turned out that Rin, having seen Tohru upset by Kureno’s words, had followed him to the main house, been manipulated by Akito’s nutty mom into attempting to steal one of Akito’s possessions, and been caught in the act. She’d been kept in the isolated room designated for the one possessed by the spirit of the cat and only discovered when Kureno spotted food being delivered there.

This, of course, brought to everyone’s mind what’s due to happen to Kyo once he graduates (see, the chapter with Motoko really did have some thematic bearing on the series). Tohru is worried he seems to have accepted his fate and the volume ended with her silently pleading with him not to go.

So, lots of plot progress, lots of sadness, lots of greatness. I’ve enjoyed reading these volumes close together. Volume 19 is due in several weeks, but after that, it will be a torturously long wait.

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  1. I really liked the confrontation between Akito and Haru, too. This series has to work very hard to impress me, but that did the trick. I was extremely unsettled by the Rin abuse, though. I guess it didn’t really click with me what the isolated room was until I read through those parts.

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