Fruits Basket came out in 2001, and quickly established itself as one of the most popular shoujo anime of its era. It follows a teenage girl named Tohru Honda as she becomes involved with the enigmatic Sohma family. It turns out that each member of the family is cursed to transform into an animal from the Chinese Zodiac when embraced by a member of the opposite sex. This seems like the setup for wacky hijinks - and it can be - but the family is also suffering due to a complex history of isolation and abuse. Tohru’s role is to help heal the family’s wounds—while also getting a few of her own healed in the process.
You might be looking for other anime that capture Fruits Basket's unique combination of humor and emotional resonance, or that deal with similar plot lines and themes. In some cases, the comparison is clear cut. For example, Starry☆Sky involves a group of boys who represent a different set of Zodiac symbols. In others, it’s a little more abstract. The Ancient Magus’ Bride features a far more subdued protagonist, but also uses magical circumstances as a backdrop for larger themes of emotional healing.
Anime similar to Fruits Basket varies in themes and tone, but all of it will resonate with people who love the shoujo classic. In short, you'll find plenty of anime like Fruits Basket on the list below. If you've seen any of the series, be sure to cast a votes to fellow fans know what to check out next.
Both Fruits Basket and Kamisama Kiss are directed by Daichi Akitarou, so it's no wonder they share a heartwarming atmosphere and a few common plot points. Both feature protagonists who lose everything. Tohru's mother dies and leaves her orphaned, while Nanami Momozono's father ditches her after losing all their money. Both of them find a place where they belong in a supernatural setting. Nanami's personality is a bit more fiery than Tohru's so if you found her to be a little too sweet, Kamisama Kiss might be an improvement for you.
Because Ouran High School Host Club is a shoujo anime that came out around the same time that Fruits Basket did, the two are often compared. Ouran High School Host Club is a little more tongue-in-cheek than Fruits Basket is, but they still have plenty in common. Both involve girls who find themselves embroiled in a group of boys who have highly specific ways of interacting with the world that they have to adapt to. They even share a number of character archetypes - Momiji and Honey-senpai are almost the same person!
The Ancient Magus' Bride
The Ancient Magus' Bride takes on many of the same themes as Fruits Basket, but with better animation. Like Tohru, Chise is entering a magical world filled with people who value her more than she values herself. Like Tohru, Chise heals others, but must also use these new connections to heal herself. However, The Ancient Magus' Bride is far more focused on Chise's development than Fruits Basket is on Tohru's - Fruits Basket focuses more on the needs of the Sohma family.
There's also another important similarity: Akito Sohma of Fruits Basket and Joseph of The Anicent Magus' Bride are both villains whose actions stem from deep personal pain. In both cases, the series ends with the heroine empathizing with the villain, and dispelling some of their cruelty by hearing out what they've endured.
Kimi Ni Todoke is a love story about a girl named Sadako who is misunderstood by her classmates, but eventually gains acceptance with two close friends and a boyfriend. While Tohru never actually starts dating anyone in the anime version of the story, she is a social outcast whose few friends absolutely adore her. Both series feature a soft color pallette, and evoke a heartwarming mood.