The title comes from an instance in the story when the main character Tohru Honda tells about a time when she was sort of a misfit and her classmates give her the name of “onigirii” which means rice ball (see image on left). Tohru likes rice balls; however, since "onigirii" is not a fruit, she is left sitting while the other "fruits" play the game. The game is mentioned again later in the story ... and to prove that Tohru has found her place with the Sohmas she is called on to play with the others.
How weird would it be if after some life changing events you found yourself living with the most popular boy in high school and his cousins? What would you do if you found out he was cursed and turned into a cat when hugged by a girl? Tohru Honda is faced with that question after she accidentally discovers the Sohma family secret.
After her mother dies, Tohru needs to find someplace to live. She is the type of person that puts others before herself. Rather than be a burden to one of her friends while her grandfather's house is being remodeled, she chooses to live in a tent in the forest. As the Fruits Basket anime story continues, Yuki Sohma and his cousin Shigure quickly discover Tohru living on their family's land. After hearing her story the boys insist she live with them rather than in the dangerous forest. Like many single guys Yuki and Shigure aren't very good at keeping house. To earn her keep, Tohru insists that she be allowed to clean and cook for them which they happily accept.
What a mixed Fruits Basket anime this is turning out to be!
Because of her positive attitude, Tohru quickly endears herself to most of the Sohma family. The Fruits Basket anime series follows Tohru as she works to finish high school, learns more about the Sohma family members, their curse and their ties to the Chinese Zodiac while trying to discover a way to break the curse. (Except for the curse, this isn't too unlike everyday life in a buzzing kids world, is it?)
The Fruits Basket anime (Japanese animation) and manga (Japanese comics and print cartoons) have differing story lines because the anime ends before the manga does, causing an incomplete ending to be forced into the last episode of the anime. The anime is a good variation of the manga but to know how it truly ends, you'll have to explore the manga which can be challenging as Japanese books read differently than those in English.