Fruits Basket follows the life of the student Tohru Honda, who was recently orphaned when her mother, Kyoko Honda, died in a car accident. After that, Tohru lived with her grandfather, but when remodeling is needed on the house, Tohru resorts to living in a tent and holds down a job to support herself. Despite suffering many hardships, Tohru remains optimistic.
One day, Tohru comes upon a house in the forest that she is temporarily living in which is the home of Shigure Sohma and fellow classmate Yuki Sohma, of the Sohma family. When the Sohmas discover that Tohru is living in a tent, they are quite surprised by her inner strength.
The entire area is Sohma property, and Tohru pleads to live upon the property in her quaint tent (affectionately dubbed “her castle”). Feeling sorry for her, and desperate to end their days of filthy living conditions, the Sohmas offer her their spare room in exchange for cooking and housework. When her tent is buried that night in a landslide, burying her mother’s picture and school clothes, she has no option but to accept.
Soon after she moves in, Kyo Sohma comes to challenge Yuki.Tohru soon discovers the Sohma family’s secret, and the reason why Yuki is so private and secretive at school: thirteen members of the family are possessed by the 12 animal spirits of the Chinese Zodiac (“Jyūnishi” in Japanese) and the spirit of the cat who was left out of the Zodiac according to legend. They transform into animals when hugged by the opposite gender, when they are under a great amount of stress, or weak in any way (such as being sick). When she promises to keep their secret, the Sohmas allow Tohru to keep her memories rather than hypnotically erasing them, a fate that had previously befallen anyone not on the “Inside” of the Sohma family who had discovered the secret.
The story follows the lives of Tohru and the Sohma family, as they deal with each other and a society where neither quite fits in, as well as the feared Akito Sohma, head of the Sohma family. Soon, after living with the Sohma family she began to like, then love all of the Sohmas.