Fruits Basket is a Japanese animated film about the Soma family. The family is possessed by the animals of the Chinese Zodiac. All family members are controlled by the head of the family which is possessed by the spirit of the God in charge of all zodiac spirits. The film is a story of how each member lives burdened by the curse especially after they meet a regular girl outside of the family, Tohru Honda, who has the potential to change the fate of the curse.
The large Soma family live in an estate that embodies the Feng Shui Layout within the influences of a Beijing courtyard. The Soma family estate is a closed off courtyard from the public with one central opening. There are 150 family members classified as outside and inside. This represents the Chinese symbolism of inside versus outside mentioned in the "Feng-Shui" Models Structured Traditional Beijing Courtyard Houses reading. Fifty members are classified as inside, live deep within the estate, and hold a higher position in the family. This is an important symbol in the film as there is a constant struggle of dominance and social control between the family members and the family head. I can use this complex symbolism in my class when we go over dominance hierarchies within animal groups and how complex different groups can be. I can show students the intentional layout of a Chinese courtyard that represents the hierarchy system from positioning of the house to the type of tile within the house.