After being found living on the Sohma family's land because she couldn't be a burden to her family, Tohru moves in with them and discovers their family secret: certain members of the family turn into a member of the Chinese Zodiac when hugged by a member of the opposite sex. These same members of the family also owe loyalty to the one who is the reincarnation of god. One of those members of the zodiac has the promise of a cage for his future. So, Tohru vows to help them all find a way to break the curse and have the promise of a real future, and she does this the only way she knows how, by being a friend.
Tohru: Tohru is not the brightest girl, but she's kind-hearted and likeable. Its almost amazing how she was able to help the Sohma family without doing much more than being a friend. No matter how bad things seemed, Tohru never let herself be pushed away.
Kyo: An angry soul because of how poorly he's been treated by the Sohma family, but Tohru helps him to relate to others and brings out the best in him.
Yuki: A nice guy who never allowed himself to get close to others due to his family secret, begins to let others in partly due to Tohru and partly do to the members of the student council.
This is a cute story that touches on (but never dwells to long) in the darker aspects of the family's drama. You become invests in the characters and hope that not only does the curse break, but they they are able to be happy. A rare store where there is no true villain, just people who are stuck in the role fate put them in and unable to break free. A satisfying ending that takes you into the future, though I, personally, wish it had included more about other characters.
There is no was that I can complain about Fruits Basket art. While it is not my favorite art style, it is still a very beautiful shojo manga.