FURUBA FRIDAYS: Introduction

Welcome to Furuba Fridays, a brand new section of the blog dedicated to the amazing Fruits Basket Radio Drama.
Fruits Basket Radio Drama 
I've blogged about the Fruits Basket Radio Drama a number of times on Mumby at the Movies - in my Blog Spot for its creator JesuOtaku, in my WhatCulture! article about it in May, and in my recent post advertising an audition call. In case you haven't gathered by now - I love this thing. JO's project is one of the best radio dramas I've ever come across, both in its technical accomplishments and its nuanced, gripping storytelling.
For those who aren't in the know, Fruits Basket (Furuba for short) is a criticially-acclaimed shōjo manga series written and illustrated by Natsuki Takaya. It follows a young orphan called Tohru Honda, whose life changes forever when she encounters three members of the Sohma family near her makeshift home in the woods. After being taken in by them, she discovers an incredible secret: the Sohmas are possessed by the spirits of the Chinese Zodiac, and transform into their given animals whenever they are hugged by a member of the opposite sex. What follows is a fascinating story as Tohru grows to learn more about the Sohma family, in all its sad, strange and often funny forms...
JO has been a huge fan of Furuba for many years. The radio drama came about in part because of her misgivings about the 2001 anime adaptation, which only covered a fraction of the story and diluted many of the more interesting, darker elements in favour of slice-of-life slapstick comedy. She embarked upon the project in spring 2011, recruiting a full voice cast and aiming to put out at least 36 episodes, covering the same territory as the anime but doing the material justice.
Every Friday from here onwards, I'm going to be going through each episode in turn, much as I did last year with From The Archives. In each case I'll be highlighting aspects of the story that I love, talking about the characters, and offering my thoughts on the world of Furuba. I will strive to keep these blogs as spoiler-free as possible, hinting at future developments rather than spelling them out. If you do want to skip ahead, the entire manga series is available online in various places.
Each week I'll be linking to episodes as an embedded Blip video, which is how episodes originally 'air'. This is to encourage people to share the content and give JO some of the reward she so richly deserves. I'm not doing this to boost my own figures - I earn nothing from this blog - but because this project deserves attention. The following week I'll also post up the link where you can download the mp3 version to keep and listen again, so everybody's happy.
So sit back and relax, as next week we begin with Episode 1! In the meantime, take a gander at the original trailer below to get an idea of how things are going to sound, or join the radio drama's Facebook page to follow current developments. See you next week for the inaugural banquet...