Fruits Basket S2 Ep. 6: Stagnancy

Without release, negative feelings turn into dregs.

— At the start of the episode, it’s raining cats and dogs, so Momiji plans an excursion to one of the Sohma vacation houses. Geez, how many do they have? In any case, it’s your bread and butter summer beach episode. Personally, I like storms. It’s not that I’m gloomy or anything. I just feel that when you’re walking through the rain — and the winds swirling around you — it feels vibrant. In comparison, a sunny, blue sky just seems dull. But that’s me.

— The whole gang is invited! A good half of them won’t show, but it’s the thought that counts! Honestly, I thought Tohru’s BFFs would be invited too, but I guess they’re busy.

— Are Japanese kids really that into catching beetles? It seems to be a common trope in anime and manga.

— It turns out Tohru hasn’t done any of her summer homework, so she has to finish all that up before the summer getaway. I had actually had summer homework over high school for my honors and AP classes. That was always a drag.

— While Yuki helps the girl with her homework, he spots that cap from way back when. You remember, right? As a young kid, she got lost, so a boy helped her out. Naturally, she no longer remembers what that boy looked like, but he was her first love. Oh gosh, can you imagine the reaction on her face when she finds out it was Yuki all along!! Does that mean they’re destined for each other?! Yeah, anime and manga love this stuff, but I can’t take it seriously. If anything, I feel like it cheapens love.

— To me, love is work. It’s hard for some, easy for others, but it’s work nonetheless. Both parties (or more if that’s your thing) have to put in effort to form a beautiful partnership. So I guess I just don’t like the idea of love boiling down to destiny or anime’s much beloved red string of fate. Why? ‘Cause then it feels like the participants have no choice in the matter. Some playful god simply grabbed two dolls and said, “Now kiss!” I could’ve picked anyone else. I could’ve thrown in the towel. I could’ve run at the first sign of trouble. But I stayed to help make this relationship work. That’s way more romantic to me than those silly childhood friends trope.

— Anyways, Yuki wanted to come clean when Momiji suddenly barges back into the room and ruins the “mood.” Personally, I would’ve just texted her. “Haha, remember that kid? It was me, lulz.”

— The next day, the kids leave for their fun summer getaway. As soon as they’re out of sight, Rin suddenly shows up. Hoo boy, I like to think Shigure isn’t a lecherous dog of a man, but I mean… he is the Dog in the family. Hell, she even refers to him as Gure-nii, but I guess that doesn’t mean much in this series. It’s all incestuous up in this joint.

— Unfortunately, we don’t get to see how this scene plays out. All we know is that Rin wants something from Shigure, and she thinks trying to seduce him will work. The only glimmer of hope is this singular sentence: “I’m not sure I can meet your expectations.” Hopefully, that implies that Shigure will reject the girl, but who knows.

— She kinda looks like Tifa from here.

— Speaking of seduction, this is an odd angle for a girl as pure and wholesome as Tohru.

— Initially, there isn’t much to say about the getaway, Hiro is being an exhausting brat like usual. Tohru can apparently swim well, but she doesn’t know how to breathe while doing so. Finally, Yuki continues to mull over his troubles even when he’s supposed to be relaxing with friends.

— Someone certainly needs a tan.

— Eventually, Hiro’s lack of a filter gets him into trouble. When Tohru magically drops her notebook again, he picks it up and hands it back to her without a struggle. So at first, you think, “Oh, progress for the brat!” But then he starts asking her why she doesn’t carry a photo of her father, which obviously troubles Tohru. She isn’t ready to open up about this.

— Eh, Hiro’s young and dumb. It doesn’t surprise me that he’s insensitive. Kids aren’t ready-made. They need to be taught how to become proper humans. It’s just too bad that that Kisa is the one who has to call him out. Ideally, his parents should teach him how to empathize with others, but you guys know how it is with parents in this series!

— In the end, Hiro understands what he did wrong, but he only goes and apologizes to Kisa. Tohru is left staring up at the night sky, repeatedly muttering to herself, “It’s okay, it’s okay.” Nobody here ever feels safe enough to open up to each other. Kyo keeps his shit bottled in. Yuki keeps his shit bottled in. And Tohru keeps her shit bottled in.

— In the morning, Tohru’s already overcompensating to try and bury her feelings. Kyo, however, can apparently tell that she’s down, so he asks Hiro if the kid had done something.

— We then jump to Shigure, who is now paying Akito a visit. Man, this dog sure does get around. Akito’s pissing and moaning like usual. She hates the summer, and she hates that everyone is having fun, because them having fun means they’re not on their knees, begging for scraps of her approval. So naturally, Shigure dares her to do something about it. You could say he’s an instigator. On the other hand, the real problem is stagnancy. Nothing is ever resolved, because no one is willing to change. No one has the guts to challenge the status quo.

— When consuming a story, I can’t help but be tempted to assign persons and actions to moral poles of good and evil. Torturing someone is evil. Isolating them from the world is evil. Nothing here is wrong, per se… but it does cloud my perspective a bit.

— Through a certain lens, Akito is not a good person. I won’t argue in her favor. But through a different lens, I think what could best described the conflict here is that the Sohmas have become impure. Stagnancy has settled in, and as a result, these characters and their actions have become mired in filth. Things don’t change, and without change, there isn’t death. And without death, impurity accumulates. And over time, even the clearest still water will turn pitch-black. I mean, think about the Sohma curse. It’s meant to breed stagnancy. An eternal bond sounds ideal on paper, but it’s also unnatural. Nothing is supposed to last forever, and Akito’s refusal to embrace change is what has her so warped. Her negative feelings just pile onto themselves over and over without any chance to be cleansed. They become dregs, and those dregs in turn stain her soul.

— Well, change is coming, but not anytime soon. Right before the end of the episode, Yuki tells Tohru that he has something he needs to tell her. Why can’t he just tell her now? Why does it have to wait? They’re alone, aren’t they? Considering how he just wants to reveal to her that he was that boy from years ago, it’s not even worth holding off in my opinion. Nevertheless, Yuki simply announces that he has something to tell her. He’s just not ready. He acknowledges that he needs to open up, and in return, Tohru realizes that she needs to open up as well. But for now, all we get are promises and heavy hearts.

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