Yay, another dose of family drama straight from Fruits Basket to your very eyes.
— Right from the get-go, we see Rin call out Kagura’s “love” for Kyo. Does love deserve to be in quotation marks here? Hm, I dunno. Maybe her affections for him was born on false premises at some point, but things change over time. You can’t say that she doesn’t genuinely like him now. Ah well, it’s all for naught anyways. Everyone knows that the tiger can’t compete with Tohru, the true mother.
— Why did I just refer to Tohru as the true mother? ‘Cause that’s what she is to all of these Sohmas, isn’t she? And since Akito is the foil, she’s the false mother masquerading as the father, i.e. head of the household. We essentially have a tug-of-war between the two heads of the family. One treats their children with love and kindness, while the other demands respect and reverence just for existing. You rarely see Akito, but when you do, you have to obey her words as if they themselves had come from the divine. This situation is not unlike one’s relationship with a distant, emotionally unavailable father in stereotypical Japanese family dynamics. Since he’s rarely around, his children don’t really understand why they have to obey him. They just have to, because that’s how it is. That’s what you’re taught from day one. You listen to your parents even if they’re hardly gods. They’re just humans, and like the rest of us, they are wrong about a lot of things. But from the Sohma’s perspectives, you can’t fight it. That’s probably why their relationship with Akito looks so inexplicable to us as outsiders. I steadfastly believe that people don’t just automatically deserve your respect; they need to earn it. Parents are no exception. I have the privilege to not only believe this but to act on this as well. When my parents do or say something wrong, I can call them out or walk away completely. I don’t need to obey them just because they’re my parents. This obviously wouldn’t fly in a lot of cultures, and it’s probably unthinkable to the Sohmas.
— And of course, Akito is also the false father for the obvious reason, i.e. Fruits Basket‘s worst-kept-secret. I guess it’s supposed to be a twist that she’s clearly not male, but who knows! Maybe this was a huge surprise to manga readers back when the original series was first published.
— Oh my, one of the rare, actual loving parent in this series. But even so, it’s interesting how the only way she can protect Kagura from Akito is to warn her daughter to stay away. No one dares to actually do anything productive.
— Kagura’s winning personality is gonna win Kyo over any day now… yep, any day now…
— After the OP, Tohru reveals to the audience that after Yuki said what he needed to say, the two of them went back to the vacation house quietly. Even though the rat became bolder, he still wasn’t bold enough to say things in a way that is simple enough for Tohru to comprehend. You gotta keep it simple, stupid! All these vague stuff like “I won’t lose” won’t get through to a girl like Tohru!
— Hattori can’t help but apologize to Tohru, so she feels that the other Zodiacs must feel the same way. They must be worried about her, since they keep having to ditch her to kowtow to Akito. Maybe. I also think Hattori probably feels bad about Shigure stirring up drama, so he’s apologizing for the dog.
— People keep thinking that Tohru must be sick just because she’s quietly thinking things over in her head. It says a lot about these characters that they mistake deep contemplation for an illness. Maybe Kyo should try it from time to time.
— Yuki said that he won’t give up nor will he lose. These words are mostly about his struggles with depression and how Akito’s presence threatens to drag him back into that miasma. But at the same time, I can’t help but be amused at how Tohru is getting so much quality one-on-one time with Kyo because Yuki, like the others, have to obey and thus visit Akito everyday.
— I wouldn’t be surprised if Kyo doesn’t like sand. After all, it’s coarse, and rough, and irritating, and it gets everywhere.
— Speaking of Akito, even though everyone but Kyo stops by to see her, she spends time with them one-on-one. And what happens during these “intimate” encounters is basically just emotional abuse. She clings to them and preys on their insecurities, and they can’t do anything but quietly take it. Goddamn, these kids have so much filial piety.
— Like I said, you have to keep it simple for Tohru, because she’s special. Oh lord, she’s a special girl.
— I also love how these kids are just staring at these mounds of sand as if they’re the most fascinating things in the world. “Oooh, Tohru made this?”
— Look at Yuki’s smug ass face. Bro, it was a forehead kiss. I’ve seen more salacious acts in PG-rated movies.
— Of course he talked about important things! These characters, man. No, he was just shitting you under the moonlit sky.
— Anyways, Yuki warns Kyo not to cause any trouble with Akito, because the conflict might spill over and affect Tohru. Ultimately, he’s concerned about her more than anything, so he doesn’t care if this makes him butt heads with Kyo. And naturally, Kyo reacts in the worst possible way by getting pissy back at Yuki. I guess I just blame the rat more for these exchanges, because I feel like… if he’s going to carry himself with this dignified air, it’s just kinda pathetic to see him act so immature about the cat. Kyo’s a hothead and everybody knows it. But Yuki thinks he’s better than Kyo, but he’s really just as emotional. That’s why I guess he seems more pathetic in my eyes. It’s almost hypocritical in a way.
— Oh good, Rin is here now. There isn’t enough family drama, so let’s drag a horse into this menagerie.
— The next morning, Akito plans to take Kureno with her to go see Tohru. She goes on and on about how she’s gonna put our heroine in her place. She also alludes to the fact that Kureno is a broken Zodiac. After all, he embraced Arisa without any issues, so his curse is already broken.
— Akito thinks that she has won the Zodiacs to her side, and as result, Tohru will be left all by her lonesome. Kureno, however, correctly points out that our heroine still has Kyo. Akito brushes this off, because she still sees Kyo as nothing more than a monster. Much like an absentee parent, she has no clue how much progress Kyo has made.
— Aw, Tohru has made progress too!
— Kyo opens up about his bracelet and how the beads are made supposedly made from human bones. Hell, the red ones are even dyed with human blood. How morbid. He also talks about sacrifice, hinting at the cat’s role as the family’s scapegoat. Of course, Tohru has no clue what he’s talking about exactly. Like Yuki, Kyo has things to say that he isn’t quite ready to say loudly. It must be so confusing to be an outsider. All these dramatic conversations with no goddamn context. So all she can do is dramatically grab him as a show of support. So, so dramatic!
— It’s a good thing mother nature is here to cool these kids down. I must be a killjoy, ’cause the thought of making sandcastles on the beach as a teenager sounds incredibly boring to me.
— Yeah, you tell that ocean who’s boss!
— Seeing Kyo have so much fun with Tohru must have bothered Akito greatly, so she gives up on her dastardly plans. Instead, she slinks home to scheme some other bullshit up.
— Meanwhile, the rat is just quietly stalking Tohru from afar. I know he’s doing this in case he needs to protect her from Akito, but it’s still kinda creepy.
— While Tohru is hanging up laundry (you guys don’t have dryers?), a magical gust of wind blows the sheet down the hill. When our heroine gives chase, she stumbles upon Rin in her Zodiac form. It must be a sign from Providence. I mean, how lucky is this…
— Lots of people find horses beautiful, but not me. I think they look kinda odd with their long faces.
— Rin actually tries to kick Tohru as a horse, and that might have seriously injured the girl. Hell, it could’ve even killed her if the kick had landed on her head. But luckily, Yuki’s creepy stalker ways actually pay off, ’cause he is there to pull Tohru away from the blow.
— Tohru must have a very different definition in mind, ’cause I would never call any of the skinny characters in this show “voluptuous.” Certainly not Rin.
— When Yuki tries to talk to Rin, she lashes out at him like a temperamental horse. I guess she’s the black stallion that can’t be tamed or whatever. Unfortunately, I know that she shares the same voice actress as the air-headed Yui from K-On! so I have a hard time taking her seriously.
— Yuki tells Tohru that he’ll take care of the Rin situation. Wanting to support him but not knowing exactly how, she simply tells him that she’ll be waiting for him to return. So y’know, he always has a loving home to come back to.
— Afterwards, our heroine thinks about how she’s met every member of the Zodiac except one. She mistakenly conclude that Akito must be missing rooster. I guess I can’t blame her for that.
— Meanwhile, Akito finally decides to meet with Kyo, so she tells Shigure and Hattori to drag the cat with them tomorrow. In reality, she just wants to isolate him from Tohru’s support so that she can try and break him down. She’ll probably remind him that he’ll have to be locked up soon after he graduates, so he better not get any bright ideas about getting closer to Tohru. Has any of the cats ever considered saying… no? “Hey you, get in this prison!” “Um… no.“
— That’s reminds me of something, though… if every cat gets confined when they finish high school, how did Kazuma’s grandfather even sire a child? Did he meet his wife while he was imprisoned? How would this happen? Did she then go inside and have relations with a man who can never be freed? Who on earth would do that? Ah well, she wouldn’t be the first crazy character in this series.