Wow, so many Yuki-centric episodes in a row. Though I really should have known that this was going to happen considering he passed off the meeting papers to his mom in the previous episode. However, more Yuki growth is always appreciated. Though I do feel like he’s KINDA hogging the spotlight, especially since he’s probably the most fleshed out characters in the series so far. And don’t get me wrong, I love watching Yuki, I think I just get the feeling people will be annoyed with how many episodes that have been dedicated to him in a row. Yuki doesn’t deserve hatred. He’s feeling like more of a main character than Kyo these days. Man… I must not have been paying attention to Yuki in high school. WHOOPS. But that didn’t mean this episode didn’t hit hard, BECAUSE IT DID. Before we dive into more Yuki development, I do want to touch on a few other characters. Buckle up, because it’s another long one.
Shigure proves to be a very interesting character, despite how shady he is and literally everyone knows it. (Except for Tohru) However, despite his shadiness, he does give very subtle gestures of care to others such as with Tohru and Hatori. He has shown to be guilty using Tohru to meet his ends and actively tries to help Hatori find his happiness. But I am surprised to the action he made in regards to Yuki. I didn’t think he cared at all about him, but him letting Ayame know when his parent teacher conference was confirmation that he does care a little about him. Even if the action was just to help his friend, in the end, it still helped Yuki. So despite his ambitions, he still has semblances of genuine care for others, making him a lot more complex than I initially gave him credit for.
After Kyo’s really big character development moment back at the beach arc, he seems to have started standing still again. Though I guess it’s to be expected since he has resigned himself to be locked away after high school. Which I admit made his parent teacher conference pretty depressing since we know what is going to happen to him, but there’s no way that he can tell his teacher that and not raise alarm. I’m sure Mayu would not tolerate learning that one of her students was going to be locked away until the day he dies considering how she reacted when Yuki’s mom was ignoring Yuki’s wishes about what he planned to do with his life.
With Tohru, she seems to be going through a pre-developing phase. While she has her eyes set on breaking the curse for Kyo’s sake, (even going as far as to consciously defy Akito’s wishes to stop meddling, which was hilarious) she doesn’t seem to have a long term goal. And you can tell that’s really starting to get to her. It’s getting harder and harder to “keep the lid on the box” and it seems like she’s getting closer to a breaking point. It’s a very large difference from how she was portrayed in the first season with being the “perfect saint” that solves all your problems. Speaking of which, I’ve noticed that the problems the characters are currently facing aren’t being “fixed” by Tohru during this time. They either are figuring it out for themselves or are finding others to help them instead, such as with Yuki which I’ll touch on later.
We also see that her growing attachment to Kyo has gotten to a point where she’s associating losing him akin to losing her mother, shown by how he is now in the box where she keeps her true feelings locked away. And if she were to lose him, it most likely will be her final undoing since she’s still falling a part over her mother’s passing (which is completely understandable) and Kyo was always the one to help her back onto her feet and be a comfort to her. But I am glad that despite being overwhelmed by the career path talk, she takes solace in just being with her friends when she’s not in a good place. I am wondering if her full development will happen this season or the next since the anime has mixed and matched different chapters together so I have no idea when things will happen.
I also couldn’t help noticing that there was a VERY large contrast in parenting styles between Kazuma and Yuki’s mom. Kazuma is very hands on in helping Kyo grow and develop as a person while also giving him the freedom to choose what he wants but isn’t afraid to push him. While with Yuki’s mom, she sold him off, only caring about appearances and wealth, kept him at arms length most of the time, was hardly present in his life and tries to control where he goes in the future. And while Kyo has a great relationship with Kazuma, Yuki’s relationship with his mom is extremely cold and strained. They’re essentially foils in this case with Kazume being best dad and Yuki’s mom being the absolute worst.
We can clearly see just how much of a dark place Yuki goes when he interacts with his mom. Not only does he explicitly say that he feels like he’s back in the dark room when he has to talk to her, but I even noticed the color scheme had faded out any bright colors when Yuki’s mom pulls up to the school. Everything is just dark and subdued, giving off a very depressing feeling through out the scenes she’s in. I completely understand why Yuki just cannot go against his mother and speak what he thinks and it all comes down to how he was raised. I feel like we tend to regress to old habits when around our parents, no matter how old we get and some of us just can’t break through the invisible barrier that was put up to voice our thoughts. Yuki was constantly shut down or ignored whenever he tried to talk to his mom about what he wants to do and it just felt like such a slap in the face when his mom said that she never once heard him say he didn’t like living in the Sohma household. Yeah, because you WEREN’T LISTENING, WOMAN. And it just broke my heart to see how hurt Yuki was when he realizes that no matter what he said, it always fell to deaf ears even though he was suffering. THIS POOR BABY TAT.
But oh my gosh if I didn’t love Ayame already, I most certainly do now. As soon as Ayame came through that door I literally jumped out of my seat yelling “SAVIOR!!” Yuki just about hit his lowest if Ayame had not stepped in. This had to be the first time that Ayame was there for Yuki and it clearly showed just how much it meant to him to have someone finally come to his aid when he needed someone most. And it felt so satisfying to have him tell off his mom to not interfere with Yuki’s future. With Ayame’s presence, Yuki’s eyes were opened a bit more to just how little power she actually had. He was even shocked at how badly she was at handling Ayame. He was even given the courage to speak up against his mom to defend Ayame, saying he’s not useless and he’s someone he can depend on.
It’s true that Ayame ignored Yuki’s suffering at first, being similar to his mom as both had completely shut him out of their lives for the most part. However, unlike their mom, Ayame realized his mistake and tried to make amends. What has happened in the past, happened. However, I just can’t help but respect Ayame for wanting to change and it shows that it’s never too late to repair a broken bond if you’re willing to put in the work. And I love that even Ayame acknowledged that Yuki is the one who gave him a second chance and if not for that, they wouldn’t be where they are today. Also to have that verbal confirmation from Yuki that he views him as dependable must have meant so much to Ayame. That beaming smile he gave afterwards was just the most adorable thing.
I also just love the symbolism and contrast of Yuki leaving the door open rather than closing it unlike what his mom did just before him. While his mom yelled at the two of them about wishing she hadn’t given birth to them and slammed the door behind her, Yuki thanked Ayame for coming and left the door open for him rather than closing it and shutting him out of his life. Just a little detail I noticed that I’m sure was very intentional.
Ayame was just an absolute riot and I was just cackling over his lines. He truly has become such a wonderful older brother to Yuki even if he is over the top. But that just makes him so great. And I just about died when he fabulously brought up his phone to immediately contact Hatori if not for Yuki telling him to stop. I absolutely lost it after reading his text of “he looked grateful for my presence! Our brotherly love is now mutual” to Hatori. Ayame sure is something else lol.
I also have to give credit where credit is due. Mayu handled the meeting with Yuki’s mom like a champ. While she wasn’t able to stop Yuki’s mom from completely taking over the conversation and essentially bad mouthing her son in front of her, she still was firm in telling her that what she was saying was unreasonable. Not to mention it’s abundantly clear that she is watching out for all of the kids in her class. Like when she told Tohru not to carry her burdens all by herself and noticed how distressed and down she was during the meeting.
I’m so glad that Yuki finally realized that he doesn’t necessarily need his mom in his life anymore. Ayame and Tohru have effectively given him the things he sought from his mother. His life isn’t over, not with Tohru and Ayame backing him. And I’m so proud of him for finally standing up for himself, telling her to not decide his future for him and wants to work to achieve something he can be proud of. I know I’m a broken record, but HE’S COME SO FAR. At this point, I feel like Yuki’s mom can go either of two ways from the way the episode portrayed her. One, she can either just remain stuck in her ways, like many of the other Sohma clan members. Or two, she can at least accept Yuki’s feelings and possibly be open to change. At least, that is what I interpret that scene of her looking up at the sun parting the clouds. Either way, at this point, I feel like Yuki has effectively freed himself from her control and influence over him.
And because there’s just not enough things to contrast with Yuki’s mom, when she leaves, Tohru appears, making it abundantly clear of what Yuki sees in her and sadly isn’t of romantic nature. (Which I still cry at) However, that doesn’t make their relationship any less since she has helped him through so much and Yuki always takes what she tells him to heart as it were her words that gave him the final push and confidence to go after his mother to speak his mind. She was the first person he acknowledged to have saved him and she has such a special place in his heart. And you can tell just from that look he gave her while passing her in the hallway that she means so much to him. However, he is starting to be able to stand on his own without her holding his hand. She gave him that strength to move forward and I don’t know about you, but that scene just said it all without words. She was the one to bring light and color into his life. Which she literally does in that scene, bringing all the bright colors back into the episode.
Another great Fruits Basket episode. When you think the previous episode was good, another one comes out and slaps you across the face shouting “I’m just as good!” Yuki is so blessed to have so many people who support him now and just feel like weeping over how Yuki is pressing forward past his trauma. And seeing him grown in his relationships with characters such as Hatsuharu and Ayame are just several jabs to the heart. I do hope that this is the start to Yuki finding his happiness because I don’t know how much more sad Yuki I can handle. He’s growing in confidence and courage that I feel like if we linger on more Yuki sadness after this, it’s bound to feel redundant and almost as if he’s backpedaling. But I think this confrontation with his mom was one of the final hurdles to push past the darkness that had been holding Yuki down for so long, finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.