Not gonna lie, this episode was the one to break me and make me cry for the first time in my watch through of this season of Fruits Basket. Maybe it was because I was already emotional from having watched the Re:Zero movie the other day, but this episode hit me HARD. I knew this moment was coming and I was both looking forward to it and dreading it. But even knowing this part was coming didn’t make the moment hurt any less. It may have hurt more because the voice acting and music was just so on point the entire episode.
This should be the final piece of Yuki’s past but man, if you thought the previous episodes showcasing his past was sad, THIS ONE WAS THE ONE TO HIT THE HARDEST. We see just what kind of atmosphere Yuki grew up in and man was it terrible. While we already knew that Yuki’s life was absolute trauma, but this episode demonstrated just how terrible it was first hand. He was surrounded by such abuse and negativity all of his life that at several points he was most likely suicidal. It was honestly hard to watch at times where I had to pause the episode and just let out a shout because of how terrible his circumstances were and the people around him.
One of the things that stands out to me the most is how decent Akito was. While he did throw his tantrums from time to time, they weren’t as violent and he seemed to be on better terms with Shigure back in the day. And I bet a lot of people are wondering why he just did a complete 180 all of a sudden. There is definitely a reason… a very INTERESTING reason.
It’s honestly no wonder why Yuki has such low self esteem and finds difficulties with interacting with others, even within the Zodiac. Akito basically imprinted such terrible things into his mind at such a young mind and if that’s the only thing you’re exposed to for so long, of course you’d give into those words. What this episode does is shows us in the beginning how the birth of a Rat child is cause for celebration and that they are loved, only to flip it on poor Yuki where he feels like he’s unwanted and hated. Not to mention there’s this snowball effect of basically affirming this mindset.
I was talking to Berry about the episode and she pointed out how nearly all of the characters in this episode can be easily hated such as Yuki’s mom, Akito, Ayame and Kyo. To which I had to agree because the first time I read this part in the manga, I started just absolutely hating Kyo because of how he treated Yuki. Presently, I don’t hate Kyo, but he still frustrates me from time to time and I cannot stand him in season 1. However, what Kyo says to Yuki in this flashback just makes me so angry. Like, I know the kid has his own problems and it’s really the fault of the Sohma clan for putting all of these poor kids through terrible treatment and such, however, it doesn’t make it any less frustrating, especially when he’s just basing everything off of assumptions. Not to mention him saying those things basically affirm what Akito has been telling Yuki. It especially pains me when Yuki reveals that he just wanted to be friends with Kyo since he was the kind of person Yuki wanted to be, surrounded by friends and a loving parental figure. And it’s just sad that after so long of having Kyo scream his hatred towards him, Yuki goes from just feeling hurt by having the person he looks up to hate him to weary apathy. He is even aware of Kyo’s situation and understand that he has a lot of baggage (completely different from Kyo’s understanding of him) but you can tell that he’s just tired of Kyo’s behavior towards him and it is frustrating for Kyo to just blame all of his misfortune on him while not realizing just how much he has.
And while in the last episode I was willing to accept the fact that Yuki’s mother wanted to change, it doesn’t change the fact of how terrible she was towards him growing up. And with Ayame pushing him away when he needed him most essentially cemented the fact that Yuki was terribly alone. Not to mention the situation with the kids that Yuki talked about befriending at the start of the series. As soon as they appeared, I was already bracing myself for impact considering how happy it made Yuki to be reached out like that. It probably meant the world to him to finally have friends, only for them to be forcefully stripped away from him since they found out about his curse. And how he saw the other Zodiac children hang out with Kyo, who turned his back on him once more just hammered home just how alone he was. It broke me seeing him break down sobbing because of how lonely he was and desperately wanted and needed someone.
When Yuki ran out of the estate, I thought he was suicidal at first. And while I don’t doubt he was throughout his life, something else was driving him at this moment. He just wanted to find something or someone to be useful for, to find meaning in his miserable life. His parents had abandoned him, he was told the world was pitch black, he lost all of his friends, both Kyo and Hatsuharu hated him… he just wanted SOMETHING positive. And I am just so glad he found it in Tohru. To think she had touched his life before they formally met. It was through this interaction that Yuki found that the world isn’t purely light or darkness and it just punched me in the heart when he transformed into a rat and started crying after leading Tohru back to her mom. He was able to find a little bit of light in his dark world, quite literally portrayed in that scene. Unfortunately, when he went back, Akito most likely doubled down and went back to feeding him more negativity and I can hardly blame Yuki for withdrawing back into his negativity. I’m just glad that he was able to find his way out of the darkness and finally was able to bask in the newfound light. Compared to how he was back then, Yuki is doing SO MUCH better presently and I can’t help but feel so happy for him.
We finally get the confirmation that Yuki viewed Tohru as more of a mother figure rather than a love interest. But even so, I still continue to ship them because of how much their interaction in his backstory touched each other. Though I can’t deny how well the mangaka portrayed their relationship where it was quite evident on where Yuki’s feelings lay. However, no one can deny how important Tohru was to Yuki’s life and it helped develop him into the sassy rat boy we know today.
This episode did a great demonstrating Yuki’s situation, no matter how much it hurt. Especially during the banquet where Akito essentially separated him from everyone else. All the other Zodiac members were interacting with each other, but Kureno and Yuki were the only ones segregated from the group and interestingly positioned to Akito’s right and left respectively. Ugh, the visuals, the lighting, the colors, the music… EVERYTHING just made this episode BEAUTIFUL.