Well there is certainly a lot to unpack here. First off, it was a great episode. Second, this feels way too soon. Manga readers are probably throwing a fit by how fast this came without actually seeing more of Kyo and Tohru’s smaller moments that brought them closer to each other. However, you’ve already heard this complaint from me before so I’ll leave it at that. Overall, the episode was pretty good, besides a detail that I didn’t think fit which I’ll talk about later.
The situation calls back to what Momiji told Kyo a few episodes ago about Tohru having feelings for him. And I’m sure Kyo/Tohru shippers were on the verge of celebration until Kyo effectively smacks it out their hands. He almost seemed deathly afraid of her being in love with him because to him, he’s a monster who not only will be locked away by the end of the year, but someone who has “killed” the prominent women in his life. I say “kill” because that’s how he sees it and blames himself for their deaths. He’s desperate to not have Tohru end up the same way and almost seems to regress back to how he was near the beginning of the first season by calling Tohru stupid.
Now, I understand that Kyo has A LOT on his shoulders. Like way more than a guy his age should be carrying, but it doesn’t make the situation any less frustrating. It’s completely understandable why he thinks he should stay away from Tohru as he’s been fed so much negativity from the Sohma family due to being the cat. He has such a low view of himself that he feels like he’s unworthy of feelings and that Tohru deserves better. So he tries to push her away by revealing to her and the audience how he was once involved with Kyoko when he was younger.
Kyo met Kyoko by chance when he was just loitering around and the two ended up developing a friendship of sorts. At this point, I’m not sure if we’ll get Kyoko’s full backstory, but you can tell from her subtle expression when Kyo talked about his biological father wanting him dead, she knew exactly how he felt. She was probably the first person outside of the Sohma family to reach out to him and acknowledge his feelings. We don’t really get the opportunity to see Kyoko interact with people outside of Tohru very often so just like in Arisa’s flashback, Kyoko truly shines as a mother. Not only to her own kid, but to others as well. She may like to mess with others, but she’s genuinely such a warm and loving person and it’s honestly really heartwarming to see Kyo warm up to her so quickly. Especially since outside of Kazuma, she was the only person that made him feel wanted.
Unfortunately, their friendship comes to an abrupt end when Kyo allowed his hatred for Yuki to sever his bond with Kyoko. To Kyo, Yuki was the sneaky rat who stole his chance help Kyoko. However, we know that Yuki was incredibly emotionally unstable at this point and this one moment essentially saved him. In a sense, yes, Yuki did steal Kyo’s opportunity. However, it honestly feels like both are desperately trying to get as much as they can because of how little the both of them have while believing the other has so much. It’s a terrible cycle and it makes me just want to shout that it’s not Yuki’s fault. However, he’s a kid who has suffered terrible abuse and only sees things as black and white. Kyo desperately clung to the fact that everything was Yuki’s fault just to make himself feel better and Kyoko saw through it and gently tried to help him. In the end, he probably blamed Yuki for ending his bond with Kyoko when it was him who severed it himself.
However, things get even more depressing in that regard when it revealed that Kyo was actually there at the time when Kyoko’s accident occurred. And man, that definitely would cause a lot of guilt stacked upon even more guilt. Not only did he feel guilty for running away from Kyoko that one time, but now he’s become even more guilty over the fact that he essentially weighed his life over Kyoko’s, putting a permanent end to their relationship. He could have saved her if he had pulled her back, but he would have transformed. Kyo is probably the most self conscious over the fact that he transforms in the Zodiac so the fear of revealing that he is a monster to others paralyzed him. Not to mention that he’s guilty over the fact that he’s alive and that he constantly chooses to save his own life despite that.
Because Kyo only heard Kyoko say “I’ll never forgive you,” it basically cemented the fact that everything was his fault in his mind. Which is why Kazuma took him to the mountains because of just how completely broken he was after that traumatic experience. Not only did he witness someone he never reconciled with die right in front of him, but he believes she will never forgive him. It’s honestly no wonder he essentially shut down. From what we know about Kyoko, she would never say that in the context Kyo assumes. We’re missing the context so it may or may not be what Kyo believes.
Though I did find the part where he said he repressed the memory of Kyoko’s death to be weird since in the first season, it showed that he was aware of it. And I could have sworn that in the manga he always had that guilt and had carried it with him the entire time. He just pretended he forget everything, but didn’t actually forget anything. So… that part didn’t really make sense to me.
Anyways, it was at this moment where Kyo dumped all of his self loathing onto Yuki. He was nearing a breaking point and redirected his hate onto him so that he could continue living. While it’s understandable why he did this, but it is incredibly unfair to Yuki especially with everything that he had going on. And when he and Akito made the bet, it basically enabled him to continue treating Yuki as if everything was his fault. It was never about being welcomed into the family, he just found more reasons to continue hating Yuki. Which definitely hurts with the extra knowledge that Yuki actually looks up to Kyo.
It’s also incredibly unfair of Kyo to try and push his own self loathing onto Tohru as if she should resent him just as much. And I appreciate Tohru for basically telling him NO and that even if her mother did say that to him, she would go against her mom and continue loving Kyo. It’s as if she’s telling him who is he to decide whether or not he’s worthy to be loved by her. And boy, did he just deal a low blow by telling her he’s “disappointed in her” despite having said previously that nothing she did would make him disappointed in her. And just like he’s done before, he ran away. This whole situation felt like chasing a cat. Once cornered, Kyo struck and then ran away.
This moment seems to parallel the moment when Kyo turned into his true form. It’s dark and raining with Kyo trying to “scare” Tohru away before running away. However, a big difference was how Tohru and Yuki reacted. Back then, Tohru took off after Kyo and Yuki hung back behind a window blocked by blinds, almost as if he wasn’t willing to look at Kyo’s pain. However, this time, Yuki looked out the window and took off after Kyo when he ran away while Tohru hung back. Another parallel I noticed was how Kyo commented on how something in his chest spurned him to move and brought him to Kyoko’s apartment… similarly to what happened to Yuki, but with a completely different context. It’s so interesting to see how intertwined these two became with Tohru before even knowing her. It feels like destiny is constantly binding these three together, causing them to cross paths again and again.
This episode was HEAVY. Kyo basically unloaded a giant portion of his massive pile of baggage and it was a lot.Not only that but we were left off with Akito showing up right as Kyo and Yuki ran off. COME BACK YOU TWO, TOHRU’S IN DANGER. Next episode is shaping up to be quite heavy as well with just how broken Akito is looking… while also still having the knife she used to shank Kureno. Also not gonna lie but Kyo… there’s just way too much going on with him. Like there’s baggage and then there’s A LOT OF BAGGAGE. It’s a bit too much for me for one character to have this amount of baggage. But if I had to choose one thing that hit me the most, it’d probably be his line “I didn’t mean to fall in love.” That honestly freaking hurt. At this point, literally all of the Sohma kids are in desperate need of therapy.
I’ve also come to realize that pity has been a very strong theme this season and how pity isn’t a healthy foundation for a relationship. And while pity may stem from good intent, being with someone because you feel bad for the person isn’t good. Shown with how damaging Kureno and Akito’s relationship was and how Kagura’s love for Kyo started off as pity and guilt. So when Kyo commented on how much he pitied Tohru for loving him… oof… that wasn’t good.
Kyo is essentially regressing back to how he was and while he’s finally addressing certain things that he’s been doing wrong. He’s still not willing to face things head on and continues running away. We’ve got five more episodes for him to shape up… but there’s just a lot of self loathing that needs to be sorted through.