The moment we all have been waiting for, is finally here and I was not ready for the amount of tears I shed for this episode. I never cried while reading the manga and I only teared up a little through out the entire series. This was the episode to just BREAK me. Even on a rewatch of the episode, I STILL TEARED UP.
Poor Tohru has just been suppressing and suppressing her emotions this entire anime and I think it’s reached a point where she just can’t anymore. The way she hid her true thoughts and feelings behind a smile isn’t going to work anymore. Even mentioning Kyo, brought her to involuntary tears. She wanted desperately to get over her feelings to not burden Kyo and not have him be even more disappointed with her. It honestly hurt seeing how hard she was trying to force herself to smile for him, even if it was killing her on the inside. I can hardly blame her for her reactions since what Kyo said was pretty insensitive and while he did have his reasons, he basically trampled all over her genuine feelings. At this point my reaction was: “Go and make it right, stupid cat.” To which, I appreciate that he went after her again and again instead of running away from the fact that he hurt her. Though I admit I died laughing when Tohru just flew backwards away from Kyo when he caught up with her the first time.
She has come to love Kyo so much that her happy facade absolutely fails. Not to mention that he was always the one to get her actual feelings and thoughts out of her. So it completely makes sense that she can’t force herself to be “fake” in front of him even when she’s trying so hard. Thankfully Kyo does make it right and owns up to the fact that he was acting selfishly. He wasn’t thinking of how she felt at all and was only focused on what HE thought was right. It shows outstanding character development on his part as he’s finally stopped running and is starting to face the situations. He properly confesses his true feelings for Tohru and while I still don’t particularly feel anything for this ship, I can still appreciate the heart and emotion of the scene. Especially when it shows that Tohru doesn’t care what Kyo is, she loves him no matter what, faults and all. And that in itself is very sweet. Also, Kyo giving the most carefree and genuine smile he’s ever made was also a very sweet moment. And dang, they really animated the heck out of that hug lol. A 360 degree pan shot is no joke. That’s flipping HARD to animate.
Someone noted how Kyo will touch Tohru with his left hand that has the beads, a place where he always hated being touched. Which is extremely telling of just how comfortable he is with her. I love the attention to detail on that and it’s a fantastic example of “showing not telling.”
We actually get to see a little bit of Akito and Tohru’s interactions while she was in the hospital where Akito admits that she was always jealous of Tohru. Especially since Akito was basically taunted by her mother her entire life that no one wanted her and seeing all of the Zodiac gravitate towards Tohru over her must have been excruciatingly painful for her. And I love that Tohru told her that she’s not as perfect as Akito thinks she is and she shouldn’t “sort people into categories” based on assumptions. No good will come from assuming how people are before you get to know them and categorize people, it feels like you’re dehumanizing them in a way.
As much as what Akito was doing was wrong, the fact remains that Tohru still hurt her and was trying to destroy the only thing that Akito knew. Both sides were trying to rip apart what the other believed, but despite it all, Tohru still offered her friendship to Akito. And while many would think that Akito doesn’t deserve it, I think it’s extremely sweet and amazingly forgiving of Tohru. What Akito did to the Zodiac members was downright terrible and cruel, but Tohru is willing to give her another chance. Especially since Akito is now trying to change and improve herself.
The biggest change Akito made yet is finally letting the Zodiac go. Bond and all. And man, did it hit when she said to her father’s memory that it’s okay for her to stop being special and finally just be her own person. Not god, just Akito. I definitely felt for Akito when she admitted that she doesn’t have any good qualities. Right now, she may not be able to see them, but I’m sure over time Akito will develop good ones and that Tohru will be there to help her along the way.
And the moment I’ve been waiting for, FINALLY happened. I’ve probably reread this part so many times because this series has been leading up to this moment. When Kyo and Tohru hug, there’s a moment where they’re just waiting for Kyo to transform… but it doesn’t happen. The curse had finally been broken and there was just a domino affect over everyone being released. I admit, I actually teared up showing everyone get freed. And when Akito was asking everyone to cry one more time with her, I absolutely joined her. I love that we get to see everyone (minus Yuki because I’m sure they’re saving him for later) and their reactions to feeling their curse lift. Almost as if going through everyone one more time and just reaffirming them. All of these characters have had such tortured lives one way or another because of this curse and to have that be lifted from their shoulders must have been both liberating and lonely. In a sense, having a familiar bond with everyone just vanish probably left them feeling lonely and possibly even empty at that moment. But it’s the start of a new beginning for all of them and even compared to first being born since the first thing someone does when they are born is cry. A new life awaits for all of them. And Kyo just ripping off his beads was probably one of the most satisfying things. The thing that had been a source of pain and torment for all of his life, no longer chains him down. He is truly free.
I also love that after Kyo goes to tell Kazuma the news, Tohru immediately goes to Akito, because she probably knows more than anyone that Akito needed someone in that moment. Akito must have felt such a crushing loneliness once the curse lifted from everyone. The bond that made her feel validated is no longer there, but there is someone who is still willing to be by her side. It was hilariously adorable that Akito just grabs her and pulls her into the room where they share a comforting embrace. Old habits die hard I suppose lol. Their friendship became something so pure and adorable and I absolutely love it now. Even Akito couldn’t resist Tohru’s embrace.
We also learn of the original promise and the true story behind the curse. Unlike the story we were told at the start of the series, “god” was actually just a lonely person with great power who befriended a stray cat and eventually invited all the other animals that composed the Chinese Zodiac to many banquets. The story became an interesting message about mortality and that things aren’t meant to last for eternity. Out of all the animals, it was the cat that didn’t want eternity and stated all thing need to end eventually. The cat was essentially forced into this eternal bond when it didn’t even want it. And man, I actually teared up when it showed the cat, with the last of its strength tell god that mortality isn’t a bad thing and the time it spent with god was most precious to it. Kind of like how someone spending the time they have left with someone special. Unfortunately, the message was lost over the others feeling betrayed over how the cat said it didn’t want eternity with them. Which probably was the root of why all the other Zodiac members looked down on the cat in the family and those ugly feelings transformed it into a monster.
The original promise was never meant to be a curse, but it was a promise between friends who wanted to share eternity together, a never ending banquet. At the time, it probably seemed like a wonderful thing. However, over time, it started to become a burden to those who held the Zodiac spirits inside of them and it became like the situation with the cat, they were all forced into something they didn’t want. Even god realized the burdens this promise put on so many generations and repented while also thanking everyone one last time as the cat’s wish finally came true. “God” finally parted ways with the Zodiac to make friends with other people.
This episode was absolutely fantastic. It hit all the right emotions and after so much pain, we get such a satisfying end to everyone’s curse. I’m sure next episode is going to touch upon the state of Yuki’s curse and I’ll be all sorts of emotional over him so that’s something to look forward to lol. But man, only two more episodes. I’m both looking forward to seeing how they’ll end the anime but also dreading it because this adaptation has been a nostalgic RIDE.