Fruits Basket follows the story of a 16-year-old high schooler named Honda Tohru, whose life is turned upside down after a tragedy. Suddenly orphaned and not having a place to stay, Tohru decides to take matters into her own hands and moves out into a tent in the woods of a private land owned by the Sohma family.
Her secret is discovered by the owners one day when they stumble upon Tohru’s living conditions and extend an invitation to stay with them. After arriving at their house, Tohru realizes that the Sohma, too, have their own secret. When hugged by someone of the opposite gender, they temporarily transform into one of the animals of the Chinese Zodiac.
Albeit funny, this is a curse that holds a dark history. Tohru, with all her kindness and resilience, moves forward and continues meeting more Sohma family members and learning more about them. Fruits Basket explores themes of found family, love, friendship, personal growth, and self-discovery as Tohru and the Sohma family navigate their life together.
Here are some interesting facts about Fruits Basket:
Tohru’s Terrible Living Conditions
Tohru, after losing her mother in a car accident, has to move in with her grandfather but is unable to live with him as his house is under renovation.
Tohru reassures her grandfather that she will find someone to live with, but not wanting to burden any of her friends, Tohru decides to take matters into her own hands and moves out into a tent in the woods of a private land owned by the Sohma family.
Tohru keeps her living conditions a secret from her friends to avoid making them worried and tells them she’s still living with her father’s side of the family. Her tent is surrounded by slugs and ants and isn’t really strong enough to last in typhoons, but she is doing her best to survive.
Yuki And Ayame Aren’t Your Usual Sibling Pair
Sohma Yuki and Sohma Ayame are brothers, but they have a complex sibling dynamic with conflicting emotions of love and resentment.
In the past, Ayame was emotionally distant, so Yuki felt neglected and abandoned and now is resentful of this past behavior. However, Ayame does care about Yuki and wants to be a part of his life.
Their relationship evolves over the course of the series, and they begin to understand each other better. Yuki realizes Ayame had his own struggles and has grown as a person over time, but there are still moments of conflict between them. Despite their differences, they begin to appreciate each other more.
Kureno’s Complex Relation With His Own Freedom
Kureno is one of the oldest Zodiac members of the Sohma Family, but his curse has been broken for nearly over a decade. Despite being free from the curse, Kureno doesn’t want Akito to be lonely, so he decides to keep pretending to be a part of the Zodiac and continues to stay beside Akito out of a sense of duty and guilt of being the only member who has absolute freedom.
Kureno’s character is quite similar to Tohru’s. His kindness and selflessness are one of the main reasons why he is dominated by Akito, and he doesn’t rebuke any of Akito’s abusive behavior or anything she puts him through.
However, he soon realizes that going along to Akito’s whims has only made her worse and that his presence will always remind Akito of her mistakes, so he leaves the Sohma Estate and finally lives his freedom.
Akito’s Gender Is Kept A Secret
Ren Sohma, Akito’s mother, after discovering that her child is going to be a girl, demanded to raise her as a male rather than a female out of fear that the child might replace her in Akira’s heart. Ren threatened to abort the child if they did not comply with her wishes, so Akito was presented as a boy.
Immediately after being conceived and already being possessed by the spirit of God, Akito Sohma “appeared” in the dreams of the four eldest children of the Sohma Family, Hatori, Ayame, Shigure, and Kureno. They are the only ones who know that Akito is actually a girl and are made to keep this a secret from everyone else.
Hanajima Saki Is Not A Witch
Saki has psychic powers that are in the form of electric waves. She has the ability to sense the good and evil in people. She is the first one in her family to be born with these powers and is able to read the inner thoughts of people around her by picking up on their mental waves.
Saki was ostracised in school because of this and started being bullied by other kids in class. They started calling her names like witches and tried feeding her live newts.
Despite all of this, Tohru is the first person in school to truly accept her, which helps Saki control her powers. Saki’s powers are also different from spiritual powers, so she cannot see ghosts as they don’t have mental waves.
Momiji’s And Hiro’s Curse Gets Broken Early
After Kureno, who is the first person whose curse gets broken, Momiji and Hiro manage to break out of their curses as well, it is not conscious, but they realize it almost instantly when it gets broken. Akito senses the bond breaking immediately as well.
Hiro, after noticing his curse got broken, immediately picks up his sister and hugs her. His mother witnesses this and is overjoyed, but Hiro breaks down in tears, saying it feels bittersweet. Akito, who was about to stab her mother when Hiro’s curse broke, stopped.
Akito shows up at Momiji’s house and begs him to stay when she realizes his curse is broken, but he coldly turns her away. The next day he tells Akito that he cannot stay by her side and is going to find her own.
Momiji’s Mother Rejects Him Body And Soul
Momiji, right after being born, was rejected by his mother the first time she held him. People who are cursed with the Zodiac are born two months early, and the same happened with Momiji, which worried his mom. Her fears came true when she first held him, and he transformed into a rabbit, and she had a mental breakdown.
Momiji’s mother admits that giving birth to Momiji has been her biggest regret in life, and she would like to forget the fact that he is her son.
Momiji overhears this and decides to help Hatori by erasing his mom’s memory so she can be happy again. He decides to watch from afar as his parents have another child in fear of destroying everything they have built.
Sohma Akira Is An Incompetent Parent
Akira earnestly loved his daughter Akito, but he failed at parenting her properly. Despite it being true, repeatedly telling a child that she is destined to be loved unconditionally, Akito begins to believe that she is supposed to be loved equally as much by every member of the Zodiac, no matter what she does.
Akira spoilt Akito to unhealthy levels never reprimanded her or taught her good from bad. His intention was not misplaced. Considering Ren’s hatred towards Akito, Akira just wanted to be doing it, but he failed in his duties as a parent.
Hatsuharu Has Another Dark Side
Hatsuharu has a split personality where one side, the side he usually shows, is calm and laid back while the other is easily enraged and aggressive. His two personalities are black and white, like yin and yang, also called dark and cheerful.
It is later revealed that the “Black Haru” personality is a defense mechanism that Haru created in order to cope with the mocking insults he received when he was a kid due to him being the Ox Zodiac who gets tricked by the Rat into being second and is called an idiot for it.
Rin’s Family As A Pretend Play
Rin was shown as a cheerful girl in the past, but after going through an abusive and traumatic past and finally being abandoned by her parents, she changed for the worse.
Rin loved her parents a lot, but a lot of things that they did felt straight out of a play. She questioned whether they were really a happy family, which caused her parents, who were playing pretend, to break their act and lash out. This ends up with Rin getting abused and blaming herself for breaking her family apart.
Rin still holds on to hope that they will go back, but her mother tells her that it would be better if she never saw Rin again because she doesn’t know how to love her anymore, and it finally breaks Rin.
Rin’s Scar Was Caused By Akito
Rin and Hatsuharu fall in love with each other after Haru helps Rin come out from her depressive episodes, and they start a secret relationship, but Rin is scared of Akito finding out.
Akito eventually does find out and immediately calls Rin to question her about who seduced the other first. Rin, in order to protect Haru, takes the blame. Akito starts mentally torturing Rin about Haru being better off without her and then pushes her out of the window.
Rin, lying bleeding on the ground, vows to herself that she will find a way to break the curse, so Haru can be free from both Akito and herself and find happiness.
Kazuma Is The Grandson Of The Previous Cat Zodiac
Kazuma is allowed to stay “inside” the Sohma Estate because he is the grandson of the previous cat zodiac. His grandfather was locked in the Cat’s Room, and Kazuma only met him once. Kazuma also overheard his grandmother saying that she only stayed with the Cat out of pity. This seemed to have struck him and left a mark.
After watching how everyone treated Kyo, Kazuma realizes just how cruel all of this is, and he takes in Kyo to erase his own guilty conscious.
Kazuma is incredibly fearless and determined to make sure Kyo doesn’t have to go through the same fate as his grandfather and spend the rest of his life caged all alone. He doesn’t care that he has to go against Akito for this.
Kyo And Kyoko Met Years Ago
Kyo met Kyoko when he would just hang around in the neighborhood to avoid going to Kazuma’s place immediately after school. Kyoko’s focus immediately zeroed in on his vibrant hair and the fact that they had similar names. Kyo was initially distant, but Kyoko kept being persistent until she broke through his walls.
Kyoko also understood Kyo’s relationship with his parents and made him forgive himself for existing. They eventually grew closer, but one day, when Tohru went missing, and Kyoko was hysterical, Kyo promised he would bring her back safely, but Yuki got to her first. This made Kyo angry, and despite the fact that Kyoko said he kept his promise of protecting Tohru, Kyo never saw or visited Kyoko again.
Kyoko’s Last Words To Kyo
Kyoko’s last words before dying are one of the major plot points that direct the narrative. Kyo was there when Kyoko got hit by the car, and he could have reached out to save her, but in doing so, he would have transformed, so he couldn’t save her, and he had to watch her die.
Kyoko’s last words to Kyo were, “I won’t forgive you.” which Kyo thinks means Kyoko is not going to forgive him for letting her die even though what Kyoko actually intended to say was that “I won’t forgive you if you do no protect Tohru.”
Kyo’s Mother Committed Suicide
Kyo was rarely allowed to leave the house because of his overprotective mother since she wanted to keep Kyo’s true form hidden. Not only Kyo but also his mother was hated by the Sohma Family for giving birth to Kyo. Even Kyo’s father abused his mother verbally and emotionally.
Kyo’s mother used to seek comfort from Kyo, but then everything became too much. Being unable to talk to anyone or confide in anyone and the shame of giving birth to Kyo while still having to protect him led to her committing suicide.
Yuki’s Mother Is Materialistic
Yuki’s mother wants to have a good life, and she doesn’t care if it is at the expense of her own children. She is extremely controlling, which does not set right with Ayame, and that is why he hates her, but Yuki is young and cannot defy his mother. He reached out to Ayame for help but got rejected, which led to their relationship falling apart as well.
Yuki’s mother continued using Yuki for her personal benefit and acted oblivious to all the torture Akito put Yuki through. She went as far as to say that she wished her sons weren’t born so she would have been less burdened.
Kyo’s Bet With Akito
Akito makes a bet with Kyo, which he agrees to out of desperation. If Kyo manages to beat Yuki before graduating from high school, he can become a member of the Zodiac, but if now, then he is going to have to spend his entire life in the Cat’s Room.
Kyo accepts the bet and tries to defeat Yuk during the course of the series. Akito emotionally manipulates Kyo into blaming himself for troubling Tohru, and Kyo accepts his eventual confinement.
Akito Did Psychological To Damage To Yuki
When Yuki met Akito for the first time, he cried. Akito and Yuki used to play together in Akito’s room, and she would constantly tell him how because he was a ‘Rat’, he was the closest to God. Yuki had respiratory issues growing up, so his coughing caused Akito to have angry outbursts.
Akito, after being abused by Ren and witnessing Kureno’s curse-breaking, goes insane. She kept Yuki locked up in a room with windows shut for days. She painted the walls black and started psychologically torturing him. This has a huge negative impact on Yuki, and he is mentally scarred and traumatized.
Uotani Arisa Gets Rescued By Kyoko
Arisa was a member of an all-girl gang called “The Ladies,” and she idolized Kyoko Honda’s reputation as “The Red Butterfly” during her gang days. At first, when she first saw Kyoko and Tohru, their happy family life sickened her because of her own troubled family issues.
Arisa was neglected by her father and abandoned by her mother eventually stopped going to school to join a gang. However, after spending time with Kyoko and Tohru, she wanted to turn her life around but could not leave the gang. She was beaten up by the other gang members but was saved by Kyoko.
Tohru’s Cap Actually Belonged To Kyo
Kyo got a hat from Kazuma as a gift, but it blew away in the wind. He found the hat in Yuki’s hands. Kyo absolutely hated Yuki and refused to take his hat back, which ended up with Yuki just keeping the hat.
Yuki found Tohru crying when he was walking around in the streets. When Tohru saw Yuki, she started running after him in hopes of getting saved. Yuki leads her to Kyoko and gives Tohru the hat right before leaving.
Hatori Almost Erased Tohru’s Memories
Hatori is the Sohma family doctor, and he has the ability to erase memories. When Yuki was young, he ran into a girl while playing and transformed, so Hatori had to erase the memories of all the kids present. He also had to erase the memories of Kana and Momiji’s mother.
Tohru, who knows the Sohma family secret, was also supposed to forget about it. Yuki warned Tohru not to be alone with Hatori because of the same reason. However, before Hatori can attempt to erase Tohru’s memories, she slips, and in order to save her, Hatori transforms into a seahorse.
Shigure And Akito’s Dynamic Is Hard To Understand
Shigure doesn’t speak to Akito the way Akito wants to be spoken to, nor does he speak as the other Zodiac members do. He is direct and does not treat Akito as a superior which Akito and the other elders take as disrespect and cruelty.
Akito and Shigure’s dynamic stems from a lifelong struggle with power inside an isolated and hierarchical world, and Shigure stands up to Akito unlike anybody else. Shigure also gets banished from the main Sohma Estate for cheating on Akito with Akito’s mother. Their relationship is very complex and toxic.
Hatori Fell In Love, But It Did Not End Well
Hatori falls in love with his assistant Kana but is hesitant to hold her because of the curse. Kana eventually does find out about his curse and just accepts it and promises to still stay by his side, causing Hatori to break down in tears feeling like he has been saved and forgiven.
After two months of dating, Hatori and Kana beg Akito to let them get married, which enrages Akito, and he injures Hatori’s left eye. This makes Kana spiral, and she is unable to live normally. Hatori, not being able to watch her this way, erases her memories and lets her go.
Mayuko Has Always Been There
Mayuko Shiraki, Kana’s best friend, whose family bookstore Hatori sometimes visited, also had feelings for Hatori. Mayuko fell in love with Hatori at first sight, but he knew Kana and Hatori were dating, so she kept quiet about her feelings because she did not want to come in between them.
Mayuko and Hatori do eventually start dating towards the end of the series after clearing a bunch of misunderstandings created by Shigure as a prank.
Momiji Is Multifaceted
Momiji is incredibly intelligent and multilingual. He is fluent in Japanese, German, and English. He is also a very talented violinist.
Momoji began playing the violin when he was very young and has expressed the desire to become a professional musician in the future. He is shown playing the violin on multiple occasions. Momiji’s love for music and being a talented violinist is just one aspect of his multifaceted personality.
Machi Doesn’t Like Perfection
Throughout her childhood, Machi was pressured into being perfect by her mother until the day all her efforts were discarded, and because of this, Machi developed a hatred for “perfection” and went around destroying things that were passable as perfect or too tidy, like the perfectly arranged student council files, a new box of chalk and freshly fallen, clean snow. Machi’s hatred for perfection can also be seen in the state of her apartment, which she never cleans or fixes.
Shigure Is Actually A Successful Novelist
Shigure is a writer and a very successful one at that. He publishes literary novels under his own name Sohma Shigure and erotic novels under the alias of Noa Kiritani.
Shigure is pretty irresponsible with his deadlines which is often a pain for Mitsuru, his editor. Shigure running off without meeting his deadlines makes her always lose her cool.
Ritsu’s Journey To Discovering His True Identity
Ritsu had grown up being called worthless by the Sohma adults and watching his parents apologize on his behalf constantly. Ritsu felt incredibly useless to his parents and decided to dress up like a girl to be more comfortable at home and around them. Ever since he wore Kagura’s dress once as a child, it made him realize that wearing a girl’s clothes makes him feel calmer.
Later in the series, it is revealed that Ritsu cut his hair short and started dressing up in male clothing, finally more at peace with himself.
Kagura’s Feelings For Kyo Are Actually Just Out Of Guilt
Kyo and Kagura used to play together often as kids. One day, Kagura insisted she wanted to wear Kyo’s bracelet, and despite Kyo being against the idea, she took it. This caused Kyo to transform.
Kagura witnessed Kyo’s true form and was horrified. She ran away from Kyo, and this made Kyo start avoiding her. Kagura, instead of acknowledging how this hurt Kyo, convinced herself that she loved him, and by accepting “Kyo the Monster,” she could be free from the guilt of playing with Kyo only out of pity and running away from his true form.
Kisa Sealed Her Own Ability To Speak
Kisa was constantly bullied for her unnatural golden hair and eyes during middle school. This led to everyone ignoring Kisa, but they still noticed her whenever she would say something and would laugh at anything and everything they said.
Prior to this, Hiro, who had fallen in love with Kisa, confessed his feelings for her to Akito, and Akito beat Kisa up. Hiro, out of guilt for hurting Kisa, started avoiding her, which made it impossible for Kisa to reach out to him for help. This made her seal her ability to speak.
Some Sohma Families Were Normal
Cursed Zodiac members are not always accepted by their families, as seen a lot in the series, but there are some cases when their parents wholeheartedly accepted them as their children and treated them with just as much love as they would to a normal child.
Hiro, Kagura, and Ritsu are three members of the Zodiac who are revealed to have loving and accepting parents, and they have had a happy, supportive family despite being cursed.
Yuki’s Feelings For Tohru Are Not What It Seems
At the beginning of the series, there are many instances where it looks like Yuki might have romantic feelings for Tohru, like the staircase scene and the forehead kiss at the beach, and Yuki even tries to convince himself that he’s in love with her, but in reality, because of his neglectful childhood, Yuki had always been looking for a “mother” in Tohru.
Yuki eventually grows as a person and thanks Tohru for always accepting and helping him. Towards the end of the series, Yuki is finally able to tell Tohru his real feelings about how grateful he is and how she has been a mother figure to him throughout, and he finally calls her by her name.
Momiji Genuinely Falls In Love With Tohru
Momiji goes through a surprising amount of change in the final arc of the series, from his sudden growth spurt to his desire to be seen as a guy and to be taken seriously by Tohru because he has fallen in love with her.
Momiji never confesses to Tohru and watches her from a distance, as he can see Tohru is in love with Kyo. He is sad and tells Kyo about his broken curse and how it would have been better if Kyo’s curse had been broken instead because that would have made Tohru happier.
Tohru’s Polite Way Of Speaking
Tohru has a habit of talking formally and politely, but she does not always use this speech correctly. Tohru picked up this way of speaking after her father, Honda Katsuya, passed away so she could keep his memory alive for her mother.
Katsuya used to speak in a polite speech more than necessary, and people were tricked into thinking that he was just very polite, but Kyoko realized he was being sarcastic and facetious by speaking like that. Tohru, on the other hand, started to mimic his way of speaking superficially but out of sincerity.
The Origin Of The Name Tohru
Katsuya, Tohru’s father, decided to name her Tohru because “it bought out her hidden flavor, like adding salt to sweet things.”
Takuya, the mangaka, chose a name normally used only for men because she wanted to “balance out” her female characters by giving them male names. She also had other characters address Tohru as “Tohru-Kun” which is typically used for boys because it seems more dignified.
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