Now here comes Fruits Basket, with your weekly dose of hysterical sobbing. Just in case you’d forgotten how awful and toxic the extended Soma family is, “Ask Him for Me” comes along to remind you.
I waffle back and forth as to who the worst parent in the Soma family is. “Ask Him for Me” puts Momiji’s dad near, if not at, the top of the list for asking his son to give up something he’s good at, something he loves, something he wants to do for the rest of his life, because the little sister who doesn’t know he exists might see him at some point. He takes advantage of Momiji’s love for his family that he will never be a part of to manipulate him into doing what’s best for him.
Which is why I love so much that said little sister basically went “f— that noise” (or an age-appropriate version) and goes after Momiji anyway. It highlights just how selfish and nonsensical the adults in this series are. Momo is young, but she isn’t stupid. She knows she has some connection to Momiji and she wants to maintain it. It breaks my heart that all Momo wants is for Momiji to be her brother, and all Momiji wants is his family, and yet the adults are too self-involved to care.
This episode really hits hard. Tohru is probably the most wholesome anime character in existence. She wants everyone to be happy and is able to see the good in all of them, and that’s why she runs herself ragged all over the Soma estate. Her dearest wish is to see her family again, especially her mother, but she can’t because they’re gone. So she doesn’t understand why people like Momiji and Uotani can’t see the people they love when they’re right there.
Fruits Basket likes to remind the audience that there are different forms of love and there are different kinds of families. The Soma parents are just The Worst, but Tohru’s mother is the source of her strength. That Tohru is willing to risk so much for her friends – even the Somas, whom she has not known for that long – is a testament to her character. She feels so much and asks for so little.
That’s why it seems that every episode brings us closer to her breaking down. Her mother is always in her thoughts, but it’s been different since she officially met Akito. In “Ask Him for Me”, she cries in front of both Momiji and Kyo, and in the latter situation, she didn’t even realize she had started crying. There is a lot of trauma in her past that she has pushed past so as not to affect those around her, and it’s coming to the surface.
I love that we ended the episode on a Kyo/Tohru moment. (I also love that she went to Kyo to ask about Kureno, when it would have made much more sense to ask Yuki.) Kyo is so in love with her at this point it’s ridiculous – teasing her about a possible crush then vowing to help her win this mysterious person. He wants her to be happy, and he doesn’t think they have a future together. Just in case you needed another reason to cry during this episode.
And don’t worry. That mysterious woman who almost discovered Tohru? We’ll see her again.
Have you seen “Ask Him for Me”? What did you think?
Author: Jamie Sugah
Jamie has a BA in English with a focus in creative writing from The Ohio State University. She self-published her first novel, The Perils of Long Hair on a Windy Day, which is available through Amazon. She is currently an archivist and lives in New York City with her demon ninja vampire cat. She covers television, books, movies, anime, and conventions in the NYC area.
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