“That Isn’t What I Want” is a typical Fruits Basket episode, with ridiculous humor balancing out some pretty intense emotional scenes. You’d be hard-pressed to find many series that top off a dramatic, introspective monologue with someone kicking a soccer ball in that person’s face. Those moments of levity are necessary in order to prevent this episode from getting too heavy.
“That Isn’t What I Want” continues Yuki’s breakthrough from the previous episode, where he reveals that he never had any romantic feelings for Tohru, but attempted to force them because he was so embarrassed of viewing her as a motherly figure. There is a lot that can be said, in this scene, on the nature of love and how it comes in many forms; Fruits Basket actually does a fairly good job at exploring all of these, from familial to platonic to romantic.
But to be honest, just the fact that this series takes traditional shoujo tropes – indeed, traditional romantic tropes in general – and thoroughly deconstructs them is brilliant. That Yuki, who would typically be one leg of a love triangle, never views the heroine romantically and in fact actively rejects the notion, is a masterful storytelling device. And to think, Fruits Basket was written two decades ago.
I can also appreciate Yuki’s fervent desire not just to find someone that will love and accept him but also to find his own purpose in life. It’s another form of love: self-love. Yuki, isolated as he was from a young age, has never really experienced any kind of love. It’s actually quite emotionally mature of him that he was able to recognize that his feelings for Tohru weren’t romantic, and I love that the way he realized it was by observing Tohru’s interactions with Kyo.
It’s important that Yuki runs across Machi at this point in time. With his class performing Cinderella, and everyone disappointed that Yuki isn’t cast as the Prince, Machi comes along and says she doesn’t see Yuki as being prince-like at all. This isn’t the first time she’s been able to see through him; in this case, she correctly identifies that Yuki’s “prince-like” qualities are a shield he hides behind. He hates being idolized, and all he wants is to be seen as a person and not an ideal.
“That Isn’t What I Want” is still a fairly Yuki-centric episode, but we do get some movement in the other arcs, particularly Tohru and Kyo. It’s heartbreaking, sometimes, watching the two of them interact. That Kyo knows he’s in love with Tohru but thinks nothing can ever happen guts me on a regular basis. It’s still so hard for him to know how to treat her; he’ll do something that inadvertently causes her pain, and then he feels guilty about it. But really, he will go to great lengths to make her happy.
Kyo still has a lot of stuff to figure out. We know the cherished cap was originally Kyo’s, and he didn’t want it anymore after Yuki touched it, but hopefully, we’ll soon learn why Kyo was so affected to discover it’s now in Tohru’s possession. I also hope we can expand upon Kyo’s “flashback” of Akito; to me, it seems as though much of Kyo’s hatred towards Yuki is misplaced aggression. Kyo doesn’t really hate Yuki, he hates himself. He just channels it in another direction.
I am very excited to see their class’s version of Cinderella, and everything revolving around this play is pure gold. The rehearsal scene was just fantastic. I can’t believe it took seeing them in action for their classmates to realize they horribly miscast the play. Did any of them honestly think that Tohru would be at all capable of playing the evil stepmother?
I also cannot wait to see which of the Somas are in the audience. Shigure, we know, is determined to see a play in which Kyo has been cast as a prince. Ayame will probably be there in order to support Yuki. (Plus, Ayame busting in to do costumes, with a permission slip that just said “OK”, is just fantastic. I also love how much Ayame’s and Yuki’s relationship must have grown that Yuki actually went to Ayame for this favor.) That was Momiji’s voice we heard over the end card, so I imagine he’ll be there; likely Haru will attend as well. All of this speculation is mostly to address the fact that it’s amazing the Soma family will be supporting each other this way, since it doesn’t seem like they used to be a family that did that.
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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