Welcome to Fruits Basket, where everyone is just a little bit screwed up and, with some exceptions, everyone’s parents are terrible. “I Hope It Snows Soon” gives us some insight as to why Machi acts the way she does, and potentially why Yuki feels so drawn to her.
“I Hope It Snows Soon” shows that while Soma parents completely suck, they certainly aren’t the only parents who have totally messed up their children. The episode opens with Machi, observing the snow through the window and remarking that she hates an undisturbed, freshly-fallen blanket of snow. She then, seemingly out of nowhere, knocks a box of chalk to the floor, causing the sticks to break. A pair of her classmates, in a complete failure to read the room, gleefully share this information with Yuki, while also passing along a juicy piece of gossip – the reason that Machi lives on her own is because her parents kicked her out after she tried to kill her brother.
The truth is, naturally, not nearly as salacious as the rumor, but it doesn’t really matter, because Yuki doesn’t for a moment believe that Machi would do something like that. When she doesn’t turn up for their student council meeting, Kakeru and Yuki go to her place, where Yuki discovers that she lives in a pigsty. Machi is clearly embarrassed by her living conditions, but Yuki’s room had a similar appearance at the beginning of the series, and he recognizes why.
Yuki understands exactly why Machi lives the way that she does, because he was the same way, although not for the same reasons. For Machi, who was raised with the expectations that she be perfect to win some imaginary arbitrary competition with her half-brother, being disorderly is her way of taking control of her own life.
I suspect that it was the same for Yuki, not because perfection was expected of him by his parents, but because everyone at school perceives him to be perfect. But also, he knew he would have little choice in his future, so he did what he could to make up for it. His mess wasn’t quite as excessive as Machi’s, but I suspect he might have gotten worse if not for the arrival of Tohru.
I loved everything about these interactions in “I Hope It Snows Soon”. Kakeru brought Yuki with him to Machi’s because he knew that Yuki wouldn’t judge, and also presumably that he would understand what she was going through. Kakeru handing Yuki the bra (which Machi gets mad at Yuki for) as well as his reaction to his phone going off were both light-hearted moments in an otherwise heavy plot.
Sometimes it seems to me as though Yuki is trying to be for Machi what Tohru was for him. There were a couple of near-kiss moments with him and Tohru in the beginning of the series, but those faded away as Yuki realized he didn’t have romantic intentions towards her. I don’t think he has the same reservations about Machi. And that moment of him casually breaking the chalk and not even pausing in his speech is probably one of the most underrated romantic moments in all of anime.
For me, the most heartbreaking moment of “I Hope It Snows Soon” was when Machi revealed that all she was doing was covering her younger brother with a blanket, and that her parents immediately assumed the worst and refused to listen to her explanation. They had already decided how she felt, they had already attributed a motive to her, and they weren’t going to change their minds. But honestly, I don’t think they ever truly thought she was a safety threat. I think that they finally have their new golden child son and they took the opportunity to get rid of Machi, their “boring”, “failed” daughter.
As a side note, in coming up with exceptions to “Soma parents are The Worst”, I realized quite a few of them actually aren’t? So just to make everyone feel slightly better about the atrocious parenting represented in this series, I would like to acknowledge that Kazuma, Satsuki (Hiro’s mom), and Kagura’s mom should be fully exempt from the Terrible Parents Club. (Also Kyoko, but I feel like that’s a given.) Okami (Ritsu’s mom) and Kisa’s mom mean well, but they are extremely overprotective in a way that makes their children kind of neurotic.
And I really appreciate that they included that brief scene where Hiro meets his baby sister for the first time, because Satsuki sunnily introducing the two and saying that him transforming wouldn’t matter because she would just hug them both was a nice counterpoint to learning all about Machi’s emotionally abusive parental units.
I don’t particularly care for Motoko, but I guess I can appreciate that they gave her a little bit of resolution as she graduated, with her sort of confessing to Yuki but honestly not expecting him to reciprocate. She may not be one of the main characters, but she has been there since the beginning, and it was nice to see that she seems to have grown a bit. Her sincere desire that she just wanted Yuki to be happy was nice, as was her refusal to hear his rejection because they were having a moment and she didn’t want it ruined.
Naturally, we must have a little Kyoru moment, which features the reverse of last week’s episode, with Tohru handing Kyo a flower. It’s not for him to keep, though, because they’re in the middle of decorating the auditorium for the graduation ceremony. Now, Uotani and Hanajima massively overreacting to any potential harm to Tohru can be a bit much at times, but I still found it funny that they completely freaked out that Kyo almost fell on Tohru but didn’t care at all whether or not he was all right.
It was nice to see Kagura again. (I’ve been thinking how odd it is that she is one of the only characters who doesn’t get a closeup shot in the OP and wondering if that means anything.) However, it scares me that we don’t have any idea where Rin is. The official story is that she’s in the hospital, but neither Shigure nor Hatori seem to know for certain, and that’s worrisome. Also, Kagura saying that she feels like Rin may not come back comes across as very ominous.
It’s also a little sad that only Kagura – and Tohru, who was looking for Rin last week – seem to care that she’s apparently missing. And then there was that ending scene, with someone – presumably Akito based on the appearance – leaving “the cat’s” shack with a pair of scissors, and we see some long, dark strands of hair falling from them. Something is clearly amiss.
I know it seemed like a lot happened in this episode and that we’re speeding too fast to the conclusion, but “I Hope It Snows Soon” is on pace with the rest of the series in that it only adapted about two chapters of the manga.
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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