Things are progressing much more rapidly than anticipated in this final season of Fruits Basket. There is a lot going on in “I Mean…You Know, Right?” that obviously I will be unpacking in my normal rambling way in a bit, but suffice it to say that this episode continues the denouement started last week. After this week, I think it’s fair to say that the previous episode was truly the beginning of the end.
I don’t know if it was ever confirmed anywhere exactly how many episodes would be in the final season. There was a comment from one of the voice actors, I think, that indicated that there would be 63 episodes total, meaning that the third and last season would only consist of 13 episodes. As it stands, we’re on par to meet that without losing all that much of the manga, though with everything that happened in “I Mean…You Know, Right?” it certainly seems as though this is speeding rapidly out of control.
I binged the manga early in season 1, simply because I couldn’t wait to find out what happened. I haven’t read it since, so I don’t have the greatest memory of when things happen and in what order, but the online chatter says that the events of this episode happen a little bit earlier than they do in the manga. The anime has, on occasion, rearranged the order of chapters, most likely to get a better flow. I have faith in this adaptation, though, which has done a stellar job so far.
Have I talked enough nonsense in order to leave space for spoilers? Good, because holy wow, Momiji broke his curse.
I knew that Momiji was the first (second) Soma to break his curse, but after what happened last week with Haru, and the fact that Akito was thinking about Haru when the bond snapped, made me briefly forget that it is, in fact, Momiji who is now free.
I absolutely love both scenes with Momiji and Akito in “I Mean…You Know, Right?” In the first, right after the bond breaks, Akito comes to Momiji and begs him not to leave her behind. This behavior makes Momiji realize how pathetic and small Akito is. Later, Akito tries to manipulate Momiji into staying; this worked on Kureno but it doesn’t work on Momiji.
So why is Momiji able to resist but Kureno was not? Kureno was young when his bond broke, potentially the same age as Momiji if not younger, so it isn’t necessarily that Momiji is more mature than Kureno was. And whereas Momiji has never known life without “god”, Kureno has vivid memories of Akito being born and the joyous moment it was, which no doubt affected his choice. The older generation Zodiac members have a very different opinion of Akito than the younger ones do.
But mostly, I think that it’s Tohru’s influence. Momiji has seen what real kindness and love look like – not the fake, twisted “love” that exists with the Zodiac bond – and he wants that for himself.
But it is sort of a bittersweet moment. Yes, Momiji is free of Akito’s influence as well as the curse, which means he will be able to have a life outside the Soma compound. He can date without worry, and most importantly for him, he doesn’t have to feel guilty about interacting with his family. At the same time, though, he has lost the connection to the others. Haru and Kyo, the two Zodiac members who see Momiji after his curse breaks, are able to tell that something is different. Momiji no doubt is worried that he will be left adrift the same way that Kureno is without that connection to bind them all together.
Not to mention the fact that the curse being broken doesn’t fix anything in his life. His mother still doesn’t remember him. (I go back and forth on which Soma has the most heartbreaking backstory, but I tend to lean towards Momiji. His own mother begging Hatori to remove her memories of her son, and his bastard of a father forcing Momiji to walk on eggshells around her because of it, is just cruel.) It doesn’t make Tohru love him. He can’t have what he really wants, even without the curse.
I appreciate Momiji’s acknowledgement that he’ll likely have hardships now that he’s not a Zodiac, but the whole point of life is to live, and living means experiencing the good and the bad. He’s fully prepared for a lonely existence, but at least he’s free to make that choice on his own.
Now, how did Momiji’s curse break before anyone else’s? Momiji has done very little to defy Akito the way Shigure has or push at the boundaries of the bond like Yuki and Haru. It’s true that the curse has been weakening for a while now, but was it just his growth spurt and his belief that he could be a rival for Tohru’s affections that caused the split?
I do wish that he hadn’t made his curse-breaking into a joke with Kyo, especially as he knows just how miserable Kyo’s life will be because of it. But what is the point of telling the others if he doesn’t even know how it happened? It would just be getting their hopes up. Also, although Momiji has feelings for Tohru, he knows she doesn’t have the same feelings for him that she does for Kyo. I suspect he’s trying to give Kyo a nudge, make him fight for Tohru.
While we’re on the subject, Kyo has been on the back burner for much of this season, but he’s due to return to the spotlight very soon. It was a very big deal for him to acknowledge his feelings for Tohru, but he seems determined not to act on them. He doesn’t want to put either of them in that position, considering he’s sure he’ll be imprisoned for the rest of his life. There’s an interesting parallel there with Akito in that both of them have to confront the truths that Momiji presented to them, and both of them are unwilling to do so.
But I do like that the rest of the Somas are warming up to Kyo. In “I Mean…You Know, Right?” Hiro refrained from insulting him, even if he was very smug about being the “bigger person”, and Kisa stumbled over a simple hello. But her simple statement that he was really very nice said a lot more in its meaning than in her words.
It isn’t just the younger generation’s changing opinion of Akito that causes the curse to weaken; it’s also in the way they change their view of Kyo. Before now, the Cat has always been reviled, cloistered away from everyone and never allowed to leave. But now they are starting to get to know, and like, the Cat. The Somas’ long-held traditions are changing.
This also ties into the episode’s opening sequence, which seems to be three random scenes featuring three potential couples. Ayame, Hatori, and Yuki (and Kyo) are all seeking romances with people outside the Soma family. I’d wager this is not something normal for the Zodiac members. This small, seemingly innocuous rebellion is either caused by or directly contributing to the weakening of the curse. The Zodiac bond is supposed to be about love, but if that were all that they needed in life, they wouldn’t need to seek companionship elsewhere.
Another scene of note in “I Mean…You Know, Right?” is that flashback of Akito with her father. That scene should emphasize how cult-like the Soma family is in regards to the Zodiac curse. Akito was so little, and her father was essentially brainwashing her. She’s special, everyone will love her, she’ll never have to try… So she didn’t try. And when people don’t worship at her feet, she gets angry. That scene is important context for why Akito is the way she is, but it’s just reiterating what we’ve already witnessed from lesser members of the family.
What did you think of “I Mean…You Know, Right?” Who do you think will be next to break their curse?
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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