Welcome to your weekly punch in the gut, aka the latest episode of Fruits Basket. While last week’s episode was heavy, it at least ended on a hopeful note. “It Was So Foolish”, however, not only made me cry but it made me terrified of what’s to come.
There have been a lot of episodes of this show that have made me cry, so it’s unsurprising that “It Was So Foolish” is just one more in a long string of sob-inducing moments. But listening to Tohru’s grandfather explain that he purposely calls her by her mother’s name just so that she realizes Kyoko won’t be forgotten ripped my heart out. I understand why he does this, because he was there when Tohru had to move out of the apartment and obviously saw her struggling to keep it together. But both Hanajima and Uotani have spoken of Kyoko fondly and often, so I don’t think she’s needed that reminder, and I do believe the continuation of that has contributed to Tohru being unable to move on.
As the series has progressed, you start to realize that Tohru’s persistent habit about carrying a photo of her mother everywhere and acting as though it’s really Kyoko – even going so far as to take the photo into the water at the beach – becomes less a cute personality quirk and more a sign that she is struggling to move on. It’s unsurprising; losing a parent, for some people, is never easy, especially at a young age. There is no right way to grieve, and there is no perfect timeline for moving past it. In Tohru’s case, I’m sure the photo was a coping mechanism at the beginning, but now it’s starting to hinder more than help.
This episode proved that one of the biggest obstacles in Tohru and Kyo admitting their feelings to each other is the overwhelming guilt they both feel. We can guess at Kyo’s, after that whopper of an ending scene featuring Kyo standing over Kyoko’s body. But Tohru’s guilt stems from the fact that she feels that her feelings for Kyo mean she isn’t putting her mother first anymore.
And she shouldn’t; Kyoko is gone, and despite the wobbles in Tohru’s childhood after the death of her father, I highly doubt that Kyoko would want her to cling to her memory so much that it gets in the way of her own happiness. Loving someone new doesn’t mean you replace someone else; that’s not how love works. But the scene at the end, where Tohru was about to say something to Kyo, and she imagined her mother jumping from the photo to stand behind him is enough proof that Tohru has a lot of baggage to sort through before she can be honest about her feelings.
At least to Kyo. It was extremely satisfying to watch Tohru admit how she feels about Kyo, even if it was only to Rin (and Kagura).
We knew that Tohru’s childhood was tragic. We’ve known that from the very beginning, with Tohru literally living in a tent and worrying about losing her picture of her mother to a landslide. But it’s not until “It Was So Foolish” that we can truly grasp just how traumatizing her upbringing was. First of all, the fact that anyone was commenting that she didn’t look enough like her father to be a comfort to her mother… Tohru was Kyoko’s daughter. That should have been enough.
But it wasn’t. Even as young as she was, Tohru could see that it would take drastic efforts to pull her mother back from the brink. I believe Kyoko would have come out of it eventually, but who’s to say? However, Tohru took it upon herself to be the link to her father she thought her mother needed, and it was detrimental to her own development. (Remember her reaction to Hiro asking about her dad back in season 2?) Imitating her father’s speech pattern to the point where she was practicing it alone in the mirror… What kind of person would Tohru be now, if she hadn’t had to be that then?
It’s obvious that Tohru is someone who hides her feelings. She cries in private; she doesn’t tell people when things are going wrong. She was living in a tent to spare her grandfather and no one had any idea until Yuki and Shigure literally followed her home. What’s awful is when you learn that she has been hiding her feelings for more than a decade. I don’t think, until she met the Somas, that she had ever been truly honest with herself about anything.
It harkens back to “The Most Foolish Traveler in the World”. Tohru would set herself on fire to keep others warm. But she will never take anything for herself.
We haven’t seen much of Kyo yet this season, but that’s because – as evidenced by this episode – the narrative is building to something truly huge. The climax of this series clearly centers around Tohru, Kyo, and the Zodiac curse. However, we’ve spent enough time with enough of the other characters that their stories need resolution, too. But now that we’re approaching the halfway point of this season, it’s time to get back on track.
“It Was So Foolish” is important for Kyo as well. We learn that he was present for Kyoko’s death, and that her potential last words were “I’ll never forgive you”. We don’t have the context for that, but you have to admit, it’s difficult to think of a context in which that isn’t bad.
This explains so much about Kyo and Tohru’s early interactions. It’s why he felt so guilty visiting Kyoko’s grave with Tohru and her friends, and why he went alone this time. It’s why he tried so hard to avoid getting close to Tohru when she first moved in with the Somas. It’s why he believes he deserves the Cat cage (though I’m sure his mother’s suicide plays no small part in that). It’s why he panics at the very idea of her possibly returning his feelings. It’s why it took him an entire season to refer to Tohru by her name.
“It Was So Foolish” is yet another episode where Shigure is The Worst™. Here we have him essentially mocking Rin for being manipulated in an ongoing brutal tug-of-war between Akito and her mother. As though it’s Rin’s fault for being desperate enough to break the curse that she genuinely believed Ren wanted to help. Even if he did reveal to her that the Zodiac bonds are fraying and give us all the knowledge that this is the first time all of the Zodiac have been “alive” at once, so it must be significant, do little in the face of him being just such a jerk.
It’s hard to know how much of what happens around Shigure is manufactured and how much is just pure dumb luck, but I do feel that Tohru just happening to stumble into Shigure and Rin’s conversation was intentional. Shigure seems to believe that Tohru is the key to breaking the curse wide open, and I’m fairly certain he’s going to use every trick in his arsenal to push her into recognizing that, no matter who gets hurt in the process.
In this case, he’s made it very clear that no one is going to help Kyo. Kyo is the Soma family scapegoat. As long as he exists, the rest of the Zodiac can feel better about their lot in life because at least they’re not the Cat. The curse has to be broken first, because as it stands, even Kyo accepts that he’ll have to go into confinement.
As for other moments in “It Was So Foolish”, I love the opening scene where Tohru finally gets to see Rin after having worried about her for the past few episodes. I also loved the very different reactions everyone had to their reunion – Haru being thrilled that Rin had a friend, Yuki panicking over the violence, and Shigure just chilling, the embodiment of the Michael Jackson popcorn GIF.
I also love the return of Kagura. After season 1, I thought she would have a bigger role in this story, but since then, she’s only made a handful of appearances. And even though we learned in season 2 that her “love” for Kyo was only ever really born out of pity, I appreciate that she is doing her best to make up for this behavior by ensuring that Tohru’s feelings for him are genuine.
I really appreciate the little detail at the end – in the ED, Kyoko’s picture is broken, since Tohru dropped it while comforting Kyo.
What did you think of “It Was So Foolish”?
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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