It’s time for your weekly gut-punch in the form of Fruits Basket. “I’m Disappointed in You” focuses almost entirely on Kyo and Tohru as we finally get the story behind Kyoko’s last words and what Kyo has to do with her death. At least, we got Kyo’s perspective on it.
Crunchyroll seems to be a little bit confused this week, as the episode title and description on the website describe next week’s episode, but nevertheless, “I’m Disappointed in You” will rip your heart out regardless of what it says on the tin. Because in true anime fashion, we have a heartfelt confession in the rain tied in with a tragic backstory and imminent danger. It’s a perfect storm of anime tropes and we’re all just along for the ride.
You have to really feel for Kyo. He has spent his entire life being treated as a scapegoat for the cult he was born into, and he has internalized those feelings to the point where he can’t even imagine himself as someone who is worthy of love or kindness. He was blamed for his mother’s death; the entire Zodiac treats him as something they need scraped off the bottom of their shoes. And now we discover he feels responsible for Kyoko’s accident, because – in his mind – it was either save her life or reveal his secret, and he chose self-preservation over Kyoko.
I’d like to point out that this has been foreshadowed for quite some time, even earlier than most people may have guessed. This Tumblr post explains how Kyo witnessing Kyoko’s accident has been hinted at since season 1 episode 10.
But of course, a little kid is not responsible for his mother’s suicide. He didn’t choose to be born, and he certainly didn’t choose to be born the Cat in the Zodiac, and his father and any other adults blaming him for what happened are disgusting human beings.
Nor is he at all to blame for what happened to Kyoko. Naturally, in his mind, he sees the event in slow motion, and he thinks that his intervention is what caused her death. But truthfully, the accident probably happened in seconds, and even if he had decided to risk it, he might not have had time to save her anyway. (Also, not to victim blame, but she clearly wasn’t paying attention, considering literally everyone else ran for it. And the reckless driver is obviously the most to blame.)
Tohru doesn’t seem to blame him for it. She must understand what Kyo can’t see, because he’s too close to it, that it doesn’t really make a difference. He hasn’t done anything wrong, and so he doesn’t need to be forgiven. (Also, her belief that her mother wouldn’t have said that implies Kyo’s perception of the event is not to be trusted.) But Kyo is not at a place where he can absolve himself of the guilt he feels, which is why he consistently has tried to push Tohru away.
“I’m Disappointed in You” also explains Kyo’s intense, seemingly one-sided rivalry with Yuki. It’s amazing how their rivalry was about Tohru before it was ever about Tohru, with Yuki being the one to help Tohru even though Kyo was the one who spent all night searching for her. Yuki, to Kyo, is the epitome of everything he will never have in his life; he’s the Rat, and everyone loves him.
Kyo’s self-loathing is so strong, but it’s not strong enough to beat his sense of self-preservation. In order to keep existing, he pushes all of his hatred for himself onto Yuki. He has built Yuki up as the cause of all of his problems; he needed to create a villain basically so that he could live with himself. And Akito, being The Worst, fans the flames by promising Kyo that if he wins in a fight against Yuki, she’ll no longer call him a monster.
Despite the fact that he doesn’t believe himself to be worthy of it, Kyo has guessed that Tohru has feelings for him and tries to leave before she is able to confess to him. His sense of self-preservation is that when he senses danger, he runs. You can hardly blame him, considering his life up until this point. But I love that Tohru doesn’t let him run away this time. She might have, if this were earlier in the series, but she has spent the past couple of years at the Soma house developing her confidence, and she’s determined to tell Kyo she loves him.
She also doesn’t let Kyo get away with his self-flagellation. I love that she seems to get a little angry that he is deciding how she feels. Tohru has spent her life fashioning her emotions, her actions, and even her speech to be what other people want. She very rarely does anything for herself. In “I’m Disappointed in You”, she speaks her mind, pushes past Kyo’s attempts to determine the outcome of the conversation and confessing that she’s in love with him.
The confession is brutal, primarily because Kyo feels that it’s necessary. He finally found someone who doesn’t see him as a monster, and he does his level best to convince Tohru to change her opinion of him. He has spent the entire series encouraging Tohru that she’s allowed to have her own emotions and opinions, and now when she finally does, he completely disregards her. Not only that, for the first time in her life, she actually speaks against her mother, which would have taken something powerful. He goes back on his word, telling her that he’s disappointed in her (after telling her last week that she would never disappoint him), and storms off into the rain. And it’s Yuki – Yuki – who goes after him to try and talk some sense into him.
In last week’s episode, people may have been surprised – but not really that surprised – that even after being stabbed (in the back), Kureno’s first concern is for Akito. At the time, it probably looked like years of conditioning, of putting Akito first and catering to Akito’s every whim.
However, after “I’m Disappointed in You”, it seems as though Kureno’s concern was not for Akito’s welfare, but the fact that she was in a homicidal rage and ran off with a knife. Because she has run (barefoot) all the way to Shigure’s to confront Tohru, who she no doubt sees as the catalyst for the influx in broken Zodiac bonds.
The ominous feeling from last week hasn’t dissipated at all, because now an angry Akito is facing a heartbroken Tohru, and neither Kyo nor Yuki are there to help in the event that something terrible happens. And you know something terrible is going to happen because there’s no way it doesn’t, given the situation.
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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