“What’s Your Name?” is potentially the episode of Fruits Basket with the highest amount of action, and as such I actually thought they crammed too much into it. Obviously scenes (and in some cases, entire arcs) are going to be cut when a manga is adapted into an anime, and there is only so much the staff can do, but certain aspects of this particular moment could have used some fleshing out.
I was expecting a particular cliffhanger (no pun intended) for “What’s Your Name?”, and when the episode kept going, I was a little surprised. Likely it adapted the same amount of manga chapters as any other episode, but with Tohru’s accident and her waking up in the same 23 minutes, I thought the show could have benefitted from dragging it out just a little.
I’m also happy that there was no evil cliffhanger, because I was about ready to pull an Akito and stab somebody. And I even know how it ends!
But actually no, I do think that Akito’s change of heart seems a little abrupt. It’s not out of nowhere, but for it to cycle completely in the course of just this episode comes across as just a bit rushed. This is more or less exactly how it happened in the manga, but the anime adaptation could have taken the opportunity to add a few scenes in order to give this moment more impact.
I appreciate that when talking about the incident to Shigure, she wasn’t entirely sure she hadn’t pushed Tohru. To be honest even knowing how the story goes, this attempt at redemption for Akito feels hollow and shallow. Mostly because I don’t think Akito should be redeemed for participating in and practically masterminding such a gross cycle of abuse.
That’s one reason why I loved Momiji’s conversation with Akito outside the hospital. With Akito calling both Kureno and Tohru idiots who would likely forgive her for what happened, Momiji correctly identifies that if they do forgive her, then it’s like Akito didn’t do anything wrong. But Akito did do something wrong, and while she seems to feel appropriately guilty over her actions, it strikes me that there won’t be any serious repercussions for what happened. (I mean, Tohru may have been an accident, but she straight up stabbed Kureno.)
I actually extra love that scene with Momiji. He has always seemed wise beyond his years, but his growth spurt must have given him a spine of steel, because he’s been absolutely savage when necessary this season. Also, I think that it was extremely important that it was Momiji who spoke to Akito, partly because the broken bond would mean that Momiji can actually speak his mind, and also because of the callback to the stupid traveler.
It’s also important to remember that Kureno and Tohru are outliers among the characters; they are stupidly kind and forgiving, and just because they have forgiven Akito doesn’t mean the others will.
Now, clearly, a final confrontation between Tohru and Akito was only going to end with Tohru trying to befriend Akito. If you didn’t expect that, I don’t know what to tell you, but you obviously were watching a different series. This is who Tohru is; she’s kind and forgiving, almost to her detriment. She would set herself on fire to keep others warm, and though she’s slowly learning to be a little more selfish, she is never not going to be the kind of person who accepts everyone. Tohru is essentially “the power of friendship” personified.
“What’s Your Name?” really hammers home the existing parallels between Kureno and Tohru (oh, look, both of them are in the hospital because of Akito, both of them are going to forgive Akito) but also Tohru and Akito. Tohru recognizes something of herself in Akito. Akito, who desperately does not want to be left behind, reminds Tohru of herself.
Tohru did everything she could to bring Kyoko back after Katsuya’s death, so she of all people will recognize the burning desire to be loved for who she is that exists within Akito. Tohru and Akito are sort of the same person, just at opposite ends of the spectrum. Tohru responded to her circumstances by being overly generous and extremely kind, and Akito responded to her circumstances by being a psycho who stabs people.
Basically, both Tohru and Akito had destructive tendencies in clinging to the memory of a dearly departed parent. Tohru’s destruction was internal, and Akito’s was external.
“What’s Your Name?” also basically culminates in the most important moment of Tohru’s character arc, which is the fact that she is finally willing to let her mother go and keep moving forward. A not insignificant part of Akito’s arc is that she was similarly unwilling to let go of her father and what he promised her. But it’s honestly huge on Tohru’s part that she understands that holding on so tightly to Kyoko’s memory was hindering her and finally accepts that she doesn’t have to do that anymore, that she needs to live for herself.
It’s also a pretty big deal that for the first time in what probably is a very long time, Akito cared about someone other than herself. She not only screamed for help immediately, she went running to find someone. She could have just left Tohru to die, and I feel like that is something Akito would totally have done just a few episodes ago. I mean, even Shigure had to ask if Akito pushed Tohru off the cliff, so it wasn’t outside the realm of possibility.
In a full circle moment of foreshadowing, we got a shot of Tohru’s collapsed tent, buried under the previous landslide, that both points out how far Tohru has come since the beginning and remind us that Shigure mentioned how unstable the cliffs are, especially when it rains.
There is also a nice mirroring in “What’s Your Name?” of when Tohru went missing as a child, with both Yuki and Kyo looking for but Yuki finding her first.
Oh, also, Kyo kissed Tohru? I feel like that’s a pretty big thing. Yeah, Tohru is injured and virtually unconscious but that’s still a pretty monumental moment. This is Kyo fully and demonstrably admitting that he has feelings for Tohru to someone other than himself. Even though it’s brief and Tohru’s, you know, injured and stuff, I thought the lead-up to that was appropriately epic – a montage of special moments in their relationship starting from the moment they met complete with a nice orchestral swell.
You would think that it would be the final stepping stone into those two finally coming together, but later at the hospital, we find out that Kyo hasn’t been by to visit her. No doubt he is having awful flashbacks to what happened to Kyoko; as he was sobbing over Tohru, claiming how that wasn’t what he wanted, he likely was remembering how almost the exact same thing happened to Tohru’s mother, just with a worse outcome. Also, he is still potentially under the Zodiac curse, and his future at this moment is no different than it was before.
But what it’s important to note is that in “What’s Your Name?”, what stood out most to Tohru about their confrontation is not the hateful words that Kyo said to her, but how sad his eyes were. Tohru understands that Kyo is hurting and likely didn’t mean what he said, and it’s important to her that she gets through to him somehow.
Don’t forget, there are still four episodes to go, so we’re not entirely done with everyone’s story! There is still a lot left that needs to be resolved.
What did you think of “What’s Your Name?”
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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