When I was a kid, I wanted to be like Tohru Honda. She was the kindest, sweetest girl I had ever seen. Tohru would do anything for anyone, put herself on the line to make even a stranger happy. I wanted to personify that same kindness and compassion. I wanted to be someone that would have the courage to help no matter what.
Tohru Honda was not the best role model.
I got taken advantage as a kid. In middle school, with few friends, I tried to do everything for everyone. I thought the least I can do is be nice to people. But I took it too far. I was a doormat. In the end, it may have been one of the reasons I didn’t have many friends. I was always amiable, always volunteered to take on someone’s work. I had a skewed mindset: if other people were happy, their happiness would make me happy. It was the exact opposite. I wasn’t happy at all.
And, upon further reading of Fruits Basket in high school, Tohru Honda was exactly the same. She wasn’t happy. Her constant giving left her no self-worth. She also had mutilated forms of purpose: to make her mother proud, to avoid being a burden for others, to save the Soma family. She did nothing for herself and was not able to efficiently help others until she cared for herself first. I won’t go into spoiler territory here but, like Kenshin, Tohru hated herself. It wasn’t until she developed a sense of self-advocacy and inner approval that she could do what she wanted.
I am very excited about the revival of the Fruits Basket anime in April. Although not as impacted by the show as other fans, I always enjoyed watching the drama and antics of the Soma clan play out. It wasn’t until I read the manga in high school that I realized the weight and significance of Furuba’s story. This happy-go-lucky show gets dark. And meaningful. The calming essence of the anime does not even attempt to dive into the complex layers of the source material. Seeing this new anime adaption and watching the whole story will be an absolute joy. This is Fruits Basket’s Brotherhood and it is extremely well-deserved.
I’m going to see Tohru Honda again, the girl that taught me outer kindness and compassion. But she also taught me the hard way that it has a place. Sometimes, self-compassion is the most important thing. Now I get to see Tohru learn that lesson again.
I watched Furuba when I was twelve, read it when I was fifteen. Over ten years later, will Tohru’s selfless acts still touch me? Or will I be disgusted by her over-the-top compassion? And disgusted may seem like a strong word, but, looking back, I disgusted myself a bit when I acted like her. Hopefully, with this modern and vibrant remastering, my past experiences help me empathize more deeply and take more from her journey of loss, love, and self-discovery.
Fruits Basket is a shoujo classic. People grew up watching the show, but most do not know the true depth of the source material. This well-deserved revival will open the eyes of many fans and I look forward to watching Tohru, Yuki, Kyo and crew suffer and smile together along the way. Just take care of yourself, Tohru.