After a long time lost in painful memories, Yuki begins to reconsider his relationship with both Tohru and Kyo, as well as what he wants from life going forward. Meanwhile, the others struggle to prepare for the prepare for the upcoming class play as Kyo fights to control his hostility towards Yuki and come to terms with how he sees Tohru.
After a series of emotionally heavy episodes, we finally lift the load a little (the episode 22 forklift has your back, Su!) as the kids continue to grow and process their feelings. As before, we start with a focus on Yuki as he opens up to Manabe about his feelings for Tohru. Since so much of the characterization in Fruits Basket occurs during inner monologues, it’s nice to see someone opening up directly to another character.
I’m also happy that the show finally acknowledges that Yuki and most of the other zodiac children view Tohru as something of a mother. Yuki makes no bones about it and seems to have concluded that his affection for her isn’t quite the romantic feeling he’d been trying to work through. I have mixed feelings on how this has been treated throughout the series, but I’m glad to see someone openly talking about how the trauma most of these kids went through left them desperate for a real motherly figure.
By the end of his conversation with Manabe, Yuki has finally reached a long-awaited and well-deserved breakthrough. He’s started to open up about his feelings and put aside some of the animosity he felt towards Kyo, especially after recognizing the feelings between him and Tohru. On the other hand, Kyo is still clinging to his misplaced resentment of Yuki.
Now that Yuki has matured somewhat and put his own feelings into context, it will be interesting to see how he faces the prospect of returning to Akito. I’d also expect the upcoming episodes to return the spotlight to Kyo for the first time in awhile. While he has grown over the course of the show, his constant snapping and aloofness has shown that he still has a long way to go before he can overcome his anger and establish a healthier relationship with the other members of the zodiac, and hopefully Tohru.
I’m happy to see Yuki’s long struggle bear some positive results, and I hope the other characters start to achieve similar realization. The first season was about establishing everyone’s personal lives, quirks and tragedies, and this season is mainly focused on them coming to grips with those aspects of themselves. As Su pointed out, it hasn’t been a short journey for any of them, and there’s still a long way to go before Tohru or the Somas find some measure of peace.