The revelations start coming – and they don’t stop coming.
Rin’s back on her feet and staying at Kazuma’s place. Shigure drops by and tells her what he knows and what he suspects about the bonds breaking – that it is already happening and will probably continue to happen without direct intervention – which Tohru overhears. When Tohru brings up Kyo, Shigure is dismissive, and turns the conversation back on her, suggesting that she’s come to love Kyo, causing her to flee. After spending some time agonizing over the possibility that anyone could have become more dear to her than her mother (who was, of course, Tohru’s whole world for most of her life), she returns to wrap up loose ends with Rin on the second anniversary of Kyoko’s passing. This conversation is overheard by Kagura, who violently directs Tohru to actually confess to Kyo.
Meanwhile, Kyo visits Kyoko’s grave after Tohru and company and finds Tohru’s grandfather, who reveals to Kyo that his apparently senile habit of addressing Tohru by her mother’s name is a deliberate affectation intended to keep Tohru’s memory of her mother alive, not unlike how Tohru developed her excessively polite mannerisms as a desperate attempt to imitate her father after his death to stave off her mother’s depressive spiral.
When Kyo and Tohru rejoin at Shigure’s, they start talking all of this out, and the episode cliffhangs with Kyoko apparently haunting Kyo, who is implied to be responsible for the accident resulting in her death.
I had wondered if this incarnation of Fruits Basket would try to fill itself out to 75 episodes, but, six episodes into the Final chunk, I’m starting to suspect that this cours might actually be its last. This one episode throws multiple emotional haymakers, and tops them off by setting up the final payoff for the foreshadowing from Kyo’s flashbacks in Season 2 Episode 9 and his cryptic behavior at the first memorial anniversary in Season 1 Episode 14 (it has been a while).
Shigure expands on a theory that we had seen in action with Kagura: that the cat is the pariah of pariahs – someone for the rest of the chosen to calibrate their own misery and loneliness against. This speaks to a dark instinct of human nature, and one that I fear that humanity will be struggling with for a long, long time to come, which is that even those who know first-hand the suffering of being excluded from society can turn around and exclude an even more vulnerable subset.
From there, we move into Tohru’s heartbreaking coming-of-age, where the promise that she made to her late mother comes up against the realization that growing up ultimately means leaving your parents’ home and making your own. We then have a brilliant recontextualization of Tohru’s grandfather, which ties into a new insight into how Tohru relates (or at least related) to her late father, which she spills her guts about to Kyo by the clothesline.
All this plus the return of a cast member that I’d thought we might have seen the last of:
Wanton property damage.
Gotta stay true to your roots, you know? Gotta remind people that this is still the story that started out with a dude getting thrown clear through the floor of his room into the dinner table below (and spin-checked into a 50-inch flatscreen). If you came for the antics and stayed for the drama, take a moment to appreciate how far we’ve come.
This train has no brakes.