Kyo questions Tohru about her love for him and learns a truth he’s been deathly afraid of: Tohru definitely loves him. Driven by a deep sense of self loathing, he reveals to her a dark secret that’s been repressed in the recesses of his mind. His and Kyoko’s history is explained along with his hand in her death. Knowing he is always someone who runs away from his problems, Kyo desperately tries to convince Tohru to hate him so he absolves some of his guilt.
You know the drill: SPOILER WARNING
Of course I get this episode. The episode that holds a mirror up to some of my own darkest thoughts and shines a light from it so bright that I have to cower and squint. Of course I have to write about the ONE EPISODE that makes me tear up because it feels so real.
Thank you, The Universe. You are the best.
Before I get to the review, I want to take a line or two and just complement the hell out of Kyo’s voice actor. I don’t speak Japanese, so I never feel like it’s my place to discuss inflection or subtleties that I would if I were listening to a show in English. That being said, it doesn’t take a native speaker to hear the heartbreak in Kyo’s voice in this episode. It FEELS like Yuuma Uchida is breaking down into tears in the booth because he adds such immense emotion to his performance. Somebody give that guy the VA equivalent of an Oscar.
What do I even say about this episode? It’s fantastic. It’s also so hard to watch because it draws out all the deep dark gunk Kyo’s been harboring. The happiness he found in spending his remaining time with Tohru is drowned out as he expounds about how awful of a person he is. How his messed up existence caused the death of his mother, and the indirect death of Tohru’s mother. Clearly he needs to work for Disney (give me this people, it’s been a rough time okay!)
He knows Kyoko has always been #1 in Tohru’s heart. For him to replace her, knowing the hand he (didn’t) play in her demise, and be eternally haunted by her parting words, is something he cannot bear. This is Fruits Basket with the kiddy gloves off. They’ve been replaced by metal fisticuffs. Are you ready?!
I had reservations about the narrative the first time it got mentioned that Kyo also (kinda) knew Tohru as a child. It felt cheap, like they needed to balance the scales because we got the story of how Yuki helped her when she was lost. Gotta throw bait to both sides of the fandom, ya know?! Seeing Kyo’s background with Kyoko here, it makes a lot of sense now. It’s not the touching backstory Yuki has, where he felt needed for the first time in his life. It’s the exact opposite in fact, and it helps to bridge us over to the reason he’s had a grudge against Yuki for so long. It’s just like Scott stated in the last episode. In a way, nobody is to blame here. Everyone only ever understood their own suffering, and were blocked from being able to see anyone else’s.
As hard as it is to know all the pain Kyo’s been carrying around, it’s the realism of his pain that crushes me the most in this episode. The fact that he feels so messed up about the people he’s lost due to his existence and how still…he continues to exist. Brendan pointed out that there’s a harshness to the way the Zodiac views Kyo. He is the monster loathed by monsters. The person marginalized by others in the same position. It’s human nature to want to point to something else and hate it so you feel better. It’s also human nature to desperately want to be the hero of your own story.
Kyo is so desperate for this that he creates a villain for him to defeat. He runs away when things get tough and thinks he’s gearing up to take the world on later. It’s so reminiscent of things I have done to avoid dealing with trauma, that it’s emotionally rendering to sit through Kyo’s dialogue. It’s unbelievable that Natsuki Takaya was pushing this level of writing in the early 2000s. I have never felt a shoujo show rip me apart like this.
Through this entire confession, the show makes smart choices atmospherically. Like any good anime, this sad scene is set in the rain with dark clouds everywhere. It also uses subtle music. The staccato piano notes, and the little piano + percussion phrasing we’ve becomes accustomed to for emotional moments are what mostly populate the scenes. It felt like the show really wanted you to just sit in this. The big orchestral type music is only put in once the tension of the scene comes to a climax. High praise for the sound direction team!
I’m making this review all about Kyo though. It almost is. Almost, not not quite. Blink and you’ll miss the huge step Tohru takes here. As someone who’s put everyone before herself, she makes a big declaration here. One that is so emotionally moving, given the 50+ episodes we’ve been with her. Wow show, this is exceptional in all possible. ways. I’m not gonna spoil it here. Watch the show!
As a final note: I am going to scream if Akito hurts my cinnamon roll baby. Don’t do this to me show. It hurts enough already.
This show is incredible.
I’m not crying, you’re crying. Shut up.