Human Connections in Fruits Basket

Animated Gif by Allanimanga @ Tumblr

“People can’t live without others.”

Kyoko Honda, Fruits Basket (2019) Season 1, Episode 17

This quote comes from one of my favorite anime titles. Based off the popular Japanese comic (manga) series by Natsuki Takaya that has already been adapted into an anime series back in 2001, Fruits Basket (2019) is currently being aired this season.

If you haven’t gotten the chance to read the original manga or anime series, then here’s the deets for this beloved series. Fruits Basket is the story about a young orphaned teen named Tohru Honda who finds herself living with her high school’s idolized male student, Yuki Sohma and his relatives, Shigure Sohma and Kyo Sohma, after accidently camping outside in their backyard. What most don’t know about this prestigious family is that the Sohmas are plagued with a longtime curse. 

Unfortunately for the Sohmas, twelve members from the family are forced to transform into the animals of the Chinese zodiac when hugged by a person of the opposing gender. The only exception to the rule is that those who are cursed are able to hug one another.

It’s no easy feat to live a normal life, but the Sohmas attempt to do so, even at the risk of never building strong relationships outside of their family or in some characters’ cases, never building any “true” relationships with others at all. 

The great thing about Fruits Basket is how the story establishes how human connections are important in our lives, which makes the story equally sad and heartwarming.  

Taken from Crunchyroll, Fruits Basket (2019), Natsuki Takaya, Episode 16

Its protagonist Tohru Honda is recognized as the person who will break the Sohma’s curse. She’s sincere and kind, albeit a bit ditzy and innocent. She’s the type of person who grew up in a warm home with a single mother who loved her deeply and who shares that warmth with the people around her. She is able to make the other characters as well as the audience embrace the fact that it’s okay to share your vulnerability.  

Tohru shows her support and love through words and actions, even if she doesn’t share in the same experience as the person who is hurting. She’s compassionate and always willing to listen. With that in mind, Tohru is the mother figure in the series and all the other characters appear as outcasts who gather around her to feel her warmth. 

With a character like Tohru and that quote mentioned earlier in this post, the concept of human connection and the importance of effective communication is true. As much as I enjoy being by myself as an introverted individual, there’s so much more for me to learn and grow as a person when sharing talking to other people about our experiences.

It’s great to have people who I can talk to when I’m struggling with a personal issue. They can offer words of advice or bring a new perspective that can allow me to make a more thoughtful decision. As I’ve learned from listening to others and conversing about issues with them, there’s no shame to feeling weak and needing help to get through the things that bother me. There are times where I’ll attempt to solve my problems by myself because I hate burdening others. However, gaining support from others helps strengthen my confidence to bravely face and overcome puzzling obstacles in my life. 

Each example in Fruits Basket prove how human connection can change a person’s life. My favourite example would be about one of Tohru’s best friends, Arisa Uotani. 

Taken from Crunchyroll, Fruits Basket (2019), Natsuki Takaya, Episode 16

Arisa was a young delinquent before she met Tohru. Coming from a single parent home where her mother left for another man, she was part of a street gang since the fifth grade and caused trouble on the streets at night. Arisa’s hero was the Crimson Butterfly, Kyoko, a bike gang leader. By coincidence, we learn that Kyoko got married and had a daughter, who turns out to be Tohru. 

The start of Arisa’s budding friendship with Tohru and Kyoko was rough as she felt bitter that her family life wasn’t as bright and happy as theirs. As their relationship develops, Arisa feels accepted by a family outside of her own. She no longer feels hardened by her loneliness and is able to experience precious moments with individuals who want to be there for her. 

Arisa uses the strength of this human connection to break away from her gang member life and lives on normally as one of Tohru’s best friends. 

Taken from Crunchyroll, Fruits Basket (2019), Natsuki Takaya, Episode 17

Over time, I’ve learned that it’s difficult to live without other people. A society is not made up of a single individual but different groups of people who all depend on one another to survive. 

Every person needs to grow through social interactions between their family, friends, acquaintances and even strangers. The support gained from these relationships can help encourage or reassure a person to do their best. Human connections can help with a person’s feelings of loneliness or desire to be accepted. 

(Originally posted on Foster a Child to Excel in Society (F.A.C.E.S)’s blog in October 2019. Edited on January 31, 2020.)

(Featured Animated Gif by Funimation on Giphy)

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