This season of Fruits Basket has been all about personal growth, with each character undergoing major changes. Last week’s episode saw some huge developments for Kyo and Tohru, with Kyo finally opening up about Kyoko’s death. This week’s episode 9 of Fruits Basket: The Final focuses on the series’ antagonist Akito, as she confronts Tohru outside of Shigure’s house.
As the episode begins, Tohru is reflecting on Kyo’s confession that he let her mom die. Once again proving her selflessness, Tohru is less concerned with how his confession affects her and more concerned with how sad Kyo seemed. But she doesn’t have time to ponder further, as Akito appears before her, bearing the same knife she used to stab Kureno.
Akito expresses her frustrations to Tohru, stating that Tohru stole the Soma’s adoration from her and painted her as a villain. We know from previous episodes that Akito’s belief that she was born to be loved was instilled in her at a young age by her late father. Furthermore, it seems like her father’s passing emotionally stunted her, causing her to cling to his words out of grief. As a result, Akito has grown up relying on attention and validation from others. Now that the bonds between her and the Somas are breaking, she’s spiraling.
Tohru extends a hand towards Akito, only for her to recoil and slash Tohru’s arm with the knife. Having a tendency to take on other people’s pain as her own, Tohru criticizes herself for not acknowledging Akito’s turmoil earlier. She reflects on how lonely it must be to be treated as superior to others, how isolating. Tohru sees something of herself in Akito. She asserts that she’s a hypocrite for rejecting Akito’s wish for everlasting bonds, considering she wished for the same thing.
This, of course, refers to her desire to keep her mom’s memory alive as much as possible. In that sense, Tohru and Akito are alike. They both clung to the memory of a deceased parent, and both lived according to their parent’s ideals. However, this manifested in different ways for them, with Tohru acting overly kind and Akito becoming controlling and abusive.
In acknowledging the similarities between her and Akito, Tohru also goes through some major character growth. She decides she is finally ready to let go of her mother’s death and move forward, prioritizing her love for Kyo. This is a significant step for Tohru, whose mom’s memory has been such an integral part of her life. Having Tohru see right through her defenses, Akito breaks down and runs away.
Tohru pursues her towards the cliffs near Shigure’s house. We get a shot of Tohru’s tent (her former home), still buried in the rubble from the previous landslide. The buried tent serves as a reminder of Tohru’s progress since season 1, and as a foreshadowing for what’s about to happen.
Akito confides in Tohru about her fears of living in a world where no one loves or needs her. This prompts Tohru to start anew with Akito, reintroducing herself and asking to be her friend. It comes as no surprise that Tohru would respond this way, despite all of the pain and trauma Akito has inflicted on others. Tohru is, after all, compassion and generosity personified. It was only a matter of time before she won Akito over with her relentlessly sunny personality. Akito is moved by the gesture. She reaches out to grasp Tohru’s hand, only for Tohru to fall from the crumbling cliff. Akito is uncharacteristically distraught over Tohru’s fall and immediately calls out for help.
Kyo and Yuki both answer Akito’s cries and rush to Tohru’s side. Upon seeing Tohru’s injured body, Kyo is suitably distraught. It’s during this dramatic scene during which Kyo and Tohru finally share their first kiss! The emotional score, supplemented by a montage of moments from their relationship, heightens the importance of the romantic display. It’s a very rewarding scene for fans who have been rooting for the pair since season 1.
Following this scene, we also find out that Kureno is alright, and recovering in hospital. With both him and Tohru in hospital now, Akito pays them a visit. It seems she is wracked with guilt over the actions that led to Kureno and Tohru’s hospitalization. This attempt at redemption for Akito’s character does feel somewhat abrupt, given that 2 episodes ago she was stabbing poor Kureno for trying to help her.
Though I suppose this change of heart is not unexpected, given Akito’s emotional state following the curse’s breaking. What’s more important to consider is whether Akito should be redeemed, in light of all the abuse (physical and mental) she has inflicted upon others. In a series as sentimental as Fruits Basket, it’s unsurprising they would choose to redeem even a character as despicable as Akito. Nevertheless, it does feel somewhat contrived.
You can watch episode 9 of Fruits Basket: the Final on Crunchyroll and Funimation. You can also vote for it in our weekly poll. The next episode airs on June 7th and is titled “I Just…Love Her”. We’ve already had a love confession from Kyo and Tohru. Will someone else confess next episode?
All images are via the Fruits Basket: the Final episode 9 stream on Crunchyroll.
© NATSUKI TAKAYA.HAKUSENSHA/FRUITS BASKET PROJECT