Fruits Basket Episode 2: Nobody Wants to Be Lonely

Leading up through Easter Sunday, Beneath the Tangles will be running a series of posts based on a theme with the hopes that it will lead our readers to consider the meaning of this week and especially of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Our theme this year is loneliness.

While so much of the fandom is excited because they get to watch a quality Fruits Basket anime that sees the series through to the end, I’m excited because I feel like I’m getting something entirely new. I’ve only watched a bit of Fruits Basket, and while I read most of the manga series, I never finished it. Further, I’ve pretty much forgotten everything. And so the remake feels brand-spanking new to me.

I love that feeling, because I get to be on the outside looking in, not quite sure where the story is going. I see clues that may be obvious to those who are already fans, little tidbits that have me theorizing on what’s really going on. For instance, what’s pretty obvious early on is that our three main characters are all suffering from loneliness. Tohru is the easiest to analyze: she’s orphaned, homeless, and only recently living without her mother. It’s a loneliness she wears well with her unbridled optimism (Tohru’s mother, by the way, for “Mom of the Year” for raising such an amazing child!), but we can all understand the sadness she must feel, even if few of us can connect real deeply with her loss as such a young age.

The loneliness of the other two, though, are maybe more comparable in terms of how you or I have felt. Kyo, for instance, is left out, not part of the group. We aren’t privy yet to what happened beyond knowing the story about the rat tricking the cat, but we do know that he desperately wants to be part of the Soma family proper, to truly be one of the zodiac. But he’s not. He has no formal part of the family, and his personality, too, makes it hard for him to get close to others, as demonstrated by his clunky attempts to treat Tohru reasonably in episode two.

You silly cat.

This is a loneliness that seems to be part of most of our lives when we’re younger, whether for just a short period of exclusion from some group or some longer, consistent problem. But the thing is, exclusion can follow us into adulthood, too. I’ve seen it up close in places where it shouldn’t happen, and if anything, the power of it is magnified in adulthood. Kyo’s suffering can be our own, and it’s a painful place to be.

Yuki, too, is suffering in loneliness, but a different kind. He has everything he seemingly wants—adoration, talent, and a family name. But Yuki doesn’t want any of that. He would be willing to give it up, especially being part of the Soma family, because being in that group doesn’t give him wholeness. In fact, it leaves him empty, frustrated, and bitter. Being surrounded by family doesn’t make Yuki feel any less lonely. I’ve been there, too, feeling that I don’t belong, that no one understands, even when I’m around a lot of people. It’s a loneliness of the mind rather than one that’s physical, and that perhaps makes it a kind that’s harder to solve, more challenging to make one’s way out of.

Isn’t it funny, then, how these three lonely souls have found their way into the same household? Into the same school and class? I’m eager to see how this all plays out, with Tohru, it seems, being both the glue and instigator, the one who helps alleviate loneliness, even as she has cause to be the one who needs comfort most of all.

Fruits Basket can be streamed on Crunchyroll.


6 thoughts on “Fruits Basket Episode 2: Nobody Wants to Be Lonely

  1. I thought this article was beautifully written!! I adore the way the series juxtaposes mature issues like loneliness with its central themes such as kindness, irrepressible optimism, and finding one’s place in this world in a way that feels very human and relatable! Tohru is my favorite Japanese heroine for many reasons, one of them being that I, too, have struggled with loneliness and isolation for much of my life, yet I’ve never given up and continue to make a sincere effort every day to be the best version of myself! I give complete credit to my strong relationship with Jesus for rendering me capable of that, especially since my family largely consists of unbelievers (I suppose I identify with Kyo in that way as well, feeling like the odd man out within his own family). The way Tohru clings so tightly to her mother’s unconditional love and wisdom, even though Kyoko is gone, to remain strong throughout her trials really reminds me of the way we can rely on the unconditional love and wisdom of our OWN parent, our Heavenly Father, to see us through any hardship that life can bring, despite the fact that we can’t see Him. Adding to that, Tohru can be viewed as a beautiful Christ figure in the way she sort of stumbles into the Sohma family and serves as an all-loving, healing presence for their broken souls. So much Christian symbolism in this lovely series, if you know how to see it!! 🙂

    I also love the way the series suggests that one’s circumstances can have a complete turn-around in the blink of an eye! Tohru wasn’t even searching for a way out of her predicament. She just took a walk in the woods one morning, and her life changed forever, providing her with a real home and a new family. It reminds me of the way we are told in Scripture to never despair! People like Job and Joseph (of Genesis) suffered through long periods of loneliness and hard luck as well, but they stuck it out and did their best, like Tohru, and God was using that time to prepare them for the glorious futures He had in store for them. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

    Gosh, I love this show!! I hope there will continue to be articles about it as the series progresses! I love reading them!! ^_^

    1. Thank you for the kind words! And I love those comparisons—I can’t wait to see them play out as the series progresses. I especially caught on to the idea of Tohru’s mother being a God figure. Her words and unconditional love continue to power themselves through Tohru, strengthening and guiding her even when she’s gone. Wonderful, wonderful stuff!

  2. “I’ve been there, too, feeling that I don’t belong, that no one understands, even when I’m around a lot of people. It’s a loneliness of the mind rather than one that’s physical, and that perhaps makes it a kind that’s harder to solve, more challenging to make one’s way out of.”

    Me too sir, me too </3. It’s hard when you have the optimism of Toru against what’s really going on inside, the exclusion of Kyo that makes you push people and makes you feel pushed by people, and the silent pain of Yuki that despite all the many blessings you have, you’re still feel lonely. I can see all those qualities within me, and perhaps I’m not alone in that train of thought. I think out of all three, I’m most similar to Yuki. You almost want to bang your head against a wall or bury yourself in the sand.

    Nevertheless, bravo 👏🏼 keep up the amazing work!

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