Spring 2019 is positively stacked with highly-anticipated sequels, including One Punch Man’s 2nd season, the continuation of Attack on Titan’s 3rd season, and Bungou Stray Dogs’ 3rd season. Between all of these big names, it’s hard to decide what to look forward to the most! But the Fruits Basket reboot is definitely a strong contender! The original series, which strayed from its source material, may have been underwhelming, but Fruits Basket (or Furuba) has long been one of my favourite manga series, so, naturally, I’m pumped that the franchise is, after all this time, getting another iteration! In anticipation of this, I thought that I’d dedicate this month’s Character Spotlight to its plucky heroine, Tohru Honda. I hope that this whets your appetite for the upcoming anime!
If you ever decide to watch Fruits Basket or read its manga, it won’t take you long to get a good feel for Tohru’s character. Right away we learn that her mother (who she was extremely close to and was her last remaining immediate family member) had recently died. Tohru, whilst devastated, responds to this tragedy by continuing to go to school (out of respect for her mother’s wishes), dedicating herself to her part-time job (to help pay for her living expenses), and determining to be as little of a bother to her distant relatives as possible (which meant living by herself in a tent out in the woods). All of this would be enough to break even the most tenacious of people, but Tohru endures all of this with a smile. In fact, she never utters a single complaint about her situation. On the one hand, it’s kind of foolhardy not to rely on other people during tough times (especially when some would be more than happy to help), but, on the other hand, you can’t help but admire Tohru’s optimism, resilience, and self-sufficiency. Whilst her stint in the tent may be short-lived, thanks to the Sohmas, these are all traits we see her demonstrate time and time again throughout Furuba. Tohru might not be particularly smart (rather, she’s sort of a dunce) and she’s not your average drop-dead gorgeous shoujo heroine (though she is adorable), but these qualities make her remarkable, nonetheless.
It also won’t take you long to learn all about Tohru’s values, or the things most important to her. During episode/chapter one she almost hurts herself trying to retrieve a photograph of her mother and throughout Furuba she goes out of her way to help the individual members of the Sohma clan. Some of these helpful actions are small, like preparing them healthy, nutritious meals, but some of them are huge and have a profound effect on their lives. I don’t want to spoil anything for you, but I will say that Tohru is the catalyst for the growth of all of the Sohmas, whether that’s in the form of self-confidence, self-control, or the ability to forgive other people. All of this demonstrates what’s most important to Tohru, not fame, knowledge, or money, but her friends and family, which is very admirable.
As I just wrote, Tohru is the catalyst for the growth of all of the Sohmas. This is something else that I like about her. By putting herself last time and time again, treating other people with an almost saint-like level of patience, kindness, and gentleness, and refusing to see anything but the best in others, Tohru actually brings out the best in other people. For some, this is an almost instantaneous occurrence, but for others, this is a slow, gradual process that is immensely rewarding to watch.
Finally, whilst Tohru is, in many ways, remarkable, when compared to almost all of the series’ other characters (including those who aren’t possessed by the spirits of the Zodiac), she’s just your average high school girl. Rather than make Furuba kind of… vanilla, as you might expect, this serves the series in a very important way. Tohru is like Furuba’s anchor. By being the one “normal” character, she prevents it from losing all plausibility and completely drifting off into the realm of fantasy, never to return. Tohru also reminds the Sohmas, many of whom have never experienced love or been properly socialised, and so have given themselves over to their animalistic tendencies, what it means to be human. This, in part, is what drives them to change.
OK, that went on for longer than I intended, but I just love Tohru, and Fruits Basket! What do you think of the series? Who’s your favourite character? And are you just as excited for the reboot as I am? Let me know in the comments section below!