Given that Fruits Basket tends to follow light-hearted episodes up with darker, gloomier ones, the fact that, for the past two weeks, the show has been fairly light-hearted makes me pretty nervous about what might be in store in the coming weeks! Setting aside my creeping dread for the time being… During this week’s episode, Kyo, Yuki, Tohru, Hana, and Uo take the frugal-to-a-fault Tohru shopping. During their outing, Uo opens up about her past, about her connection to Tohru’s mum, Kyoko, and how this connection paved the way for their friendship. Though Uo’s past is, by no means, all sunshine and rainbows (her mum left their family while she was still very young, her dad developed a drinking problem, and Uo, left to her own devices, joined a gang of ruthless delinquents), this week’s episode still managed to be fairly upbeat, even funny, at times, largely because of the difference between the expectations that Uo had of the “Crimson Butterfly” and the reality: doting mum, Kyoko.
I don’t know what Uo was expecting when plotting to visit the retired Crimson Butterfly in her home… Smashed windows, graffiti on the walls, bike chains hanging from the ceiling? Maybe she was just looking for a surrogate mother, somebody like her who could replace her own deadbeat mum. But instead of the Crimson Butterfly, she found Kyoko, who dishes out bear hugs, cutesy nicknames, and invitations to dinner like they’re going out of style. Not only does this say a lot about our capacity for change (though, amusingly, Tohru hasn’t changed one bit throughout the years), it’s also pretty funny, this difference between Uo’s expectations and reality. It kind of reminds me of those Pinterest fail memes. That being said, you can still sympathise with Uo. It’s no surprise that she feels so uncomfortable and out-of-place in such a blissfully happy home, given that she’s never experienced one for herself. So great is her discomfort that she even turns down the Honda’s offer of dinner (who does that!?), yells at them, and flees the scene. In spite of what she says, I don’t think Uo’s actually disgusted by such domestic bliss, rather, she simply cannot see herself ever attaining that kind of happiness. Or perhaps it’s that she doesn’t feel like she deserves it after everything she’s done?
By the episode’s end, we are yet to find out how the tension between Uo and the two Hondas was ultimately resolved. We’ll have to tune in again next week to find that out! I think the fact that this is the first of Furuba’s character development arcs to have lasted longer than a single episode speaks volumes about Uo’s importance to the show. Yonks before the Sohmas came along, Uo (Hana too) was Tohru’s rock. She was there for Tohru during her darkest days, when she lost her mum. I loved that moment when, during episode 14, Yuki recalls how, the day that Kyoko passed away, a very shaken Tohru was quickly ushered out of the classroom. Unbidden, Hana and Uo immediately chase after her. You just know that they’ve been there for her every moment since… Uo’s also been protecting Tohru long before the Sohmas arrived on scene. Even while perfect strangers, Uo, noticing that Tohru is much too meek to stand up for herself, verbally accosts the careless students treading all over the notebooks that she dropped. Uo even knows all that there is to know about Tohru – her strengths, weaknesses, likes, and dislikes. This episode she can’t resist one-upping Kyo and Yuki by choosing the perfect swimsuit for our young heroine.
Tohru and Uo remind me a lot of Nana Komatsu and Nana Osaki (from the amazing anime, NANA. GO WATCH IT)… Like Nana K, Tohru is a bit of an airhead, not very good at going it alone, or looking after herself and, like Nana O, Uo is fierce (while still being surprisingly sensitive), independent, and looks out for her friend. She’s a white knight, only in a very fashionable skirt! Nana K even says that, were Nana O a boy, she would definitely be her soul mate. While Tohru has never said as much herself, I’m convinced that she feels the same way about Uo!
I really enjoyed getting to learn more about Uo this week. That being said, where’s my Hana episode? I demand my Hana episode! Before you go, let me know, what did you think about this week’s episode? Leave me a comment in the comments section below!