The empty promise, the empty hope, the empty box.
Fruits Basket does a deep dive into tragedy this week and in the case of truly tragic characters there seemingly a moment or a choice where each one potentially had a chance to avoid the domino of events that is now leading to all of their tears and emptiness and yet someone missed that moment or deliberately turned their back on it. While many of the faults lie with an older generation that seemingly set things in motion through greed and jealousy, the younger generation need to own their decisions as well as they’ve been participating in the farce that is the god’s banquet all along. Incidentally, there will be a major episode spoiler toward the end of this post so count this as the warning.
Of course, a character isn’t truly a tragic character unless their own decisions and choices have in some way contributed and that without that decision they might have somehow been saved or a redeemable character. I mean, sure they might be a pitiful character or a very sad one to watch, but without some hope that they might not have ended up in that current state they really aren’t agents in the story and are merely being swept along with events. While Kyo, Yuki and the others have certainly been swept along at times, all of these characters have at different moments had pivotal points where a choice has been made and all of their choices up until now have kept them bound to the curse.
Arguably, they may have chosen differently if a certain Kureno had actually bothered to share the fact that he had been freed from the curse. That dangling hope may very well have been a catalyst for inspiring different choices or even being able to really believe in another path. Instead, what we see now is a family with darkness compounded by darkness and a mother, jealous (ridiculously) of a father’s affections for a child, who more or less twisted that child into the paranoid and hate-filled creature that is Akito. The whole thing is ridiculous when you consider that her claim is that everything of the father’s belongs to her and that she treasures his everything and yet she treats his child (and hers) as something that is very much in the way and disposable.
None of that excuses Akito’s life-time of abuse and crimes. Claiming no-one ever gave her a different path sounds like she would like to frame herself as a tragic heroine. While her mother certainly has a lot to own up to, as do the servants of the house who also didn’t provide any kind of buffering to protect the child, Akito also needs to take some responsibility for the choices she has made and the consequences they have wrought for others. Terrible mother or not, pushing someone off a balcony isn’t going to be excused because you were a little bit confused. Nor is partially blinding someone in a fit.
Actually, the real question is how much money do the Soma’s have because clearly they have paid off literally all the authorities or there would be one big investigation into a whole range of human-rights abuses going on in that compound.
It’s hard to even argue with Akito when she confronts Kureno at the end of the episode (BIG SPOILERS COMING IF YOU HAVEN’T WATCHED).
It is too late for him, the older of the two to suggest a different path. Kureno doesn’t have the luxury of excusing his complicit nature on the curse because he has been freed for some time. Instead, he has chosen to stand by Akito as she has become more and more possessive and hurt the others and he’s comforted her rather than tried to in anyway deter her actions. So Akito’s accusation to him is not an empty one but rather quite justified. Of all the characters in Akito’s life, Kureno is the one who had the most chance at perhaps guiding her in a different way but chose instead to accept her exactly as she was (which is hugely broken).
While Akito’s next action may infuriate some, it actually makes a lot of sense and honestly, if Kureno had walked out of this narrative without getting a taste of some of the pain he’d allowed to continue that probably would have left a bad taste in my mouth. It is tragic and awful but within the context makes sense. Kureno is punished for his role in allowing the tragedy to continue and whether this punishment is ultimately lethal or not is left ambiguous by the episode and I suppose we’ll find out later whether he survives it (it doesn’t look like he should be who knows).
Let’s be real: Episode 7 of Fruits Basket: The Final Season is all of the darker elements of this story without any of the humour and light, and it needed to be. As we see small hopes of more characters freeing themselves from the curse we see others being dragged down and now they are hitting rock bottom. The only question that remains is how many will still have the strength and will to claw their way back to the light by the time this is all over.
Images used for review from: Fruits Basket: The Final Season. Dir. Y Ibata. TMS Entertainment. 2021.
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