Fruits Basket Episode 9

Fruits Basket Episode 9

Yuki Was My First Love

This week’s episode of Fruits Basket starts off exactly how you would expect it to, with Yuki and Kyo once again fighting over something completely unimportant. I think this time they were fighting over having to go shopping with Tooru, but it doesn’t really matter because it has nothing to do with the rest of the episode.

But, one important development does come out of this shopping trip, and that’s the fact that Yuki gets a cold. Normally in anime getting a cold essentially means that you turn into a vegetable, unable to get out of bed and with severely limited mental capabilities.

Luckily this isn’t how it goes this time around, because I find that trope to be extremely stupid. If a cold puts you in a near vegetative state with the cognitive ability of a two-year-old, it probably means natural selection is trying to weed you out.

Instead, what’s bad about Yuki having a cold is that the Soumas are prone to transforming into their zodiac animals when they’re weakened due to illness. Because of this, Tooru believes Yuki should stay home from school in order to get better.

However, Kyo learns that there’s going to be a race in gym class the next day and demands that Yuki show up so the two of them can compete. In the end Yuki opts to go to school so he doesn’t have to listen to Kyo’s complaining for the next week.

Cat and Mouse

Despite having a cold, Yuki is able to keep up with Kyo during their race. I typically think of Kyo as the more athletic of the two, despite Yuki being the stronger fighter, but this seems to prove that Yuki is just as fit, if not more so. If he can keep up with Kyo under these circumstances, imagine if he was running at peak performance.

But we never get to learn which one of them wins the race because it’s abruptly cut short by the intervention of another Souma clan member. Hatsuharu, the Souma who was introduced as Haa-kun in the previous episode, lays a trip wire across the path on which Yuki and Kyo are racing.

Tooru Honda from the anime series Fruits Basket
Tooru Honda

Before I get into discussing Hatsuharu for the remainder of the episode, I do want to take a moment to mention the girls’ side of the gym class race. There’s nothing too exciting about Tooru here, but her friends are more interesting.

For starters, Uo is nowhere to be found. Perhaps the reason for her disappearance was mentioned and I just happened to miss it, but I figured that of all the female characters, she would be the one most interested in this competition. Sure, she probably thinks school competitions are lame, but at the same time it’s still a competition and she seems pretty fit.

On the other side of the spectrum we have Hana, who gives up as soon as the race commences with a dramatic performance about how she can’t go on. She then proceeds to start up a poker game with the rest of the race dropouts (and eventually the coach and Shigure).

Hatsuharu Souma

So who exactly is Hatsuharu Souma? He’s one year younger than Yuki and Kyo, making him a third year middle school student (I’m not sure if I realized Tooru, Yuki, and Kyo were first year high schoolers). He’s also one of the Soumas afflicted with the zodiac curse, with his particular animal being the ox.

However, when he transforms later on in the episode it’s revealed that he’s actually just a standard cow, much like how Hatori is just a seahorse, not a dragon. And if I’m being honest, he’s not even a very attractive cow either.

Hatsuharu Soma (Ox) from the anime series Fruits Basket
Hatsuharu Soma (Ox)

He showed up to interrupt Yuki and Kyo’s race because he wants to have a fight against Kyo. He originally planned to have their fight during the New Years celebration, but Yuki and Kyo bailed at the last second so it wasn’t possible.

I think it’s also fair to say that Hatsuharu is to Kyo as Kyo is to Yuki. Kyo always wants to fight Yuki to prove his strength, and Hatsuharu wants to fight Kyo for the same reason. However, his relationship with these two is a bit different from their relationships with each other.

As far as we can tell, Hatsuharu is bisexual, and he claims to be in love with both Yuki and Kyo. In fact, the title of the episode, “Yuki was my first love” is something Hatsuharu says. This is why when Yuki suffers from an Akito-related panic attack, he stops his fight with Kyo in order to take care of him.

Dark Haru

But Hatsuharu isn’t just some bisexual guy who loves Yuki and wants to fight against Kyo. There’s more to him than that. Much like with Kagura, there are two sides to Hatsuharu, and they’re just as extreme, if not more so.

Typically Hatsuharu is a calm and laid back person, but when he doesn’t get his way he turns into Dark Haru. Dark Haru is essentially the polar opposite of Hatsuharu’s regular personality. Instead of being laid back, he’s extremely aggressive in just about every way, including romance.

The reason for Dark Haru’s initial appearance goes back to Hatsuharu’s childhood, during which he would get picked on by the other Souma zodiac members. In the zodiac story, the rat uses the ox to get a free ride to the banquet, and so everyone says that the ox was used because it was stupid.

This caused Hatsuharu to develop anger issues which resulted in his Dark Haru persona. He also initially hated Yuki before he ever met him because he viewed the rat as the reason why everyone made fun of him. But one day he met Yuki and realized that he had been mistaken.

Just as everyone who made fun of him were judging him based on the story and not who he really was, he had judged Yuki without ever getting to know him too. Yuki ended up being the first person to help Hatsuharu put the frustration he was feeling into words, which is why he now claims to love him.

Conclusion

Starting with this episode, the ox has now been added to the ED along with the monkey. Does this mean we’ll be introduced to the monkey next? The goat and tiger have been in the ED the entire time and we still haven’t met them either.

So what are your thoughts on this week’s episode of Fruits Basket? I thought it was a decent episode and it introduced Hatsuharu’s background well, but I’m beginning to get a bit tired of the series. I think once more is revealed about Akito it’ll start to pique my interest again.

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My review of the next episode is available here.

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