fruit basket is a classic shojo manga and anime series starring the gentle heroine Tohru Honda, who makes it her personal mission to befriend and counsel the cursed members of the reclusive Sohma family and help them create a better future for themselves. She has her work cut out for her, especially where the cat spirit is concerned.
Every cursed Sohma bears a serious burden, but that goes double for the housecat spirit’s bearer, the unofficial 13th member of the Chinese zodiac. In the current generation, it’s the tsundere Kyo Sohma who carries this spirit, and his tragic life story makes it clear just how horrible it is to be the cat. His life comes with more than a few harsh realities, some of which are unique and others of which are shared with the other 12 spirits.
10 The Cat Cannot Embrace People
This is a harsh reality that the cat spirit’s bearer shares with all of the cursed Sohmas — the inability to hug someone of the opposite sex without transforming into an animal. That might not sound so bad to some anime fans, but the Sohmas certainly don’t like it.
Transforming like that is a closely guarded secret, to the point that the doctor Hatori Sohma will wipe the memory of any outsider who witnesses a zodiac transformation. This makes the zodiac members isolated and lonely, as Kyo and his kuudere rival Yuki both exhibit.
9 Akito Is Especially Hard On The Cat
The cruel head of the Sohma family, the conceited Akito Sohma, is verbally abusive toward all members of the family, including some physical abuse too, such as injuring Hatori’s eye or slapping people with all her strength. However, the cat gets the worst of it.
Anyone who bears the cat spirit must face the worst verbal abuse and scorn Akito can muster, which is saying a lot, and there is no escape from it. Like the other 12 members, Kyo is bound to Akito by the curse, so Akito’s cruel words are never far away.
8 The Cat Is Recognized As The Reject
The members of the bizarre Sohma family are all somewhat secluded from mainstream Japanese society and are almost like outcasts, which is hard on all of them. But even in that context, the cat spirit’s bearer is a total pariah and rejects, and that weighs heavily on the cat.
Kyo is a reject among rejects; even on his best days, that fact is always hanging over his head like a thundercloud, which is no doubt eating away at his psyche. The cat is a reject due to the actions of the original cat in the zodiac story, and there’s nothing Kyo can do to change that.
7 The Cat’s Parents Feel Disgusted & Guilty
It’s never easy being the parent of a cursed Sohma, as the story of fruit basket showed. Some parents do their best to take it in stride and support their children, but others, such as Yuki’s selfish mother, simply make things worse and resent having a cursed, “freak” child. For the cat, it’s even worse.
Kyo’s parents hated their son for being the cat and they felt like they had committed some grave sin. In particular, Kyo’s father absolutely despised his son and blamed the boy for his mother’s suicide, which is obviously unfair. In fact, Kyo and his father never got fully reconciled at all.
6 The Cat Is Destined For Confinement
This harsh reality is another example of how the cat’s fate is an even more tragic version of what the other cursed Sohma members go through. All of the cursed Sohmas are semi-secluded and are urged to remain within the confines of the family’s large compound, such as Kureno, who is supposed to stay by Akito’s side.
The cat has it much worse. When they turn 18 or so, the cat will be locked into a small prison-house and remain there for the rest of their lives. That was the fate of Kazuma’s grandfather and it was supposed to be Kyo’s destiny, too. Fortunately, Kyo escaped this nightmarish fate and created his own future with Tohru instead.
5 The Cat Has A Monstrous True Form
It’s bad enough that the cursed Sohma members transform into their animals when hugged, which tends to alienate anyone outside of the family and the family’s support staff. However, the cat has it worse. Not only will Kyo transform into an orange housecat when hugged — he has another, more unique form.
Kyo’s true form is a monstrous, hairless thing that barely even resembles a cat, and it gives off the powerful stink of rotting meat, too. Kyo hates this form and when Tohru saw it, Kyo was convinced that Tohru would hate him forever. Kyo was fortunate that Tohru is an unusually compassionate and tolerant person.
4 The Cat Has A Rivalry With The Rat
The world of shonen is known for its intense rivalries, but sometimes shojo stories like fruit basket will also feature intense rivalries, such as the one between Kyo and Yuki. Their grudge is largely based on their respective spirits, with the cat deeply resenting the rat for deceiving it in the original zodiac story.
Kyo has enough to worry about without feeling that Yuki is constantly one-upping him and making a fool of him. Just the sight of Yuki was enough for Kyo to fly into a rage and attack him, but having Tohru around helped Kyo restrain these angry feelings somewhat.
3 The Cat Didn’t Get Its Wish
This is a symbolic harsh reality that the cat must face; in a tradition-bound family like the Sohmas, that can mean a lot. In the original zodiac story, the cat didn’t want to become immortal — it wanted to die of old age and bid the story’s god farewell. However, the cat was forced to become immortal anyway.
Against its will, the cat is reborn over and over to remain with its fellow zodiac animals, meaning the current Sohma situation completely contradicts the cat’s original wish. That means Kyo must live a lifestyle that the original cat never wanted for him.
2 The Cat Gets Moody & Tired During Rain
Cats generally don’t like water and the housecat spirit feels the same way. Rarely does Kyo get caught in the rain in his actual cat form, but rainfall is still an issue for him. Tohru learned this for herself partway through the story of Fruit Basket.
When it rains, Kyo, as the cat, will become tired and somewhat moody. So long as it’s raining outside, Kyo will have little choice but to retreat to his bedroom and wait it out. No other spirit is affected by the weather like that.
1 The Cat Must Wear Special Beads At All Times
Kyo can’t stand his true form, but he has a beaded bracelet to help with that. This beaded bracelet keeps his true form in check so long as he wears it and he has clearly gotten used to it.
However, the beaded bracelet must never come off and might get uncomfortable or snag on things now and then. What is more, this bracelet serves as a mark of shame for anyone wearing it and Kyo can only hide it with long sleeves.
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