Fruits Basket’s season 3 villain is caught in an almost-redemption arc

Menstruation at the center of the anime series Fruits Basket surpasses the apparent magic that turns members of the Sohma into animals if they hug other individuals. The Sohmas are all bound to the will and impulses of prideful household head Akito, the “God” of the Zodiac, which stops them from forming any other mentally close bonds. As the primary bad guy of the series, Akito does some dreadful things, consisting of however not restricted to verbally scolding the majority of the Zodiac members, separating them from their loved ones, beating a little woman, tossing another woman out a window, locking that very same woman up in a shack with restricted food and water without informing anybody where she is, stabbing somebody, and even blinding a guy.

However as the lead character, adventurous orphan Tohru Honda ends up being increasingly more knotted with the Sohma household, Akito’s hold over them is threatened. And in the last season, it emerges that Akito is simply as much a victim of menstruation as the rest of her household, albeit in a various way.

[Ed. note: This post contains end spoilers for the 2019 Fruits Basket series.]

akito smiling menancingly

Image: TMS/8PAN/Funimation

Due To The Fact That the God of the Zodiac is typically male, Akito was required to presume the identity of a guy for her whole life. She was consistently informed that individuals just stayed her since they were required to. Her mom, envious of the close bond Akito shared with her daddy, was verbally violent to her. And after her daddy’s death, Akito ended up being separated from the remainder of the household.

However the issue with the last season of Fruits Basket isn’t always discovering why she is the method she is, however what takes place after.

Throughout the program, as Tohru bonds with the Zodiac members and they picture a world devoid of their curse, whatever Akito understands starts to decipher. After satisfying Tohru — who is entirely and infallibly kind to her, in spite of whatever — Akito recognizes some individuals do unconditionally appreciate others, without the responsibilities of a centuries-old curse. After a mishap almost eliminates Tohru, Akito makes the active option to run the risk of losing the only connections she’s ever truly understood in order to sever menstruation and complimentary the Zodiac members. It might be the primary step to her course to redemption.

Other than the story stops there.

After setting the Zodiac members complimentary, which comes with huge sweeping psychological scenes (and great deals of hugs!), she welcomes them as her real self — not the prideful guy the majority of them presumed she was, however a lady in a streaming robe. And after that after this extremely basic “You’re free!” speech (she can’t even bring herself to state sorry — she cuts herself off at “I’m so—”), she simply vanishes. She doesn’t even appropriately say sorry separately for all the shit she’s put the Zodiac members through, which is the actual bare minimum she might’ve done. “Hey Rin, sorry for shoving you out a window!” may go a long method, for example.

akito in a red kimino

Image: TMS/8PAN/Funimation

To the series’ credit, many of the Zodiac members don’t forgive Akito, and there’s no sign that the creators judge them for that. In the last episode, the Horse of the Zodiac, Rin, says she’ll never be able to forgive Akito, not in the method the others have. Akito recognizes that her family isn’t obligated to exonerate her, and that not everyone in the world will like her. But the series doesn’t take any time to interrogate that line of thought, or consider the aftermath of trauma and abuse.

Most of the Sohmas get together to wish Tohru and her boyfriend Kyo off, except for Akito, who tells her own partner, Shigure, that she doesn’t feel like she should interrupt the festivities. And then they continue on their little date, and Akito is happy for the first time in her life. Which is just a wee bit frustrating — yes, she was traumatized as a child, but she stabbed a man, so it’s weird to see her get off entirely scot-free, except for some lingering guilt.

Sometimes villains should stay villains. (Cough, Cruella de Vil, cough.) Not every villain needs a full-fledged redemption arc. Certainly there are plenty of cases where a baddie staying evil makes for a more fulfilling story. That’s not to say Akito should’ve remained entirely villainous; for the context of this story, actively making the choice to end the Zodiac’s abusive cycle fits thematically.

akito crying and clutching tohru

Image: TMS/8PAN/Funimation

But the problem is that Fruits Basket is caught in a weird in-between, where we’re expected to feel sympathy for Akito, even though she faces no repercussions. While it’s implied she will eventually make amends and rectify her actions, she doesn’t even start that process within the show. There’s a lot of buildup done to bring her to a moment of taking that first step toward making things right, but the payoff just isn’t there. What could be a fulfilling emotional redemption arc gets shortchanged. Akito stays on the main estate, maintains her position as head of the family, and gets to be romantically involved with Shigure. She stays away from the other family members’ goodbye party, but beyond that, there’s no emotional closure for her actions.

Fortunately, Fruits Basket isn’t her story. While the action heavily revolves around the Sohma family, it’s still first and foremost the story of how Tohru learns to accept that people love her. In many ways, she’s a foil to Akito, another unloved child who feels like a burden to those around her. But instead of being cruel, Tohru chooses to love people no matter what — not just her romantic interest Kyo, but her close childhood friends and the Sohma family, who she connects with through deep, platonic bonds.

Throughout the show, Tohru meets each Zodiac member and gets to know them and care for them. Each of them grow attached to her in a different way, and by the end, she finally accepts that they love her as well. Akito seeking out each Zodiac member and atoning for her wrongdoings would make a poignant parallel to Tohru’s arc. But the story stops there. Tohru’s journey comes to an emotional close, with Tohru moving out of town with Kyo, finally accepting the love others have for her and choosing to do things because they make her happy instead of making others happy. Akito’s possible growth is cut short. It’s a strange severed thought that could’ve bolstered the overarching themes of the show, but never ever got an opportunity to.

All 3 seasons of Fruits Basket (2019) are offered to stream on Crunchyroll and Funimation.

Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.