Fruits Basket - Vol.15
You think you know someone, and then it turns out you really, really don't. At least, you know a very small portion of that person.
In a pretty hefty chunk of this book, we get a massive flashback into Yuki's childhood. As expected, it wasn't that great. What I didn't expect is how bad it was. It was,,, honestly a lot.
So, because he is the Rat Boy, and because I guess the rat is the closest to God in this whole situation, Yuki ended up being around Akito for most of his childhood. It wasn't ever really anything he wanted to do, it was just something he had to do. And from the short glimpse we get of Akito as a little kid, it seems like he didn't use to be anywhere near as bad as he is in the present (which makes sense). He seemed to have a short temper, but other than that, there wasn't anything unusual. Until one random day, that is. Akito kinda flipped his shit, and has been that way since. How nice.
As a result of always being close to Akito, no one else really wanted to be around Yuki. And after Akito cracked a bit, and started saying that Yuki wasn't wanted, that he was unnecessary, and that no one liked him, Yuki didn't much like being around Akito, but he didn't have any choice. Some time around then, Yuki's parents seem to have kinda sold Yuki to appease Akito, so he didn't even have his family to fall back on. Ayame, his older brother, ignored his existence as a whole. Have we even met Yuki's father in this entire series?
So when Yuki first heard of Kyo, how he was left outside, Yuki was pretty curious. He was alone, and so was this mysterious cat person. Maybe they could be friends? But, of course, the second that Kyo saw Yuki, he blamed Yuki for basically everything that went wrong in his life, just because Yuki was the rat, and he was the cat. Before this point, the whole Juunishi thing doesn't really seem to affect Yuki much, he doesn't seem to categorize people based on what animal spirit they have, but I imagine that after this incident, maybe that changed. After that initial interaction with Kyo, Yuki didn't immediately hate him, he was just sad and confused, but moving on, I bet it was excellent fuel to the fire.
(Oh hey I'll just put this here, that after Kyo yelled at him for "ruining everything" and that everyone would be happier if he just disappeared, he ran into his mom again. He was upset, and probably could've used some nice comfort. Instead of that, he got slapped in the face. So. -1 for Yuki's mom.)
Do you remember way back, probably around the first books, when Yuki brought up that time that he accidently turned into a rat while playing with some kids in elementary school? It went over that. It was already a sad scene, but now there's this additional context that when he was playing around with the other kids, that was basically one of the first times that he was truly happy. But after he changed into a rat, well obviously that had to be covered up, so all those kids that he was starting to make friends with were made to completely forget about him. He wasn't back to square one, he was at square zero, because now he had had a taste of friendship, just for it to be taken away and replaced with Akito (and probably other people) shaming him for having the audacity of being born as a Juunishi, because he totally chose to be like that, right?
Another slight detour, the hat. So the hat was originally Kyo's, but after he saw Yuki holding it, he just decided that it wasn't his anymore. And, oh my fucking god? The following panels are fucking heart wrenching, it's terrible. Did no one hear Yuki crying, or did they just ignore it? Like, I don't like kids, I can't handle them when they're screaming (why do they scream so much it's weird) or crying, but oh my god, that hurts me. That panel hurts me. He just wants a family that loves and cares for him, that doesn't avoid or ignore him. (Put a pin in this sentiment, because it pops up later.)
After a steady diet of this kinda thing, with Akito's acidic words, people's general distaste or indifference for him, he started being scared to reach out to others. (Personally, I kinda feel like screaming at these people, like wtf is wrong with all of them) It's here when he just seems to kinda shut off. All this time, he's still sickly, and feeling like your life is without worth (and having your world confirm it everyday) doesn't exactly make you fight to stay healthy, y'know?
And here's when Yuki kinda is given a purpose, because after Akito visited him when his cough was acting up, and basically asked him, "Are you going to die yet? If you're gonna do it, just do it already", he left the house, and ran out randomly out in town in the early morning, where he overheard Kyoko screaming to the police about how her adorable little daughter in her adorable little dress with her cute hair in adorable little pom-poms was missing and she was going to tear down the town to find her. He kept running down some roads, until he did actually find that adorable little daughter.
On his end, it seemed to be a series of "Well shit. What now?" after finding her, and only continued as Tohru saw him and started following after him until he led her back to her house. This whole thing, as has been explained in previous books, was basically the first time in his life where someone needed him, specifically him, to help them. And that feeling, of knowing that he was able to help someone, and that he was needed, even for a little bit, was enough to pull him through.
Then we're pulled back to present, shortly after Machi broke open the closet door with a chair where Yuki was stuck in, which was the main thing that even started this whole thing, where he's explaining kind of why he came to see and/or love Tohru in maternal way. Thing is, just like when that was revealed, I still don't blame him for it. She's very caring. I'll admit (like Kakeru, who has kinda been there sitting with Yuki this whole time, apparently in silence) that I don't wholly understand it, on a personal level, but I can see why he thinks that. It makes sense.
Now onto to wacky happenings and zany shenanigans! The school is making a play, and Kyo's one of the main characters (despite never really showing that he has literally any interest in acting or theater, but yaknow whatever) in a Cinderella play, with Cinderella herself being played as Hanajima! This has already been brought up in the last book, but I'm just reiterating for fun or something idk
Tohru's having a hard time fitting into the role of an evil stepsister, to the point that she's worried about slowing others down because she just,,, can't,,, make,, herself,,,,, be,, meannnnn omigod it's so hard ;-; Additionally, Kyo's just not showing up for rehearsals and stuff, he's not even bothering. Probably bc it's embarrassing for him. And with these two main problems (the show can't go on if Prince Charming doesn't know his lines, after all), the play is altered, ever so slightly, so that it becomes "Sorta Cinderella". What a marvelous title.
Let's go back to that pin I mentioned earlier, with Yuki wishing he could have had a family that loved and cared for him.
So, before some of this stuff with the play, Yuki brought up The Hat, of the "It was first owned by Kyo but he later abandoned it after seeing that Yuki picked it up, and later wore that hat when he led Tohru back to her mom" fame, in a very off-handed manner. I think he just said that Tohru still has the hat, in her room, that's she's kept it all this time. This throws some unpleasant memories for Kyo into the air, and leaves him rather bitter.
Leading back to the main scene at hand, Kyo kinda goes off on Yuki, saying that Yuki was lucky: he had a mom and dad, he was needed, he was involved in the family matters. He's had it easy, had the world handed to him on a silver platter, and that he'll never understand what it's like to hope for something despite knowing he'll never get it. (and both times i've read that so far, i just want to yoink kyo into the beginning of this book, like, no dude. your childhood was fucked up, but so was his.) He stops mid-rant, however, when he sees that Yuki is not fighting back, at all, and when he remembers something that (probably) Akito said, that Kyo just uses Yuki as something he can hate. Naturally, why would you ever want to feed into something that Akito would say, so he stops, but not before punching a hole in a window. Ow.
Finally, we've gotten to the play, the main event! Hiro, Kisa, Momiji, and Haru (among others) are there to witness the,, the sight? (Idk man it's 12:30am) Hiro is acting strangled, as per usual, trying to keep Kisa away from all the creeps, but also trying his small-child most to not Mess Things Up, as he has a slight history of doing throughout the series thus far.
The play in of itself is pretty funny, personally I think the narrator was doing the heavy lifting in this one. But more importantly, there's a point where "Cinderella" asks "Prince Charming" if all he ever wants out of life is to hide away from people, locked away in his own space, dying alone, (which I heavily doubt was part of the script, because,, whoa) and partway through telling her that he wouldn't affect anyone if he did do that, the "Stepsister" (Tohru) interrupts him, saying that would make her... she stops herself, but one can assume that the end of that statement would likely be that, if "Prince Charming" (psh nah this isn't about the play anymore) Kyo were to do that, she would get very upset, and generally not have a good time. And he had the audacity to be surprised about that like wtf man.
After the play, Yuki runs into a group of girls that are harrassing Machi, because she said that Yuki isn't like a prince. She didn't explain herself after saying it, and so I suppose the Yuki Fan Club (or whatever it's called idk I'd be surprised but also not if it wasn't called that) took offense to her disagreeing with her. After being pushed around (literally), Machi says that Yuki just seems too lonely of a person to be a prince, that despite being surrounded by people, he just kinda seems out of it most of the time. Now, is that true? It kinda seems so, so, props to Machi for seeing that, hopefully she's not going to be kidnapped and tortured (idk stuff happens). Hearing Machi say all that does kinda startle Yuki, but the fight itself stops after Kakeru makes a fake announcement about a photoshoot with Yuki that makes the bullies scatter away.
And that's basically the end of it. Although the flashback thing with Yuki probably didn't even take up a third of the book, it was still some pretty heavy stuff, so it's nice that it was offset slightly with the play. I don't really have much else to say about that.
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