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January 2007
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Blinky [userpic]
Tohru Honda

The first discussion will be based on Tohru Honda, the main character of Fruits Basket.
Tohru to me, is a very interesting character. At first I was appalled at her cutesy personality. It wasn't that I didn't like her -- in fact, I loved her. However, I was disappointed because I didn't think she was a beleivable character. Who do you know who is able to accept everyone, no matter what? This is normally enough to make me stop reading a manga or book.... However, Because of all the other characters and their personalities (as well as the unique plot) I kept reading. 
It wasn't until Kyo's transformation (In Volume 6, I think...) that I really began to see her at all differently. It became more apparant in the anime, when ANIME SPOILER? Tohru is laying on her mother's grave, refusing to go back END SPOILER that I really thought differently. I started to think about it and I realized that Tohru is different than all those girly-manga heroines. She has the same insecurities and darker feelings as everyone else. You begin to see more and more instances as the manga progresses, what with the keeping the "lid" on her box and then later SPOILER her and Kyo's talk in chapter 109. END SPOILER.
I think her relationship with her mother is beautiful and I'd love to have that kind of relationship with my daughter one-day (though not as tragic, hopefully). 
SPOILER Her relationship with Kyo is.... well, after all the angst, predictable. The bggest thing with her (to me) is not her relationship, but more, WHO the relationship is finally with. I wasn't that excited about her and Kyo finally getting together at the end of the series (er, close to the end?), because I knew that after Yuki had told Kakeru that he saw Tohru as a mother, she had to end up with Kyo. I also think that Momiji is interested in her, and although I don't think it will be persued much, could have some interesting stories and maybe should be persued. END SPOILER.
I think this is enough, for a starter. Please, if anyone has anything to add, more questions to ask, or has something they could build on in this, don't hesitate to comment. All discussions are welcome. :]

Current Mood: excitedstill excited, and nervous
Comments

I would just like to add that I admire that Tohru always tries to remain cheerful, despite certain events. It was tough on her after Katsuya died, (SPOILERS) what with Kyoko not really being there for her, falling into deep depression, and almost committing suicide. Also, some relatives carelessly and cruelly commented on how she was nothing like her father, so they don't have to offer condolences. That's why she began speaking really politely. (END SPOILERS) So yes, I admire that she doesn't give up.

Maybe the whole comment is SPOILERS?? '-';;

I've always admired this about Tohru as well.... Very much so!
I remember that instance that you're talking about at the funeral. Maybe I was the only one to see it (or I'm imagining it?) but I kind of feel like maybe Tohru was jealous of her father for how it affected Kyoko. (Remember she calls him a "villian"?)
I also have thought that the reason she began speaking more politely was not only to appear more like Katsuya, but also to help Kyoko in her grief. Something about the way those family members phrased it in 109 -- "Her being like that won't make for any sort of consolation." ....Also a few pages later when Tohru is talking to her grandfather, makes me beleive this.
(hahaha, I'm rereading the chapter!)
Towards the end, Grandfather comments that Tohru's "happiness is everyone's happiness." This isn't the first time I've noticed this, but I can't quite place exactly what he means by it.
(END SPOILERS)

At first, I also thought that Tohru isn't a believable character. I thought it was kind of stupid and unreal that she hardly ever showed her sadness, anger and all those feelings humans normally have. Then I thought I'd want to be like her - always smiling and so accepting. Then I noticed that my grandma acts kind of like her.

Umm... A real person aged 16-17 years old simply cannot be like Tohru. You have to be very wise, understanding, you have to live through a lot and have a lot of experience to be able to concentrate on other people's lives and feelings. She always thinks about the Sohma family - she cooks, cleans up, talks to them, tries to make them happy. She rarely thinks about herself. I don't believe it's possible for an older teen.

To an extent, I agree with what you say, however, there are teens I know that seem to be older than their years. Not necessarily wiser or kinder... Just, not normal.
Because of meeting peopel like this, it's a personal belief that age has little to do with experience (though, it is true more years=more experience). Some people experience more in 17 years than others do in 40. It just depends on how life hands it to you and really, how you are raised. (We know Tohru has many of her beliefs because of her mother.)
Though, you are right. A typical teen is not like Tohru. Then again, that's what makes Tohru such an unsual manga character.

When I first read the manga, I have to say . . . I didn't really like Tohru. All the other characters seemed real to me (they had real problems, insecurities, relationships, etc.), but Tohru seemed so one dimensional to me --- bubbly, perky, accepting of EVERYONE and EVERYTHING, always thinking of others, etc. She was perfect. She was boring. I didn't like her --- but I tolerated her, because I pretty much liked everyone else in the series, plus the plot (as you said).

But now I have to say that I really love Tohru!

We find out (as Hiro did) that Tohru isn't all she appears to be. After Tohru's father died, not only was it probably hard (and confusing) for a child to hear, "She must be some other man's child, since she is nothing like her father" from relatives . . . but also, her mother had left her for a while, caught up in her own depression. The images of a young Tohru sitting in her apartment all alone is really heartbreaking. But Kyoko, of course, came back, realizing that she still had Tohru to hold onto, and to take care of. Tohru, still fearful that her mother would end up leaving her, started to mimic her father's mannerisms; not only that, but Tohru admitted that she even started to see her dead father as the "enemy" (someone who stood between Tohru and her mother), even though the few memories Tohru could recall of her father were happy ones. I thought this aspect of Tohru's past was a big eye-opener. It said to me that Tohru is a human being; she's been hurt before; abandoned before . . . just like the Sohmas (thought certainly not to their extent), which is one of the reasons that she is so significant as the lead character.

The other thing that made Tohru all the more real to me was her mother complex. It always sorta disturbed me (from the very first chapter) how Tohru clung so desperately to her deceased mother. I know that her mother's death must have caused her a great deal of sorrow; of pain; and that, of course, she WOULD cling to things like her mother's picture, etc., for comfort in her loss. . . . But as I read the manga, I just felt some red flags go up on certain occasions. For example . . . when she took her mother's picture on the hot springs vacation. Well, bringing it along isn't anything unusual . . . but wrapping it in plastic and taking in the hot springs with you? So that "Mom" could enjoy the hot springs too? That's kind of disturbing. But none of the other characters ever commented on it, until volume 11, I think. That's when Hiro snottily asked Tohru why everything she said was Mom-this and Mom-that, suggesting that she had a pretty bad mother complex.

(cont. . . .)

(cont. from last post)

It's also in that volume that Yuki tells Tohru that he has to "open the box," meaning that he can't keep pushing his problems away, ignoring them, but rather has to face them head on. After Yuki tells her this, late at night, Tohru huddles with the picture of her mother, Yuki's words haunting her: "I have to open the box." We see quick images of Katsuya's funeral, and a picture of a weeping Kyoko. Softly crying to herself, Tohru says aloud, "It's all right . . . it's all right . . . we're always together . . . always . . . " I don't know about you, but that scene always gets me teary-eyed, mainly because of the pain Tohru probably felt. Everyone is always praising Tohru for being so positive, for moving forward with life, despite her mother's death . . . but really (as she admits in later chapters), she can't/won't let go of her mother . . . she is afraid to, in a way. It's one of the reasons that, when she first realizes that she loves Kyo, she feels incredibly guilty and scared --- frightened that she's just letting her mother go by loving another.

But as of recent manga chapters, Tohru had realized that she needs to "let go" of her mother; and that by letting go, and loving Kyo, she is not betraying her mother in any way. Which makes the Kyoru shipper in me very, very happy. ^^

Tohru's problem with letting go of her mother, wanting things to stay that same, are also important to the plot of Fruits Basket. It's BECAUSE of this mother complex (which she eventually overcomes) that she can relate to Akito (who not only clings to her deceased father's words, just like Tohru did to Kyoko's . . . but also wanted the bonds of the juunishi to remain "unchanging" forever). After Kyo rejects Tohru's feelings for him in chapter 121, she realizes that nothing in life is "forever" and certain . . . an epiphany she shares with Akito, realizing that because Akito was lonely too, she was desperately clinging to the curse, wanting the forged love of the zodiac to remain constant. Tohru (after Akito also admitted that she was afraid of a world without any guarantees of love) says that Akito doesn't have to be alone, and that she'll be her friend, later adding, "If there are endings to things, there are also beginnings." (To paraphrase badly. . . .) And as the god in chapter 131 explains, when god finally realized that nothing lasts forever, and that the juunishi bonds were less bonds than they were shackles, the curse was lifted. (Or at least that's how I understood it. ^^)

Yes, yes! I know exactly what you mean about Tohru. At first, she was just so fake. I was definetely intrigued by her, because I had never seen a person or even character like her before. So accepting and kind. (And Natsuki pulls her off so well.

The whole situation with those relatives saying that about Tohru really resonated with me -- I recall times when things were said to me, and they still affect me today. I've decided that whenever I have children, I will always remember those experiences and Tohru's experiences. Children do know what you're talking about, and you should never pretend they don't.

You may not beleive me when I say this, but I decided from the begining that though Tohru didn't appear to have any weaknesses or depth, I beleived she did. (Reasons for this include, my own personal experiences, and also everyone else in the series had such depth.... Natsuki wouldn't carelessly forget the MAIN character.) However, the part that really proved to me that she was real was in chapter... 121? I'm not sure. But it was when Tohru has the dream about her mother and wakes up calling "Kaasan??". When she opened the door and the line appeared "...Behind the door, where you're quietly falling apart." This and the look on her face.... It really tore me up inside. (My icon is from that chapter.... Tohru visits Rin in the hospital, she brings her jelly!)

The interesting thing (to me) about Tohru not wanting to let go of her mother was that her thoughts weres along the lines of "She doesn't exist in this world anymore, so I'll remember her..." The similiarities between her and Kyoko (over Katsuya) at this moment really struck me.

...Your thoughts on Akito/Tohru really make sense!! Aha, I didn't even think about this, in fact, I always thought it wasn't as well put together as other parts of the story, but of course, that's underestimating Natsuki. Thanks for clarifying this for me. :]

PS. That icon of Yuki is really pretty.... <3

The whole situation with those relatives saying that about Tohru really resonated with me -- I recall times when things were said to me, and they still affect me today. I've decided that whenever I have children, I will always remember those experiences and Tohru's experiences. Children do know what you're talking about, and you should never pretend they don't.

Yes! I remember certain situations like that in my childhood, as well. Those kinds of things really stick with you, and shape certain aspects of yourself . . . so it’s very important to choose words carefully with children. I always remember that, even when I was quite little, I was very aware of what was being said and done around me; so, there’s really no reason to underestimate children now, either. ;)

You may not beleive me when I say this, but I decided from the begining that though Tohru didn't appear to have any weaknesses or depth, I believed she did. (Reasons for this include, my own personal experiences, and also everyone else in the series had such depth.... Natsuki wouldn't carelessly forget the MAIN character.)


Yeah, when I first began the series, I wasn’t too sure if Tohru would be a “real” character or not. So many shojo titles start off with main characters who are sort of similar to Tohru’s personality, and they end up just being totally flat and just . . . someone you can’t really relate to. But as I kept reading Fruits Basket, it became clear to me that there had to be more to Tohru than meets the eye, since all the other characters weren’t to be judged by their covers, either. (Heck, after one or two volumes, Tohru was already intriguing me a bit, because I could tell that a lot of the time, she seemed to be repressing things, or running away from fears/problems herself. Like with Kyoko . . . when confronted with “moving on,” she really would bolt from the conversation, would she?) Anyway, Takaya is an awesome author; she really understands people, the layers to each individual, their motives . . . all of her characters (even very minor ones that hardly show up, like Ritsu) have quite detailed back-stories plotted out, and thoughtful reasons for why they are the way they are, etc. ^^

However, the part that really proved to me that she was real was in chapter... 121? I'm not sure. But it was when Tohru has the dream about her mother and wakes up calling "Kaasan??". When she opened the door and the line appeared "...Behind the door, where you're quietly falling apart." This and the look on her face.... It really tore me up inside. (My icon is from that chapter.... Tohru visits Rin in the hospital, she brings her jelly!)


Oh, I know! That was just . . . heart-wrenching. ;_; I felt horrible for Tohru, because I can relate to the feeling of missing a loved one that you’d do anything to have back, but you just can’t. It’s even worse to have that sadness of missing a loved one mixed with a certain amount of regret. Tohru said that she always felt horrible for not saying, on the morning of her mother’s accident, “be safe.” She had said it to Kyoko every single morning . . . except that one. It’s gotta sting, and makes the memory of Kyoko leaving for work that day even more painful to recall. . . .

(Aw, I loved that chapter! ^^ Rin is another one of my favorite characters, and it was so sweet to see Tohru trying so hard to be friends, and to help Rin out a bit. Hehe. Poor Tohru. Rin wasn't having any of it. XD Though, she did soften up a bit later on in the chapter because of the jello thing! [And who could blame her?] *is a fan of jello*)

(cont.)

(cont. from last post. hehe, I type too much XD)


...Your thoughts on Akito/Tohru really make sense!! Aha, I didn't even think about this, in fact, I always thought it wasn't as well put together as other parts of the story, but of course, that's underestimating Natsuki. Thanks for clarifying this for me. :]


Your welcome. ^^ Akito/Tohru definitely has very interesting parallels. . . . If you look at the first page of chapter 114, and of chapter 115, you see that it’s almost the exact same image layout: Akito/Tohru staring off into the distance, with a picture of their deceased parent in the background. (Takaya’s actually been contrasting the two characters --- protagonist and antagonist --- from the first volume, which is pretty awesome if you think about it! And it also makes more sense, then, for the series to first focus heavily on Tohru, and later shift a bit to Akito.) Anyway, I'll stop going on about Akito and Tohru's paralells now. XD I should just write an essay or something about it, to get the fangirling out of my system already! Hehe.

PS. That icon of Yuki is really pretty.... <3


Thanks! It’s by goosygirl_icons; she has a lot of pretty Furuba icons on her icon journal . . . heck, she has a lot of pretty icons in general! lol! Oh, and it’s not Yuki, btw; it’s actually an image of Akito from chapter 133. ^^ Their character designs are so freakin’ similar, though, ne? X_x It used to be really hard for me to tell ‘em apart sometimes. *wonders how closely related they are . . . but that’s probably best saved for another character discussion* ^^;;