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Memory for You - A shrine to the Fruits Basket Anime

:Episode 2-"Tohru-kun, aren't you feeling nauseous?":
(focus on Yuki)

Episode 2 starts RIGHT after Episode 1 ended, so we have Tohru running around like a mad chicken, until the mailman rings and she starts telling HIM that those animals she's running around with are people. Of course he misunderstands and just hands her the letters - well actually Shigure the dog takes them ^o^.

So while Tohru, shaken and sitting on the floor, can only listen to the three animals talking to each other, we get introduced to the typical interaction of the three main male protagonists:

  •      Shigure - the voice of reason trying to charm everyone or cajole them into agreeing with his methods -,
  •      Yuki - sceptic, ironic, sarcastic but falling in with Shigure as soon as Tohru-kun's well-being is touched on (Shigure gets a LOT of support out of Yuki that way)
  •       and Kyo - sitting in his outsider-corner either grumbling or positively going volcanic as soon as his sore spots are touched upon (1. how come he can't beat Yuki at martial arts, though he has trained longer, 2. how can Yuki hate being part of a family when he so desperately wants to be part of one, 3. his hot temper).

Eventually Shigure calmly tells Tohru about the Juunishi-course and Tohru gets her first eyeful (*grins*) when all three animals change back to naked human form at once.

~ Eye Catch

Now the secret/cat is out of the bag - so to speak - it's time for a deliberate discussion of what to do next. After all, Tohru-kun was invited to stay at the house, so Yuki and Shigure don't want to be impolite now. Kyo is annoyed at having a female non-Sohma in the house in the first place and loses his temper once more, when Yuki icily and deliberately points out that he has NO say in the matter, since he is an outsider anyway (Kyo, the cat: who never was part of the Juunishi).

Shigure, for some reason, fans the flames: as we will see - no matter what his background plans are in encouraging this strange household to live apart from the Sohma main-house - he will on purpose or just from mischief needle Kyo, even if the time would have been better spend in moderating between them. I have the feeling that he tries to provoke his rages in a controlled environment, their house, so that Kyo might learn moderation before something like this happens where it could hurt others. Shigure never needles Tohru this way, though, but his female editor (Shigure is a novelist, both of high literature and romance novels) has to suffer a lot in the rest of the series.

This time it happens differently than what we have already come to expect: Yes, Kyo loses his temper, but instead of provoking Yuki like he wants to, his headlong rage leads him to hit a table, which in turn hits Tohru directly on the forehead and leaves blood dripping down. Yuki's dark side gets its full introduction with him icily challenging Kyo and making his disdain of the cat not only felt by attitude and words, but by dispatching him with consummate ease. Kyo, on his part, of course has to save at least enough face to accept this challenge from Yuki, but his heart isn't in it (you can see that quite clearly right after the table hits Tohru: he is completely disgusted and ashamed of his uncontrolled rage). The series already shows that it will not be all fun and slapstick, from the lack of background sound in the drama-scenes to the fact that Tohru bleeds when struck by the table or to the look in Yuki's and Kyo's eyes. I find this fast switch between kawaii, slapstick and melodrama very effective and often unexpected.

Yuki has developed two very clearly separate parts in his personality to survive: the quiet and kind observer, who excels at everything he does, but doesn't want to have made a fuss about him (and yearns to be accepted for himself and not his achievements or beauty) - and the deeply pessimistic, sarcastic ice-man who - if provoked - actually enjoys humiliating his opponents (and the more we see of Akito later on, the more we can see the resemblance, which I believe to be intentional on the part of the animators). A lot of this second persona seems to be due to Akito's obsession with him and vice versa.

Both boys have one common trait, though: they are very self-centered in their concerns and outlook on life. Everything that happens to them is reflected on how it serves them or hinders them... although for Yuki, Tohru's behaviour has already started holding up a mirror which makes him see that not all people function that way, and that his way may not be the best way to reach the aim that he professes to long for (namely, independent life from the Sohmas and acceptance from everyday people).

Tohru accepts the explanation with a lot of awe and pride in the fact that the Sohmas are trusting her with this deep,dark secret and is happily exited that she has finally met her favorite Juunishi, the cat, although she can see that "Neko-san" is in no mood to be her friend at the moment. Shigure and Yuki both treat Kyo's defeat as something minor, and the humiliated and ashamed Neko-san storms off in desperation.

Shigure: Tohru-Kun, looking at Kyo, your dreams about the Cat must be shattered, right?
Tohru: Eh? Not at all!

Whenever Tohru reflects on Yuki, her awe gets expressed by the shojo-symbols behind him (flowers, stars, soapbubbles in pastel colors etc.) and even in her mind he is always "Sohma-kun" at this stage. Not really human, but "Oji-sama Yuki"  - willing, for some incredible reason, to open his life to her. She is awed, honored and worshipful - it will take her quite some time to accept Yuki as a fellow human being near her own level, even though he shares his doubts and fears with her very soon. I guess you can't uncondition behaviour and preconceptions that fast. (Imagine becomeing good friends with your favourite singer or actor... I guess it's just human :D).

She's also elated that she not only shares and important secret now, but that she knows how strong the idol Prince Yuki is in martial arts. No other classmate knows this. It makes her feel  more like a part of this group of people. Thinking about this makes her realise she is missing school, and not even her dirty school-clothes (remember the landslide?) will make her break her promise to her mother and herself. Shigure decides to use the time that Yuki and Tohru are in school to talk to Akito-San, the head of Sohma-Family, who must learn that the secret has been disclosed to a normal human. Tohru is in awe to hear that such a highly-placed person will hear of her, but the look on Yuki's face, when he hears that name, foreshadows problems with that person.

While Shigure waves bye-bye to Tohru (as she always did to her mother, so I think he does it intentionally - he sure never does it with anyone else leaving), Yuki adresses his fears that Shigure plans to have Tohru's memories erased, as had been done before - however, Shigure seems to consider the current situation differently.

Yuki withdraws from the discussion unconvinced and follows Tohru to school, where her two best friends quiz her on the state of her school clothes. And of course the LOVELY YUKI-fanclub tries to intimidate Tohru again, with predictable reactions by the psychic Saki. Tohru has to lie to her friends AGAIN - this time about the secret of Sohma-family and about living in their house - it does not seem to get any easier for her open and forthright nature. But she keeps her promises.

After changing from her training oufit into the newly laundered school clothes, Tohru is waylayed by Yuki, whose pessimistic outlook brings him to apologize for probably having to erase her memory of the Sohmas (the questions of where she could stay in that case never crosses his mind):

Yuki: You haven't said anything, right?  To your friends, about us?
Tohru: Eh? No, I haven't said anything.
By any chance, am I making you worry about that? I would never say anything! Mother often told me that only bad people are gabby about ohers!
Yuki: No, that's not it...
Tohru: I give you my oath! I'll seal it in blood or burn it into my skin! I'll do anything! Mother used to do this long ago.
Yuki: That's NOT what I MEAN...
Yuki's secret is revealed when he is seven years old I'm sorry, okay...
You're trying so kindly to keep our secret...
but it may turn out that your memories will be erased. I say erased, but it's more like hypnotism. A long time ago the secret was revealed just like today. When I was seven years old, I was playing in the yard at my parents' house. In the end it became a fuss where every friend that was there had to have their memories erased.
     YOUNG YUKI: Akito, am I strange? Strange enough that you have to so desperatley hide this?
     AKITO (behind a rice-screen): Yes, you are strange. Any human that can transform into a rat would have to be strange. If regular people were to know about this, they would feel nausea / it would sicken them. They will distance themselves from you...

It's obvious that introverted Yuki has never opened his past and feelings to anyone outside his family this much, no wonder that he stalks off. With a bit of Furuba-slapstick  Tohru manages to accidentally bump into him, while trying to continue the conversation. Fortuntately no one else has seen:

Sohma-kun, please become my friend againTohru (picking up mouse Yuki): Thank you for being so worried about me. I'm happy, very much so. I'll be alright. No problem.
If I've found out a secret so serious that the head of the family must be contacted about it, then I don't think there's anything else that can be done. S please, go ahead and use whatever methods will give you and the others the most peace of mind, Sohma-kun.
(*thinks*: Forgetting about this does, of course, make me sad. However, I'm very happy that they accepted me unconditionally, after living in a tent, so I can put up with it).
After my memory gets erased, please be my friend again, okay?

Yuki, emotionally touched by Tohru's acceptance, changes back and puts his school uniform back on. Being a klutz around the house he can't manage his necktie, so Tohru offers to  straighten it for him. Which leaves Yuki wondering about the fact she can touch him so easily, thinking back to Akito's words:

Akito (past): If regular people were to know about this, it would sicken them. They will distance themselves from you....
Yuki (present): Honda-san, you don't feel sickened?
Tohru: No! I'm feeleing completely better , thanks to you! (she means her fever)
Yuki: No, that's not what I mean...
Tohru: Hmmm?
Yuki: ...So!... How about we go home together today?
Tohru: Okay!
Tohru (past): please be my friend again, okay?
Yuki: Thank you...(for wanting to be my friend)
Tohru: No, I am good at tieing neckties!

Yuki feels accepted by a normal person for the first timeMajor turning point for Yuki: Tohru accepts him as is and values him enough to want to be his friend, no matter what happens to her. Already amazed at her valor in the face of adversity, she now becomes the first human whose friendship Yuki values and trusts - something very precious in his life. And this time he too views her through rose-coloured glasses (with the typical shojo-symbols).

~ Eye Catch ~

Meanwhile we get a first glimpse at Akito (and his affinity for birds) in his current shape, who has been informed of the situation by Shigure, and who decides to accept Tohru's knowledge as a chance "For Yuki, for Kyo and for myself as well, this may be a good opportunity" (The color palette being used whenever Akito comes into play stays in the dark blues, blacks and greens and furthers a sense of unease, even if the situation seems calm and zen-like. Akito's seiyuu speaks very quietly and slowly and strengthens this impression). Wether Shigure agrees with this assessment is not readily visible on his face, but he bows to Akito's decision.

When Yuki and Tohru return from school, she finds Kyo in her bedroom, repairing the damage that his entry through the roof has caused (in episode one). She is rather surprised and unsure how to approach him (I finally met Neko-San, but I feel like I'm being hated) - not surprising considering how violent Kyo's temper has been since she met him - and the gruff Neko-San tries to downplay this attempt at apologizing for mistreating her which is disrupted by Shigure's return and teasing. Shigure is not very sympathetic to Kyo's storming out of the house "He will be back soon. He has no place to go anyway".

Kyo seems to realise his short-comings even if it is obvious he is not used to apologizing for them, which at least means he is as self-aware as Yuki - even when his temperament and desires are at opposite ends from the Prince. He is honestly ashamed of his lack of discipline, especially since he has been training in the martial arts for a long time now.

Shigure tells Tohru she can keep her memoryWhen Shigure reveals Akito's decision to Yuki and Tohru, her happiness at not being punishe is obvious, but Yuki - much more familiar with Akito - is visibly sceptic still. He even questions Shigure in private on Akito giving in so easily and if it doesn't mean he might have ulterior motives. Shigure speculates a bit on that himself quietly, but decides to appease Yuki's fears.

The next morning Tohru has to deal with the horror that is the dirty Sohma kitchen, and although Yuki offers to help, Shigure won't let him, since he is a klutz around the house (*grins* not very princely). Tohru accepts the challenge and cleans like mad to discover a pretty presentable place beneath all the grime. She presents Yuki with a perfect traditional Japanese breakfast, since Shigure and Kyo are out.

~ Eye Catch ~

Tohru happily contemplates her amazement at sitting cosily in Sohma-kun's house, having a meal with him. Making small-talk she discovers that Yuki has a secret base near the house, and is all afire, speculating on what it is like and bemoaning the fact that she never got to see a secret base yet, as only boys were allowed in, when she was a child.

Yuki is a bit embarassed at her enthusiasm, but gladly invites her to come the next time, which Tohru OF COURSE accepts with great alacrity. Suddenly an angry Kyo and an annoyed Shigure burst in (Shigure looking very handsome in a dark suit - as Tohru glowingly tells him until Yuki compares him to a host in a restaurant), arguing about Akito's decision to have Kyo live at Shigure's house and join the same school that Tohru and Yuki visit (they were just enrolling Kyo there, actually).

Yuki is NOT happy to hear this either, and Kyo storms off to sit on top of the roof. Shigure tells Yuki and Tohru about the four months Kyo spent training in the wilderness to fight Yuki and while Yuki only reacts with exasperation to the information (Stupid guy), Tohru speculates that the reason Kyo desperately wants to defeat Yuki because he blames him for not being accepted, just like in the Juunishi story where the cat was fooled by the mouse. She doesn't want to be rude though, so she won't ask Kyo directly.

The next day in school Kyo becomes much admired for being cute himself and for being cousin to the Prince. Hana-chan realises that he has the same "vibe" as Yuki, who carelessly disregards questions about Kyo "We may be cousins, but we aren't close. I've never even spoken to him." (with a rather nasty smile on his face).

When Kyo can't take the curiosity any longer and a girl hangs on to him, he shows his martial arts prowess (so she can't accidentally hug him, of course) and then jumps out of the classroom window like his second form the cat (second story!) and runs off. It's here that Tohrus difference in attitudes towards the two boys is made clear, when she tries to soften his temper and addresses him as "Kyo, ah... Sohma-kun! I...". Yuki ALWAYS is Sohma-kun, even thinking about him, but Neko-San has become Kyo in her mind already.

Not surprising, considering that Kyo wears his feelings on his sleeve and Yuki reacts and acts very distanced. For all his ferocity, Kyo is much more approachable than his cousin who reacts quietly disgusted at this second temper tantrum which almost reveals Kyo's nature and leaves the classroom as well.

Watching Kyo run off, Tohru wishes in one of her frequent inner dialogues with her mother, that "Kyo-San" would become her friend: "Mother, Kyo-San really is Cath-San. I wonder if I will ever become friends with Kyo-San"? ~ END OF EPISODE.

Click here to watch a slideshow of the most interesting moments in Episode 2. You better bring some time though, since the images are of good quality ;-).

* nau·sea
Pronunciation: 'no-zE-&, -sE-&; 'no-zh&, -sh&
Function: noun
Etymology: Latin, seasickness, nausea, from Greek nautia, nausia, from nautEs sailor
Date: 1569

1 : a stomach distress with distaste for food and an urge to vomit
2 : extreme disgust







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