I don’t have a lot to say about this week’s episode of Fruits Basket that I didn’t say after last week’s, really. Isuzu-Rin (and it also applies to Haru to a large extent) is that rare Furuba character that I’m ambivalent about – she’s fine. She neither annoys me acutely or elicits any strong feeling of connection. The reason, as I noted, is I suspect that she doesn’t really add anything to the story that isn’t already part of a more important character arc. She’s redundant as a character, at least for the most part.
That’s not to say that Isuzu doesn’t serve some function. Namely, to shed some light on Tohru and Kyou’s story. Somewhat paradoxically it’s because her themes do have so much overlap with larger characters that she can be held up as a mirror to them, as she was in this episode. We see this manifest in a number of ways, starting with Tohru’s dream about her mother – which was a direct result of hearing Rin’s story (and her follow-up question).
The most interesting moment, though, was that question itself. Rin asking Tohru who the most important person to her was – who she was willing to face off with Akito for in order to try and break the curse. That’s always been an easy question for her to answer – it’s her mother. But when Isuzu asked it she hesitated, and it was guilt over this hesitation that no doubt prompted the dream. We know who’s the most important person for Tohru now – but does she know? It’s not wrong and nothing she should feel guilt over – her priority should be someone that’s still alive. But knowing that and believing it are two different things.
The other interesting element to all this is the question of the Zodiac itself. Let’s not forget that Tohru came into this a Zodiac otaku, but now she seems more or less in-line with Isuzu in seeing the Sohma connection as a chain. Based on first-hand experience that’s perfectly understandable, but there is another side to it. There are genuine connections here that mean something to those who share them, and while Furuba mostly focuses on the horror show side of the Sohma clan, Tohru is someone who should be able to see both sides in a way Rin simply can’t. But those are dangerous waters to swim into this early, so I’ll kick my way back to the shallow end for now…