WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Fruits Basket up through Season 2, Episode 5, “Wait for Me, Tororo Soba!” now streaming on FUNimation and Crunchyroll.
In the 2001 Fruits Basket anime, as well as the first season of the 2019 reboot, viewers got to know 10 of the 12 members of the Zodiac, plus the outcast Cat Kyo and the mysterious leader Akito. Now, as Season 2 of the new Fruits Basket anime is venturing into previously unadapted manga material, the remaining two Zodiac members, Rin the Horse and Kureno the Rooster, have finally been introduced… though Rin still awaits a fuller introduction.
Rin, also known as Isuzu Sohma, was first seen in the final scene of Season 1, being visited by Hiro in the hospital. The scene served as a teaser for the introduction of a new character, and her subsequent appearance in last week’s episode “I Got Dumped…” in a way feels like an extended teaser for a proper introduction. In the episode’s opening scene, she’s still at Sohma General Hospital, getting in a fight with Hatsuharu. At the end of the episode, she’s shown to have escaped the hospital.
At the moment in the anime, the main thing we know about Rin is her relationship with Hatsuharu. They were boyfriend and girlfriend, and it’s clear from the way Haru talks about her that he was deeply in love with her. In the hospital, however, Rin rejects Haru, and his rage at this rejection makes for most of the episode’s drama. As learning Rin’s own perspective as opposed to just what other characters think of her, viewers will have to wait. While her appearance at the end of the episode played like a cliffhanger, she doesn’t appear in this week’s episode at all.
This week’s introduction to Kureno Sohma (who previously appeared in brief cameos) was a more direct introduction, establishing his personality and eccentricities in the style of many of Season 1’s “Sohma of the week” episodes. The big difference from the typical Sohma introduction formula is that he’s not introduced via meeting Tohru but through meeting Tohru’s friend Uo. In his absentminded naivete and self-sacrificing kindheartness, he’s a character who shares a ton in common with Tohru, so it makes sense he’s introduced from a different character’s perspective.
Uo doesn’t know the details of the Sohma curse, but it’s clear to her that something’s kind of off about Kureno. She meets him while she’s working her convenience store job; weirdly, this is Kureno’s first time in a convenience store. Strange as this is, he’s utterly charming with his positivity, and the two of them agree to meet for a tororo soba date. That 17-year-old Uo and 26-year-old Kureno might have romantic feelings for each other might be uncomfortable for some viewers; Uo herself thinks it’s a little weird, though Kureno’s so tragically sheltered that she might very well be the more mature one of the couple.
Like Tohru, Kureno is an optimist who takes problems in stride. The problems he takes in stride, however, are severe isolation and abuse at Akito’s hands. Whereas Rin, even without a full introduction so far, is clearly angry with her lot in life and willing to fight back, Kureno is more resigned to fate, even if meeting Uo opens up new possibilities for him. Kureno essentially answers the question of what Tohru would be like if she were a Sohma, and it’s clear that while she’s perfect at helping the Sohmas with their problems, she would not be well-equipped to live their cursed lives herself.
New episodes of Fruits Basket Season 2 premiere Mondays at 1:30 PM EDT, dubbed on FUNimation and subtitled on Crunchyroll.
The remaining two Zodiac members, Rin the Horse and Kureno the Rooster, have finally been introduced… though Rin still awaits a fuller introduction.