Title: Fruits Basket - Let’s Play Rich Man Poor Man!
Series Identifier: Season 1 Episode 3
- Slice of Life
- Young Adult
- Working with others
- Self Esteem issues, Identifying your strengths
- Difficult emotions
- Feeling alone / Loneliness
- Impostor Syndrome
- Putting up a wall
- The plot revolves around two cousins in the same family Kyo and Yuki. They are framed as rivals early in the series. The episode speaks about how they both feel lonely because they lack the attributes of the other character.
He acts genuinely and although he doesn’t have the best personality people are attracted to him. He struggles because he wants to be accepted by his family which sees him as a pariah. He despises Yuki because Yuki is born with privilege within his own family and he is adulated in school for being “perfect”.
He feels a rift between everyone he interacts with because he feels all his interactions are artificial. He feels that he is kind in a selfish way in order to get people to accept him, but he can’t be himself in front of others like Kyo can. He wishes to move away from his toxic family and to live genuinely outside of his home but find that very difficult.
Main Character Tohru Honda introduces the metaphor of riceballs to explain why some of us don’t see the good in ourselves. Riceballs are a typical Japanese dish composed of a mound of rice usually stuffed with some ingredient that is at times visible from only one side. Tohru explains that most of us are like plum riceballs, we look at ourselves in the mirror and we only see plain rice but it’s much easier for us to see the plums on other’s backs and fool ourselves into believing that we don’t have anything to show for ourselves. She then proceeds to tell Kyo who is not aware of his personal strengths that she
(metaphorically) sees a plum on his back.
Kyoko’s Conversation on Selfishness:
When Yuki talks to Tohru about how he feels his kindness is artificial and therefore selfish Tohru talks about a conversation she had with her now-deceased mother. Her mother tells her that nobody is born out of kindness. That we are born only with the selfish desire to be fed, warmed and laid to rest but that kindness is something that grows artificially out of us and needs to be nurtured. That part of that process is believing in that kindness and not taking the easy route of doubting it.
- Fruits Basket was a formative experience for me growing up as a teen. I often felt like Yuki where I felt a lot of people liked me but I never felt particularly genuine in my interactions. This episode helped me deal with my loneliness and also to see the good in people and take notice of it more often.