Tohru Honda

Last updated

Tohru Honda
Fruits Basket character
Tohru Honda by Natsuki Takaya.jpg
Tohru Honda, illustrated by Natsuki Takaya
First appearance
Last appearance
Created by Natsuki Takaya
Voiced by
In-universe information
Spouse Kyo Sohma
ChildrenHajime Sohma (son) And unnamed son and unnamed daughter
Relatives Kyoko Honda (mother, deceased)
Katsuya Honda (father, deceased)

Tohru Honda (本田 透, Honda Tōru) is a fictional character in the manga and anime series Fruits Basket by Natsuki Takaya. She is the main protagonist, noted for her cheerful optimism, altruistic nature, and great sympathy for others. [1] [2] Takaya created her with an unusual perspective on the world, to balance her empathy. [3]

Contents

Tohru, age 16, is an orphaned high school student who, after meeting Yuki, Kyo, and Shigure Sohma, learns that thirteen members of the Sohma family are possessed by the animals of the Chinese zodiac and turn into their animal forms if they are embraced by anyone of the opposite sex or when their bodies come under a great deal of stress or are greatly weakened. [4] As the series progresses, Tohru meets the rest of the zodiac and the family's mysterious head, Akito Sohma, and resolves to break the curse that burdens them. [5]

Development

According to Natsuki Takaya in interviews, Tohru Honda was the first character she created for the series, [6] with Yuki and Kyo Sohma soon after. [7] When asked how she came up with Tohru's personality and background, she said:

I thought that for a girl to accept other people's feelings so wholeheartedly, she'd have to have a slightly unusual way of looking at things so that she wouldn't be crushed by having so much empathy. But I still worried that I needed something else to flesh her out. And then the thought, "Oh, yeah--I'll make her use super-polite language, and use it incorrectly!" came to me all at once. After that, her character was completed in no time.

Natsuki Takaya [3]

Takaya gave Tohru a name normally used only for men because she likes to give masculine names to female characters "to balance them out." [8] In addition, Takaya chose to have other characters address her as "Tohru-kun", using an honorific typically used for boys, because she thought it was "a more dignified form of address." [3]

Laura Bailey, the English voice actor for Tohru, said in an interview that the aspect of Tohru's character she most related to was her optimism, while the most difficult was her formality. According to her, Akitaro Daichi, the director of the Japanese anime series, was particularly concerned that Tohru's "sweetness and formal nature didn't get lost in translation"; Bailey acknowledged that English does not have the same kind of speech formality as Japanese, but claimed Tohru's "humble nature can still be communicated through inflections and tone." Bailey reported using the original Japanese performance of Yui Horie as a basis for Tohru's mannerisms and inflections. [9]

It is said that Tohru's father Katsuya Honda named her Tohru because "it brought out her hidden flavor, like adding salt to sweet things."[ citation needed ]

Character outline

Personality

Tohru is depicted as polite, optimistic, extremely kind, and selfless. [1] [10] Several other characters, including her friends Kyo, [11] Rin, [12] and Hanajima, [13] tell her she needs to look out for her own interests and not shoulder everyone else's burdens. At the start of the series, she is living in a tent rather than staying with her friends, Arisa Uotani and Saki Hanajima, to avoid being a burden to them, [4] and she has an after-school job as an office janitor to pay her tuition fees so that her grandfather does not have to. [4] Yuki once describes her as not the sort who sees her life as a "glass half-empty." [14] Tohru is so kind-hearted that she cannot make herself say mean things while playing a wicked stepsister in a class production of Cinderella , [15] [16] and when her mother told her the bedtime story of how the cat was excluded from the Chinese zodiac, in sympathy she declared she wished to be born in the year of the cat. [4]

Tohru describes herself as an excellent artist who loves cooking and cleaning. [4] In the original Japanese, Tohru habitually speaks formally (see Honorific speech in Japanese ), but not always correctly. [3] She picked up this habit from her dead father, Katsuya, after he died when she was three, as a way of replacing him in her mother's eyes and from her father's family's statements that she was probably the daughter of a man her mother had an affair with. [17] Tohru tends to be especially concerned for people with minor illnesses. This comes from the circumstances of her father's death, when Katsuya was originally diagnosed with a fever but eventually died of pneumonia. [18]

She was raised by her mother, Kyoko, until Kyoko died in a car accident shortly after Tohru entered high school, a few months before the series starts. Tohru treasures her mother's photograph and vowed at her death to keep Kyoko the most important person in her life. [19] Tohru is distressed whenever she feels she is being "unfaithful" to her mother, for example, when she gets failing marks on end-of-term exams, thus endangering her promise to graduate high school, [20] or when she falls in love with Kyo. [21] [22] Tohru eventually realizes that her vow is an attempt to cling to the past, and that Kyoko would have wanted her to move on and fall in love with someone else. [23]

Life with the Sohmas

A few months before the series begins, Tohru's mother died in a car accident, leaving her an orphan in the care of her grandfather. When his house needs remodeling, she moves into a tent on land that turns out to belong to the Sohmas. When her tent is buried in a landslide during a rainstorm, Shigure convinces her to move in with him and Yuki as housekeeper in exchange for room and board. As she settles in, Kyo Sohma arrives to challenge Yuki to a fight. In the confusion, Tohru accidentally embraces him and he transforms into a cat, and when she stumbles into Yuki and Shigure, they transform as well into a Rat and Dog, respectively. The Sohmas explain that their family is cursed, and they are possessed by spirits of the Chinese zodiac plus the cat legend says would have been included if it had not been tricked by the Rat into missing the induction feast (see Zodiac origin stories ). Tohru promises to keep their secret, under the threat of having her memories of them erased—a compromise agreed to by Akito Sohma, the mysterious head of the family, who orders Kyo to live with Shigure as well. [4]

Tohru is soon friends with the three Sohmas—especially her classmates Yuki and Kyo, who she hopes will become friends themselves [24] —and they in turn are slowly affected by her presence. [25] [26] Yuki is especially touched by Tohru's request that, if her memory is suppressed, he will remain her friend, [27] which no one had asked him before. [28] Kyo initially appears to dislike Tohru, but he, like Yuki, is "drawn" to her kind heart and gentle demeanor. However, his inability to express his feelings results in frequent impulsive angry comments to Tohru, for which he usually ends up apologizing. Gradually Tohru meets the other cursed members of the Sohma family, and through her kindness and sympathy is able to help Hatori, [29] Ayame, [30] Kisa, [31] Hiro, [32] and Ritsu. [33] Her encouragement to Kisa also helps Yuki face his own self-doubts and accept becoming president of the student council; [31] in addition he knows, by a cap Tohru treasures, [14] that she is the lost little girl he once led home, an act that showed him that he was not as unneeded by others as Akito claimed. [34] Tohru becomes particularly close to Kyo after his foster-father Kazuma Sohma forces him to reveal the monstrous "true form" of his curse; [35] although initially repulsed, Tohru stays with him even after he violently tries to push her away. [36] Both Yuki [37] and Kyo [38] fall in love with her, though neither tells her.

As she learns more about the zodiac curse, Tohru becomes increasingly distressed by its cost to her friends—especially Momiji Sohma's separation from his little sister, Momo, who does not even know (but suspects) they are siblings, [39] [40] and her friend Arisa's longing for Kureno Sohma, who cannot see her because he is bound to Akito. [41] When she learns that the feared Akito is the "god" of the zodiac and of the bet he made with Kyo, which could result in the cat being confined for life, she resolves to break the curse. [5] Tohru asks for help from Kazuma, [42] Rin, [12] and Kureno. [41] Despite setbacks and being warned off by Rin—who also seeks to break the curse, in order to free Hatsuharu—Tohru refuses to give up her goal. [43] She eventually receives encouragement and hints from Shigure, [21] who is using Tohru to weaken the curse for his own reasons. [44] [45]

Meanwhile, Tohru's feelings for Kyo develop and she eventually admits he is the Sohma she wants the most to free, because she loves him. [46] This, however, only distresses her further, as she feels she is being unfaithful to her mother's memory. [22] However, when Tohru finally confesses to Kyo, he tells her he knew her mother when he was a child, and that he could have saved Kyoko from the car that killed her except it would have revealed his curse and Kyoko's final word "I won't forgive you!" (Later it is understood that she meant to say "I won't forgive you if you don't take care of Tohru!") But Tohru doesn't believe her mother would say that but if she did she would have to go against it because she loves him. Unable in his guilt to accept Tohru's feelings, he says her love is an illusion and runs away. [47] As she follows him, she meets Akito, who believes that Tohru's kindness to and acceptance of the cursed zodiac members has made them unfaithful to her, weakening their "bond" to the point that Momiji [48] and Hiro [49] have been freed from the curse. As she angrily confronts her, however, Tohru realizes that she is trapped by the past as much as she herself has been, by clinging to her mother's memory, and she extends her hand in friendship to Akito and introduces herself as a new start. However, before Akito can accept, Tohru falls down a nearby cliff when the ground collapses in the rain. [23] The accident makes Kyo realize how much he values Tohru, [50] and also allows Akito to finally break away from the roles she has held for most of her life. [51]

Tohru survives the fall and is hospitalized. As she recovers, Akito accepts Tohru's friendship, [52] and comes to accept both the person she is, instead of the god she has believed her father wished her to be, [51] and the woman she was born as, instead of the man she was raised to be. [53] Meanwhile, Yuki, who has realized that what he wants from Tohru is an unconditional "motherly" love, not the love of a woman, [28] convinces Kyo to reconcile with Tohru when she is discharged from the hospital. But Tohru takes off in a dash once she see Kyo because she feels as if she has been rejected, but Kyo chases after her. After catching up with her, Kyo confesses his feelings for her. [51] This acceptance of the cat, the first friend of the god of the zodiac, [54] breaks the zodiac curse and all the Sohmas are freed. [51] In the last chapter, she and Kyo are shown packing to move to another city to continue his martial arts training, so that eventually he can inherit Kazuma's dojo, and in the final pages, it is revealed that they got married and had a son and a granddaughter. [55]

Reception

Tohru has been cited by reviewers as key to the appeal of the series, especially the manga version. [56] [57] Her cheerfulness and sympathy for other characters is frequently commented on: [1] [58] "Tohru is the essence of cheerfulness and faces hardships with a positive attitude while being extremely compassionate to everyone around her." [2] However while "Tohru is notorious in the series for being happy and cheerful even in times of great taxation", [59] as a reviewer at Anime News Network put it, her characterization is seen as more complex than that even at the start of the series, [60] [61] and more so as series progresses. [62] Her unusual personality is seen by reviewers as a product of her upbringing: [63]

[Her parents'] approach to family life and parenting is informed by their own failings as members of destroyed families, and the result is exactly the kind of family that would produce someone like Tohru. [64]

Carl Kimlinger, Anime News Network

She is also seen as resembling her mother as she grows up. [65]

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References

  1. 1 2 3 Liversidge, Ross. "10 of the Best - Fruits Basket". UK Anime Net. Archived from the original on April 10, 2008. Retrieved April 18, 2008. We meet Tohru Honda, possibly the kindest, gentlest girl on the planet and follow how, through acts of kindness and compassion, her life takes an upward swing after the death of her mother.
  2. 1 2 Rocks, Jennifer (January 21, 2008). "Fruits Basket Set (Thinpak)". Anime on DVD. Archived from the original on October 19, 2007. Retrieved April 21, 2008. Tohru is the essence of cheerfulness and faces hardships with a positive attitude while being extremely compassionate to everyone around her.
  3. 1 2 3 4 Takaya, Natsuki (September 11, 2007). "Natsuki Takaya Written Interview". Fruits Basket Fan Book - Cat. Los Angeles: Tokyopop. p. 37. ISBN   978-1-4278-0293-4.
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Takaya, Natsuki (February 10, 2004). "Chapters 1–2". Fruits Basket, Volume 1. Los Angeles: Tokyopop. ISBN   978-1-59182-603-3.
  5. 1 2 Takaya, Natsuki (August 9, 2005). "Chapter 65". Fruits Basket, Volume 11. Los Angeles: Tokyopop. ISBN   978-1-59532-406-1.
  6. Takaya, Natsuki (August 10, 2004). "Interview with Takaya-sensei Part 2". Fruits Basket, Volume 4. Los Angeles: Tokyopop. p. 200. ISBN   978-1-59182-606-4. I kept thinking there wouldn't be enough time, but it all came to me inside my head. Tohru just appeared and said "Hello!" The rest came together pretty easily after that.
  7. Takaya, Natsuki (September 11, 2007). "Natsuki Takaya Written Interview". Fruits Basket Fan Book - Cat. Los Angeles: Tokyopop. p. 36. ISBN   978-1-4278-0293-4.
  8. Takaya, Natsuki (September 11, 2007). "Natsuki Takaya Written Interview Part 2". Fruits Basket Fan Book - Cat. Los Angeles: Tokyopop. p. 172. ISBN   978-1-4278-0293-4. One thing I do, although it isn't really an "origin" for names, is give masculine names to female characters to balance them out. That's what I did with Tohru.
  9. Takaya, Natsuki (February 10, 2004). "A conversation with Laura Bailey". Fruits Basket, Volume 1. Los Angeles: Tokyopop. pp. 210–211. ISBN   978-1-59182-603-3.
  10. Chavez, Eduardo M. (June 19, 2004). "Fruits Basket Vol. #03". Anime on DVD. Archived from the original on April 18, 2008. Retrieved April 18, 2008. There are times where she sacrifices herself too much to make others happy, eventually causing her stress and more work.
  11. Takaya, Natsuki (June 8, 2004). "Chapter 17". Fruits Basket, Volume 3. Los Angeles: Tokyopop. ISBN   978-1-59182-605-7.
  12. 1 2 Takaya, Natsuki (August 8, 2008). "Chapter 80". Fruits Basket, Volume 14. Los Angeles: Tokyopop. ISBN   978-1-59532-409-2.
  13. Takaya, Natsuki (August 7, 2007). "Chapter 99". Fruits Basket, Volume 17. Los Angeles: Tokyopop. ISBN   978-1-59816-799-3.
  14. 1 2 Takaya, Natsuki (April 14, 2004). "Chapter 7". Fruits Basket, Volume 2. Los Angeles: Tokyopop. ISBN   978-1-59182-604-0.
  15. Takaya, Natsuki (September 11, 2007). "Tohru Honda". Fruits Basket Fan Book - Cat. Los Angeles: Tokyopop. p. 40. ISBN   978-1-4278-0293-4.
  16. Takaya, Natsuki (December 12, 2006). "Chapter 87". Fruits Basket, Volume 15. Los Angeles: Tokyopop. ISBN   978-1-59816-023-9.
  17. Takaya, Natsuki (March 18, 2008). "Chapter 109". Fruits Basket, Volume 19. Los Angeles: Tokyopop. ISBN   978-1-59816-863-1.
  18. Takaya, Natsuki (August 10, 2004). "Chapter 24". Fruits Basket, Volume 4. Los Angeles: Tokyopop. ISBN   978-1-59182-606-4.
  19. Takaya, Natsuki (February 8, 2005). "Chapter 37". Fruits Basket, Volume 7. Los Angeles: Tokyopop. ISBN   978-1-59532-402-3.
  20. Takaya, Natsuki (October 12, 2004). "Chapter 30". Fruits Basket, Volume 5. Los Angeles: Tokyopop. ISBN   978-1-59182-607-1.
  21. 1 2 Takaya, Natsuki (March 18, 2008). "Chapter 108". Fruits Basket, Volume 19. Los Angeles: Tokyopop. ISBN   978-1-59816-863-1.
  22. 1 2 Kimlinger, Carl (May 14, 2008). "Fruits Basket GN 19 - Review". Anime News Network. Retrieved June 27, 2008. Tohru is in an agony of doubt, denial and self-recrimination after realizing she may care more about Kyo than her deceased mother, throwing the carefully maintained order of her emotional world into chaos.
  23. 1 2 Takaya, Natsuki (May 2, 2007). "Chapter 121". Fruits Basket, Volume 21. Singapore: Chuang Yi. ISBN   978-981-269-538-3.
  24. Takaya, Natsuki (October 12, 2004). "Chapter 25". Fruits Basket, Volume 5. Los Angeles: Tokyopop. ISBN   978-1-59182-607-1.
  25. Patten, Fred (October 23, 2003). "New from Japan: Anime Film Reviews". Animation World Network . Retrieved May 2, 2008. Tohru's warm, caring personality helps Yuki and Kyo develop self-confidence. This encourages other young members of the Sohma clan to abandon their traditional seclusion, which Tohru feels is a positive step.
  26. Lave, Megan (April 4, 2004). "Fruits Basket Vol. #02". Anime on DVD. Retrieved April 21, 2008. She is the glue that helps keep everyone together and the reason why Kyo and Yuki do things they consider out of character.
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  28. 1 2 Takaya, Natsuki (December 12, 2006). "Chapter 86". Fruits Basket, Volume 15. Los Angeles: Tokyopop. ISBN   978-1-59816-023-9.
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  30. Takaya, Natsuki (August 10, 2004). "Chapter 22". Fruits Basket, Volume 4. Los Angeles: Tokyopop. ISBN   978-1-59182-606-4.
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  33. Takaya, Natsuki (April 12, 2005). "Chapter 45". Fruits Basket, Volume 8. Los Angeles: Tokyopop. ISBN   978-1-59532-403-0.
  34. Takaya, Natsuki (December 12, 2006). "Chapter 85". Fruits Basket, Volume 15. Los Angeles: Tokyopop. ISBN   978-1-59816-023-9.
  35. Takaya, Natsuki (December 14, 2004). "Chapter 32". Fruits Basket, Volume 6. Los Angeles: Tokyopop. ISBN   978-1-59182-608-8.
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  37. Takaya, Natsuki (July 12, 2005). "Chapter 59". Fruits Basket, Volume 10. Los Angeles: Tokyopop. ISBN   978-1-59532-405-4.
  38. Takaya, Natsuki (August 9, 2005). "Chapter 62". Fruits Basket, Volume 11. Los Angeles: Tokyopop. ISBN   978-1-59532-406-1.
  39. Takaya, Natsuki (April 11, 2006). "Chapter 74". Fruits Basket, Volume 13. Los Angeles: Tokyopop. ISBN   978-1-59532-408-5.
  40. Eries, Sakura (July 26, 2006). "Fruits Basket Vol. #13". Anime on DVD. Archived from the original on April 18, 2008. Retrieved April 21, 2008. Saddened by the Sohma secrets that prevent Momo from knowing her brother and keep Arisa and Kureno apart, Tohru becomes disheartened and questions her ability to break the curse.
  41. 1 2 Takaya, Natsuki (August 7, 2007). "Chapter 97". Fruits Basket, Volume 17. Los Angeles: Tokyopop. ISBN   978-1-59816-799-3.
  42. Takaya, Natsuki (December 13, 2005). "Chapter 67". Fruits Basket, Volume 12. Los Angeles: Tokyopop. ISBN   978-1-59532-407-8.
  43. Eries, Sakura (July 19, 2007). "Fruits Basket Vol. #12". Anime on DVD. Archived from the original on April 18, 2008. Retrieved April 20, 2008. Takaya is really showing Tohru's baggage and weaknesses now. That, I think, makes Tohru more appealing and easier to relate to than if she really were as completely carefree and optimistic as she initially appears.
  44. Takaya, Natsuki (June 8, 2004). "Chapter 16". Fruits Basket, Volume 3. Los Angeles: Tokyopop. ISBN   978-1-59182-605-7.
  45. Chavez, Eduardo M. (June 19, 2004). "Fruits Basket Vol. #03". Anime on DVD. Archived from the original on April 18, 2008. Retrieved April 18, 2008. This works well for Shigure. He likes to see his plan is working and even if it does not appear to be done with malice, he feels that he is taking advantage of Tohru.
  46. Takaya, Natsuki (November 23, 2007). "Chapter 107". Fruits Basket, Volume 18. Los Angeles: Tokyopop. ISBN   978-1-59816-862-4.
  47. Takaya, Natsuki (October 11, 2006). "Chapter 119". Fruits Basket, Volume 20. Singapore: Chuang Yi. ISBN   978-981-269-237-5.
  48. Takaya, Natsuki (October 11, 2006). "Chapter 115". Fruits Basket, Volume 20. Singapore: Chuang Yi. ISBN   978-981-269-237-5.
  49. Takaya, Natsuki (October 11, 2006). "Chapter 118". Fruits Basket, Volume 20. Singapore: Chuang Yi. ISBN   978-981-269-237-5.
  50. Takaya, Natsuki (May 2, 2007). "Chapter 122". Fruits Basket, Volume 21. Singapore: Chuang Yi. ISBN   978-981-269-538-3.
  51. 1 2 3 4 Takaya, Natsuki (July 31, 2007). "Chapter 130". Fruits Basket, Volume 22. Singapore: Chuang Yi. ISBN   978-981-269-898-8.
  52. Takaya, Natsuki (May 2, 2007). "Chapter 124". Fruits Basket, Volume 21. Singapore: Chuang Yi. ISBN   978-981-269-538-3.
  53. Takaya, Natsuki (February 1, 2008). "Chapter 132". Fruits Basket, Volume 23. Singapore: Chuang Yi. ISBN   978-981-269-900-8.
  54. Takaya, Natsuki (July 31, 2007). "Chapter 131". Fruits Basket, Volume 22. Singapore: Chuang Yi. ISBN   978-981-269-898-8.
  55. Takaya, Natsuki (February 1, 2008). "Chapter 136". Fruits Basket, Volume 23. Singapore: Chuang Yi. ISBN   978-981-269-900-8.
  56. Lavey, Megan (April 4, 2004). "Fruits Basket Vol. #02". Anime on DVD. Retrieved April 21, 2008. [E]very time I see Tohru, I can't help not smiling. Her spirit is really infectious and she's cheerful in a way that's not grating on your nerves.
  57. Kimlinger, Carl (May 14, 2008). "Fruits Basket GN 19 - Review" . Retrieved June 27, 2008. However, it is perhaps telling that, even in the midst of Kakeru's big chapter, it's the sight of Tohru's gentle, sad smile that steals your heart.
  58. Lau, Enoch. "Fruits Basket". T.H.E.M. Anime Reviews. Retrieved April 21, 2008. Tooru is a little like the typical anime schoolgirl - sweet, not very bright, but always cheery and is a big help around the house.
  59. Dong, Bamboo (June 3, 2003). "Review: Fruits Basket DVD 3: Puddles Of Memories". Anime News Network . Retrieved April 21, 2008.
  60. Alverson, Brigid. "Fruits Basket v1". Manga Life. Silver Bullet Comics. Archived from the original on October 18, 2005. Retrieved April 21, 2008. Tohru is almost too nice, but just when her sweetness starts to seem unreal, she shows some real backbone. In an early scene, she clenches her fists and declares, "You make your own luck. It's all in how you think about things." Determined to fulfill her mother's wish that she finish school, she works nights cleaning office buildings so she can pay her own way. As sweet as she is, Tohru is no doormat.
  61. Liversidge, Ross. "10 of the Best - Fruits Basket". UK Anime Net. Archived from the original on April 10, 2008. Retrieved April 21, 2008. Tohru is gentle without being wishy-washy, providing the show's heart. Sure, she's a push over at times, but she finds courage when she needs it, and has help from others when things become too much.
  62. Eries, Sakura (July 26, 2006). "Fruits Basket Vol. #13". Anime on DVD. Archived from the original on April 18, 2008. Retrieved April 21, 2008. For all her optimism, she does understand that not all wishes can come true.
  63. Kimlinger, Carl (May 14, 2008). "Fruits Basket GN 19 - Review" . Retrieved June 27, 2008. Tohru's attempts to reconcile her current feelings and goals with the trauma that forged her personality
  64. Kimlinger, Carl (June 5, 2007). "Review: Fruits Basket GN 16". Anime News Network . Retrieved April 18, 2008.
  65. Kimlinger, Carl (May 14, 2008). "Fruits Basket GN 19 - Review" . Retrieved June 27, 2008. Nothing evokes the passage of time like watching Tohru coming more and more to resemble her mother