The time has come for Tohru to decide what we knew she would from the beginning.
Tohru: Is that really “happiness”? Locking someone away…forcing others to return to the Sohma house…(internally) saying “Nothing will ever change”…(aloud) Is that really…? (internally) But what about everyone’s feelings as they try to move forward?
Akito: Would you stop talking like it’s a bad thing? After all, we in the Sohma family have a different way of life than an outsider like you. Your frail sense of values isn’t up to judging what’s good and evil.
And the Sohma family values ARE up to judging good and evil, I suppose?
Tohru: (internally) Akito-san isn’t the Rooster. That’s not him. He’s something else. (aloud) In the Zodiac, which one are you?
(remembering) Long, long ago, God said to the animals…
Akito: To the members of the Zodiac, I am their God. I am the one who controls them. I am the master of their souls.
Well this makes an excruciating amount of sense. This is one of Takaya-sensei’s hidden talents – she’s great at making twists so that you don’t quite see them coming, but in hindsight it makes so much more sense than otherwise.
Akito: Oh, right. I should introduce you. This is Kureno Sohma. He’s the Rooster. […] Tohru-san. In the end, all the members of the Zodiac will come home to me. After all, we’re inseparable. So stop trying to destroy our “happiness.” Don’t butt in. Stay quietly on the sidelines. Because otherwise, you will be punished.
Akito-san is their God…the one who stands over all the others. Is that why they can’t defy him? Then what about the curse? The curse…the unknown chain…the curse that binds everything together. Everyone…Akito-san, too?
This idea that Akito might be bound just as much as the others despite being “above” them will be revisited eventually…but of course there are other ramifications to consider first. Also Momiji being both mature and adorable and breaking my heart.
Evidently he went to alert the adults of the confrontation (so mainly Hatori, as Shigure doesn’t really count for much). Then he breaks down and tries to apologize to Tohru. Fortunately, Tohru is a consummate hugger. Every time I think “That kid needs a hug”, she obliges.
Shigure: Well, Momicchi was pretty courageous. Compared to him, the other young’uns are…
Hatori: I think you mean, “Compared to him, we adults are…”
Now, to consider the ending of the anime (since Takaya-sensei clearly had it in mind). The second confrontation between Akito and Tohru takes place in the rain, and they’re interrupted by an adult member of the Zodiac…
I’ll try not to ramble on about this, but I find it fascinating to see how this adaptation which Takaya was not too keen on in general ultimately influenced her story. Of course, I understand that her main issues were probably with what was left out of the story, while roughly 95% of the anime-original material is in the last three episodes. You could just say the influence was purely aesthetic (the rain doesn’t really do anything in either case), but comparing the two scenes does help illuminate the themes that are being developed (and how off the anime’s interpretations of several characters are).
In the anime, Akito’s motivation centers around his suffering – he sees no possibility for his own happiness, so he intends to make everyone else’s lives as miserable as his. He threatens Tohru with making her “suffer as we suffer”. In the manga, he clearly believes that he will have happiness as long as nosey interlopers like Tohru will just leave him alone to enjoy his Zodiac in peace – he threatens her with exclusion, not inclusion. On the other hand, anime-Tohru was running away from dealing with Kyo’s predicament, while manga-Tohru got here because she ran toward Momiji when she saw him suffering (and manga-Tohru didn’t run away from Kyo’s predicament, either).
One last comment about the anime: They clearly thought (and heavily implied) that Akito was actually the Rooster, which is a totally reasonable assumption considering that Kureno hadn’t even been vaguely alluded to yet. Just keep in mind that for the most part, the birds showing up in Akito’s scenes were in the manga, too – they only have to do with Kureno, not Akito.
Hiro: Hey, why are you two bandaged up?
Only Hiro would be insensitive enough to ask this. And only Hiro might actually believe that they tripped and fell.
I’m sure Kyo-kun’s master didn’t show him colorful fireworks to prepare him for a future of being locked away. And Yuki-kun hasn’t been struggling so hard because he wants to return to the Sohma compound. I bet at the bottom of their hearts, they yearn to be free. But if the curse keeps that freedom out of reach, then I want to break the curse. I’m probably in over my head. It’s easy to say you want to “protect” something. But, even so, if it means a day will come when they’re released from these bonds, when they can laugh and cry with their whole heart and soul, then even if it means I’ll be punished, I want to break the curse.
This is really more cathartic than anything – Tohru’s finally decided to take action! Not that she hasn’t been doing anything up to this point, but she never had any particular intent to change much, just to learn more about the Sohmas. Now she’s learned enough to know that they can’t just keep existing like they have, that the curse should be broken.
Yuki: This is the first time the members of the Zodiac have all gotten together just to have fun. It’s strange. Summer comes around every year, but it’s never the same summer twice. I also treasure this time spent with you, Honda-san.
I want to protect them. I want to use all the strength I have to protect the paths they’re walking on.
Until next time…