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  • Ass Pull: Yuki seeing Tohru as a surrogate mother figure struck a lot of fans as this, as it immediately resolves the Love Triangle at the heart of the series in an anti-climatic manner. Although, it did receive some foreshadowing as there are parts where Yuki is briefly shown envious when seeing Tohru act like a mother to the younger Souhma members, it's just very easy to miss on a first read.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • Some have theorized that Hanajima knew about the Sohma curse thanks to her powers and is a Secret Secret-Keeper.
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    • Is Momiji being Innocently Insensitive whenever he annoys Kyo or is he intentionally trolling him?
  • Author's Saving Throw:
    • While the dub for the 2001 anime was pretty well-received for its time, there were some areas where it was rough around the edges, like Momiji Not Even Bothering with the Accent or how some names were pronounced. The 2019 anime's dub vastly improves on those, as Momiji now has an accent, and Kagura's name is pronounced "Kah-Guh-Rah" instead of "Kah-Goo-Rah."
    • Some people felt uncomfortable with how Ritsu's anxiety, which included an Interrupted Suicide, was Played for Laughs. In the 2019 anime, while his anxiety is still played for comedy for the most part, Ritsu's suicide attempt is taken a little more seriously.
  • Base-Breaking Character:
    • Akito is either a Tragic Villain or an irredeemable Karma Houdini who got off way too easily. A large part of it comes down to whether fans believe Akito's Freudian Excuse is enough to justify their behavior or whether Akito was too Easily Forgiven.
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    • Hiro. Some like him for his complexities and his cute moments with Kisa, but others hate him for his bratty behavior and for being unjustifiably mean to Tohru in his first appearance.
  • Broken Base:
    • The first anime adaptation is heavily polarizing due to its multiple aesthetic and characterization differences, although this was hard to avoid since the anime almost Overtook the Manga. The fact that Natsuki Takaya herself didn't like the first anime very much hasn't helped in that regard. Time will tell how much better the 2019 anime will be received.
    • While fans have been generally excited for the Continuity Reboot, there has been some debate as to whether they prefer the new art style or the art style of the manga or original anime. The fact that the change was requested by Takaya herself has done little to change this.
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  • Catharsis Factor: It was very pleasing to see that Tohru's Jackass relative got slapped by Tohru's grandpa for their apathy and disdain to her. The 2019 Anime reboot, especially amped this up even further when Yuki flicked the forehead of Tohru's cousin (Who had insinuated that Tohru is being a slut, of all things before he got slapped) so hard he fell on the floor. Additionally, seeing Yuki and Kyo getting Tohru back to the Sohma house after all that is the feeling and thought that Tohru deserved to stay with the Sohma's than stay with her jerks for relatives (sans the grandfather) because of their apathy and disdain to her.
  • Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: While the manga keeps its share of comedic and lighthearted moments to balance out its darkness, one cannot deny that the series' later half can lead to this. The abuse that permeates the Sohma household was not exactly hidden early on, with Hatori's past revealed and similar, but when the actual extent of it is fully displayed, and not one person in the household being free of severe issues, it's difficult to retain empathy.
  • Die for Our Ship: A few examples:
    • Tohru and Rin got hit with this from some group of fans who prefer the Ho Yay ships.
    • Machi also got hit with this due to Ship-to-Ship Combat.
    • Kyo also got this from fans who prefer to ship Tohru with Yuki.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: Hatsuharu is probably the most popular secondary character, due to his good looks and his hilarious freak-outs as Black Haru.
  • Family-Unfriendly Aesop:
    • How some people feel Akito's resolution was handled. Who needs therapy when forgiveness from somebody you hated was enough to undo your decades of psychological issues?
    • Yuki’s famous monologue from the end of Kisa’s introduction chapter can be summed up as "Encouraging people to love themselves is useless. A person who doesn’t love themselves can’t just invent that love from nothing, and what they really need is love from others". Not a bad message, but some articles have pointed out that this flies in the face of Aesops about learning to love yourself that are prominent in western cultures, especially in the U.S. Since the episode argues the opposite, that people need approval from others just as much, it can come across as a bit jarring, but since the monologue has resonated with so many people it can't be denied that there is truth in it.
  • Fanon Discontinuity: Some fans of the Tohru/Yuki couple (or even Tohru/Yuki/Kyo) would prefer to think that the fact that Yuki sees Tohru as a mother figure doesn't exist.
  • Franchise Original Sin: Tohru's Jerkass family members were an early sign of the kind of drama that would go on later in the series, but they were minor antagonists who were taken care of within one chapter, and Tohru hardly lets their actions weigh on her. Later on in the manga, however, nearly every character has some overblown backstory of familial abuse, with severe mental issues because of it.
  • Gateway Series: The original Tokyopop US publication is generally considered to have sparked the Western shoujo manga boom of the early 2000s. It was one of the biggest parts of the boom, at least.
  • Growing the Beard: Company example; while Funimation was already showing signs of this with their dub of Yu Yu Hakusho and largely solidifying it with their dub of Fullmetal Alchemist, the fact that this was their first major dub of a shoujo anime rather than the shonen action fare they did up to this point also played a part in the beard growing, if not outright cemented it.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: While Kagura's reasoning for why Kyo should be with her is played for laughs in her introduction, we see later she's not wrong about how difficult it is for Zodiac members to be with non-Zodiac partners. In addition to not being able to hug their partner without transforming, Hatori's relationship with Kana comes to an end because of Akito. And that's not even getting into how many many people don't respond well upon finding out about the curse.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
  • Informed Wrongness: Rin is the only one of the Sohma who is shown to be unable to forgive Akito for her actions, and she even feels guilt over it. However, Rin has every reason to despise Akito since she knocked her out of a two story window, an act known to kill the less lucky. Not to mention Akito imprisoning her and crudely cutting off her hair late in the story. Considering her circumstances, it would have been hard to believe if Rin had forgiven Akito so easily.
  • Iron Woobie:
    • Tohru is essentially abandoned by the paternal relatives she had left (aside from her grandfather) due to their dislike of her mother Kyoko's Former Teen Rebel past and then she passed away shortly before the start of Fruits Basket, but Tohru faced it with a smile. Something that many characters find as admirable. While this is initially played straight, the latter half of the manga makes this a Deconstructed Trope with the reveal that she is also a Broken Messiah Stepford Smiler affected by how, during her father's funeral, she listened in on her relatives who weren't aware and could care less, that Tohru can understand them talking about how she didn't resemble her father and that it's no consolation because of how much they hate Kyoko for her former social standing. Then there's also her being told off by Kakeru to quit her whining at Kyoko's funeral. Why? Because he believed that Tohru is being self-centered as she grieved for her mother. To drive the knife even further for her? He adds that she's not the only one who lost a parent in his belief that Tohru is being self-centered for grieving. All those things only made Tohru feel even worse about herself and bottling them up is damaging her on the long run.
    • Momiji had to watch his mother driven into insanity with the knowledge of giving birth to a child with a zodiac curse and hear that his mother's biggest regret is giving birth to him in that insanity. And for the sake of his mother's mental health, he is cast out and had to live alone. Yet, he never thought that life is unfair even once, and decided that he'll bear having those sad memories as he move on with his life. This is evident with his monologue at the start of episode 14 in the 2019 reboot.
    Momiji: I don't think there are memories that are okay to forget.
  • It Was His Sled:
    • Considering how well-known the series is, especially with shoujo fans, most people enter it with the knowledge that Akito is a woman.
    • With the manga having ended its run years ago, many people also know that Tohru ends up with Kyo.
  • Jerkass Woobie:
    • Kyo is abrasive and rather inconsiderate, but considering how he grew up shunned by the inner circle of the Souma clan and he doesn't seem to fare well with those in the outside circle of the clan either except for his Parental Substitute, with his biological father blaming him for his mother's death when it's actually his biological father's own fault that she was Driven to Suicide, it's hard to blame him.
    • Rin/Isuzu is not a terribly pleasant person, especially in her first few appearances. Future chapters reveal her past, in that her parents started to abuse her after she asked an innocent question and left her scarred for the following years with Hatsuharu being the one bright spot in her life. Then she got beaten down by Akito when she talked of liking and dating Hatsuharu, a beatdown that left her hospitalized early in the manga. This event prompt her to pull a Break His Heart to Save Him on Hatsuharu as a result. She remains fairly aloof and bitter even near the manga's end. No one can recover from years of trauma that easily.
    • Akito, of all people, turned out to be the big placeholder for this. She grew up a Daddy's Girl and faced with a lot of verbal abuse from Sohma Ren which only got worse after her father died. Causing her to cling to the older male zodiacs to fill in the void of her father's death as her Parental Substitute. Then Kureno's curse was broken on it's own, causing her to freak and started to do what she could so the zodiacs would stay and so she wouldn't be alone again. Even if those methods brought more harm than good.
  • Magnificent Bastard: Shigure. In the manga he spent a very very long time manipulating and screwing people around trying to ensure that at the end of it all, he ended up with Akito. And he really wasn't nice about it. At ALL. The first incarnation of the anime stopped a little more than halfway through the story, so his ugly side hadn't been integrated and he seems much more warm, especially with John Burgmeier's voice. Still, it's highly likely he has the same manipulative nature as his manga counterpart.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • JoJo's Basket. Explanation 
    • Kyo is sponsored by Adidas. Explanation 
    • SOUP. Explanation 
  • Moe:
    • In the anime at least, Tohru. In spades. Just look at her adorable expressions!
    • Kisa! She is so endearingly shy.
    • Tsundere/Yandere or not, Kagura is pretty cute herself. Her Establishing Character Moment even plays this with Kagura acting bashful.
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • Rin's parents disowning her after implied years of physical and verbal abuse...all while she's in the hospital.
    • Though Ren is far from ever being liked, learning that she threatened to abort her female child unless her husband agreed to raise her as a boy made her irredeemable to many. Many fans find it especially despicable of her that she talks of how she only ever would love Akira but then so casually slept with Shigure in order to hurt her daughter.
    • While Akito Kicking the Dog is just a day that ends in "Y" for him or her, she/he is considered by many to have crossed it by half-blinding Hatori and then guilt-tripping his girlfriend over the incident, forcing him to erase her memories of their relationship because she was falling into a deep depression.
  • Narm:
    • To several viewers in the 2019 reboot, they find Hatori's voice acting when he narrates his past as something that ruined the whole dark mood because they felt Kazuyuki Okitsu sounding too bland and trying too hard to voice The Stoic character of Hatori.
    • When Tohru tries to reason with Kyo after he turns into the Cat's true form, Kyo lashes out at her because he's ashamed and accidentally scratches her shoulder in the process. The 2019 anime makes it more dramatic by having Kyo not only injure Tohru's shoulder, but shoving her hard enough to send her flying into a nearby river...and then Tohru gets up with barely a scratch on her aside from the shoulder injury, while also showing the water was a lot more shallow than it looked. The fact that she was sent flying so far but without looking much worse for wear made many viewers feel this moment was too over-the-top to be believable in what was otherwise a very serious and moving episode.
  • Nightmare Fuel:
    • The 7th episode of the 2019 anime reboot has averted the Gory Discretion Shot of Hatori's Eye Scream and showed that Hatori was shoved into a mirror and had his left eye injured from the mirror fragments that fell from the impact (Or, in the original 2001 Anime adaptation, had a vase thrown at his way). No wonder Kana got traumatized! Akito's Mind Rape following that made it worse for Kana...
    • The 9th episode has a brief flashback of Yuki getting psychologically tortured by Akito when he is looking at Kyo and Hatsuharu training martial arts together, which sent him to a panic attack that made his fever worse. Akito's hand creeping towards Yuki's eyes is almost disturbingly sudden, and is definitely meant to evoke the feeling of an abuse victim being taken by their abuser.
  • One True Threesome: Many fans decide to end the heated debate between Tohru/Kyo and Tohru/Yuki by simply ship all three of them together, as aside from the fact that both Yuki and Kyo are fond of Tohru, the interaction between the two boys can be seen as Belligerent Sexual Tension.
  • Retroactive Recognition: Parisa Fakhri, who voiced Arisa Uotani, is more known as Naima in SEAL Team.
  • Ships That Pass in the Night: Despite their limited interaction, Momiji and Kagura are regularly paired together, mostly due to them being the only main characters that didn't get a love interest in the end.
  • Signature Scene:
    • The very first scene of the series of Tohru admiring the clear sky as she gets out of her tent.
    • Tohru finding out about the Sohma curse when Kyo, Yuki and Shigure all transform for the first time onscreen.
    • The Reveal of Kyo's true form.
  • Stoic Woobie: Hatori. Whom, by all rights, had a good reason to hate Akito for what she did to Kana and nearly blinding his left eye. But the guy decided to not hold it against Akito and just moved on, only praying for his first love to find her own happiness.
  • Strangled by the Red String: Due to having one of the most egregious examples of Pair the Spares in anime/manga history and Loads and Loads of Characters to pair up, this was inevitable for at least a few couples:
    • The number of individual appearances Ritsu makes can be counted on one hand, while Mitsuru is used almost exclusively as The Chew Toy. Their lack of character development makes the romance that blossoms between them seem forced at best.
    • Hatori and Mayu is liked by fans but relies on One Degree of Separation for it to be plausible. They get a tiny bit of foreshadowing and a heart-to-heart, but that's about it.
    • Due to the 20+ year age gap, the relationship between Hanajima and Kazuma felt less like an actual romance and more like a Precocious Crush that was inexplicably reciprocated at the last minute. This may be why Another retconned it and had Hanajima end up with an unnamed foreign man many years after the end of the original series.
  • Sweet Dreams Fuel: To a lot of fans, it's just incredibly cute how Yuki and Kyo are both so protective of Tohru, even if they show their affection to her in different ways. Also the way Tohru can make all the Sohma members and many other characters fond of her in one way or another, being the massive All-Loving Heroine and Team Mom she is.
  • Tastes Like Diabetes: Some fans find Tohru to be this, though usually more in the first anime where the more negative aspects of her personality aren't touched on. She's given an equally over-the-top cutesy voice in the remake too which can still make her this to some viewers who finds that she sounds more like a ten-year old than a teenager.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!: Kyo's story arc regarding the cat spirit's true form in the 2019 anime adaptation in comparison to how it was handled in the 2001 adaptation. This is mainly prevalent among those who watched the earlier adaptation, either not knowing or caring that the 2019 adaptation's version of the events is actually truer to the source material and that the parts from the 2001 adaptation that are missing were only made up in the first place to tie up loose ends due to the unlikelihood of that adaptation getting a second season even at the time.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: Who wasn't disappointed to learn that the one born in the Year of the Dragon transformed into a seahorse instead? Granted, it makes sense; the Japanese for seahorse translates to "dragon's child", and given Shigure's comment about the curse breaking, it's one major way of showing as such. On a surface level, however, one might still be forgiven for wishing Hatori would have turned into an actual dragon.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: In a story of people turning into the Zodiac animals, you'd think more emphasis would be given on all the different abilities they could have coinciding with their animal. For example, Shigure (the Dog) could have a good sense of smell, Kyo (the Cat) could have good night vision, Kisa (the Tiger) could have physical strength exceeding her size/be good at stalking, Rin (the Horse) could run very fast, Momiji (the Rabbit) could be good at jumping, etc etc. While some animal related abilities are mentioned or even shown from time to time (i.e Kyo is shown to be able to land on his feet after jumping from a high ledge), it's always in brief passing and never elaborated on as a positive, potentially even badass byproduct of the curse. Instead, the story only puts emphasis on how miserable the curse is and thus any positive aspects of having an animal form is ignored 95% of the time.
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic:
    • Kyo is supposed to be sympathized with for his crappy childhood and being the outcast of the Sohma clan, but it's hard to feel sorry for him when he spent a good chunk of the story being unnecessarily hostile towards everybody that breathes the same air as him and his tendency to complain about everything.
    • Momiji's mother. While willingly erasing Momiji from her memory wasn't necessarily justified in-story, she's still painted in a somewhat sympathetic light because she suffered a Sanity Slippage and attempted suicide. However, it's hard to feel sorry for her when she took her frustrations out on her son for reasons beyond his control,and is constantly cossetted and pandered to at Momijii's expense. This isn't helped that unlike Rin's parents, she is never properly called out for what she did.
    • Hiro. While his guilt from Kisa getting beaten by Akito was understandable, that doesn't justify him bullying Tohru in his first appearance. His jealousy of Tohru making Kisa happy also makes him come off as incredibly possessive.
    • Akito. While her childhood was undeniably horrible and her mother is to blame for a lot of her attitude, many fans felt that it all rang hollow due to the horrible abuse she subjected her family members to. She put Kisa and Rin in the hospital, Mind Raped Yuki, half-blinded Hatori and ruined his relationship with his fiance, planned on locking Kyo away for life once he turned into an adult (although being locked-away in a 'special' room is the fate of everyone who is cursed by the Cat), and tried to kill Kureno and Tohru during a Villainous Breakdown.
  • Values Dissonance:
    • Katsuya's conservative, proper family objected to him marrying Kyoko, not because she was a middle school-aged girl at the time (13-15) while he was very recently given a job as a teacher at her school (in his early twenties), but because she had been a delinquent. Granted, they are his family rather than hers, and that last one could be a point of contention for anyone, but generally Americans tend to frown more on disparities between age and power dynamics (adult/minor, teacher/student, etc) than social standing as the Japanese.
    • Several characters within the Sohma family are into each other in a very... romantic type of way that comes off as very incestuous. They are second to third cousins, yes, but even then it comes off as quite Squicky. It's worth noting that cousin marriage isn't illegal in Japan, even though even at the time it was set, its prevalence has dropped massively.
    • Tohru's remark that "marriage is every girl's dream" may have been intended to sound romantic, but would now be viewed as a rather old-fashioned idea. Funimation's dub of the 2019 anime changed this line to a more general statement about how everyone dreams of finding a soulmate, which is much less dated.
    • Kagura's antics, while over-the-top, were considered standard comedic tropes in anime and manga during The '90s (especially with the popularity of Rumiko Takahashi's works and how often she used those tropes with her own characters). These aspects of her character were kept in the 2019 anime, but in The New '10s viewers don't consider her treatment of Kyo very funny, especially with Kyo getting beat up multiple times in Kagura's intro episode, characters simply taking her antics as a sign of how passionate Kagura is towards Kyo (and several blame Kyo for all the destruction she causes), and a flashback of the former pulling a knife on the latter. As a result, Kagura's character feels very much like a product of the time when the manga was first written.
    • Ritsu's crossdressing was often criticized directly by other characters in the manga and 2001 anime, even implying that his crossdressing is getting in the way of become more confident. Naturally, this view hasn't aged well. The 2019 anime rectifies this by eliminating nearly all of the jabs towards Ritsu's crossdressing, instead focusing more on his anxiety and constant apologizing as the real problems he needs to overcome.
  • What an Idiot!: Seriously, Momiji? You hug Tohru, knowing full well what it does to you, at her school where a lot of people can see you? Granted, they were behind a curtain, but the cloud of smoke that often appears during the transformation still caught spectator attention.
  • The Woobie: Kisa. She was bullied by everyone else at school due to her unusual hair and eye colors as part of the curse of being the Tiger, which only got worse in time as she stopped speaking and eventually ran away from home, until she finally met Tohru and started to get better.
  • Woolseyism: Every language has a different way to have Yuki and Kyo awkwardly smile for Hatori, as the original joke wouldn't make sense translated. Bonus points for the English dubs for also having them say "cheese", like you do when taking pictures.
  • WTH, Casting Agency?: How some people feel about Akito's voice in the 2019 anime. Despite Maaya Sakamoto's experience with voicing Bifaunen women, some people feel her performance is too feminine. This has led many first-time viewers to figure out that Akito is a woman before it was even revealed.

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