In terms of shojo manga and anime titles, Fruits Basket is undoubtedly one of the most popular and important titles. A well-known and popular series, Fruits Basket has brought us both joy and sorrow as we’ve followed the interesting (mis)adventures of the Sohma family. The basic premise of the family members transforming into animals of the Chinese Zodiac is common knowledge but what is the Sohma Curse exactly? How can it be broken? We are going to answer all these questions and more in this article.
The Sohma Curse in the world of Fruits Basket is the name of a “bond” forged between God and the thirteen members of the Chinese Zodiac. At this moment, Akito Sohma is the current “God” of the Zodiac, while the various members of the Sohma family are possessed by the spirits of the twelve animals from the Chinese Zodiac, including the notorious Cat.
The rest of this article is going to tell you everything you need to know about the Sohma Curse in the world of Fruits Basket. We are going to reveal all the necessary details from the plot, as well as explain everything you need to know to fully understand the concept of the curse. We are also going to answer some related questions.
What is the Sohma Curse in Fruits Basket?
The Sohma Curse in the world of Fruits Basket is the name of a “bond” forged between God and the thirteen members of the Chinese Zodiac. At this moment, Akito Sohma is the current “God” of the Zodiac, while the various members of the Sohma family are possessed by the spirits of the twelve animals from the Chinese Zodiac.
As the true legend of the zodiac tells, there was a man (later referred to as “God”) who had always been alone his whole life. One day, a friendly-looking cat came to visit him and confessed that it was attracted to him and stated its desire to stay by his side; the man became very happy.e Due to his newfound friendship with the cat, the man craved even more relationships, so he held fun banquets with the other animals (those considered part of the Chinese zodiac).
The man, not wanting their friendship or banquet to end, and only wanting to keep his bond with his friends (the Thirteen Beasts) forever, created a spell by drawing a circle with his finger drew a cup of water. This drink caused each of them to reincarnate, and no matter how many times they reincarnated, the bond of their friendship remained.
For centuries, different members of the Sohma family have reincarnated as God or as one of the thirteen animals of the Chinese Zodiac by being possessed by their original spirits. Isuzu Sohma explains that although they have no memory of the original bond between God and the thirteen animals, they are still bound by that promise as the blood of the zodiac spirits remembers it. As Isuzu described it:
God and the spirits of the Zodiac made a promise. It was a long, long time ago. Hundreds of years or more. To be together, for eternity. No matter how many times they were reborn, the spirits would go to God’s side and never leave. They would meet and stay forever. Together… forever. We’re bound by that promise even now. Even if we don’t remember it, the blood of the Zodiac spirits remembers. From the outside, a “bond” may sound romantic, but if it feels like a burden to those involved, then it’s only a manacle. That’s why it’s a “curse”.
The original God simply wanted the bonds to be sacred and something that would bind him forever to his friends, but he didn’t want the bonds to become something cursed and the source of generations of abuse, isolation, and suffering. ostracism in the Sohma clan. Although there is no definitive answer as to what the curse actually is, Kazuma Sohma suspects that the God and the Thirteen Beasts live in a “world” of their own, making it difficult for outsiders to understand what separates them.
They are linked by a bond of blood and the souls of the original animals and of God. This is why the Zodiacs cannot challenge Akito, as they all harbor intense feelings for her, and she is like a god to them, someone who needs to be feared and respected, whether weak or strong. A few dismissive words from Akito’s mouth can emotionally and physically hurt the Zodiacs.
It is for this exact reason, Hatori Sohma couldn’t blame Akito for blinding him, making Kana Sohma sick, or making him erase his memories. However, it is revealed that the Zodiacs can challenge Akito if their willpower is strong enough. Defying Akito’s wishes, Momiji Sohma turns against her to protect Tohru Honda, possibly because her bond with Tohru is much stronger than her bond with Akito. Bonding is a deep and intense emotional connection that only Zodiacs can feel without doing anything.
For example, Kureno Sohma dreamed of Akito still being transparent when she was just conceived, and she told him that they could meet. Shigure Sohma, Hatori Sohma, and Ayame Sohma all had the same dream, and they all woke up crying and immediately contacted Akito’s mother, Ren Sohma. She didn’t even know she was pregnant.
The four boys knew their God was in there and felt like they had always been waiting for them. Kureno also mentions that when Akito was born, a part of him he didn’t know existed screamed out and belonged to the voice of the spirit that possessed him. He explains that this spirit is another self living in him than the spirit’s blood in his veins.
Even when new incarnations were born, the blood of these spirits made their claim on Kureno and all the Zodiacs, past and present, clear; do not betray their God. Kureno and Momiji could personally experience how unnatural the bond was when their curses broke, and they eventually lost their bond with Akito. It has also been mentioned that their emotional bond is so strong that every person possessed by an animal spirit cries when they see their God for the first time.
The “curse” manifests itself in the following way:
- The possessed are born two months premature.
- Zodiacs transform into their respective animals when hugged by someone of the opposite sex or when under significant stress (such as exhaustion, nausea, or shortness of breath). They do not turn into animals when hugged by another member of the zodiac. There is no explanation for this.
- They can attract and communicate somewhat with the animals of their obsessed zodiac animal and can be used as support. E.g., rats are attracted to Yuki and he used their help to dig up Tohru’s tent under the landslide early in the series.
- They have different characteristics and often share special traits with the animal they are possessed of. For instance; Hatsuharu Sohma’s natural black and white hair is influenced by the spirit of the ox, and Kisa Sohma’s golden hair and eye color are influenced by the spirit of the tiger.
- They share special abilities that ordinary humans do not have. Kyo Sohma can, for example, land on his feet after jumping from the second floor, Isuzu Sohma runs fast like a horse, and Ritsu Sohma is extremely agile.
- It has been shown that whenever the Zodiacs transform into their individual animals and return to human form, they are naked with clouds of color surrounding their bodies.
- As long as all Zodiac members are alive at the same time, no other Sohma possessed by a Zodiac spirit will be born. A new “cursed” Sohma can only come when a previously cursed Sohma dies. For example, Kyo was only able to become the cat when Kazuma’s grandfather died.
- All thirteen members of the zodiac are connected in some way and share an extremely powerful and strong blood bond with their god as they are physically and emotionally unable to openly oppose them even if they want and try.
How can the Sohma Curse be broken?
As Kureno’s curse broke while the bond had previously been intact for thousands of years, those familiar with Kureno’s situation were aware that the curse was slowly beginning to weaken. Shigure, particularly, had many theories about the debilitating curse and has stated throughout the series that he hears the sound of “something breaking.”
He also felt that since the current generation, for the first time, all twelve zodiac members (including the cat and the God) are alive simultaneously, with the God and the animals all coming together for a final banquet. The reason why Hatori turned into a seahorse instead of a real dragon and Kureno turned into a sparrow instead of a rooster was also interpreted as a sign of the curse weakening.
Because the bond is unnatural, it begins to break and crumble as the “blood” weakens. Shigure also predicts that the curse will completely break within the lifetime of the current zodiac generation, though possibly not until they are much older. It was because Kureno’s curse naturally violated time. However, thanks to the accumulation of all the little changes and triggers, breaking the curse only started to come faster.
Although there is no definitive answer as to what these “changes” are, it is believed that a possessed limb forms a stronger bond with a stranger or someone other than God than with one between him and God. This happens as Tohru forms meaningful and deeply emotional bonds with many zodiac members throughout the series.
Another thing that can “trigger” the curse to weaken could also be when a possessed member defies, rebels against, or becomes independent of God. It is implied that Akito, the God, has a lot of control and power over the chains and the curse itself.
So this is why, when Akito forms a bond with Tohru, a bond stronger than her ties to the Zodiacs, she is willing to destroy the cat room and give the Zodiacs their freedom and admits that she no longer wants to be a special “god,” just a normal young woman living on her own life and just being yourself, all of these actions weaken the bond and break it once and for all. Kureno’s curse broke ten years before the story began.
For the rest of the Zodiacs, except for Momiji and Hiro Sohma, whose curses erupted earlier for unknown reasons, the curse erupted simultaneously, only seconds apart. It can be seen that when Kureno, Momiji, and Hiro’s curses broke, they were surrounded by feathers, and they could feel that they had been freed from the curse and their God.
Akito could feel it, too, even though she wasn’t there when her spells went off. Each member of the zodiac also cried for breaking their curse. Hiro says that even though he should have been pleased about it, he still felt anger, resentment, regret, remorse, and attachment blended within him. Hiro’s mother, Satsuki Sohma, explained to him that he has lived with the “Pact” all his life; and though he suffered so much from it, it was still part of him.
It is implied that the other Zodiacs felt the same way. Yuki also mentions that once his curse was broken, it was like saying goodbye to someone he had been with all his life (presumably “god” or the “chains”).