Yuki Sohma

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Yuki Sohma
Fruits Basket character
Created by Natsuki Takaya
Voiced by Aya Hisakawa (Japanese)
Eric Vale (English)
Profile
Nickname(s) Prince Yuki, Yun Yun
Zodiac  spirit Rat

Yuki Sohma (草摩 由希 Sōma Yuki?) is a fictional character from the anime and manga series Fruits Basket by Natsuki Takaya, and is one of the three protagonists of the story. He is depicted as a popular high school student despite severe self-doubts, and is president of the student council. He is sometimes called "Prince Yuki" by his fans. When Yuki is hugged by the opposite gender or if his body is under a great deal of stress, he transforms into the Rat of the Chinese zodiac.

Creation and conception[edit]

Although the Yuki is the first month in the Japanese lunar calendar, unlike the other zodiac characters, his name is not derived from it. Natsuki Takaya claimed in an author's note she used "Yuki" because "nothing sounded good."[1] Yuki (?) can also mean snow in Japanese, corresponding with "Ice Prince," one of Yuki's nicknames, although the kanji in his name mean "reason" (?) and "hope" (?), or "a reason to hope".

In an interview, Takaya said that when she was developing the series, Yuki was one of the first three characters she developed, after Tohru.[2] According to the Fruits Basket Character Book, she had him dress in Chinese-style clothes because she likes them.[3] She added that she believes they suit his androgynous nature, and that she deliberately gave Yuki and Kyo different tastes to distinguish them.[4]

Character outline[edit]

Personality and background[edit]

Yuki is depicted as an attractive, reserved, and accomplished young man with many admirers, but who finds being friendly quite difficult. As a young man possessed by the Rat, the animal that according to Zodiac legend was first to arrive at the initial Zodiac banquet,[5] Yuki is talented at anything he tries (except cooking and cleaning). However, when Yuki was young, Akito Sohma kept him isolated from the rest of the family and convinced him no one liked or needed him;[6] because of this emotional abuse, Yuki has low self-esteem and feels isolated.[7][8] He is known as "Prince Yuki" at school, where despite his popularity he must avoid intimacy with girls lest they trigger his transformation into a Rat.[9] He has a fan club headed by Matoko Minagawa that tries to "protect" him from other admirers, with the result that Yuki is further isolated.[10] Yuki, however, wishes that he could be with people as friends, rather than be admired from afar, and envies both Kyo Sohma's and Kakeru Manabe's easy ways with others.[11][12] He is touched when, faced with the prospect of having her memory of the Sohma family secret erased, Tohru asks that he remain her friend,[9] which no one had asked him before.[13]

With Tohru's help Yuki is gradually able to "open the lid" on his feelings, and the summer after she begins living in Shigure's house, Yuki admits to himself that he loves her. As a child, Yuki was traumatized by Akito Sohma, the leader of the Sohma family. When Yuki was younger, Akito had total control over him. He would tell him terrible things that he could never forget, like that he was the most hated member of the family, and that if it weren't for him, Yuki would have no reason to exist. These statements were seemingly confirmed by the behavior of the rest of the family: Hatsuharu proclaimed he hated Yuki (although he later comes to adore Yuki), despite the fact he had never met him before. His brother, Ayame Sohma, brushed off his cry for help, and Kyo always hated and blamed him. Everyone else in the zodiac did not speak with him, though that was probably not an intentional snub on their part. On top of being mentally abusive, Akito was often physically abusive as well, and sometimes would lock Yuki away inside a dark room to torment him. As a result of the combined abuse, Yuki has terribly low self-esteem, and suffers from self-hatred and an inferiority complex. Though his outward demeanor shows nothing of his childhood torture, Yuki reveals to Tohru that he does not care or appreciate who he is as his personality was shaped to please others and conform to society, which he incidentally excels at.

Yuki's worst enemy would be Kyo Sohma, the cat of the zodiac. Hatsuharu Sohma felt animosity towards Yuki during part of their childhood because of the story often told to Haru about the Yuki taking advantage of the stupid cow; this made Haru develop an inferiority complex towards his older cousin. However, after actually meeting Yuki face-to-face, Haru was able to see Yuki's extreme kindness and developed a deep admiration for him, going as far to call it love.

Yuki also feels a close connection with his cousin Kisa Sohma, as Kisa was teased because the children in her class thought she was different from others. Until Tohru Honda touched her heart, she didn't go to school and she couldn't speak, much like Yuki back when he was younger. Likewise Yuki, despite his popularity, rarely interacted with anyone on a personal level and was extremely private and introverted. Until he met Tohru, Yuki was afraid of becoming close to anyone because of an incident during his childhood when his secret was discovered by his friends during a game of tag, when Akito ordered Hatori Sohma to erase the children's memories, thus leaving Yuki alone and without friends. After meeting Tohru, Yuki started warming up to other people and becomes much more social, as well as accepting who he really is. He even becomes close friends with the other members of the student council during his time as president, especially with Kakeru Manabe (who becomes a very close friend to Yuki despite having a similar personality to Ayame) and Machi Kuragi (a girl that he falls in love with).

Yuki also appears to have respiratory problems, due to his weak bronchial tubes, and gets regular checkups from Hatori to monitor his condition. In his childhood these asthma attacks were apparently frequent, though they appear to be less so in the present. Still, he has to take extra precautions because he occasionally has attacks, which could cause him to transform in public. Throughout the manga, the attacks are less and less frequent, the only one occurring in volume 2 as he and Tohru watch Hatsuharu and Kyo fight.

When Tohru ends up in the hospital, Yuki goes to Kyo's room demanding to know why he did not visit her. Yuki then begins to beat him up saying that Kyo is not a superhero so he couldn't have saved Tohru. This is when they finally admit to each other that they envied one another. In the last chapter Yuki tells Kyo to remain level headed and he calls him "stupid cat", Kyo replies that he does not need to be looked after and calls him "damn Rat" they both smile.

In the manga but not the anime, after Kyo was freed from the curse, a series of events was triggered and the rest of the cursed Sohma family members became free. Yuki is the last Sohma member to be freed, noticing this as he was talking to Machi. The spirit of the zodiac took the Rat spirit and thanked Yuki for keeping his promise for a long time. It is possible perhaps Yuki was the last one to be freed because he was the Rat, the first of the Jyuunishi to arrive at the Zodiac Banquet. Throughout the series, he, like Kyo, seems to have some romantic feelings for Tohru, are is very protective over her. Later it is revealed that his feelings of love are simply love for a "mother figure" (of which Tohru becomes for him).

Reception[edit]

Yuki has been described by reviewers as part of the success of the series, in balance with Kyo and Tohru.[14]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Takaya, Natsuki (2008-08-08). Fruits Basket, Volume 14. Los Angeles: Tokyopop. p. 111. ISBN 978-1-59532-409-2. Yuki is the exception. He doesn't have the name of a month. Nothing really sounded good, and the sound "Yuki" came into my head. 
  2. ^ Takaya, Natsuki (2007-09-11). "Natsuki Takaya Written Interview". Fruits Basket Fan Book—Cat. Los Angeles: Tokyopop. p. 36. ISBN 978-1-4278-0293-4. 
  3. ^ Quoted in Takaya, Natsuki (2007-09-11). "Yuki Sohma". Fruits Basket Fan Book—Cat. Los Angeles: Tokyopop. p. 48. ISBN 978-1-4278-0293-4. There's no particular reason why he likes and wears Chinese-style clothes—I just like Chinese clothes. 
  4. ^ Quoted in Takaya, Natsuki (2007-09-11). "Yuki Sohma". Fruits Basket Fan Book—Cat. Los Angeles: Tokyopop. p. 48. ISBN 978-1-4278-0293-4. When I was designing Yuki and Kyo's clothes, I deliberately chose very different styles so they could both think, "I wouldn't be caught dead in the clothes you wear—and besides, they'd look awful on me." 
  5. ^ Takaya, Natsuki (2004-02-10). "Chapters 1". Fruits Basket, Volume 1. Los Angeles: Tokyopop. ISBN 978-1-59182-603-3. 
  6. ^ Takaya, Natsuki (2006-12-12). "Chapter 84". Fruits Basket, Volume 15. Los Angeles: Tokyopop. ISBN 978-1-59816-023-9. 
  7. ^ Takaya, Natsuki (2008-01-21). "Fruits Basket Set (Thinpak)". Anime on DVD. Retrieved 2008-04-27. Yuki has grown up being very isolated and insecure despite his popularity at school. 
  8. ^ Eries, Sakura (2007-02-21). "Fruits Basket Vol. #15". Anime on DVD. Retrieved 2008-04-18. [T]he first three chapters are devoted to Yuki's angst-filled childhood and the events that caused him to be as withdrawn as he is. 
  9. ^ a b Takaya, Natsuki (2004-02-10). "Chapter 2". Fruits Basket, Volume 1. Los Angeles: Tokyopop. ISBN 978-1-59182-603-3. 
  10. ^ Takaya, Natsuki (2006-04-11). "Chapter 76". Fruits Basket, Volume 13. Los Angeles: Tokyopop. ISBN 978-1-59532-408-5. 
  11. ^ Takaya, Natsuki (2004-02-10). "Chapters 4". Fruits Basket, Volume 1. Los Angeles: Tokyopop. ISBN 978-1-59182-603-3. 
  12. ^ Takaya, Natsuki (2006-04-11). "Chapter 73". Fruits Basket, Volume 13. Los Angeles: Tokyopop. ISBN 978-1-59532-408-5. 
  13. ^ Takaya, Natsuki (2006-12-12). "Chapter 86". Fruits Basket, Volume 15. Los Angeles: Tokyopop. ISBN 978-1-59816-023-9. 
  14. ^ Liversidge, Ross. "10 of the Best—Fruits Basket". UK Anime Net. Retrieved 2008-04-21. This dynamic, of the two quarrelling teenagers increasingly calmed by the gentle female presence, is a wonderful creation – Kyo provides us with action, Yuki carries dignity, and Tohru is gentle without being wishy-washy, providing the show’s heart... The balance is nigh on perfect. 

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