Here are the Soma zodiac characters in Fruits Basket, as well as their animal transformations. Blending together high school anime with fantastical magic spirits, Fruits Basket revolves around Tohru Honda’s life with the Soma family. Mysterious and influential, the Soma family boast their own sprawling compound in which many of the members live, operating like a traditional Japanese noble house. Unlike a traditional Japanese noble house, 13 members of the Soma family inherit the spirits of the zodiac animals. These transformations occur either during illness or immediately upon embracing a member of the opposite sex, and remain a strict secret from the public.
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The Fruits Basket story begins when Tohru accidentally discovers the truth of the Soma family and, one by one, befriends the various zodiac spirits. While there’s plenty of fun to be had, the Somas harbor a dark connection to the family head, Akito. Based on the manga by Natsuki Takaya, Fruits Basket was originally adapted for anime in 2001, before being rebooted in 2019 with improved animation, a higher episode count, and a more authentic plot.
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The zodiac spirits play a vital role in Fruits Basket, but many are seen sporadically, or hardly ever transform. Keeping track of each Soma’s respective animal can be tricky, and with Fruits Basket season 3 on the horizon, here’s a guide to each of the 13 zodiac spirits.
Attending the same high school, Yuki is the first Soma that Tohru comes into contact with, but only when Yuki realizes Tohru is homeless and invites her to stay at Shigure’s house do they truly get to know each other. Carrying years of mental torment from Akito and the scorn of his immediate family, Yuki suffers crippling anxiety and poor self-confidence, fearing he’ll lose Tohru’s friendship when she sees him turn into a Rat for the first time. Fortunately, Tohru isn’t bothered by the Rat’s zodiac form and agrees to keep the secret, empowering Yuki and his confidence to form bonds with others. Yuki has a history of respiratory issues, and is one of the few zodiac members to have a direct relative within the cursed group – his brother, Ayame. Yuki endures a challenging relationship with Kyo due to their traditionally opposite positions as the Rat and the Cat.
Kyo makes an explosive first impression on Tohru when he comes crashing through Shigure’s roof and challenges Yuki to a fight. It’s when Tohru tries to stop them that she first triggers their zodiac transformations, witnessing all three Somas in their animal forms. As the Cat in the zodiac folktale, Kyo is never invited to formal functions along with Akito and the other members, and has always lived outside the main Soma estate. Estranged from his biological father due to his mother committing suicide when Kyo was a child, the Cat was raised by his karate sensei, Kazuma. Kyo despises Yuki for being the Rat; the one who tricked the Cat in the traditional folk tale and made him an outcast. Kyo even makes a bet with Akito that if he beats Yuki in a fight before graduation, he’ll become a full member of the zodiac group, escaping the incarceration that usually awaits the Cat. Kyo is the only zodiac member to have a second, monstrous transformation, which is prevented by his rosary bead bracelet.
Shigure may be the zodiac Dog, but he’s the dark horse of the Soma family. A writer by trade (albeit not an especially motivated one), Shigure lives outside the Soma estate, meeting Tohru when she passes by on her way to school. He soon becomes the first person to explain zodiac transformations to a bewildered Tohru after morphing into his Dog form. Shigure is the sneakiest of the Somas, always hiding an ulterior motive, but despite describing himself as the “worst kind of man”, the Dog just can’t resist being drawn into Tohru’s kindhearted nature, developing an almost parental bond with her. Shigure is best friends with Hatori and Ayame, and has a warped relationship with Akito, always trying to make trouble for her but never giving a clear explanation as to why… yet.
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Hatsuharu (Haru for short) meets Tohru during a school race, where he trips up Kyo to start a fight. Despite being known for his chilled persona, Haru hides a devilish alter ego known as “Dark Haru,” who acts aggressively to anyone in proximity, Kyo especially. When Yuki collapses from a fever, Haru transforms into his Ox form (which resembles more of a cow) as a way of carrying Yuki home, revealing his zodiac spirit to Tohru as a result. When Haru was younger, he resented Yuki for being the Rat – the one who rode on the Ox’s back – but once they became more closely acquainted, Haru’s feelings turned into love and respect. Haru is also one of the few zodiac members to brave a romantic relationship, dating Isuzu and hiding it from Akito as long as possible. Naturally, it wasn’t long before Akito found out and attacked Isuzu, causing her to break off the relationship, and break Haru’s heart.
Momiji bumps into Tohru at his father’s company, where Tohru coincidentally works at a cleaner, but their formal introduction occurs at the Kaibara Municipal High School festival, where he carelessly reveals his Rabbit form by diving in for a sneaky hug. Half-German on his mother’s side, the pair become fast friends and confidants, particularly after Momiji discloses his tragic past. As soon as Momiji’s mom discovered her baby would turn into the Rabbit whenever they embraced, she fell into a deep depression and begged Hatori to suppress all memories of Momiji completely. Despite this, the youngster still watches over his estranged parent and young sister from afar, and wishes to one day perform a violin concert for them.
Hatori is the resident doctor of the Soma family, favored by the perpetually unwell Akito and always trying to keep his best friends (Shigure and Ayame) in line. Hatori is largely the one responsible for maintaining the Soma family’s secret, using a strange form of hypnosis to suppress the memories of those who accidentally discover or wish to forget the zodiac curse, such as Yuki’s school friends and Momiji’s mother. Hatori even removed the memories of his own girlfriend when Akito refused to permit their relationship. Hatori’s initial introduction to Tohru comes at a school festival, but she doesn’t discover his spirit animal until being invited to the Soma estate. Hatori is supposed to represent the Dragon but, to his embarrassment, the transformation actually manifests as a tiny seahorse. Hatori sees a lot of his former lover in Tohru’s warm personality, and goes out of his way to help her in times of need.
Kagura is the first female zodiac member Tohru becomes acquainted with in Fruits Basket. Enthusiastically displaying her passionate, but unrequited, love for Kyo, Kagura accidentally reveals her Boar transformation by bumping into a delivery man. Inheriting the Boar zodiac spirit, Tohru notes the appropriateness of Kagura’s animal in the sense that she runs “single-mindedly towards her goals” like a charging boar. Kagura is one of very few people who are aware of Kyo’s true form, and have witnessed the monstrous transformation first-hand. She develops respect for Tohru both as a friend, and also as a rival for Kyo’s affection.
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Ayame is easily the most flamboyant and egotistical of the zodiac members, much to the annoyance of his brother Yuki, who couldn’t be more different. Ayame makes a predictably dramatic entrance when Tohru comes across his Snake form in the woods near Shigure’s house. Seeking the nearest warm body, Ayame wriggles beneath Tohru’s clothing before Yuki comes to the rescue and dryly suggests cooking his estranged brother. Close friends with Shigure and Hatori, Ayame lives outside the Soma estate and runs his own clothing shop alongside employee and friend, Mine. Tohru’s influence inspires Ayame to try harder at building a relationship with his brother.
While none of the zodiac members have it easy, Isuzu (more commonly referred to as Rin) is arguably the most troubled of the bunch. The owner of the Horse spirit, Rin suffered the same parental strife as Momiji and Kyo, rejected for her transformation. A romantic relationship with Haru proved to be Rin’s salvation, but Akito’s disapproval earned the Horse a lengthy hospital stay. Despite breaking things off for Haru’s sake, Tohru and Haru refused to let Rin lose hope, and the two young women both share the goal of breaking the Soma family curse. The first meeting between Rin and Tohru comes during the summer vacation, when the exhausted zodiac Horse is found in the woods alone.
Most of the zodiac spirits make a friendly enough first impression, or at least remain enigmatic enough for viewers to reserve judgement. Hiro, however, is a hateful little brat, treating Tohru like a slave and stretching the limits of rudeness when they first meet near Tohru’s place of work. Hiro even steals the pocketbook with a photograph of Tohru’s mother inside. After making his apologies, it’s decided that Hiro’s punishment should be a hug from Tohru, allowing her to see his zodiac transformation into the Sheep. Growing closer, Tohru learns that Hiro’s attitude is borne of jealousy, insecurity, and anxiety over Akito’s violent outbursts, since Hiro himself is desperately in love with Kisa.
Despite being the Tiger of the Soma family, Kisa is deeply unhappy when she first appears. Refusing to talk, Kisa is found by Haru already in her tiger form and soon introduced to Tohru. Naturally, it’s the kind-hearted, always empathetic Tohru who finally cracks Kisa’s defenses and encourages her to open up after learning the cause of her silence is bullying at school. Kisa’s Tiger transformation isn’t quite as formidable as it sounds – the animal form is more cuddly than deadly, preferring to nibble on nearby fingers.
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Ritsu, affectionately known as Ritchan, is fond a women’s clothes, lives outside of the main estate, and is also the Soma with the least airtime in Fruits Basket. Having already met Ritchan’s mother at the Soma spa, it was only a matter of time before Tohru came into contact with her equally apologetic son, and soon enough, the Monkey stopped by Shigure’s house for a visit. The zodiac reveal came when Tohru accidentally bumped into Ritchan, triggering the Monkey transformation. Although Tohru was surprised, this was due to the fact that she believed Ritchan was female, rather than because of the sudden appearance of a monkey. Tohru has a positive impact on Ritchan, stopping him jumping from Shigure’s roof, and encouraging the Monkey to find his reason to live. Shortly after, Ritchan befriends Shigure’s long-suffering editor, Mitsuru.
The big enigma of the Fruits Basket Soma family, Kureno was the zodiac’s Rooster until he somehow severed his connection with Akito and lost his ability to transform. Kureno stayed by Akito’s side out of loyalty and has been isolated from the rest of the family, but briefly met Tohru during the summer beach house retreat. In a quirk of fate, Kureno had already started falling for Tohru’s friend Arisa, and as soon as the connection was deduced, a game of matchmaker began. Finally, Tohru discovered Kureno’s shocking secret.
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