Before Fruits Basket really gets off to a start and we learn about the curse, we get a superficial taste of what's to come with the zodiac mythology. Tohru's just had her first real encounter with the Sohmas, and upon seeing figurines of the zodiac animals, comments that she wanted to be born in the "year of the cat" as a child. The cat, who had been tricked by the rat into not attending God's banquet.

Later, Yuki asks Tohru if she really did want to be born in the year of the cat (which is an impossibility). When she says that she did so as a child, he goes off on his opinion about cats ... even though no one asked.

Yuki ~ Chapter 1 The cat is a fool. And he has a bad nature. Did you know that the Chinese zodiac is actually a timekeeping system of tens and twelves? It was used for calendars and clocks. Later, astrologers combined it with the principles of yin-yang, the five elements and symmetry in order to tell fortunes ... When and why they added the animals ... no one really knows. But there was never room for the cat in the zodiac. And it's better that way. The cat would throw off everything. The cat really is a fool.

When Tohru asks him if he hates cats, he merely smiles ... if a little darkly. But we don't understand the significance of Yuki saying so until Kyo appears to try to defeat him. The way the zodiac story goes in Fruits Basket verse, which is pretty close to what I've heard, is that the rat told the cat that the banquet was the day after tomorrow, which ended up in the cat missing out on the entire thing. And for that, the cat hates the rat. And thus Kyo hates Yuki.

Tohru's first impression of Kyo is that of him breaking through Shigure's roof to challenge Yuki to a fight, which doesn't happen because Tohru accidentally hugs him, causing him to transform. Once they all revert to their human forms again, Kyo loses his temper and breaks a table, which hits Tohru and causes her to start bleeding. For that, Yuki agrees to fight him, and Kyo loses spectacularly. Completely unconcerned, Yuki effortlessly defeats Kyo in seconds without breaking a sweat. "I thought I told you to make it worth my time." Kyo had trained for four months just to beat Yuki, but failed. Later, when Kyo starts attending their high school, much to Yuki's dismay, Kyo freaks out when he's surrounded by girls and Yuki confronts him to tell him to stop overreacting.

Chapter 3 Kyo: Are you insane? Why do you go to a school that's crawling with girls?
Yuki: Because it's better than hiding in fear every day and going to an all boys' school on Akito's orders. I want out of the Sohma cage, even just a litle. I can't understand why you want so badly to live in that cage.
Kyo: You ... a rat would never understand! This time ... I will beat you! I'll beat you and become one of the zodiac! I won't be shunned by the Sohma family any longer! I will beat you!

This sort of interaction is not uncommon for the two of them - as the days in school pass, Kyo continually asserts that he will beat Yuki and describes how much he despises him, and Yuki constantly describes Kyo as annoying him as well. They fight a number of times in the beginning of series, Kyo revealing once that he even tried to fight Yuki when he was sleeping, at which time Yuki was even stronger - so Yuki was actually going easy on him normally. Once, after wallowing in his own self-pity of his failures to get close to people, Yuki is provoked by Kyo and ends up giving him a particularly harsh beating. "I'm really getting sick of looking at you" is what he tells Kyo. Afterwards, Kyo remarks to Tohru that "He sure didn't hold back today. Could it be that he's not feeling well?" Personally, I found this comment fascinating - it seems that however much Kyo hates Yuki, he still understands him to some degree, being able to get a sense of when Yuki's truly angry. Later, in reflecting on the relationship between Yuki and Ayame, Tohru realizes that arguing deepens understanding, and to some degree, Kyo and Yuki also fight because they understand each other. However, in spite of these small understandings the two have, including the ways in which they protect and look after Tohru, they have these ironic desires to be the other person.

Yuki ~ Chapter 4 Kyo is different [from me]. He might be extremely shy, but if he gets used to being around people, I think he's the type that attracts others ... that has many friends. Even if he can't join the zodiac, he might be able to interact with normal people and have a normal life. That's why ... I've always wished I could be like that too ... That's why I get annoyed when I look at Kyo, who wants to be a Sohma. What does that make me, who wants to run away from it all?
Kyo ~ Chapter 8 As long as Yuki's there [helping the class], it'll go fine. ... He's always been smart and witty and good with people. They trust him. People naturally respect him. And even though I started studying martial arts first ... he's a better fighter than I am. "Children born in the year of the rat are special." "Of course he's special. Especially compared to the cat boy." ... It's not fair. I'm special, too. That punk ...

At first glance, it seems like they envy each other for the same things. In actuality, though, while both of them are likeable, Yuki is simply jealous of Kyo's easy way of making friends and relative freedom from Akito, whereas Kyo is jealous of the natural respect Yuki gets, mostly within the Sohma family, as Kyo is shunned for being possessed by the spirit of the cat.

Given their stubbornness, it's not surprising that they fight. However, with Tohru's presence, their conflict is softened. When Hatsuharu first meets Tohru, he's surprised to hear they don't fight all the time in school and just bicker most of the time - a more mellow coexistence - "And here I thought that they would have bloody fights nearly every day," is what he says, and concludes that it's because of Tohru being with them. And they continue to snipe at each other throughout the series - in fact, during one scene, Tohru feels that something's off when they stop arguing!

When it comes down to it, though, their conflict seems mostly to come from Kyo, who is the one to normally provoke Yuki. While Kyo constantly (or at least very often) ruminates on how to beat Yuki, Yuki is too absorbed in himself to continuously compare himself to Kyo. Kyo's life is so focused on this one thing that he can't seem to find anything else important in his life. For instance, when Kagura mentions that their relationship's appeared to have improved, he gets irritated and brushes the comment off.

Chapter 15 Kyo: I hate Yuki!! I'm fine with maintaining the current relationship of hating him!
Shigure: The way you say it, it seems like "hating" him is your duty. As if your eyes are afraid to see the truth.

And to me, Shigure's got the gist of it. Both of them have trouble accepting themselves, but Yuki comes to realize that change needs to come from within himself, that he needs to stop blaming other people for his problems and move on. Kyo, on the other hand, can't stop blaming Yuki for something that neither of them can control, and blames a major part of his problems on Yuki, instead of searching within himself. For Kyo, hating Yuki is the only way to protect himself from the brunt of his own emotional turmoil. True, Yuki says that he'll continue hating Kyo until he dies, but honestly, Yuki is less vitriolic than Kyo.

Even though Kyo isn't part of the zodiac, he's still bound to the curse like the others. Having had minimal contact with Akito, being the detestable cat, when Akito finally summons him, Yuki tells Kyo to be careful and not lose his temper, because even Kyo can't disobey Akito. This is one of the few times that Yuki speaks civilly to Kyo, and Kyo gets angry as usual and moves to hit Yuki, but stops himself. In this instance, Akito reveals that if Kyo ever beat Yuki, he'd be given a place in the zodiacs, and if he didn't, he would be imprisoned after graduating high school. "If you don't win, you really are no better than garbage." And thus, out comes the incentive for Kyo's undying hatred towards Yuki.

Yuki and Kyo are never friends. They don't like showing weakness in front of each other and try to minimize their interactions, to the point where Yuki throws away his chopsticks when they touch Kyo's and Kyo refusing to show happiness when Kazuma visits in front of Yuki. While they do come to understand how each of them wanted to be the other, they are still forever rivals. Maybe occasionally comrades in that they do think the same things sometimes, especially when it comes to Tohru's obliviousness.

Castles In Air is a fanwork © Chrissy 2012 - 2020. No infringement intended.