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Akito plays an antagonistic role in the anime. Akito was first mentioned in episode two of the anime, in which Yuki told Tohru (whom had just discovered the family's secret curse) that when he was a child, there had been a similar incident in which people found out about the curse. He'd been playing with a group of children, and one of the young girls had hugged him, turning him into the rat. Upon remembering this, Yuki also recalled a young Akito telling him that his friends' memories had to be erased, because a boy turning into a rat was unnatural and needed to be hidden. Meanwhile, in the same episode, Akito was informed by Shigure that Tohru had discovered their curse. Akito replied that he would trust Tohru, citing that it might be "a great opportunity" for Yuki, Kyo, and himself. Later, when Shigure told Tohru that Akito had allowed her to keep her memories, and to live with them, so long as she kept their secret, Yuki became suspicious. He voiced his concern that Akito might be intending to use all of them for something. Shigure, however, brushed this theory off, saying to trust Akito to do what's best. Shigure also mentioned that it was Akito's decision for Kyo to live with them in his house, as well.
Akito was next mentioned in episode seven. In the episode, Hatori Sohma and Momiji Sohma visited Tohru, Yuki, and Kyo's school for the cultural festival. Hatori mentioned that Akito had wanted to go himself, but couldn't, because he was sick with a fever. Hatori also managed to trick Yuki and Kyo into smiling for a picture, saying that Akito had asked him to snap one for him. (The questions were: What's 1 2, in the English manga, what's 1 1 in the Japanese manga and anime and what's the last letter of the alphabet, in the English anime.)
In episode eight, Tohru visited the Sohma estate for the first time. She learned from Hatori that Akito suffered from frequent illnesses, and thus, he required much of Hatori's time as a doctor. During her visit, Hatori also recalled the time he'd fallen in love with a co-worker of his (Kana) when he and Kana went before Akito to request permission to marry, Akito became so enraged that he slapped a vase to the floor, the shards of which pierced one of Hatori's eyes on accident. Akito then blamed Kana for Hatori's injury; this caused Kana a lot of emotional distress and she thus became quite ill. Akito eventually convinced Hatori to end Kana's suffering by erasing all of her memories of their time together. Whilst Hatori remembered all of this in private, Momiji also relayed some of the same chilling tale to Tohru. Shortly after, Shigure appeared for a visit to the Sohma estate and later, took Tohru home. On their way out of the estate, however, Tohru caught a glimpse of Akito hanging out of a window ledge, watching her. She briefly wondered if whom she saw was, indeed, the mysterious head of the family, when Shigure interrupted her thoughts, telling her to keep up or she might get lost.
In episode nine, both Yuki and Kyo skipped out on the Sohmas' New Years banquet, opting instead to spend the holiday with Tohru. Shigure was the one to inform Akito of this, whom silently seethed at the announcement.
In episode 13, Akito made his official début in the series by visiting Yuki, Kyo, and Tohru's school on the opening ceremony day. Tohru ran into him while she was alone on the school's grounds, and was pleasantly surprised at the way Akito appeared very friendly and nice, even going so far as to call her "cute." Akito claimed that he was quite shy, and thus didn't introduce himself before when he was caught watching her in the Sohma estate (episode eight); he then requested that he and Tohru become friends. Suddenly, it dawned upon Tohru that Akito's eyes were quite cold and hate-filled, and that his air of politeness was surely an act. Yuki, however, interrupted the pair before anyone could say anything more. He demanded to know what Akito did to Tohru whilst they were alone; Akito replied that he did absolutely nothing except introduce himself. Akito then quietly asked Yuki why he had skipped out on the New Years banquet; Akito threatened to lock him back up in the small, dark room that he kept especially for him. Yuki then had a flashback to his childhood (which was an added scene of the anime). In the flashback, he recalled a young Akito entering the dark room Yuki was confined to, shouting that he was the head of the family and was thus to be obeyed; Yuki also recalled the trauma of Akito physically beating him with a little whip, despite Yuki's pleas to stop. Remembering this horrible period of his life, Yuki became visibly upset, and Tohru quickly interrupted, pushing Akito away from him. Later in the episode, Shigure told Hatori that on their way home from the school, Akito commented on how "ugly" and "dumb" he believed Tohru to be, vowing that Yuki would soon return to him, because Yuki obviously still feared him.
In episode 21, it was revealed that when Hiro Sohma told Akito that he was in love with Kisa Sohma, Akito—upon glimpsing the two together in the hallway—slapped and pushed Kisa down to the floor.
In episode 24, a confrontation between Kazuma Sohma (Kyo's adoptive father) and Akito took place (exclusive only to the anime). In the scene, Kazuma had just returned home from his long journey into the mountains; he visited Akito, saying that "things" had gone well since he'd first left. Akito asked, "Don't you think it's time? Time that we revealed that freak cat's true form?" Kazuma gravely agreed. Smirking, Akito wondered aloud what Tohru would do when she sees Kyo's true form; he went onto imagine how Tohru would break down, not being able to stand the horror of the cat, and would most likely never set foot in Shigure's house again. Akito then mused that such a thing would probably make Yuki very unhappy, as well.
In episode 25, Kyo remembered that when he was a child, Akito had seen his true form, and had commented on how ugly and sick smelling it was. In the episode, the anime also added an extra scene between Akito and Tohru. After Kyo ran off, and Tohru struggled after him, Akito appeared in the woods, walking toward Tohru. At first, he pretended to be caring, asking her if something was wrong, but quickly, he switched gears and mockingly asked Tohru what she really knew about the Sohmas, and if she actually understood what it meant to be cursed. Akito then told her that he only had a short time left to live and that nothing could change it (a revelation which never occurred in the manga); he went onto say, "I alone carry the full weight of the Zodiac curse." Musing aloud, Akito wondered what it was that everyone expected of Tohru, asking her if they thought that she could save them somehow. Akito told Tohru that she deserved the pain she felt, warning her that he would make her regret ever getting involved with the Sohmas. However, just then Shigure appeared calling out to Akito, who chuckled and complained that thanks to Tohru, he was soaking wet from the rain. He then departed in the car that had been waiting for him near-by.
Episode 26 is the only episode in the series in which all of its events never occurred in the manga; it brings the anime to its conclusion. In the episode, when Tohru returned to Shigure's house with Kyo's cat form cradled in her arms, Akito was shown briefly looming over a hillside, before quickly leaving. The next morning, having recalled what Akito had said to her, Tohru informed Shigure over breakfast that she would like to go see Akito. Shigure then took Tohru outside and explained that Akito only had a short time left to live because he bore the "core" of the Zodiac curse. This, Shigure said, was decided at the time Akito was born, and despite what Tohru might have hoped, it could not be changed. All the Sohmas could do, he added, was live the way Akito told them to before his early demise. Shigure suggested that it would be best if Tohru steered clear of Akito. Tohru agreed, but the next day, somehow got Shigure, Yuki, and Kyo to take her the Main House for a visit.
When they met, Akito was lounging in his room. He asked Tohru what she came for, saying to speak her mind because he wouldn't grow angry; however, from the way he scratched his nails across the wooden floor, it was clear that he was quite angry and irritated. Tohru answered simply that she didn't know why she had come in the first place. Akito stood and suddenly grabbed hold of Tohru by her hair in a fit of rage. While Shigure and Yuki immediately tried to hold him back, Akito began yelling that Tohru in fact knew exactly what she wanted to say, but that she was just afraid to voice it. Akito declared that she wants to ask him if she can go on living with Shigure, Yuki, and Kyo, but that Akito himself would not allow it. He again vowed to make Tohru regret having anything to do with the Sohmas, also asking her if she truly thought that coming and kneeling before him would change anything. Then, addressing the Juunishi, he announced the no one could leave the Sohmas or go against the head of the family.
Akito then demanded that Tohru beg for forgiveness and promise that she'd never interfere with their family again. Surprisingly, though, Tohru began to cry and speak sympathetically, telling Akito that it must have been hard for him to be told, from the moment of his birth, that he was going to die. She went onto say that when Akito passed away, everyone—including herself—would be very sad. At that, Akito smirked and informed Tohru that everyone was able to live thanks to him, and that they all hoped he would die quickly. He also told her that he was born in order to die, and that it had been decided at the moment of his birth. When Tohru tearfully demanded why and who decided such a thing, Akito grew angry and blurted out, "It's been decided! It's been decided! And they never even asked me!" This sentiment seemed to surprise Shigure, Yuki, and Hatori.
Tohru, however, began to relate the story of how her mother died, saying that she hadn't wanted her to pass away, but had wished that she would be able to be a part of her life for a long time. Akito, growing more and more desperate, demanded that Hatori instantly erase Tohru's memories; Hatori, however, remained unresponsive. As Akito then ordered that Tohru cease her crying, Tohru continued to speak, saying that while she didn't know anything about their family's curse, she was very happy to have met all of them, including Akito. This seemed to simultaneously baffle and move Akito, whom remained quiet as Tohru expressed her wish to get to know Akito better, to learn how he felt, and what his likes and dislikes were. Tohru told him that the important thing at the moment was that he was alive. After a moment of silence, Akito let go of his tight grip on Tohru's hair, and smacked Shigure and Yuki to the floor, away from himself. He stared off contemplatively, and replied quietly, "I don't know."
At the end of episode 26, Akito was last seen sitting on the outer walkway of his room in the gardens with a little white bird perched on his arm, commonly believed to be the animal form of Kureno Sohma, the rooster of the Zodiac, who transformed into a sparrow instead of a true rooster. Support for this varies within the fandom however, due to the fact that in the manga, Kureno was released from the curse more than ten years before the canon storyline began.
PersonalityIn the manga, Akito Sohma was born female, the child of Akira Sohma (then the head of the Sohma family) and Ren Sohma (a maid in the Main House); according to the Fruits Basket Character Book, her Western zodiac sign is Cancer, and her blood type is AB.
Akito's true gender is known only to the four eldest cursed Sohmas—Hatori, Shigure, Ayame, and Kureno—who, on the night of Akito's conception, had a dream in which the god-spirit of the Chinese Zodiac told the boys that she was coming to be amongst them, as was promised hundreds of years before (chapter 131). (According to the author, Natsuki Takaya, the birth of a child possessed of the god-spirit is a rare occurrence.)
Long before Akito was born, Ren demanded that Akito be raised male or else she wouldn't give birth to the child; Ren claimed that having a female heir would "cause problems," though the more likely reason for raising Akito male (as Shigure pointed out in a chapter 115 flashback) was because of Ren's insecurity over not being first in Akira's heart, and her jealousy of her husband's great affection for their child. Fearing that Ren would actually abort the baby, Akira agreed to these terms. (Even so, in some flashbacks to Akito's childhood, as in chapters 115 and 117, Akito is depicted wearing a little girl's kimono, and Akira even called Akito a "special girl" within the same scene.)
When Akito was born, apparently the most excited one over the birth was Akira. Since Akito was revealed to be possessed by the god-spirit of the Chinese Zodiac (Akito uniformly refers to herself as God in the English-language translation; however, a more accurate translation would be Jade Emperor, who is both the leader of the Chinese Zodiac and the primary deity of the Taoist religion), Akira saw this as a sign that his relationship with Ren was "special," and because of Akito's "godliness," he and others in the inner circle lavished Akito with attention. Ren, however, was not glad over Akito's birth, and according to chapter 115 of the manga, refused to even hold Akito as a baby. In Akito's recollection of childhood, she says of Ren, "Mother was cold-hearted, and her anger was always aimed at me. I hate her." (Chapter 117)
Sometime in Akito's childhood, Akira's illness took a turn for the worse. On his death-bed, he told the young Akito not to be afraid, adding that he would always be with her, even if she couldn't physically see him. Akira went onto confess that he had wanted Ren to be the happiest over Akito, because Akito was a "special existence," and therefore she and Ren were special. After he passed away, when Ren found out that no one had come to get her when Akira had been dying, she yelled at the young Akito that she was an unwanted existence, and that she had only been a little toy to amuse Akira; Ren also added that, because Akira was dead, no one had any more need of her.
Akito countered these statements, telling her hysterical mother that her father had loved her; but because of Akira's parting words, even Akito herself doubted that Akira had loved her the most, fearing that she had "lost" to "that woman" (Ren). One of the elderly maids, wanting to comfort Akito, proceeded to give her an empty box, claiming that Akira's spirit was inside it, and that she had wanted only Akito to receive such a special gift. (The same maid later claimed, in chapter 117, that the box was of course empty, and only given to Akito to help her through such a stressful time, adding that Akito should have well known that her father's spirit wasn't really inside the box.) All of her life, Akito kept this box hidden away in her room; she told Kureno in chapter 117 that part of her didn't believe that anything was inside of the box, yet another part always hoped that maybe there was.
After her father's early death, Akito became the head of the Sohma family (raised to appear and act as a male), in addition to her role as God of the Zodiac animals.
According to an interview with Natsuki Takaya, Akito was enrolled in "better" and "more expensive" schools than everyone else in the Zodiac, though she completed all of his schooling (including high school) by correspondence
For the first two volumes of the series, Akito is only mentioned in conversations by the Sohma family, or in brief flashbacks, all of which give a vague, foreboding image of the mysterious "head of the family." (For example, in chapter two, Yuki recalls Akito telling him as a child that if anyone ever found out he turned into a rat, they'd think he was a freak and abandon him.) Also mentioned several times in the first two volumes is that no one in the Sohma family—specifically, the Juunishi—can go against any of Akito's orders. It is later revealed in volume 11 that Akito is possessed of the Zodiac's god-spirit, and therefore, all the cursed Sohmas have to obey her every word, no matter what.
Ever since chapter two, it had been hinted at that both Akito and Shigure were scheming something that involved Tohru, which was why she was allowed to keep her memories and live with the Sohmas. While it was eventually revealed that Akito and Shigure had different, separate reasons for allowing Tohru to grow closer to the Sohmas, Akito's own motive was fully explained in chapter 117. A while before the beginning of the manga's time-line, Yuki had left the Main House to live with Shigure. At that time, Akito's mother, Ren, commented that it seemed as if everyone was abandoning her, just like she had always predicted they would. Akito denied this, arguing that the Juunishi would come back to her in the end, since they were all connected by the inseparable Zodiac bonds. Ren, however, challenged Akito to prove this, saying that if Akito allowed the Juunishi to stray and to form other bonds with "outsiders," and they abandoned her, then Akito would have to bow down before Ren and leave the Sohmas forever; on the other hand, if the Juunishi still returned to Akito's side after going out into the world, then Akito would win. Soon after this bet was made, Shigure approached Akito about allowing Tohru stay with him, Yuki, and Kyo. Akito, confident that she would win against Ren, consented to this. Since Akito believed that the world was a cruel, bleak place in which unconditional love did not exist outside of the Zodiac bonds, she also believed that Tohru would eventually end up rejecting the Juunishi; thus, she was certain that Yuki and the others would end up heart-broken by the world, and would return to her side forever.
In chapter 10, when Tohru visits the Sohma estate for the first time, she learned from Momiji that Hatori was nearly blind in his left eye, because years before, he had asked Akito permission to marry a woman he loved, Kana; Akito had flown into a frenzy of rage, accidentally injuring Hatori's eye, and blaming it on Kana, who never recovered from the shock of the accident; instead, Kana accepted Akito's blame and guiltily agonized over the incident, growing ill, until Akito convinced Hatori to erase Kana's memories of her love for him. In chapter 97, it is made clear that Akito reacted so horribly to the idea of being "replaced" in Hatori's heart at the time because, when she was a child, Kureno's curse/bond had broken for unknown reasons. Since that day, Akito—fearing that allowing any of the Juunishi to form "other bonds" with outsiders would break the rest of the curse and bonds—kept the Juunishi on a tight leash, and instilled in them doubt and self-hatred to make certain that they would never leave her. (In one of Yuki's childhood flashbacks in chapter 84, he remembered the day when Akito first "snapped," painted the walls of his room black, and locked Yuki away in a dark room. It is assumed, from further flashbacks of Kureno's in chapter 97, that Akito's mini-mental breakdown was a result of his curse breaking around the same time.)
Tohru first caught a glimpse of Akito watching her from a window in chapter 10; however, it is not until chapter 20 that Akito first made her official debut in the manga. Akito visited Tohru, Kyo, and Yuki's school for the day, and approached Tohru alone; she called Tohru "a cute girl" and kindly asked her to take good care of her family. At first, Tohru was shocked at Akito's friendly attitude and sunny smile, wondering if she was meeting the same person who'd almost blinded Hatori. However, Tohru soon realized that Akito's polite air was an act, as Akito's eyes belied her. thinly-veiled hatred. When Yuki later appeared, Akito chastised him for skipping the family's New Years banquet, and threatened to lock Yuki away in the dark room of his childhood again to teach him a lesson. Tohru, sensing Yuki's fear, physically pushed Akito away, who, although quite shocked, left soon after without much of a fuss. As Shigure later relayed to Hatori that, on the car ride home, Akito spoke of how "ugly" and less-than-clever Tohru was, boasting that Yuki would surely come back to her in the end.
In chapter 120, it was revealed that Akito had always been lonely and afraid of change. The reason that she clung so desperately to the Juunishi bonds was that she feared that, without them, she would be all alone, and her existence meaningless, just as her mother had always claimed. This revelation occurred after both Momiji's and Hiro's curses broke. With the bonds falling apart, Akito—after having wrongfully stabbed Kureno in the back—ran away from the Sohma estate, wondering if everything really was all her fault, and why her world was collapsing so suddenly. Desperate and looking for someone to blame, Akito suddenly realizes that the Juunishi had been slowly but surely leaving ever since Tohru had appeared in their lives. Akito then walks to Shigure's home and finds Tohru alone outside. Akito comments that Tohru must be happy, because she had "won" and had, in the process, destroyed the only life she had known. Akito then threatens Tohru with a knife; but Tohru, realizing how both she and Akito had been trying to hold onto an "unchanging" reality (Akito clinging to the eternal bonds of the Zodiac; Tohru wanting her mother to always be first in her heart), told Akito that she understood how scary it is to be alone, and instead offered her hand in friendship. Before Akito could accept, the unstable cliff ground collapsed and Tohru fell, while Akito screamed for help. (In the first volume of the series, just after a landslide destroyed Tohru's tent, Shigure warned her that the ground around the area was unstable and due to collapse again one day.)
When Tohru (who recovered at the hospital) was finally allowed visitors beyond her immediate family, Akito was surprisingly one of the first to visit (and even more surprisingly, according to Hatori and Shigure, she went alone and entirely on her own accord). Fearful that she would be rejected by Tohru and Kureno (both of whom she'd hurt, emotionally and physically), Akito was told a comforting story by Momiji, who also offered advice that made it possible for Akito to see Tohru and Kureno for who they really are: People whose kindness for others overrides their ability to be concerned about themselves. With that in mind, she finally went to see Tohru, who offered her hand (despite the fact her arm is injured) to Akito in friendship again, which she accepted with a small smile. Akito also visited Kureno in the hospital, whom she had stabbed in the back (chapter 118); Kureno, however, didn't blame Akito for her actions, and forgave her when Akito cried and apologized to him repeatedly for smothering him all of the years she'd kept him close. From there on out, Akito decided to try to change rather than cling to being "God," and to the memory of her father and what he had wanted her to be (chapter 132).
Towards the end of the manga, after Kureno left to live in the country with Arisa Uotani, and the curse was broken, Akito and Shigure finally confessed their true feelings for each other and reconciled. Akito begins living and dressing as a woman, and in her last meeting with all the formerly cursed Sohmas, she wore a furisode (female kimono), and donned a flower in her hair, something that shocked the younger Sohmas, who had just learned of Akito's true gender.
In the last chapter of the manga, Akito had let her hair grow a little past her shoulders, and wore a dress (chapter 136).