The Outsider Who Accepted The Cursed Sohmas
Tohru was the only daughter born to Kyoko and Katsuya Honda on May 6, 1982, both of whom came together under shaky circumstances as their relationship was opposed greatly by both their families. Katsura would die from illness while Tohru was very young, leaving her under the care of Kyoko. Tohru and Kyoko had a very close relationship, with her mother normally telling her stories related to the Chinese zodiac and giving her advice on how to live life. Kyoko was later killed in a car accident while Tohru was in her first year of high school, leading her to live with her grandfather. When her grandfather had to remodel his home to make space for relatives moving into the residence, Tohru chose to take up residence in a tent in the woods to avoid burdening her grandfather while his house was remodeled.
Tohru Honda is the main heroine of the manga series, Fruits Basket, created by Natsuki Takaya for the shoujo magazine Hana to Yume in January 1999. She was the first character for the series made by Takaya. In interviews where asked how she developed Tohru's personality and background, Takaya explained:
"I thought that for a girl to accept other people's feelings so wholeheartedly, she'd have to have a slightly unusual way of looking at things so that she wouldn't be crushed by having so much empathy. But I still worried that I needed something else to flesh her out. And then the thought, 'Oh, yeah—I'll make her use super-polite language, and use it incorrectly!' came to me all at once. After that, her character was completed in no time".
Takaya gave Tohru a man's name because of a personal preference to give masculine names to female characters to "balance them out". To go along with this element to her character, Takaya had characters within Fruits Basket address Tohru as "Tohru-kun", the honorific normally addressed towards young boys, because she thought it was "a more dignified form of address".
At the start of the series, Tohru is 16 years old standing 65 inches tall (164 cm) and weighing roughly 101 pounds (46 kg.). She has long brown hair that extends to the center of her back with brown eyes (blue in the anime). She normally wears blue-colored hair ribbons in her hair and can be seen wearing her school uniform while in school or attending formal occasions. Otherwise, she is known to wear dresses with a preference for them being short in length.
Tohru is a very kind and optimistic young woman known to put the needs of others before her own needs. She is loving and considerate towards others, putting in her best effort to makes others happy where possible. She is known to put on a brave front, best shown when she allowed the Sohmas to attend their new year's celebration despite internally being saddened from not having her mother present to celebrate the occasion since her death. She is somewhat naive, a trait that led her to being teased when she was a child and is usually exploited by others for personal amusement like Shigure and Ayame.
When leaving from her tent home one day, Tohru came across figurines representing the Chinese zodiac laid out among the porch of Shigure's home and learning of Yuki living at the residence. The two men would later learn of Tohru's living conditions and allowed her to live at their residence as her grandfather's remodeling took place. During this time, she would learn of the Sohma family curse and meet two other members of the family in the form of Kyo and Kagura, the former taking up residence in Shigure's home and enrolled in Tohru's school to his dismay. When her grandfather's remodeling is done, she returns to his home. However with Honda family relatives hostile to her presence there, Tohru gets internally distraught and desired to return to Shigure's home. Yuki and Kyo would come to return her there.
Throughout the course of the series, Tohru would come to meet and befriend more members of the Sohma family and learn more of the family's inner workings and the ramifications of the curse. As the series progresses, her bond with Kyo deepens to the point where she develops romantic feelings for the boy. However, Tohru's strong commitment to her mother and Kyo's belief that he is obligated to fulfill his role as "outcast" to his family's curse prevent their relationship from progressing for a period of time. Eventually, both come to terms with the inner doubts and conflicts they had over their situations and would eventually enter a romantic relationship towards the end of their third year in high school. At the end of the series, Tohru and Kyo are shown to have married, having a son and granddaughter.
Before meeting the Sohma family, Tohru's mother was the most important person in her life up to that point. Tohru deeply valued her mother's wisdom and advice, as she normally carried around a photo of her mother since her death and would bestow this wisdom to those she encountered. Tohru had a deep fear of being disloyal of her mother's memory, which became increasingly evident when she began to realize she was developing romantic feelings for Kyo. Tohru would eventually come to terms with Kyoko's death and move on from it, allowing her to move forward in starting up her relationship with Kyo.
Tohru's memories of her father were very foggy since he died while she was still a toddler. While Katsuya did have a loving relationship of Tohru, the attention that Kyoko had towards him led Tohru to believe that her father was somehow trying to steal Kyoko away from her. This, combined with people assuming she was another man's child, led Tohru to adopt her father's formal style of speech to get her mother's attention and to have others believe she was Katsuya's daughter.
Tohru recalled in her younger days meeting with a red-capped boy who had escorted her home when she was lost while fleeing from bullies. She had kept the cap given to her by the boy as a keepsake, remarking that it was the happiest moment she had in her life. Unknown to her, Yuki turned out to be the boy that had helped her that day.
Tohru and Yuki would develop a close bond with one another throughout much of the series, with Yuki greatly admiring the selfless and kind nature of her character. During their trip to the Sohma beach house, Yuki would admit to loving her as he kissed her forehead and cried on her shoulder upon having an encounter with Akito. However, Yuki would later admit that his feelings towards Tohru were more as a motherly figure due to the parental neglect he received from his own family as a child.
The two became somewhat distant later on as Yuki focused on student council duties and Tohru would seek a means of breaking the Sohma family curse due to her love for Kyo, though the two remained on friendly terms with each other. At the end of the manga, the two had a final conversation where Yuki would call Tohru by her first name and confessed how he truly felt towards her.
Tohru and Kyo's bond would have a rough start when Kyo would angrily lash out at her for interfering in his efforts to fight Yuki. He would later apologize to her for the events, with Tohru unaware that the anger Kyo vented towards her was due to his guilt over his belief that he was responsible for her mother's death.
The two developed a close bond towards one another with Kyo shown to be protective towards her. Their bond would be tested when Kyo's sensei and adoptive father, Kazuma, appeared at Shigure's residence so he would reveal Kyo's true form to Tohru. The events cause Kyo to flee from the residence out of fear that Tohru would reject him. Despite being frightened of his form, Tohru would chase after him and convince him that she still accepted him. This would lead Kyo to revert back to human form and becomes overcome with joy from the developments.
Kyo and Tohru's bond would deepen throughout the course of the series with the two eventually developing romantic feelings for one another. However, Kyo's regret for thinking he killed Kyoko and Tohru still attached to her mother's memory prevented their relationship from developing further for a period of time. Once both came to terms with their pasts though, the two would eventually become a couple and later be married at the end of the series.
Being Tohru's two best friends, Arisa and Saki are shown to have a close friendship with Tohru and are fiercely protective of her. Both are grateful to Tohru for her acceptance of them despite their sordid pasts with Arisa being a former delinquent and Saki concerned about controlling her "poison waves".
Ayame is shown to flirt with Tohru and take advantage of her kind nature by ordering her around, earning him the annoyance of Yuki and Kyo. Despite this, Tohru is kind towards him and doesn't get annoyed by his flamboyant persona, knowing that Ayame is trying to patch up his strained relationship with younger brother Yuki.
Like Ayame, Shigure is shown to flirt with Tohru. While seeming like a harmless pervert, he is revealed to have a more sinister personality as he admits to planning to use Tohru to break the Sohma family curse and that his motives are out of selfishness due to his love for Akito. Despite this, he claims to treat Tohru kinder than others and views his relationship to her being how a brother might love his sister.
Tohru first perceived Akito as a man when the two first met at her school. She became aware of Akito's hostile nature upon seeing the fear Yuki expressed when the two met one another and again when she witnessed him beating up Momiji during their vacation to the Sohma beach house. Tohru would later learn of Akito's true gender and her past from Kureno.
Akito perceived Tohru as a threat to her dominance over the cursed Sohma, threatening her to keep her distance from the Sohma when they confronted one another at the beach house. When she became aware of the curse's effects weakening further, a crazed Akito carried a knife with her to Shigure's house to confront Tohru. Listening to Akito's tirade about fearing to live without the curse's "bonds", Tohru realized that she and Akito were similar in that both had feared leaving the past behind. Despite Akito injuring her with the knife, Tohru offered her a hand in friendship. As Akito was about to accept this, Tohru had fallen from a crumbling cliff.
With Tohru hospitalized, Akito was shown to be the first person to visit her, showing that she accepted Tohru's request of friendship.
Haru and Tohru first met one another during Tohru's school track meet. While perceiving him as a polite and friendly young man, she is shocked to learn of his "black" persona whom desired to sleep with her, usually earning him beatings from Yuki and Kyo. Despite this, Haru and Tohru are on friendly terms with one another, with Haru thankful to her for helping Yuki's personality become less reserved before meeting her.
Upon first meeting her, Isuzu hated Tohru and proclaimed that she shouldn't get involved in breaking the Sohma curse. However much like Yuki, Isuzu viewed Tohru as a mother figure upon witnessing and hearing of how she helped the other cursed Sohma and feared that Tohru would "fall apart" like her own mother whom neglected her. Despite this, Isuzu had the desire to want to open up to Tohru.
When Tohru discovered her throwing up in the living room of Shigure's house, Isuzu hugged her. While at first embarrassed of showing vulnerability towards Tohru, she comes to accept Tohru's trust of her and stays clung to her until an ambulance arrived. Isuzu would then become very protective of Tohru, best shown when she became furious at Kagura for hitting Tohru.
Despite an awkward first meeting with one another at Tohru's workplace, she and Momiji would become good friends with one another. Being quite taken with her, Momiji had the desire to want to hug Tohru during early occasions they encountered one another, being ignorant to the inconvenience this would cause because of him being a cursed Sohma. Tohru would usually be bewildered to see the more eccentric elements to Momiji's character such as his fluent speaking of German and dressing in the girl's version of her school's uniform. Despite this, she comes to learn of the boy's more mature and somber side when he reveals his past to her.
It was revealed later in the series that Momiji had romantic feelings for Tohru, but never confessed to her as he was aware of her feelings for Kyo. Momiji would tease Kyo about being honest about his feelings towards her and warned him that he would confess to Tohru if Kyo didn't bother to. Even after Kyo and Tohru became a couple, Momiji would continue to tease Kyo about his love life and expressed the desire of wanting to get a girlfriend as cute as Tohru to show off to Kyo.
Tohru and Kureno possess similar personalities in that they are kind and considerate towards others and are known to put the well-being of others before their own needs. Tohru had developed the desire to see Kureno when she learned that Arisa met him at one time. She sought an opportunity to see him by sneaking into the main Sohma house with Momiji's help. However, Kureno refuses to seek further contact with Arisa for Akito's sake and helps her avoid being detected by servants within the residence. The two would later meet where Kureno would reveal he is freed from the curse and his reasons for staying with Akito.
Upon meeting Hatori, Tohru feared him at first from learning that he was the one that would wipe the memories of those who learned of the Sohma curse. But upon learning of his tragic past and kindness, Tohru would develop compassion for him and the two developed a friendly bond with one another. Hatori would observe the developments of Tohru's bond with the Sohmas, hoping that her friendship with Kyo and Yuki didn't end as tragically as his romance with Kana did.
Tohru's kindness towards Kisa led the two to develop a sisterly bond with one another and allowed Kisa to gain the confidence and strength to overcome the bullying she faced at her school.
Tohru had perceived Ritsu as a woman when they first met because of the young man's habit of dressing in women's kimono to stay calm. She would come to discover his true gender when they accidentally hugged one another and caused him to transform into his animal form. Ritsu had sought out Tohru to help him find a reason for living since he felt that he burdened his family with his regular bouts of anxiety he went through. When Tohru assured him that he had a purpose for living, the young man was overjoyed to learn that he could discover his own purpose for living life.
At first, Hiro hated Tohru because he was jealous of the attention that Kisa was giving her. Upon meeting her, he would cause trouble for Tohru by ordering her around and stealing her wallet. Despite the problems, Tohru took no issue with Hiro's antics as he gave advice to him about his insecurities on being helpless to help Kisa against Akito. While still disliking her in later chapters of the series, Hiro would ease up on his torment of her upon realizing she went through emotional pain like he did upon learning of her mother's death.