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Information
Ren Sohma
Kanji 草摩 楝
Rōmaji Sōma Ren
Description
Gender Female
Hair Color Black
Eye Color Grey
Professional Status
Occupation Maid (formerly)
Affiliation Sohma Family
Relatives
Spouse Akira Sohma (Husband)
Children Akito Sohma (Estranged Daughter)
Extended Family Shigure Sohma (Son-in-law)
Shiki Sohma (Estranged Grandson)
Debut
Manga Chapter 75 (Cameo)
Chapter 98 (Debut)
Anime Season 2, Episode 16 (Cameo)
Season 3, Episode 1 (Debut)
Voice Actors
Japanese Ai Orikasa
English Katelyn Barr

Ren Sohma (草摩 楝, Sōma Ren, "Ren Soma") is the wife of Akira Sohma and the mother of Akito Sohma. A mysterious, but unstable figure within the Sohma family, she is as Kureno Sohma puts it, "a little ill, both physically and mentally."

Because of her actions and the consequences from them, she can be considered as the overreaching antagonist of the anime Fruits Basket and Manga series.

Appearance[]

Because Ren hasn't been seen until much later on in both the manga and anime, her appearance remains unknown.

However, by the time when she makes her full, official appearance by the third season of the anime, and in chapter 98 in the manga, Ren is noted to be a beautiful, tall, and busty woman with jet black hair that reaches down to her calves and sharp grey colored eyes.

Despite her youthful-looking appearance, she actually appears to be in her early to mid 40's.

For the outfits that she's commonly seen in, depending on the manga panel or anime episodes, she's usually seen in form fitting dresses.

Personality[]

From what we can gather about the Sohma Head's matriarch, Ren, she is heavily noted to be a disturbed woman who bears an obsessive and overly possessive love for her deceased husband.

Because of this, it's become apparent that her mental health is unstable to where she suffers heavily from a mental illness. And it becomes rather blatant at the point when she gives birth to her daughter, Akito.

Her mental health likely stems from the obvious fact that she holds jealousy and contempt towards Akito's connection towards Akira, enough to where she feels replaced. Seeing that both her husband and daughter continue to spend more time with each other. As a result of this, it's no wonder her mental health went down south to where she became the antagonistic person she is now.

Even with the comfort of knowing that her husband had truly loved her first before his death, Ren was plagued by the belief that Akira's love for Akito can one day overpower what he feels for her, which is why throughout the series - Ren continues to disturb Akito with her malicious words and foul actions.

However, this heinous treatment is not exclusive to only Akito. Because Ren has also proven to be quite cruel to the other Sohma's as well. For example, she blatantly lied to a child Isuzu, stating that she had a "happy family and home", when in reality, she already knew that Isuzu's parents were downright miserable with her.

While we know for a fact that Ren seems to have nothing but contempt for everyone else within the Sohma family, besides her husband, Akira, it's no wonder this type of behavior has led her to go to the extent of playing with other people's lives, while also making false promises, just in order for things to go her way.

One example being that she intentionally used Isuzu to try and get Akito's box, in order to obtain what's rightfully "hers". Which ultimately led to the latter to being confronted by Akito and punished by being locked up, as a result.

Aside from her extremely foul behavior towards both her daughter and the members of the Sohma family, Ren also appears to have a certain air of authority around her. Enough to where she can be able to sow a level of division amongst the Sohma staff in the household. Albeit having some of the Sohma staff pointedly siding along with her against Akito and her staff. This resulting in hectic conflict between the two.

By the end of the Fruits Basket manga, it's been said that her mental health had went down even further within her late 50s. Because of how Akito has moved on with her life and that she began paying less attention to her (along with the rest of the Zodiac and their families ignoring her), Ren found it deplorable that her daughter has been forgiven for all the pain and suffering she's caused, including the fact that she even has a child.

Due to the fact that her mental state of mind has worsened more and more - Ren eventually drove herself to the deep end when she attempted to physically harm her own grandson with a knife. And because of this event, it's been heavily implied that Ren was put under heavy surveillance, deeming far too gone to go seek for any kind of help.

History[]

S3E7-2019 (108)

Ren and Akira first meet

Prior to meeting Akira, Ren was seen to be working in the Sohma estate as a maid.

At the point when she and Akira have met face to face, and that Ren claims to "comprehending" his feelings of loneliness, to the point of shedding tears before him, that's when the latter had come to the conclusion that she was "different" from all the other maids. (Though, in the reality of it all, Ren had purposely tried to get his attention right from the start).

Due to the nature of Ren "understanding" the Sohma Head's apparent loneliness (as mentioned above), knowing that he doesn't have much time to live, it's become apparent that she was chosen to be specifically tasked with having to take care of the sickly and isolated Akira Sohma for his daily needs, including with helping him getting dressed at some point.

Over the course of Akira and Ren continuing to spend time with each other, enough to where they eventually began a special relationship. Their relationship gradually blooms into genuine love. When the oldest maid hears about this, and that she warns Akira to stay away from Ren, who was nothing more than a maid of the household, Akira replied that Ren was the only person who had recognized his suffering. Despite the oldest Sohma maid's warning, ideally after a year or so, they got married.[1]

Soon after being married, Ren was heard to be pregnant with Akito, who will hold the title of "God" for the Chinese Zodiac, upon being born into the world.

When news of the "God" was being reborn through a dream, the eldest members of the Zodiac (Shigure, Ayame, Hatori and Kureno, who logically were little boys at that time) immediately ran and swarmed around Ren with tears in their eyes. While Ren didn't fully understand the reason why the four children were crying around her for nothing, enough to where it repulsed her, little did she know that she was about to birth the most important member of the Zodiac.[2]

S3E7-2019 (192)

Ren shouting at a young Akito upon finding out Akira's passing

By the time when she finally gave birth to her daughter, Akito, Akira and many of the maids immediately took care her, like she was the head of the household. While Ren felt that she should be the one being treated lavishly, especially since she gave birth to the most important spirit / role in the Zodiac, this was the start of her deep-rooted hatred towards Akito.[3]

Pre-Fruits Basket[]

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Ren telling a child Isuzu how she has a "happy home" and a family who "loves" her very much

In another flashback before her full appearance, Ren was seen to have a talk with a young Isuzu "Rin" Sohma about her childhood. Not only did she ask Rin (who was a young pre-teen back then) about her own parents and whether they were happy with her or not, in which the latter has said "yes", this automatically led Rin to asking the same question to her parents, who proceeded to abuse her in all sorts of ways - after losing all composure and exposing the truth of only pretending to love her.

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Ren and Akito forming a bet



Story Overview[]

Second Year Arc[]

At the start of the Fruits Basket series, it's implied that Ren still lives within the Sohma estate but is currently confined in her room. Just in order to avoid all conflict between her and Akito. When Tohru Honda managed to sneak her way into the Sohma estate by wanting to see and talk with Kureno, thanks to Momiji's sister, Momo, her mission in finding Kureno became fruitless to where she nearly gets caught along the way.

As soon as when Tohru had overheard someone's voice upon hiding, the person speaking turning out to be none other than Ren, herself, Tohru mistakes her voice for Akito's instead. Before Tohru was close to being discovered, up until when Kureno Sohma had arrived and told Ren that he was just passing through, the area, Ren asked Kureno if he'd like to come and join her for tea. Although, he politely declines the offer and notifies an isolated Ren Sohma about how he'd have to go back to Akito's side, lest she'd worry, she was no longer seen soon after.[4]

Third Year Arc[]

At the point when Akito was looking all around the main estate for Kureno, seeing that he was nowhere to be found - which unbeknownst to her, he was actually talking with Tohru about the Zodiac curse, as well as revealing Akito's true gender and the reason behind the upbringing, she soon discovers Hatori in the presence of Ren. By the time when Akito had warned Ren about staying away from Hatori, who in turn mentioned that Ren was only saying "hello", this was the moment where Ren makes her official appearance.

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Ren's official appearance

The minute when Ren starts to spitefully taunt Akito about Kureno's absence and how the other zodiacs will eventually lose all love and affection for the latter, Akito immediately retorts by claiming how the zodiac bonds are forever, something that the former doesn't truly believe in herself.

While Ren believed Akito's "claim" to be nothing more than a child's fairytale, things take a huge turn when Akito becomes irate to where she began strangling Ren. By the time when Hatori and a few maids had stepped in and managed to break up the fight between mother and daughter, Ren continues to taunt Akito about the zodiac bonds being fake - and how both her and Akira's is real.

Just before she was about to be confined to her room and that she delivers one last spiteful remark towards Akito, Ren briefly mentions how she'd be with Akira again by the time when she dies, and how she doesn't need Akito anymore.

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Ren requesting a "favor" from Isuzu

Sometime after the altercation between Ren and Akito, Ren encounters a grown-up Rin. Who was chasing after Kureno, as she intended to give him an earful for making Tohru cry. Not only could Ren tell that Rin was searching for something, she decided to pull some strings by asking Rin a "favor".

While Rin wondered what the favor was, which was basically bringing a box that Akito has in her room and that it's supposed to contain Akira's soul inside, Ren lies by claiming that she'll tell Rin how to break the Zodiac Curse, if she does so.

Although, Ren knew absolutely nothing about how to break the curse, and that, according to a talk between her and the old maid, she remotely said such - in order to manipulate Rin into doing things for her without having Akito finding out for herself, the plan itself eventually fails when Rin is caught red-handed, has her hair forcibly cut by the irate Akito, and locked up in the Cat's room for several days.

During the time of Rin's confinement in the Cat's room, and that Ren tries to convince Shigure to sleep with her again, he refuses. In spite of ultimately refusing and that he proceeds to tells her the other reason why he had slept with her, other than merely getting back at Akito for sleeping with Kureno: it's because of her physical similarity to Akito, herself, was the reason he did what he had done. Once Shigure dismissed himself shortly after, and that Ren was appalled by the response, it's become evident that Ren did not take this too well at all.

S3E7-2019 (360)

Akito refraining herself from stabbing Ren

Later on, after, Ren is seen barging into Akito's room while brandishing a knife. Not only did she claim to having a 'perfectly clear head' before coming to claim what belongs to her, and that the extent of her mental health had also worsened from there, it's become apparent enough to where her eyes were seen all out of orbit. Bringing further truth to the claim that she's mentally unstable.

After demanding Akito to give the box that contains Akira's soul to her, in which the latter eventually caved and gave it to her, she was finally satisfied in obtaining what's rightfully hers. However, upon opening up the box that she has longed for, in hopes of finding Akira's soul within, the end result of it all was nothing more than just an empty box.

While Akito had always knew it was an empty box, even before giving it to a desperate Ren, who remotely believed that there would be something very special within Akira's possession before his death, hence her longing for the box, as mentioned above, Akito eventually lost composure to where she attempted to use the same knife on Ren but was eventually stopped when sensing Hiro Sohma's curse break.

Though it's not mentioned as to what's become of Ren by the end of the series, it's mentioned by the old Sohma Maid how Akito had tried to talk things out with Ren, to no avail.[5]

Fruits Basket Another[]

Years later, Ren is pretty much isolated among the other Sohma's, and her mental health has gone down even lower. In spite of such, she, at times, interact with her grandson, Shiki, who'll be the next in line to lead the family.

In one of the Sohma family's New Year's celebrations, Ren eventually snapped and attempted to kill Shiki by stabbing him with a knife. However, before Ren could do so, Akito steps in and protects him by taking the blow in his stead, scarring her face as a result.[6][7]

Ren is seen once again, only this time, she meets a middle-school aged Hajime Sohma (Kyo and Tohru's eldest son) and mentions the Curse to him. Though Hajime didn't really understand what she meant since he hadn't been told about it yet by his parents, she grins derisively and remarks how foolish he is for not being told about the Zodiac curse.

Relationships[]

Shigure, Kureno, Hatori & Ayame Sohma[]

Ren and Shigure, along with Hatori, Ayame, and Kureno, are very close. Shigure has slept with Ren once, but only as a way to get back at Akito for sleeping with Kureno. Not only did this made Akito very angry at him, to the point of lashing out at him during a meeting between the Sohma and Mitsuru and kicking him out of the main estate as a result, Shigure briefly mentions how he only slept with Ren because she looks exactly like Akito, and how she would've looked like, had she been raised normally as a woman.

Akito Sohma[]

Ren and Akito's relationship as mother and daughter is extremely complicated, as they share a bitter and deep-rooted hatred towards each other, especially since Akira's passing. Because Ren was deeply afraid of being replaced, thinking that Akira would love Akito more than her, it's become evident that her intense jealousy and paranoia forced Akito to look and behave like a man throughout her childhood.

Not only have she been profoundly scornful towards Akito and that she'd constantly remind her of how she'd be left all alone and that no one would ever love her, especially the Zodiac members, this resulted in Akito's mental state of mind to become morbidly twisted. To the extent where she became the person she was and forcing the Zodiac members to stay with her by any means necessary.

Akito and Ren's intense hatred towards each other had eventually escalated to physical violence when Akito strangled her mother, whereas Ren ends up scarring the former's face with a knife upon trying to attack Shiki. Despite the irreconcilable differences, it's worth mentioning that their relationship has not improved whatsoever.

Akira Sohma[]

Akira was Ren's first and only love. She first met him when she was working as a maid in the Sohma estate. When she met the Sohma Head face to face, and that she expressed how she can see the loneliness in his eyes, and that she cries for him, it was then decreed that she became Akira's personal maid. Not only would she tend to his daily needs and remain by his side, no matter what, their relationship gradually evolves from there.

Soon after Akira and Ren got married, despite the eldest maid's disapproval. At the extent of their marriage, they eventually bore a child together, a girl named Akito. While Akira loved Ren more than anything in the world, Ren became plagued with the idea that Akira seemed to love Akito even more than her, though in reality he loved the both of them with all his heart and viewed Akito as the proof of their love and how she's a special child.

Not only did this made Ren increasingly jealous of Akito, to the point where she grew resentful and hated Akito, Akira did what he could to smooth things out, but to no avail. Even before finding out the baby's gender, she's threatened to abort the child, in order to meet her needs and get what she wants.

Sometime after, Akira eventually died by a child Akito's side, but not long before stating his regret about how he and Ren weren't able to reconcile and how Akito was born to be special and loved by the members of the Zodiac. Because Ren couldn't be there when he died, seeing that no one called for her and that she had also made it too late, she eventually became depressed and began to hate Akito even more.

Not only did she hate the fact that the only person she loved so much had passed away, but now the one person who's about to become head of the family was the daughter she never wanted or loved.

Isuzu Sohma[]

Based on some of the interactions between Ren and Isuzu, it appears that Ren seems to hold a special dislike for Rin, among the younger Zodiac members. And as such, she's stated how she had always disliked the latter, viscerally. And although it's completely obvious that Ren is the reason behind Rin's early childhood being ruined, she even went as far as to manipulating the latter into stealing Akito's box, in exchange for some "information" on how to break the Curse and promising to tell her about it. Even if it was a mere lie.

Etymology[]

  • The name Ren means 楝 (ren) meaning "Japanese bead tree”.
    • a tree whose fruit looks attractive but is nottoriously poisonous to mammels and is regarded as a pest by many people as a result also a foreign plant to Japan. This may symbolize her bewitching beautiful appearance and hazardoius peronslity to others and her unwelcomness in the Sohma estate

Trivia[]

  • According to an author's note, Natsuki Takaya designed Akito and Ren to resemble each other.
  • Her background and age were deliberately left vague by Takaya.
  • She was credited as "Mysterious Woman" in the closing credits of Season 2, Episode 16.
  • Ren was likely put under surveillance by Akito after Ren tried to kill Shiki; seeing as Ren had grown dangerous enough to attack a child.

References[]

Navigation[]

[v · e · ?]
Fruits Basket Characters
Main Characters
Tohru Honda  •  Kyo Sohma  •  Shigure Sohma  •  Yuki Sohma
Sohma Family
Zodiacs
Akito Sohma  •  Ayame Sohma  •  Hatsuharu Sohma  •  Hatori Sohma  •  Hiro Sohma  •  Isuzu Sohma  •  Kagura Sohma  •  Kazuma's Grandfather  •  Kisa Sohma  •  Kureno Sohma  •  Kyo Sohma  •  Momiji Sohma  •  Ritsu Sohma  •  Shigure Sohma  •  Yuki Sohma
Others
Akira Sohma  •  Ayame and Yuki's Mother  •  Hinata Sohma  •  Isuzu's Father  •  Isuzu's Mother  •  Kagura's Mother  •  Kana Sohma  •  Kazuma Sohma  •  Kisa's Mother  •  Kyo's Father  •  Kyo's Mother  •  Momo Sohma  •  Momiji's Mother  •  Momiji's Father  •  Okami Sohma  •  Ren Sohma  •  Satsuki Sohma  •  Tohru and Kyo's Son  •  Tohru and Kyo’s Daughter-in-law  •  Tohru and Kyo’s Granddaughter
Secondary Characters
Kaibara High School
Arisa Uotani  •  Chie  •  Hiroshi and Yusuke  •  Kakeru Manabe  •  Kimi Toudou  •  Machi Kuragi  •  Makoto Takei  •  Mai Gotou  •  Mai Iwata  •  Mayuko Shiraki  •  Mio Yamagishi  •  Minami Kinoshita  •  Motoko Minagawa  •  Naohito Sakuragi  •  Rika Aida  •  Saki Hanajima
Others
Akimoto  •  Delinquent Trio  •  God of The Chinese Zodiac  •  Cat of The Chinese Zodiac  •  Katsuya Honda  •  Kyoko Honda  •  Komaki Nakao  •  Kunimitsu Tomoda  •  Megumi Hanajima  •  Mine Kuramae  •  Mitsuru  •  + Minor Characters
Relatives
Arisa's Father  •  Kyoko's Father  •  Kyoko's Mother  •  Machi's Mother  •  Mayuko's Mother  •  Saki's Father  •  Saki's Grandmother  •  Saki's Mother  •  Tohru's Aunt  •  Tohru's Female Cousin  •  Tohru's Male Cousin  •  Tohru's Grandfather
Fruits Basket Another
Main Characters
Sawa Mitoma  •  Hajime Sohma  •  Mutsuki Sohma  •  Shiki Sohma
Sohma Family
Chizuru Sohma  •  Hibika Sohma  •  Kinu Sohma  •  Mina Sohma  •  Riku Sohma  •  Sora Sohma
Students
Amane  •  Chiaki Hasada  •  Michi Manabe  •  Mio Hasegawa  •  Mito  •  Rio Mosca  •  Ruriko Kageyama
Others
Sawa's Mother
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