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|Spouse||Akira Sohma (Husband)|
|Children||Akito Sohma (Daughter)|
|Extended Family||Shigure Sohma (Son-in-law)|
Shiki Sohma (Grandson)
|Manga||Chapter 75 (Cameo)|
Chapter 98 (Debut)
|Anime||Season 2, Episode 16 (Cameo)|
Season 3, Episode 1 (Debut)
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 Fruits Basket series.
A beautiful, tall, busty woman who seems to be in her early to mid 40's. She has long black hair that reaches her hips, and grey, tsurime-eyes. She's more often than not seen in form-fitting dresses.
Ren is a rather disturbed woman who bears an obsessive and overly possessive love for her husband. She suffers from mental illness, and it becomes blatant when she gives birth to her daughter, Akito. She holds jealousy and contempt against Akito's connection towards Akira, and feels replaced as father and daughter continue to spend more time with each other.
Even with the comfort of knowing that her husband loved her first, Ren was plagued with the belief that Akira's love for his daughter 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, and Ren has also proven to be quite cruel to others as well; she lied to a young Isuzu, saying she had a "happy" home, suggesting that she knew Isuzu's parents were miserable with her. Indeed, Ren seems to have nothing but contempt for everyone besides Akira and is willing to play with lives and make false promises to get her way, such as using Isuzu to try and get Akito's box.
Ren also appears to have a certain air of authority about her, enough to sow a level of division amongst the Sohma staff, with some of them pointedly siding against Akito in conflicts between the two.
Her mental health went further downhill in her late 50s; where she didn't have Akito paying attention to her in any form now (along with the rest of the Zodiac and their families ignoring her). Ren found it deplorable Akito had been forgiven for all the pain she caused and even had a child. Ultimately, seeing Shiki as Akito's spitting image drove her completely off the deep end. Its implied Ren was put under heavy surveillance, deemed too far gone for help.
Ren was working in the main house as a maid when Akira, then current leader of the Sohma household, realized that she was "different" from all the maids (though in reality, Ren purposely trying to get his attention). She seems to have been the Sohma maid specifically tasked with taking care of the sickly and isolated Akira's daily needs, as she's seen helping him get dressed at some point.
Akira and Ren began a special relationship between each other, which eventually became genuine love. When the oldest maid told Akira to stay away from Ren, Akira replied that Ren was the only person who recognized that he was suffering. After a year or so, against the wishes of the maid, they got married.
Afterwards, when Ren (not knowing that she was pregnant) was impregnated with Akito, the future "God" of the Zodiac, the eldest Zodiac members (Shigure, Ayame, Hatori and Kureno, who logically were little boys at that time) swarmed around her in tears. It immediately disgusted her, as small children were crying around her for nothing (when actually, they were crying because of their dream that "God" was being reborn).
When she finally gave birth to Akito, Akira and many of the maids immediately took care of Akito, like she was the head of the household. Ren felt that she should be the one being treated lavishly, since she gave birth to the most important spirit in the Zodiac. This was the start of her hatred towards Akito.
Ren told Akito's love interest Shigure Sohma that Akito and Kureno were in a sexual relationship and that he should get back at her for doing that to him. So she and an spiteful Shigure had sex at least once which resulted in him getting kicked out of the main house by an angry Akito when she found out.
She also had a talk with a young Isuzu "Rin" Sohma about parenthood, and asked Rin (a pre-teen back then) about her own parents and whether they were happy or not. This led to Rin making the same question to her parents, who proceeded to abuse her since they only pretended to love her.
Second Year Arc
Ren still lives in the Sohma state, but apparently she's confined to her room. Tohru Honda once heard her voice, but mistook it for Akito's. Kureno Sohma told her that he was just passing through and he'd have to go back to Akito's side, lest she'd worry.
Third Year Arc
Ren officially appears when Akito is looking for Kureno, who unbeknownst to her is talking to Tohru about Akito herself and the Curse.
Ren starts taunting Akito about Kureno's absence, reminding Akito about the "bonds" with the Zodiacs - which Ren does not believe in, and uses against her daughter. Akito eventually gets angry enough to try strangling Ren, and Ren dares her to do so because it'd let her be with Akira again. Hatori Sohma steps in and manages to calm Akito down, and Ren leaves with the maids while still taunting Akito.
Few later Ren encounters the grown-up Rin as she's chasing after Kureno, who intends to give him an earful for in her view, making Tohru cry. Ren tells Rin to bring her a box that Akito has in her room and is supposed to contain Akira's soul, claiming that she'll tell her how to break the Zodiac Curse if she does. In reality Ren knew nothing about such thing, and according to a talk between her and the old maid, she only said so to manipulate Rin into doing things for her. The plan itself fails when Rin is found out by Akito herself, has her hair forcibly cut by the irate Akito and then is locked up in the Room of the Cat for several days.
During Rin's confinement, Ren tries to convince Shigure to sleep with her again. He refuses and tells her the other reason why he bedded her, other than getting back at Akito for sleeping with Kureno: her physical similarity to Akito herself. Ren, logically, does not take this well at all.
Later, Ren brought a knife with her to try to claim the box itself. Akito gave it to her, but when she opened the box, it was empty. Ren's eyes all but went out of orbit, bringing even more truth to the claim that she is insane, although she claimed as she walked in that her "head was perfectly clear this morning when she thought of this. While Akito always knew it was an empty box (she had already opened it, and even when she wished it was not empty, she eventully stopped hoping so), Ren believed there was something very special belonging to Akira; hence her longing for the box. Akito then attacked Ren herself, and only was stopped by her sensing Hiro Sohma's release from the Curse.
Fruits Basket Another
Years later, Ren is pretty much isolated among the Sohmas and her mental health has fallen even lower. She at times interacts with her grandson, Shigure and Akito's son Shiki, who's the next in line to lead the family.
In one of the Sohma family's New Years celebrations, Ren snapped and attempted to kill Shiki by stabbing him with a knife, but Akito protected him and took the blow in his stead, scarring her face.
She once met a middle-school aged Hajime Sohma (Kyo and Tohru's eldest son) and mentioned the Curse to him. Hajime didn't really understand what she meant since he hadn't been told about it yet by his parents.
Ren and Shigure, along with Hatori, Ayame, and Kureno, are very close. Shigure once slept with Ren, to get back at Akito for sleeping with Kureno. This made Akito very angry at him, lashing out at him during a meeting between the Sohma and Mitsuru. Shigure says he only slept with Ren because she looks exactly like Akito would've looked like, had she been raised normally.
Ren and Akito truly hate each other, because Ren was afraid that Akira would love Akito more than her, and jealous when that self-fulfilling prophecy came true. She eventually screamed at Akito when he came by as Hatori passes her room. She resented having Akito as a daughter, for she thinks that Akira would have continued loving her the most until his death. Because of her paranoia and jealousy, she forced Akito to look and behave like a man throughout her childhood. She mocked Akito and told her that she would be all alone and that no one would ever love her, especially the Zodiac members. This resulted in Akito's own mental illness and her forcing the Zodiac members to stay with her.
Akito and Ren's hatred towards each other eventually escalated to physical violence when Akito tried to strangle her mother. Ren, for her part, taunted her daughter afterwards that she'd welcome death, thereby even marginalizing Akito's violence as pointless.
Akira was Ren's first and only love. When she was younger, she was a maid in the Sohma house; more specificlly, Akira's personal maid. She would always be his maid, no matter what. But as time moved on, Ren and Akira fell in love, and he married her. Akira loved Ren more than anything, and when they had their first child (Akito) Akira seemed to love Akito even more than Ren, while in reality he loved both and saw Akito as the proof of their love. This made Ren very jealous of Akito, thereby hating her; Akira tried to smooth things out, to no avail.
Akira died by a little Akito's side, regretting how he and Ren never could reconcile. Since Ren couldn't be there when he died, she became depressed and hated Akito even more. She not only hated the fact that the only person she actually loved had died, but now the one to become head of the family was Akito, the daughter she never wanted or loved.
Ren seems to have a special dislike for Rin, among the younger Zodiacs, and basically ruined Rin's early life via making her questions about her parents that led to her confronting them and being abused. Later, she bribed Rin into stealing Akito's treasures via saying that she knew what to do to break the Curse (which was a lie) and then promising to tell her about it. While this got Rin horribly punished, it also led to Rin's boyfriend Hatsuharu Sohma standing up to Akito for their shared sake, to Rin getting the help she needed, and to Ren eventually going off the deep end when the treasures turned out to not be what she expected.
- 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.