|Also known as||Ri-chan|
|Height||174.3 cm / 5'9"|
|Weight||59 kg / 130.1 lbs|
|Hair Color||Peach (Manga)|
Light Brown (2001 & 2019 anime)
|Eye Color||Brown (Manga & 2001 anime)|
Grey (2019 anime)
Okami Sohma (Mother)
|Extended Family||Unnamed First cousin once removed (2001 Anime only)
|Anime||Episode 23 (2001)|
Episode 19 (2019)
|Japanese||Miina Tominaga (2001)|
Kengo Kawanishi (2019)
Sarah Hussey (Young, 2001)
Katelyn Barr (Young, 2019)
|“||I hope I can say it. "I was born for your sake." It would be nice if I could say that someday.||”|
Ritsu Sohma (草摩 利津, Sōma Ritsu, "Ritsu Soma"), also known by his nickname Ri-chan, is a minor character of the Fruits Basket series. He is the only child of Okami Sohma, the hostess of the Sohma Family's onsen, whose position he is in training to take over. He is also a third-year student at a private college.
He is the Monkey of the Chinese Zodiac. He is extremely apologetic, has very low self-esteem, and a tendency to overreact. He dresses in women's clothing because he feels less pressure from society and is initially mistaken for a woman by Tohru Honda because of his long hair and beauty.
In the end, Ritsu has gained self-confidence, found the courage to start dressing as a man, and cut his hair short. After forming a mutual friendship with Shigure Sohma's editor, Mitsuru, they eventually begin dating.
- 1 Appearance
- 2 Personality
- 3 Story Overview
- 4 Differences from the source material
- 5 Relationships
- 6 The Monkey of the Zodiac
- 7 Trivia
- 8 References
- 9 Navigation
Ritsu is a fair-skinned young man with an average build and height. He is described to be a very feminine beauty and often dresses as a woman, as cross-dressing helps him calm his nerves. He is often seen wearing traditional long-sleeved kimonos.
He has straight, peach-colored hair, which falls down to below his shoulders. He has straight bangs that cover his forehead, two locks of hair framing his face, and a piece of his hair tied back into a small ponytail, held by a big ribbon.
Towards the end of the series, Ritsu has begun dressing male clothing and has cut his hair short to about nape-length, but with similarly long bangs.
Ritsu is very timid and plagued with countless insecurities. He has an inferiority complex and severe self-esteem issues; constantly ready to take the blame for everything and having a tendency to overreact to everything. He apologizes frantically all the time, even for things that are not his fault, since he believes that he is useless and has no redeeming qualities. Ritsu is also anxious and is constantly on the verge of having a mental breakdown. Whenever he makes a little mistake or receives the slightest complaint or sarcasm, it sends into a fit of apology, complete with crying and shouting; this has even lead to some suicidal behavior.
He is a nervous wreck who has poor social skills and is quite air-headed. When he visits Shigure's house, he decides to bring books about fruit as gifts since he originally wanted to bring actual fruit but didn't know what kinds of fruit Shigure and the others liked. He is also prone to saying exactly the wrong thing, like telling Yuki that he has begun to look more and more like his older brother that he despises. He tries to improve himself by complimenting Yuki and Kyo instead of apologizing to them, but he ends up accidentally insulting them instead.
However, despite that, Ritsu is mentioned to be very humble, kind-hearted, and is always thinking about others, but he is insecure to believe he could help anyone. Although he initially felt like he had no purpose in life, he was inspired by Tohru to let things take their time, including finding his own love and the courage to proudly live as a man. Evident by his interactions with Mitsuru, Ritsu is, despite his insecurities and sensitivity, very emphasizing, considerate, and friendly.
During his childhood, Ritsu had to work twice as hard when it came to school and athletics in order to keep up with everybody else. Because of this, he grew up being called worthless by adults in the Sohma "inside". His otherwise loving parents apologized for everything on Ritsu's behalf, even if it wasn't their fault. Feeling useless to his parents, he decided to dress like a girl to feel more comfortable at home and around them, but that just made them apologize even more. Both parents suffer from anxiety, and because of family genetics, Ritsu has inherited it from them as well.
Second Year Arc
Ritsu is introduced when he runs into Tohru near Shigure's house. Tohru recognizes him as one of the zodiacs and the hostess' child. As they arrive home, Ritsu panics easily whenever anything goes wrong and is apologetic. Shigure wants Ritsu to have some confidence and talk without panicking, though it didn't work when Yuki and Kyo returned, and when Tohru accidentally embraces Ritsu, she was shocked that Ritsu is a boy instead of a girl due to wearing a kimono.
Ritsu then explains that ever since he wore Kagura's dress in the past, wearing girl's clothes makes him feel calmer. Then, Mitsuru rushes to Shigure's house for his manuscript, even after Shigure tricked her into going to a sushi restaurant. He then secretly tricks Ritsu into sending Mitsuru away, though Ritsu believes that she is a stalker to Shigure. But, when he sees her making a suicide note for not getting the manuscript from Shigure, Ritsu is starting to feel bad for her. Soon after, though, Shigure finally gives his manuscript to Mitsuru. The manuscript that was already done, however, is ruined when Ritsu accidentally spills a cup of coffee on it, forcing Mitsuru to pass out and he ran away to the rooftop.
Believing that he caused trouble for the last time, Ritsu was about to commit suicide to avoid making further mistakes, especially when he remembers that his parents were apologizing because of his clumsiness. However, Tohru stops Ritsu and encourages him that even though no one is born with a reason to be alive, he can just find a reason to live, like the time Tohru found her reason to live, to become someone who can live for the sake of the others, and that he might meet with someone who wants to be with him. Feeling touched by her words, Ritsu agrees with her and he should live for someone else's sake.
Later that night, after buying takoyaki while Shigure re-finishes his manuscript, Ritsu relates to Mitsuru about causing trouble for others and not having a reason to live, but after hearing his words about finding a reason to live for someone else, Mitsuru felt that she can keep going. Soon after, Ritsu and Mitsuru became friends.
Ritsu attends the Sohma banquet on New Year's Eve, and praises Hatori Sohma for his ceremonial dance along with Ayame Sohma. For the rest of the night, Ritsu happily spends his time with Ayame, Kagura and most of the other Cursed Sohmas.
Third Year Arc
When Ritsu's curse broke, he dropped a vase containing water and flowers. His mother was alarmed as he started crying.
Once all the Zodiacs' curse breaks, Ritsu is invited to the final banquet of all by Akito. When Akito reveals herself to be a woman, Ritsu is very shocked and asks her if she has the same hobby as him, as in cross-dressing. Akito tries to apologize for everything she has done, but without success. However, she explains that she would now move forward, continue living as a Sohma and the head of the family, and that she would be giving all the Zodiacs their freedom to do whatever they want.
Ritsu and Kagura are seen spending time with one another, and it is revealed that Ritsu has cut his hair short and has begun dressing in male clothing. Since the curse is broken, the two talk about how Shigure has quit being a novelist and that he is officially moving in with Akito at the Sohma compound. When the topic about marriage comes up, Kagura asks Ritsu when he is going to marry Shigure's editor, Mitsuru. Ritsu, shocked and bashful about the question, attempt to wear his furisode again, much to Kagura's dismay. Jokes aside, they talk about Kyo and Tohru and think back to the memories they share. Kagura tells Ritsu that she will be seeing them off, but apparently only for Kyo's sake and not Tohru's. Ritsu laughs, since he knows that Kagura wants both of them to be happy.
Differences from the source material
- The manga depicts Ritsu with peach-colored hair and brown eyes. Both anime adaptions depict him with light brown hair, and the 2019 anime depicts him in grey eyes.
- The 2019 anime expands on Ritsu's story and deviates from the manga:
- While trying to commit suicide on Shigure’s rooftop, Tohru was on the rooftop with Ritsu, where she encouraged him and gave a speech on how everyone finds the reason they were born eventually.
- In the manga, instead of Tohru, Ritsu was shown to have a close call falling from the roof in the manga before he pulled himself back up, only to sprain his ankle.
- Hatori would come to Shigure’s house later to check on Ritsu’s ankle sprain when he was originally called by Shigure to check on Tohru’s cut in the anime.
- Instead of Mitsuru accompanying Ritsu to get takoyaki in the anime, Ritsu was getting it himself in the manga before Tohru encountered him on her way home from school and accompanied him back to Shigure’s house. This point was where more details on Ritsu’s personal issues and Tohru’s counseling to him was shown in the manga instead of during Ritsu’s suicide attempt in the anime.
- Ritsu and Mitsuru's relationship gets expanded on as well. Due to Tohru's kindness and influence, Ritsu is, in turn, able to encourage Mitsuru. Because of their similar personalities and struggles, they quickly become friends and develop an interest in one another. Both of them also express how they wish to say that they were born for their significant other's sake one day.
- In the 2001 version, Ritsu dresses slightly more like a male, and does not formally meet Mitsuru.
- Instead of walking with Tohru and explaining his struggles, they sit on a park bench to talk about his cross-dressing, his apologizing, and his depression.
Ritsu and his mother are very alike, personality-wise. Although his mother does acknowledge his eccentricities, she loves him dearly and accepts him with the curse and all. She hopes that people will be willing to be his friend.
Ritsu and Tohru are friends. Tohru is supportive of Ritsu in spite of his nervous and anxious personality and low confidence, which Ritsu is grateful for. Thanks to Tohru's encouraging words, Ritsu was able to figure out what he wanted to do, which was to find his reason to live, and find that reason in another person.
Since Shigure Sohma likes to play with Ritsu's insecurities and gullibility, much as he does with Mitsuru, Ritsu and Mitsuru realize they have this in common when they meet. This makes them be able to empathize with one another, and their similar personalities and struggles were proven to be a factor in their budding friendship. Since both of them are quite insecure and hysterical, they hope that they both will be able to find someone who loves them the way they are and that they'll be able to tell their significant other that they were born for their sake.
When Shigure quit his job as a writer, Ritsu and Mitsuru rejoiced together and Ritsu was happy for her sake since she would finally be free from Shigure's "torment". When Ritsu tells this to Kagura Sohma, the latter teases Ritsu by asking when the two of them are getting married, visibly flustering Ritsu. In a bonus story in the first fan-book, Ritsu and Mitsuru are a couple. Mitsuru states that she is unsure of Ritsu's gender, but still wants to be with him regardless. This proves that they found someone to love the way they wanted to.
Ritsu gets along very well with Kagura, as they have been friends since childhood and would often play together. Ritsu would occasionally spend time in Kagura's home, which is where he found an interest in dressing in female clothing. Kagura would let him borrow her kimonos and other clothing and was supportive of him, though she later tries to help him dress in male clothing when he himself wishes to do so. After their curse breaks, they are seen to spend much time together and seem to have become much closer. They report their daily lives to one another and are able to confide anything to the opposite party. While Kagura likes to tease Ritsu about his relationship with Mitsuru, she cares about him and encourages him to be more comfortable with himself. Likewise, Ritsu understands Kagura well and can easily read her, making the two become good friends.
Ritsu views the Mabudachi Trio as his older brothers and refers to them as such. He appears to have deep respect towards all of them and likes them equally despite their different personalities. However, he appears to have a special place for Ayame, and wishes to be like him and views him as his role model.
The Monkey of the Zodiac
Ritsu is cursed by the spirit of the Monkey of the Zodiac. Whenever he is hugged by the opposite sex, or if his body goes through a great deal of stress, Ritsu transforms into his Chinese Zodiac form. Like all the Cursed Sohmas, their respective animals are drawn to them; and in Ritsu's case, monkeys. The Monkey is the ninth of all zodiac animals.
He has light brown-colored hair due to sharing similar traits with his animal, the Monkey. In Chinese culture, Monkeys are lighthearted pranksters who have the ability to achieve all their dreams, which does not apply to Ritsu rather well.
Ritsu is blessed with an extremely agile body, able to climb to high grounds easily. He is also blessed with fast reflexes, and was able to react quickly enough to stop himself from falling off of the roof of Shigure's house.
When Ritsu's curse broke, he was subconsciously aware of it, and only being left with a bittersweet feeling, he broke down in tears. Ritsu's curse was the overall sixth to break.
- According to the Fruits Basket Character Book:
- Ritsu's name was derived from the eighth month, odakaritsuki or "rice harvest month", which is the month of the monkey, of the traditional Japanese calendar.
- According to Natsuki Takaya, Ritsu sometimes wears chic one-piece outfits with white skirts, but his preference is for kimonos, the furisode type. He also dresses like a woman at college, which gives him certain notoriety.
- When Ritsu does wear men's clothing, it's usually some sort of suit; they might be just a bit more refined that the suits Hatori wears.
- When Ritsu gets hysterical, Shigure states pushing his side is an effective method to calm him down.
- In an author's note, Takaya said that she regretted how little of a role Ritsu played in the main story. Appearing a total of five times, once in his introduction, a brief appearance at new year's, when his curse is broken, talking to Kagura Sohma about Shigure quitting his job as an author (which he heard from Mitsuru) and finally at the final Zodiac Banquet.
- Most Sohmas call him "Ri-chan" and, to Shigure's amusement, Tohru calls him "Ri-chan-san" (see Japanese honorifics).