Fruits Basket is a whirlwind shojo romance anime that, while having a happy ending, also has plenty of hard-hitting drama, heartbreak, and plenty of dark moments. Life is never easy for the cursed Sohma family or for the people near and dear to protagonist Tohru Honda. More than a few of these characters are quite dark in their design.
A dark fictional character is one whose personal arc is defined by all kinds of suffering and anguish, from betrayal and grief to guilt, feelings of alienation, rejection, and more. Some of these dark Fruits Basket characters clearly express their inner darkness through their actions or even their outfits, while others hide the pain behind a smile.
10 Akito Sohma Desperately Needed Everyone's Love
Akit Sohma is the head of the entire Sohma family, and while being the family head comes with its perks, Akito's personal life is defined by rejection, separation anxiety, and an urgent need for validation. Early on, Akito had to live with a selfish mother, Ren, who denied her any form of love or support.
Akito desperately needed to reaffirm that all the other Sohmas love her, to the point that Akito used verbal abuse and manipulation to keep a tight rein on the cursed Sohmas linked to her. Akito both inflicted and experienced a great deal of anguish from these unhealthy bonds.
9 Yuki Sohma's Perfection Feels So Empty
Yuki Sohma is popular at school, and he even has an all-girls fan club built up around him. Most people view him as perfect, as do the Sohmas, but the truth is that Yuki feels like an imposter from all this and was raised in isolation. He was taught to be perfect, but it brought him no joy.
Yuki is slightly better off than the other Sohmas, but he still longs to break free of his cursed family and carve out his own identity elsewhere. He gets touchy about all this when Kyo openly envies him, with Yuki having terrifying memories of being in an empty, dark room all alone as a child.
8 Kyo Sohma Has Endured Much
The fierce tsundere Kyo Sohma has plenty to be angry about. Even by Sohma family standards, he's got a terrible lot in life, bearing the unwanted housecat spirit and being viewed as a revolting monster. His destiny, as he's been told, is to spend his entire adulthood in miserable confinement.
Kyo's father also blames the boy for his mother's death, even though Kyo is blameless, and he always feels inferior compared to his bitter rival, Yuki. Now, however, he has his new friend, Tohru Honda, to show him the light.
7 Arisa Uotani Had Lost Her Way
The reformed delinquent Arisa Uotani had a tough upbringing. Her single father wasn't abusive, but he also paid very little attention to his daughter and just drank the days away. So, Arisa felt all alone and tried to toughen up as a self-sufficient person. But she still felt empty inside.
Arisa ran with some troublemaking girl gangs, but that was a quick path to nowhere. Arisa finally changed her ways after meeting Tohru, though she had to endure a brutal beating as punishment for leaving the girl gang that she belonged to.
6 Saki Hanajima Was Widely Feared
Tohru's other friend, Saki Hanajima, dresses in all black for a reason. From elementary school onward, everyone feared Saki's electromagnetic powers, labeling her a witch and believing that she would harm other children around her. This made her feel terribly lonely and misunderstood.
Saki endured years of being a twisted "witch" until finally, she met Tohru Honda, who accepted her for who she was. Now, Saki feels better about her life, but she still has that occult reputation, meaning she has few friends beyond Fruits Basket's main trio.
5 Kyoko Honda Lost Almost Everything
Growing up, Kyoko Honda was a lot like her daughter's friend, Arisa. She was a tough-talking delinquent who often threw tantrums, but she really just needed someone who would accept her, since her parents scorned and rejected her. That was when she met Katsuya Honda.
Kyoko and Katsuya later married and had a daughter, Tohru, but Katsuya tragically died just a few years later. Kyoko's grief was deep, but she channeled all her inner darkness into positive life lessons for Tohru to learn about kindness and second chances. Then, Kyoko lost her life in a traffic accident.
4 Isuzu Sohma Has Been Through A Lot
Isuzu Sohma is the horse of the Chinese Zodiac, but she's not exactly prancing around like a happy show horse. Instead, Isuzu experienced harsh rejection from her parents, who scorned her for being an imperfect, ungrateful child. She did find happiness with Hatsuharu, though.
Things got even worse when Akito punished Isuzu, claiming that Isuzu wasn't good enough for Hatsuharu. Isuzu now has physical and mental scars from that experience, including chronic stress that results in stomach ulcers.
3 Hatori Sohma Was Parted From His Lover
Hatori Sohma is the family doctor, and while he usually acts cool and confident, he has plenty of personal baggage, too. Early on, Tohru learned that Hatori had once loved a woman named Kana, who soon loved him back, but their fairy tale ending was yanked away from them.
Hatori, in short, had no choice but to use his memory-wipe ability on Kana so she knew nothing of their prior romance. Hatori has seen her again since then, but Kana has moved on, and she only sees Hatori as a casual friend. Hatori must grin and bear it, unallowed to tell her the truth however badly he wants to.
2 Momiji Sohma's Mother Doesn't Recognize Him
Momiji Sohma is a playful blond boy on the outside, but on the inside, he's got some serious baggage. Like Hatori, he is close to someone who longer remembers who he even is — in this case, his mother, who has moved on and started a new family, giving Momiji a younger sister.
Momiji is bittersweet anytime he sees his mom and her new family, knowing that she had rejected him as a freak and wanted to lose her memories of him. His mother's rejection hurts badly, but Momiji is still determined to see the bright side of life, just like Tohru.
1 Machi Kuragi Couldn't Be Perfect
Machi Kuragi is yet another dark Fruits Basket character whose trauma traces right back to her parents, mostly her mother. Machi was pressured to be perfect and obedient to win a competition for the family wealth, and her mother punished her for anything short of perfection.
Later, Machi's mother gave up on all that and criticized her daughter for being boring, which in fact was her mother's own fault. Machi was later accused of trying to suffocate her half-brother, Kakeru, a false claim, and Machi has felt bitter and alone since then.
NEXT: 10 Best Shojo Characters Who Would Be In Hufflepuff