Fruits Basket 19 by Natsuki Takaya: A

From the back cover:
As the Fruits Basket saga continues, the relationship between Tohru and Kyou becomes increasingly complicated, especially since most of the members of the Zodiac seem to look down on him. Tohru comes to the realization that if she wants to save Kyou, she’ll have to create some sort of trigger to break his curse. But what, if anything, can cure Kyou?

There was a lot going on in this volume, with quite a lot of the cast making an appearance. Many plot points were advanced nicely, including some I’d forgotten about.

The most important things, though, centered primarily on Shigure. I swear, he’s probably the single most fascinating character I’ve ever encountered in manga. I especially loved his conversation with Hatori where the latter was chiding him for saying cruel things to Akito and urging him to be kind instead. Shigure essentially said he wasn’t going to coddle Akito in a paternal way, and it seemed his intentions are to force Akito to cease wallowing in despair and step forward to meet him.

He also had a gripping scene with Tohru where he essentially said that all of the Jyuunishi look down on Kyou in their heart of hearts, and that they accept his imprisonment as his duty. The notion definitely stuck with and disturbed her later when some of the younger Sohma were gathered at the house. It seemed that he wasn’t quite right about their opinions, though, so I have to wonder what his intent was there.

Toss in a nice long chapter featuring Ayame and some genuine progress with Kyou and Tohru, and I am a happy reader indeed. Not so happy, however, when I contemplate waiting until July for the next installment.

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