Loyal As a Dog
- Episodes: 15+
- Genre: Romance, Slice of Life, Comedy, Drama, Shoujo, Fantasy
- Airing Date: April 6, 2019 -Ongoing
- Studio: TMS Entertainment
Whether it would be the original 2001 series or the 2019 remake, Shigure Souma is probably the cousin (or friend) you want to have your back when you’re feeling down. When the audience is first introduced to him, we see he’s rather easy going and immature. Without any hesitance, he was willing to let Tooru, a homeless (by her own choice) classmate of his cousin Yuki, stay in their home with no strings attached (ok, so maybe let her take care of the chores or cooking, which he and his cousins can’t do). As both versions of Fruits Basket expand, we get to learn more about him and his good qualities (and his own dark secrets). However, as Tooru stays with the Souma family, she begins to learn that they’re beyond dysfunctional, and yet Shigure does everything he can to keep himself and his family together in his own way.
Shigure Souma Highlights
1. He’s Actually Good At His Profession
While he tends to enjoy teasing Micchan, his editor, Shigure is truly good and dedicated at his profession, being an author. His relationship with Micchan is an excellent foundation to who he is. On the outside, you see he’s someone who just likes to mess around but in the end, you can always count on him. Sometimes, he likes to lead on Micchan that he hasn’t worked on any of his novels when in fact, he’s had it done the whole time! In addition to always making his deadlines, he’s good at diversifying himself as a writer. Under his real name, he writes more academic oriented books while under a pen name, he writes erotic novels, a reflection of his often shown perverted tendencies. How he expresses himself at his job shows how deep down inside, he can know when to work, and when to play.
2. He’s Supportive
If there’s any reason to like Shigure, he’s always there for you when you need him. Granted the way he presents himself can be childish and come across as counter-intuitive, but when you’re down, he really wants you to cheer up. He was willing to let Tooru live in his house (of course, there are ulterior motives as to why he wants her to stay with his family) rent free! Even when staying with him, he does everything he can to accommodate her. Not only that, in his own way, he’s also very supportive of one of his favorite cousins, Hatori. When Hatori’s former fiancée got married, Shigure invited him to hang out with him at the family cabin so he wouldn’t have to attend her wedding to another guy.
3. He Can Keep Things Together
Putting aside his juvenile personality, when things go wrong, he’s good at keeping himself together and can be the voice of reason. When Tooru accidentally discovered that select members of the Souma family can turn into an animal of the Chinese zodiac when embraced by the opposite sex of a non-Souma family member, he didn’t panic one bit. While it’s generally the rule that any non-family member who discovers the curse have their memories suppressed by hypnosis, Shigure figured he could trust Tooru to keep the secret and managed to convince his family not to do so! Even during times of adolescent blues, he always has some unorthodox wisdom to help Tooru and the gang get through their troubles.
4. He’s Played by Great Actors
No matter what version you watch, Shigure has been voiced by some of the greatest actors. In both the 2001 and 2019 versions to the English dub, he’s played by John Burgmeier, who you may know as the voice of Tenshinhan from Dragon Ball and Kurama from Yuu Yuu Hakusho. In the 2001 Japanese version, he is played by Ryotaro Okiayu, and in the 2019 remake, he is played by Yuchi Nakamura. Each actor does a great job of expressing both his outgoing personality and his hidden sadness.
5. He’s Loyal and Trustworthy
All in all, probably due to the fact that he represents the dog within the Chinese Zodiac, he is very loyal to everyone he meets and expresses it in his own way to each and every relationship he has. While he could have suppressed Tooru’s memories, he found a way to convince Akito, the main patriarch of the Souma family, to allow her to be with the family. It proves he has his loyalties to both of them, and knows how to make compromises. Though he does have his own ulterior motivates as it relates to Tooru (thankfully, nothing perverted) living in his home, whatever it is he does, it is ultimately for the benefit of the Souma family and eventually, for Tooru as well.
Shigure is a good example of sometimes you just can’t judge people on the outside. The more you get to know him and his family, the more you start to understand that he’s probably lived a hard life. While he may present himself as positive a majority of the time, he can have his down points and he deals with them his own way. With people like Shigure around, sometimes we need to learn to appreciate when people want to offer their help when you’re down. Shigure may make a jackass of himself with how he tries to cheer people up, but he truly has the best intentions and motivations that eventually come to light in all versions of Fruits Basket.