Ritsu Sohma (草摩 利津 Sōma Ritsu) is the Monkey of the Zodiac. Extremely apologetic, he takes after his mother, the hostess of the Sohma family's onsen, whose position he is in training to take over. Most Sohmas call him "Ri-chan" and, to Shigure's amusement, Tohru calls him "Ri-chan-san" (see Japanese honorifics). He debuts in Chapter 44. He cross-dresses to ease his nerves.
Because of his anxiety, Ritsu dresses as a woman, as cross-dressing helps him calm his nerves. He has long straight honey-brown hair, large brown eyes and is almost always seen in a kimono. Tohru innocently mistakes him for a woman the first time they meet because of his feminine looks. He cuts his hair short in the final volume and slowly starts to dress like a male.
He is depicted as a beautiful but unstable young man with very low self-esteem and a tendency to overreact to everything. He apologizes frantically for everything, even for things that are not his fault. As Momiji said, he may act hysterically if he panics, but has a kind heart.
Role in the Story
During his childhood, his parents apologized for everything, even if it wasn't their fault, just like Ritsu. Feeling useless to his parents, he decided to dress like a girl to feel more comfortable at home and around his parents, but that just made them apologize even more. The parents suffer from anxiety, and because of family genetics, Ritsu has inherited it from his parents.
After Summer Vacation Arc
Breaking of the curse
When Ritsu's curse broke (the spirit of the monkey left him), he dropped a plate, or vase, containing water and flowers. His mother was alarmed as he started crying.
Ritsu tells Kagura, while giving her one of his women's kimonos, that he has asked Mitsuru on a date (in at least one English version, Ritsu almost tears a kimono in half after Kagura asks if he'll marry Mitsuru). It's not stated clearly what Ritsu did later in life. It is said that he went to learn from his mother on how to take over her onsen.
The Monkey of the Zodiac
Ritsu is the year of the Monkey. Being cursed by the monkey spirit, Ritsu is blessed with a 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.
- Mitsuru - When the two meet, they realize they have a common personality. In a bonus story in the first fan book, he and Mitchan are a couple.
- 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.
- Natsuki Takaya derived his name from the eighth month, odakaritsuki or "rice harvest month", which is the month of the monkey, of the traditional Japanese calendar.
- Ritsu is one of the two Zodiac members that Akito could not stand, the other being Ayame. It could probably explain why they do not live in the Main House.
- In the last chapter Ritsu cuts his hair.
- When Ritsu gets hysterical Shigure states that you just need to, without making a fuss, push his side. This is shown to be very effective.