WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Fruits Basket: The Final Episode 0, now streaming on Funimation.
Fruits Basket's third and final season, officially titled Fruits Basket: The Final, starts airing in Japan on April 5, but Funimation is streaming the season premiere two weeks early. This advanced release, labeled as "Episode 0," is only available dubbed in English and missing the opening and ending themes that should air with the televised version. Fruits Basket Season 2 ended with some major reveals, and the Season 3 premiere goes right into explaining one of the show's big secrets while introducing a major antagonist.
Tohru is confused to hear Kureno state that Akito is actually a woman; no one else in the Sohma family has ever identified her as such. It turns out Akito's gender has been kept a secret from everyone except her immediate family and the four oldest zodiac members: Kureno, Shigure, Ayame and Hattori. Kureno reveals that Akito has been forced to live as a man by her mother, Ren Sohma.
Talk to any Fruits Basket manga readers, and Ren will almost certainly top the list of their most hated characters. She might not be the origin of the Sohmas' cycle of abuse (the curse is far older than she is). Still, the way she specifically victimized Akito, who in turn has victimized all of the other cursed Sohmas, makes her particularly responsible for the family's current problems.
Interestingly, while Kureno describes her awful parenting and she's presented as a "scary" character through her animation and voice-acting, her introduction scenes in this episode do make her slightly sympathetic. When she describes the bond between God and the zodiac as "unnatural," she's being cruel to her daughter; however, she's also stating something many viewers are already thinking. When Akito strangles Ren, Akito has reason to lash out at her mom, but the sheer violence makes one feel worried for the mom anyway.
A flashback sequence shows that when Akito was conceived, the eldest zodiac members had a psychic vision, suddenly becoming aware of their bond with their future "God." Their bond with the unborn Akito drew them to Ren, and they all broke out in tears reaching for her belly. It's a weird, somewhat creepy scene, and while it in no way excuses anything about Ren's parenting, it does illustrate how strange it is to raise any child, let alone "God," in the Sohma family.
Since Kureno is committed to Akito, he can't pursue a relationship with Uo even though he wishes he could. Tohru feels dejected over this, thinking she failed to help her friends. Uo, however, says that Kureno and Tohru are both people who put others ahead of themselves, and while she loves both of them for it, she doesn't want either of them getting hurt because of it. As the story of Fruits Basket continues to get darker, Uo's concern for friends is well-founded.