FINDING ACCEPTANCEKazuma Sohma knows about the curse of the cat more than most, simply because his grandfather once held it. He was always extremely rude to his grandpa as a child, denying the candy he gave him because it was "cursed." However, his grandpa would always smile and forgive him for his mean words. One day, his grandpa ended up dying, and then Kyou was born sometime later. When Kazuma saw Kyou from an outsider point of view, he started to view the curse of the cat differently. He started to feel regret about how he acted towards his own flesh and blood, and realized that the mean words everyone said to Kyou was exactly how he once was, too. The remorse he felt for his own actions caused him to ask Kyou if he wanted to be adopted. However, little did he know, he ended up developing real feelings for Kyou, as if he was his true son. Kazuma was always there to hold Kyou's hand, show him kindness and love, and be there for him in his struggles. What Kazuma didn't realize that day he asked Kyou to come home with him, was that this moment would change Kyou's life forever. Kyou finally had someone in his life stick up for him and tell him he was correct. He never had someone allow him to see the outside world until Kazuma came along and told him he was going to be "breathing from a higher place," lifting him up physically and mentally from that day on.
Kazuma became a real father figure to Kyou. From that day forward, he wished that Kazuma was his real father, but was too afraid to tell him that. Kyou still had a lot of insecurities and confidence issues, but he was on his way to better places. Kazuma really cares about Kyou and wishes to do nothing more than protect him for as long as he can. He ignores the mean words that other families whisper as they walk by together because they are ignorant to the bond between them. If it wasn't for Kazuma adopting Kyou that day, Kyou's anger, if not his real father's anger, would have ruined him.
Kyoko Honda was really interested in the orange-haired boy that was sitting near her home, who she found out was Kyou, leading to a conversation. When Kyou found out Kyoko's name, he was embarrassed by how close they were. Kyou was very distant with her at first because he wasn't used to people approaching him because of his curse. Kyoko was very persistent however, and would do most of the talking. This worked out well for both of them, though, because they were both in need of each other. Kyoko had a lot on her mind about her daughter Tohru, and the passing of Katsuya, her husband, and Kyou also needed some type of company and attention. Although he never met Tohru, he thought she was cute and wanted to know what type of person she was. Kyou went home to Kazuma and told him about a nice lady who kept talking to him. Kazuma smiles and tells Kyou that he should keep talking to her as well if he likes her. Kyou just gets embarrassed and ignores the conversation. As time went on, Kyou would begin to spy on Kyoko and Tohru because he was interested in both of them. One day, Kyou runs into Kyoko, who just lost Tohru, and Kyou promises her as a man that he would find Tohru and bring her back home. His hat flew off and landed by Yuki, his rival, but he didn't let that bother him because his main goal was to protect Tohru. Unfortunately, he was unable to find her, and was even more discouraged when finding out that Yuki found her instead.
Kyoko was an important role in Kyou finding acceptance because she was a stranger who was kind and approached him. She would playfully tease him and keep him on his toes as well, always being honest with him. She was also one of the first people to tell him that he shouldn't worry about things because he is "a kind and gentle kid," and people will learn that one day. Kyoko is one of the first people that Kyou cares for, as well as her daughter, Tohru, who he never even met. She challenges his emotions to accept feelings for other people at an early age, something that he never had to do before.
When Kagura Sohma tried to approach Kyou who was playing alone at the time, he began to run away. He tells her that he will get in trouble by his mom if he stays and talks to her. Kagura grabs onto his leg and tells him that she is one of the 12ish like him, and therefore he can't get in trouble. Kagura asks him simple questions like "What's your favorite TV show? Do you like friend eggs? Why are you always playing alone?" When she sees the hurt in his eyes, she asks him to play with her. She grabs his hands and tells him "As of today, I'll stay with you!" Kyou had a huge grin on his face as the two ran and played together from that day on. Well, until one bad day that is... Kagura forced Kyou to take off his bracelet to tease him, but when she did, Kyou transformed into a monster. After that day, Kyou's mother wouldn't let him see the outside world, and Kyou wasn't able to see Kagura anymore.
Kagura is a very important role, however, in Kyou's childhood development. Kyou never had a true friend, and therefore, being approached by someone first, even though he was cursed with the cat, meant the absolute world to him. He even states later on in the series that regardless of why she played with him, it made him very happy. All people need affection from others, especially children. Kyou was all alone before Kagura came into his life. For once, he finally felt accepted by someone his own age, who would play with him and like him for who he was, not what he was cursed with. I truly believe that Kyou gained his anger from his father. He watched his only male role model constantly scream and get angry at his son and his wife. These events caused Kyou to get angrier and angrier.
All three of these important characters challenge Kyou's way of thinking. They took him out of his comfort zone, and showed him a whole new world. They accepted him for who he was and continued to be by his side for as long as they could. These characters continue to be important players in his life past his childhood, and will likely be brought up again in different sections. I just wanted to point out their initial significances because they altered Kyou's world. Without these three characters, Kyou would not have been able to find self-love nor acceptance as he grew up. Although he is still has aways to go at this point, he grew significantly from his mentally abusive childhood.