Arisa Uotani is a former gang member and one of Tohru's closest friends. Her father is an alcoholic and her mother left him for another man when Arisa was young; Arisa joined an all-girl gang called The Ladies in fifth grade, and idolized Kyoko Honda's reputation from her gang days. When Arisa met Kyoko's daughter Tohru Honda in middle school, and then Kyoko herself, she was shocked by the change from gang-leader into doting mother, but became friends after Kyoko helped her escape from her gang. With Saki Hanajima, she swore on Kyoko's grave to look after Tohru, and in their "parental" protection of Tohru, noted by Kyo and Yuki, Arisa is depicted as the brash and direct father-figure.
Arisa works a couple of different part-time jobs during the series; at one of them, in a convenience store, she meets Kureno Sohma and is immediately attracted to him, though she worries about their nine-year age difference. They meet a second time a few days later, when he nearly kisses her after buying her lunch, but after that he refuses to see her again because of his promise to stay with Akito, and she tries to get over him. When Kureno leaves Akito, Arisa helps him move out, telling him that she has been waiting for him all this time, and in the final chapter she is preparing to move in with him.