While it has probably become apparent from my episodic coverage of Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai, this absurdly titled school-romance-comedy thing with a bit of the supernatural thrown in has really managed to grab my attention in a season packed with titles that I was greatly looking forward to. The anime I took one look at the promotional artwork and the title, rolled my eyes and clicked start on episode one expecting to dislike, drop mid-way through the first episode and maybe write a snarky first impressions post of ended up sucking me write in and forced me to pay attention to it. Then over the first three episodes is proceeded to tell a very endearing, if slightly emotionally overwrought, story before episode four transitioned us fairly solidly into a new arc that has enough promise to make me believe that maybe this anime is going to maintain its consistently high standard.
So other than the fact that I like it, why do I actually think you should try it (assuming you haven’t already)?
01. The two characters we primarily follow during the first three episodes, Sakuta Azusagawa and Mai Sakurajima, are individually both fairly ordinary characters but when thrown together they have some incredible chemistry and the dialogue flows between them in a way that is almost mesmerising. Both characters like to verbally push their conversational partner but exchanges between the two are almost light-hearted sparring matches with each one making sure not to miss their beat and working to score points off the other.
Now I wouldn’t actually say the dialogue is natural sounding as both characters pull off some retorts in a split second that most people would take at least a moment to frame. They are also very big on discussing things like the ‘atmosphere’ of the school and how people are perceived and while this is contextually appropriate it doesn’t exactly lend itself to sounding natural. But then again, that isn’t really what this anime is looking for. Everything about the situation the characters are found in is a gross exaggeration of reality and so the dialogue sounding that cut above what the average teens would discuss fits perfectly with the ideas this story is choosing to delve into.
02. And on that note, the basic premise of this story is pretty great. It isn’t original. Even Buffy the Vampire Slayer had an invisible girl (and it wasn’t original then), made so by being ignored by her peers, so the concepts at work here about rumours and hearsay having an impact on the way reality is perceived isn’t breaking new ground. It doesn’t need to. The concept is still fascinating and it isn’t the over-ploughed ground of the isekai or high school club anime where cute girls/boys do cute/silly things. There’s plenty to explore with this concept and the first arc covered over episodes 1 – 3 clearly demonstrated that this anime has a firm grip on its writing and pacing to do a decent job of exploring the issues at hand without dragging them out or rushing to a hasty conclusion.
It also makes me wonder what else will be explored and whether things will come together in the end or if each situation is just going to be a stand-alone arc and either option could be fine provided they continue to deliver stories like the first one.
03. Finally, Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai knows how to ride the audiences’ emotions. Admittedly, those who dislike overt emotional manipulation may find it a little twee but if you strap in for the ride and just go with it, this anime will take you through the whole array of human emotions having you smile or laugh at one line of dialogue before plunging you into introspection and then we’ll transition into being contemplative, annoyed, or even really sad or embarrassed and these transitions feel perfectly natural while watching the episode (largely because we’re kind of riding along with Sakuta’s emotions as the story unfolds).
While I won’t declare this anime perfection (just watch some of the running animations and I’m still kind of scratching my head about the scene where Sakuta kicks that girl in the butt after she asked him too) I will definitely say this is an anime worth giving a go to this season and so far the ride has been great. While I’m not a huge fan of scores, this one is currently sitting third for the season on MAL beaten only by JoJo and Fairy Tail that both have massive brand recognition and it has come out ahead of SAO and the two isekai entries of Slime and Goblin Slayer.
For a show that had almost no buzz prior to beginning, it has definitely made an impact on viewers and while jumping on a bandwagon isn’t a great reason to watch an anime either, there are some really good reasons why this anime might be worth your time.
I’d love to know your thoughts on Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai so if you’ve watched any of it so far I’d love to know what you’ve thought (no spoilers if you’ve read the source, please).
Thanks for reading.
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