He’s Met His Dream Girl Just As She’s About To Disappear, And That’s Just The Start Of Their Problems
Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai is one of those incredibly weird series that seemingly come out of nowhere and captures the attention of an incredibly fickle community. As the series progressed, more cracks appeared in what was a fairly solid narrative beginning and more mixed reviews began to appear, however by and large this one swept a wave of positive buzz as it aired in Autumn. So, did it deserve all that praise?
While I won’t even try to argue that this series is perfect (I doubt such a creature as a flawless anime narrative actually exists), nor will I say this series will work for everyone, Bunny Girl Senpai is a fascinating look at adolescence and the emotional problems that plague individuals. While thematically it doesn’t really do a whole lot with this idea other than provide supernatural analogues for the usual high school drama, what it does do is provide characters that connect with the audience, dialogue that enthrals, and for the most part provides bite size arcs that are easily digestible and very palatable.
And now I’m hungry.
The first arc, that introduces us to the titular Bunny Girl, Sakurajima Mai, is undoubtedly the best the series has to offer and outside of being a little bit dialogue heavy (so those who are after fast paced action are out of luck), there’s very little to fault in these opening three episodes. Mai and main character Sakuta quickly develop a chemistry few anime can even dream of presenting and every scene with these two on screen together becomes a delight to watch. Whether it is Mai offering to shove Pocky up Sakuta’s nose or friendly banter between the two, watching these two never gets old.
It also helps that Mai’s problem and supernatural mystery is pretty compelling and the ‘scientific’ explanation provided for it is solidly linked enough to at least make for an interesting thought experiment. Basically, there’s nothing to complain about in these opening episodes and by the time the first narrative draws to a solid close most viewers will be well and truly on board with wherever these characters choose to take us.
Which is probably a good thing. Because while each of the stories that follows is interesting in its own way, the writing remains pretty tight, and the characters fairly delightful, none of them manage to quite strike the same gold that the opening does.
Part of the issue, outside of the bunny girl outfit not making much of an appearance (though I’m not sure I was watching for that anyway) is that the supernatural/pseudo scientific phenomenon are never quite click or are as clever or compelling as the first arc. I was particularly disappointed with the second arc when they introduced the idea of Laplace’s Demon and then more or less utterly ignored the possibilities of that and gave us a basic time loop story. Admittedly, it was a well done time loop story but they could have done so much more with that concept. Every arc after watered it down further until Kaede’s story didn’t even get a vague scientific explanation or comparison and so it was more just weird and inexplicable things happen and Sakuta tries to fix them.
If that sounds like I’m complaining, I’ll take it back. All of the stories remain very well executed. Comparing even the weakest of the arcs, which was probably Nodoka’s story toward the end, with most other anime that aired in 2018, and it is still a very well told narrative. However, when a series feels like it is in a slow slide downward in quality, it does leave the audience feeling a little disappointed as they see diminishing returns.
While we’re looking at flaws though, I’ll throw in the usual issue with high school anything and that is the absent parent syndrome. They go to a lot of effort to make adults in general pretty absent from the narrative. They appear enough so at least they aren’t completely gone from the story, but as usual we have teenagers with remarkably little adult supervision in their lives. I find this narrative conceit quite frustrating and it is a trope that endlessly repeats in anime.
Anyway, let’s look at the positives, of which there are many.
The opening song is fantastic and distinctive. I’m not the biggest fan of how it starts visually, but it ends up being quite the entertaining opening. Though the sheer number of sequences from the opening that end up appearing in the final episode in one form or another is a little heavy handed. Still, it is hard to complain about a song that is that great.
Visually, the whole anime works very well. There’s the occasional animation that doesn’t quite work, but for the most part this one is gorgeous to look at. I already mentioned the dialogue is solid and the chemistry between the characters is amazing.
Basically, this one was a solid anime from the year and one that I had a great deal of fun following week to week. The announcement of a movie to follow excited some but mostly just made me accept early on that it probably wasn’t going to resolve things solidly in the series, which is more or less what happened. I’m not the biggest fan of anime series that go with follow up movies (probably because I’m not the best at actually following up on movies when they come out).
Still, I’d highly recommend checking out Bunny Girl Senpai. There’s certainly some fun to be had here and the characters are fantastic to spend time with.
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- Episode 1 – Ignoring the Title This One Seems Actually Interesting
- Episode 2 – When Life Makes you Disappear
- Episode 3 – Snuggle Bunnies
- Episode 4 – Time Loops and Laplace’s Demon
- Episode 5 – The Real Fake
- Episodes 6 + 7 – How To Build a Fascinating Harem Starting With A Bunny Girl
- Episode 8 – Bunny Girl Isn’t About Getting What You Want
- Episode 9 – The Grass Might Look Greener From Your Side of the Fence
- Episode 10 – It’s Simple, It’s Complicated, It’s Like Life
- Episode 11 – The Panda Girl Removes Her Armour
- Episode 12 – A Journey Forward = The You Now Being Abandoned
- Episode 13 – Awakening From A Dream and Life Goes On