Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai Episode 11 Review
Bunny Girl Senpai continues to impress with its dialogue, particular the timing of responses and pauses. There are moments where just listening to the characters is such a distraction that I need to go back to pay attention to what they are actually doing.
However, and this may prove an unpopular opinion, but after eleven episodes of watching delightful characters have interesting interactions, what troubles is that there is no escalation or ‘more’. While we turn into Kaede’s story, which is one I’ve been waiting for and has so far proven interesting, the tone and feeling of this anime is exactly the same as it has always been. And while it might fit the ‘if it isn’t broke don’t fix it’ mentality, as other anime step up their game for their conclusion, Bunny Girl Senpai remains exactly as it always has. It’s still brilliant mind you, but it doesn’t quite shine so much in amongst the pack as other anime are now coming to the end of a cumulative emotional journey.
Still, that isn’t reviewing this episode, it is comparing, so let’s veer back on track. Mai deals with the photo in the magazine and her status as Sakuta’s girl-friend in a sensible and clear manner. One of the many things I appreciate about this show is they don’t just drag things out and over-dramatise them for the sake of it.
Half-way through this episode though we switch to Kaede’s story and this week she turns the cute up to 100. I’m not a fan of little sister characters so the sheer amount of charm Kaede brings to this story is almost unprecedented and she has most definitely become a character I really adore. Watching her smile while holding out her notebook with her goals was a really adorable moment as was seeing Sakuta both support her and temper her goals with reality. The fact that he isn’t just mindlessly cheering her on and saying ‘you can do it’ but rather is helping her to break her goals down into achievable steps was one of the best moments of the year because it was so grounded in reality.
Though, with two episodes left to go, Shouko’s story still unrevealed and Kaede still in kind of an emotional limbo, I guess there is still more drama to be had. Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai continues to be an extraordinary watch and taking the whole season into account is most definitely a solid viewing experience. Its use of narrative arcs has kind of kept it from building to something that is over the top emotionally, but it has certainly left a far more lasting impression than anime that simply go for sensationalise in the moment.
Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai Episode 9 Review
This show is just good. Over and over again, Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai defies my expectations about what it will do next and where it is going and yet it manages to take us somewhere great that I never knew I wanted to be. For instance, I expected that this week, now that Futaba was back together again, that the focus would shift to Makinohara, but instead she barely got a cameo when she came to check in on the cat. Instead, the focus goes squarely back to Mai and, more importantly, Mai’s sister.
Turns out Mai’s sister, Nodoka, is sick of being compared to her talented older-half-sister and sick of feeling inferior and for whatever reason (adolescent syndrome strikes again) she has ended up inside of Mai’s body with Mai now occupying her own, blonde haired vessel. Fortunately we aren’t playing ‘guess who’ or anything as cheap as that. Bunny Girl Senpai plays this straight by having Mai, in Nodoka’s body, make things clear to Sakuta from the word go by stepping on his foot, and we instead turn our attention to the underlying emotional issues even while both girls try to live as the other and keep up their work commitments.
This was a great episode for a number of reasons. Firstly, the new story is interesting and we’re focused on Mai again, who is a great character, and introduced to Mai’s sister who is equally interesting. The relationship between the two is muddied significantly by the intervention of their respective mothers and yet as always they don’t over-dramatise things and rather let more subdued and much more human reactions strike a chord with the audience and tell the story.
Secondly, Mai and Sakuta are together for significant scenes in this episode, even if Mai isn’t in her own body. I will admit the banter between them seemed a little more subdued, but given Mai is the subject of the current phenomenon it seems fairly sensible that she is in a more contemplative mood at the present.
All and all, another solid episode from an anime that continues to do an excellent job present the emotional trauma of normal life and relationships using supernatural phenomenon to get their point across.
Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai Episode 8 Review
Time and time again I think about how great Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai has been. The characters are solidly constructed and while they are most definitely character types they are each treated respectfully, the interactions and dialogue between them are golden, and the overall story never allows itself to get bogged down for too long as we move smoothly from one arc to the next. However, for an anime that at its core seems to be about Sakuta saving all these girls from themselves I really appreciate that so far the solution hasn’t been in caving in to their every request and providing them what they wanted on a silver platter.
Whether it was Mai, Tomoe, or now Futaba; they’ve all wanted something fairly ill-defined but as they reached for it they found themselves getting more than a little bit burned. And, while Sakuta might be a catalyst, the girls aren’t completely passive in waiting for him to solve their problems. Mai had to come to terms with what she really wanted and ultimately returned to show business. Tomoe had to let go of Sakuta and accept that ultimately he was with Mai, and she also had to stop worrying so much about what others would think of her and act in accordance with her feelings. Futaba had to accept herself and ultimately ask to be rejoined with herself in this episode. It makes each case feel distinct in that the girls have their own problems and they each face them in their own way, but ultimately they are all just trying to do the best they can.
Futaba is an excellent point though, because she returned to herself even knowing that she still wouldn’t get the guy and that realistically nothing had changed. She just had to learn to face it and stop hating herself. But while the focus was on Futaba and Sakuta this week, I was pleasantly surprised to see Kunimi get a bit of a look in because I’d been hoping that this ‘friend’ would actually get some more screen time. I was a little miffed when he declared he was going to make up with his girlfriend, mostly because so far she’s come across as a horrible person, but it all kind of fits with the story so far in that the girls aren’t getting a kiss from the handsome prince and getting a fairy-tale ending. They are facing the harsh and gritty reality that their particular phenomenon allowed them to avoid momentarily.
Before finishing up this week I do want to mention that Mai and Sakuta remain beautiful together and every scene they are in is golden. That said, the agency asking them not to see each other is just kind of depressing because it kind of indicates we’re going to have less of those moments for awhile.
However, week after week this anime delivers compelling characters, builds a great story, and leaves me feeling satisfied. While this current phenomenon was probably the least explored, part of that probably comes due to centring on Futaba who is usually the one to hypothesise a way out of the situation and she was too close to this one to assume the usual role. Really looking forward to next week.
Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai Episodes 6 and 7
If I needed any more convincing that Bunny Girl Senpai was an anime worth watching this season, episode 6 which concluded the Laplace’s Demon Arc and episode 7 which introduces a new problem for Sakuta to solve and adds two new additions to his ever growing harem are certainly 2 reasons to be watching.
Though, even I have to admit, it isn’t actually a harem. Much like people inaccurately throw the word harem at Sword Art Online just because Kirito has a lot of friends who are girls that he has helped in the past, labelling Bunny Girl Senpai a harem would be to do it a gross mis-justice. Sakuta is solid in his choice of Mai from the very first arc just as Kirito remains clear in his choice of Asuna. Regardless of how many other girls each series has, they just aren’t following a harem pathway and that’s just one of many things I love about both of them at this point.
Back to Bunny Girl Senpai though, the conclusion to the Laplace’s Demon story was every bit as fantastic as the conclusion to the first arc was. It brought the pieces together, gave us an emotional release, and the characters grew from the experience. I really liked how they ended up resolving the time loops. Admittedly, this anime isn’t exactly going for a logical reason why these things happen or why they stop. It is very much about the feelings of the characters and coming to terms with them.
The next arc seems to be focused on Futaba, though Sakuta has also encountered and entangled himself with another girl Makinohara (who apparently was the girl he met on the beach back when but now she’s younger than him). Based on this episode I would think that the anime was going to deal with Futaba and then focus on Makinohara, but, based on what the rest of the show has done I won’t be surprised if the two cases end up linked somehow.
It also seems like Sakuta’s one male friend, Kunimi, may end up playing some sort of role this time around, which would be nice given he’s just kind of been hanging around in the background all this time.
Still, seven episodes in and we still have fantastic dialogue, some really great characters, the cutest moments shared between Mai and Sakuta, and a little sister character that isn’t actually annoying. Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai continues to go from strength to strength and I have high hopes as we lean into this new arc.
There’s something fairly brilliant about this show when it delivers what I worried it would do and yet manages to make me appreciate it anyway. Sakurajima Mai is in fact sidelined quite substantially this episode, being sent off to film on location elsewhere after an early scene with Sakuta and then literally just getting to phone it in for the remainder of the episode. And yet, this didn’t hurt the show as much as I feared it would.
Also, Sakuta is definitely the protagonist who is going to rescue all the girls from their various problems just by being the selfless male protagonist that we’ve seen in so many of these kinds of shows. It isn’t just the main girls. He even stops to help random classmates find phone straps on the beach. He’s a walking monument to selflessness when it comes to helping all those defenceless girls, and normally that would annoy me to no end. Yet, he’s so incredibly likeable as a character. You certainly can’t relate to him because he’s so incredibly unbelievable as a character, and yet I can’t help enjoying every minute he’s on the screen. And not just because he stomps on the face of arrogant athletes who spread disgusting rumours about the girls who turn them down (though I must admit that was a pretty fantastic moment).
Tomoe as well really stepped up. She still can’t match Mai for chemistry with the male lead, and I don’t think they are trying to. It seems that this is not going to be a harem where the protagonist allows there to be ambiguity about whether he’s made a choice or not. Sakuta has clearly chosen Mai and is settled even if her accepting his confession got reset by Tomoe (and wow, I just realised that could be a serious future complication if Tomoe decides to replay a day until Sakuta accepts her confession, because ouch). But Tomoe, in her own insecure way has charm, and she’s certainly no slouch when it comes to holding up her end on the interesting dialogue this show has been delivering since episode one.
So while this episode did dive headlong into a path I kind of wished it wouldn’t, I’m really glad it did. This episode was another solid effort and one that was highly entertaining. Clearly Tomoe’s arc isn’t done just yet and there’s clearly more to the whole Laplace’s Demon idea that is yet to be uncovered, but overall the charm of this series hasn’t worn off just yet.
I was kind of intrigued by the idea that Bunny Girl Senpai was going to move onto a story using Laplace’s Demon. It seemed like the thought experiment could yield a fairly interesting premise. Which mean that it was kind of a disappointment to see them turn what should be an incredibly interesting look at the idea of predestination or at least pre-determinism into an essential ground-hog day type scenario. That isn’t to say what episode 4 delivers isn’t good in its own way, it just seems like they were reaching for that Laplace’s Demon reference (though I guess we could still get back to it later in the arc).
Outside of poking holes at their reference, this episode continues to be a fairly solid showing from an anime that has so far been pretty great (okay, its my favourite this season). However, it did suffer a little in the second half of this episode, primarily because the Sakuta and Mai dynamic that has been one of the big draws for this anime was largely split up and Tomoe is no substitute on screen as her chemistry with Sakuta is questionable at best.
Fortunately, they do seem to be pursuing an ongoing relationship between Sakuta and Mai, it is just a shame that in order to introduce a new girl with problems (I mean we already met her but only kind of superficially) that they need to side-line Mai. And doing so by having her walk in on Sakuta and Tomoe in a compromising situation to walk out without any kind of comment (where did their sassy dialogue go) was just kind of depressing because it is exactly the standard trope we’re all used to and I’m just kind of glad they didn’t also throw a face slap in there for good measure. The Mai and Sakuta moments in the first half of the episode are fantastic as the two share lunch and quippy dialogue. It is just fun listening to them and watching them interact. It was always going to be a near impossible task to make me as interested in anything else in this show and Mai showing up at the end seemingly aware of what actually happened just makes me wonder why she stormed off in the first place.
It doesn’t help that Tomoe’s issues stem from a desire to fit in with her group of friends and not rock the boat. I find this kind of character a little cringey and the lengths she seems willing to go to in order to maintain a farce seems all the more absurd. While I can certainly see this fitting in with the idea of adolescent syndrome, it isn’t exactly a compelling drama to solve and part of me kind of wishes Sakuta had continued to decline her ‘solution’.
As this new arc begins, I’m still really enjoying this anime, however the shine has come off it a little for me which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Hopefully they have an interesting outcome to this particular story.
Sakuta and Mai may very well have become my favourite couple this year during this episode. It isn’t that they are actually overly sweet on each other, though there are definitely those cute moments and I particularly loved Mai helping Sakuta catch some sleep and letting him know he’d done enough (okay, technically she drugged him so there might be some sort of issue there). No, it is just the atmosphere around the two of them and the way their dialogue flows back and forth with an ease and comfort that just makes them a pleasure to see together and to listen to. The give and take in the dialogue and in their actions just creates a beautiful chemistry that makes this episode a fairly solid third episode despite a few minor niggles along the way (please stop letting the characters run, they aren’t good at making it look like they are actually moving forward).
Outside of just how great spending time with this pair of characters is, this episode gave a very satisfying, if slightly cringe-worthy, conclusion to the mystery of Mai’s disappearance. There’s enough emotional tension built up and while you could get quite critical of Sakuta’s solution if you wanted to be really jaded about the whole thing, or if it just didn’t emotionally work for you, I really loved the moment finding it the perfect cap to three episodes I’ve thoroughly enjoyed.
But, that leaves us with the problem of the rest of the season. None of us really knew what we were getting with this show and the whole bunny-girl thing put me off looking for information about the title so I’ve really been flying blind. While I thought they would stretch this mystery out longer, I’m really glad they didn’t and there’s still plenty to wonder about as it is quite clear Mai’s isn’t the only case of weird things happening. And, the anime does point a direction for the rest of the season.
The introduction of a new mystery to solve. After the Schrodinger’s Cat theory this time they have suggested we’re moving on to Laplace’s Demon which could be interesting but at the same time makes me wonder if we’re going to connect these stories together in a meaningful way or whether they are going to turn this into a series of cases the main cast just kind of deal with for a few episodes. Either option is fine, but to be honest I’m kind of going to want more Mai and Sakuta.
Here’s hoping the rest of the season can be as solid as the first three episodes have been.
The weirdly compelling first episode of Bunny Girl Senpai turned out not to just be a fluke as episode 2 delves further into the weird mystery of Adolescent Syndrome and the growing relationship (not quite sure what relationship) between Sakuta and Mai. It’s a pretty fascinating journey so far even as it remain strictly low key. Characters don’t get hysterical even when they seem to be fading out of existence and even Sakuta only raised his voice once and that was to Mai’s mother, who probably had it coming even if not for the reason she got yelled at.
That isn’t to say this episode is flawlessly executed. There’s the annoying girl from school, Tomoe who shows up mostly just to accuse Sakuta of being a paedophile just because he is trying to help a lost girl. It is a particularly unfunny moment and not assisted by the following sequence where she demands Sakuta kick her in return and they both get taken in by the police. It is one of those cases of the light novel source material shining loud and clear through the anime adaptation and you have to wonder if any of that sequence will ultimately mean anything in the long run.
Meanwhile, Mai’s situation is getting worse and it is interesting how the anime quietly deals with this. She becomes progressively more clingy to the protagonist and yet unlike so many other stories where the formerly strong girl suddenly clings to the random male protagonist, here it feels warranted given he is literally her life-line to the rest of the world, the one who believes her and reassures her that he will not forget her. I don’t actually feel that their relationship is romantic though they definitely seem to have some mutual respect for one another after their earlier fight is finally resolved.
I have to admit, I want to know why this is happening. I want to know how they might start fixing it. I want to see where these two characters go. I want to know what happened to the girl who helped Sakuta. I’m hooked on this show and while I might end up disappointed if the answers never come or end up being really incoherent, right now this is a show that I’m really excited for.
Okay, I know better than to judge an anime by its title given the nonsensical nature of most anime titles, or the ridiculously explicit plot summaries that pass as titles for some, and yet I will admit I had no real desire to try a show with Bunny Girl Senpai in its title. It just seemed, well, silly. That said, in the interest of actually deciding on a watch list I did give this one a spin and I’m actually kind of glad because this is the first definite add to my watch list for the season. While other shows I’m kind of thinking might work out and I’ll give them a few more episodes, this one has hooked me from the start and while it might end up disappointing, I’m already looking forward to more of it.
I have zero familiarity with the source on this one and no idea where it is going, but I kind of got a more subdued Haruhi Suzamiya tone from it, or a slightly more interesting Sagrada Reset. And that probably explains the basis of the show’s appeal to me. I kind of like this sort of story even though it isn’t done well very often.
Its an intriguing beginning with our dead-pan protagonist noticing a bunny girl wandering around a library and he knows she is his senpai from school and a child-actor who is on hiatus. We get some other bits of information about the protagonist such as the fact that he has a clingy little sister and that he doesn’t have many friends because of some sort of incident and then he gets into intruding in the senpai’s life to try to figure out what is going on.
Turns out there’s some rumoured Adolescent Syndrome which is only very vaguely explained here but most people don’t believe exists. Azusagawa, our protagonist, only believes in it because his sister and himself have some very visible scars from their own encounter with the condition. This makes him far more open to believing Sakurajima Mai might actually be disappearing from the sight of other people.
Not going to lie, there’s a lot of wandering around and talking in this first episode so if you are wanting action or a fast pace you should probably pass. Still, I really enjoyed this first episode and it seems to be the kind of story I really get into so I’m adding this one to my watch list for the season.
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