Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai Series Review

Bunny Girl Senpai - Episode 1 - Mai Sakurajima and Sakuta Azusagawa

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?


Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai Episode 6 - Sakuta

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.

Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai Episode 12 Kaede

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.

Bunny Girl Senpai Episode 2

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.

Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai Episode 6 - Sakuta and Tomoe

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.

Bunny Girl Senpai Episode 10 Mai in idol performance

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.

Bunny Girl Senpai Episode 8 Fireworks

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.

Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai Episode 3

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.

Thank-you for reading 100 Word Anime.
Join the discussion in the comments.
Karandi James

Awakening From A Dream, And Life Goes On

Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai Episode Review title

Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai Episode 13 Review

Reminder: the poll is now open for you to vote on the best and worst anime of the 2018 Autumn Anime Season. Be sure to jump in and have your say. Voting closes on the 29th of December.

Part of me is a little disappointed with this final episode, and the other part is happy that this anime ended more or less as it started. The tight focus on the characters and their experiences as well as the need to face situations as they are rather than how we’d like them to be carried right through to the end.

Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai Episode 13 Shoko

However, this arc feels to be one of the least resolved of the series and given this is where it has ended I can’t help but feel a little bit like this wasn’t the solid ending it could be. Future movie announcements or not, it would have been nice for this final episode to have given us a solid resting place. Then again, in terms of character progress it kind of did.

Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai Episode 13 Kaede

Kaede is awake with her old memories (though missing the two years she’s just lived) and wanting to go back to school and even meet her old friend. Sakuta met up with Shoko again who helped him deal with Kaede’s return. He also finally managed a date with Mai on her birthday. It’s a lot of progress and we leave these characters in a place where they haven’t got to the end of the journey but they are very much moving forward and it is hard to argue that we could have got a more satisfying conclusion.

Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai Episode 13 Sakuta

Actually if I was going to criticise anything, other than the running animation which still isn’t great, it would be Sakuta early in this episode. While his heart-break and confusion were understandable their depiction wasn’t exactly subtle or nuanced and to be honest as he ran wailing it almost became laughable to the point where it jolted me right out of the moment. By the mid-way point of the episode it had managed to draw me back into the drama of the situation but this was perhaps the first time I really struggled to stay with an episode and the emotions it was trying to convey.

However, these are fairly petty complaints of what is an awesome series. I’m looking forward to writing a full series review of this one.

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The Panda Girl Removes Her Armour

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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. 

Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai Episode 11 Sakuta

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.

Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai Episode 11 Mai

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.

Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai Episode 11 Kaede

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.

Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai Episode 11 Sakuta and Kaede

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.

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Bunny Girl Is Simple, It’s Complicated, It’s Like Life

Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai Episode Review title

Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai Episode 10 Review

There was an almost moment when I thought that maybe this is the episode where I wasn’t in love with Rascal Does Not Dream With Bunny Girl Senpai. And I will admit, even stepping back, this episode feels a bit rougher, less polished, and a little bit less together than previous entries. The two episode arcs of the mid-season haven’t felt quite as fleshed out despite dealing with some fairly heavy issues, and this most recent one dealing with Nodoka and Mai definitely feels either stretched too long without doing much, or conversely too short without long enough to delve into some of the issues mentioned and ultimately glanced past.

Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai Episode 10
You can tell instantly it isn’t Mai, brilliant right?

However, as I said in the post title, things here are both simple and complicated, just like life. And it all gets a little bit messy and while the situation of the body swap, or appearance change, or whatever it was is resolved, their emotional drama doesn’t just vaporise the instant they come to terms with their situation. So while from a narrative point of view this was a lot less satisfying than some of the earlier arcs, from an emotional point of view, there’s a lot going on here that should be celebrated.

Not to mention, this episode of Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai gave me one of my loudest laugh out loud moments this season when  Mai smacked Sakuta. Now, there have been plenty of moments in this series where slapping Sakuta was probably justified. Here though, Sakuta is literally the innocent bystander. Her reason for taking her anger at Nodoka out on him? She literally cannot slap herself because Mai, or at least Nodoka in Mai’s body, has a job the next day and can’t show up looking like she’s been slapped.

Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai Episode 10 Sakuta got slapped

Normally I find the girl-slaps-guy (either innocent guy or even guy who accidentally fell prey to the usual anime tropes and ended up walking into the bathroom or whatever) kind of tired and problematic for a number of reasons and it seldom comes across as funny. Occasionally it ends up a little bit satisfying when the character getting slapped deserves it, but mostly I’m left wondering why include it at all. 

That wasn’t the case here as it just hit the perfect note at the perfect moment and I genuinely couldn’t keep myself from laughing, to the point where I had to pause the episode because I couldn’t read the subs. Yes, I am aware my sense of humour is a little odd sometimes and that it is inconsistent in when it finds things funny.

Bunny Girl Senpa- Kaede proves while she's best sister

The other moment I really loved about this episode was Kaede presenting herself in her uniform to Sakuta. While this didn’t get a lot of play during the episode, they seem to be setting the scene for Kaede and Sakuta to deal with their family situation, something that has been mentioned but ignored for the duration so far. This set up going on in the background of the Mai and Nodoka story was pure gold and honestly it took a bit away from the main plot line of the episode because I was more interested in learning more about that.

Still, any episode that can make me actually appreciate an idol performance like this, is worth noting just for that.

Bunny Girl Senpai Episode 10 Mai in idol performance

But in case it feels like I’m implying the Mai and Nodoka plot line wasn’t worth the time, I think I should reiterate, that Bunny Girl Senpai knows how to write a scene. Nodoka might be in Mai’s body but her argument with Sakuta when he tries to leave early and ends with Nodoka telling him to go die was perfect. Despite being in Mai’s body and looking like Mai, that dialogue was definitely not Mai. It looked bizarre coming from a character that looked like Mai. 

Bunny Girl Senpai Episode 10 Nodoka tells Sakuta to die.

All the way through the episode, even when the girls were talking, whether they were in their own appearance or not, the dialogue was distinct enough to carry the characters and make you believe that they had in fact switch places. So Bunny Girl Senpai hasn’t lost its touch, and now it’s just a matter of three more episodes. If it can land those, this will definitely be up there in the runnings for my favourite anime of the year.

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The Grass Might Look Greener From Your Side of the Fence

Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai Episode Review title

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.

Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai Episode 9 Sakuta, Mai and Nodoka

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.

Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai Episode 9 Mai and Nodoka

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.

Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai Episode 9 Nodoka inside of Mai

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.

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Friday’s Feature: 3 Reasons That Bunny Girl Anime is Worth Trying This Season

Bunny Girl Senpai - Episode 1 - Mai Sakurajima and Sakuta Azusagawa

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.

Bunny Girl Senpai - promotional image
Though if you are expecting Mai to remain in Bunny Girl costume, you are probably out of luck.

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.

Bunny Girl Senpai Episode 2

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.

Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senapi Episode 3

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).

Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai Episode 3

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.

Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai Episode 3

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.

Karandi James


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Ghost Hunt Series Review: Episodic, Mysterious, Awesome



Ghost Hunt follows Mai as she takes on a part time job working for Shibuya Psychic Research under a guy she ends up nicknaming Naru the Narcissist for obvious reasons. With the help of other psychics/spiritualists/etc they take on a number of cases involving ghosts and spirits and work to bring them to a resolution.


It occurred to me recently that despite having reviewed the individual stories within Ghost Hunt I never reviewed the show as a whole show (though I can’t imagine why not). So if you want to know my thoughts on the individual cases, click here. Admittedly, you can watch an individual case from the show and have it make perfect sense, but the series manages to bring about some nice character progression for most of the characters so watching it in sequence gives the better viewing experience.


I really love Ghost Hunt. It is one of those anime I genuinely enjoy revisiting every so often because it knows exactly what it wants to be and it doesn’t attempt to be anything else. It is a mystery. Each episode starts with the date coming up and Mai giving us an introduction into the current case they are working on and then we see how the case unfolds. Along the way the characters meet set backs, have interesting asides, occasionally some banter and insults with a low key possible romantic tone between Mai and Naru, and very short bursts of actual supernatural activity or action sequences.

Right from the opening theme you know this story is pretty laid back and heavily focussed on the mystery aspect. It isn’t really a mystery that is asking for audience participation though, it is more the mystery of ‘isn’t this mysterious’. We end up with haunted schools, ghost children, dolls that change location, creepy messages appearing on walls, and all the usual staples of ghost stories will appear throughout the series. There are some moments that go more for horror and the final two cases both really escalate the amount of blood and the unsettled feeling you get while watching, but for the most part this show isn’t about shock and gore. The show is very much about feeling unnerved. And it manages that feeling spectacularly. While it isn’t making you cringe or hide under the chair, it certainly will have you looking at dolls a bit differently and that old house that you thought was empty…


The characters are all pretty fantastic in their roles as well. You have Mai, the ‘normal’ high schooler taking on the part-time job who acts as the audience’s guide to the world of spiritualists as she asks the questions needed to get explanations that the other characters would have no reason to give one another. Mai also turns out to have some not so normal aspects as you would imagine as the show continues and it is a shame the show doesn’t have a second season because developing this would be fantastic.

Naru is pretty standard for overly confident and young boss type, but he works really well due to the cast surrounding him. Plus his chemistry with Mai works really well and the two of them together (even when they are involved in a silly argument) is just great fun to watch. Of course, dream Naru who helps out unconscious Mai is always more fun and again it would be nice to see further development of Naru in another season but he’s great nonetheless.


The Priest, Shrine Maiden, Exorcist, and Medium all make for a great supporting cast with each one serving their role in the team as well as bringing their own personality quirk to the table. Ayako as the self-styled Shrine Maiden is probably the most annoying of the group, but even she has some truly great moments particularly during the final case. Honestly, John as the Exorcist is probably the one who annoys me the most and that’s only because of the accent in the English dub. Wow, that is bad. I will point out though, I’ve only ever heard the English dub of this anime, it is one of the very few I’ve never watched subbed or heard the original Japanese. For the most part the dub is fantastic and really great to listen to, but John has the kind of Australian accent that people who have learned Australian accents by watching TV think Australian’s have. It hurts just listening to it.

There’s definitely some down sides to this story though. The animation and art are definitely looking dated and it isn’t that old of an anime. While this isn’t really a problem because the story works regardless, it isn’t exactly visually appealing and the overuse of purple to make things look creepy seems to scream Sailor Moon villain from the 90’s.


The story is also decidedly slow paced. The characters take their time setting up base each case and while a case might go for multiple episodes, by the end of the series you have to wonder just how many times you watched the characters setting up a camera or running a cable. Regardless of how quick a response the characters claim they are getting from the ghosts, there is still a lot of sitting around and talking, interviewing people, musing about the possibilities, and just a lot of nothing really happening moments.

Still, if you like a good ghost story, and you don’t mind some blood and gore, Ghost Hunt may be just the thing for you.

If you’ve seen it I’d love to know your thoughts.

Thanks for reading.

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Karandi James.