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Seishun Buta Yarou wa Bunny Girl Senpai no Yume wo Minai
At a glance, Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai may have you assume it is some sort of fan-service comedy title with its promotional art depicting series female lead Mai Sakuragawa in a bunny-girl outfit. However, the series falls more in line with titles like Bakemonogatari and My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU that offer snarky lead characters and exploring supernatural issues effecting its major characters. In the case of Bunny Girl Senpai, the series explores male lead Sakuta helping out several girls afflicted with paranormal problems related to everyday stresses experienced by teenagers, otherwise known as Adolescence Syndrome within the world of the series.|
Essentially, Bunny Girl Senpai is divided up into several story arcs that explore Sakuta helping out one of several teenage girls dealing with some sort of personal crisis that leads to a case of Adolescence Syndrome affecting them. Each arc devotes enough time to explore each character's individual personal problems and Sakuta doing what he can to figure out the source of them. This does make the series fall into a sort of storytelling formula as Sakuta will seek consulting from classmate Rio about the cause of a specific crisis and his classmates often wind up getting involved in the situation to some degree. But there is still enough fleshing out of each character's particular situation to make their dilemma relatable to audiences as Sakuta aids each girl in overcoming their personal crisis. The final arc of the series involving Sakuta's sister, Kaede, made for perhaps the more emotionally powerful arc of the series with the vulnerability that Sakuta shows in caring for and expressing concern for his sister's personal issues.
Outside of its main storytelling element, perhaps the more entertaining element to Bunny Girl Senpai is the chemistry between Sakuta and Mai. Some may draw parallels of their relationship being similar to Bakemonogatari's Araragi and Senjougohara, as both feature girls the male lead helped overcome a personal crisis, eventually start a relationship together, and the female lead snarking at her love interest at points throughout their shows. While I can see where these parallels would come into play with Sakuta also showing signs of having somewhat of a perverted streak he shows with his quotes in his attraction toward Mai, Sakuta has more of a snarky personality than Araragi and gets joy out of the snarky teasing that he and Mai give one another. In spite of this, both are shown to gradually develop a genuine relationship with one another and show varying degrees of concern for the problems both face throughout the series.
The only issue I really have with Bunny Girl Senpai is that there is a story element revealed later in the series concerning the addition of another character that doesn't get proper focus within the series. While related to the problems that Sakuta has while caring for Kaede, the character in question doesn't get properly explored and it looks like there will be a movie sequel released later in the year that will explore Sakuta's connection with her.
Setting this minor gripe aside, Bunny Girl Senpai still offered a great amount of psychological drama delving into the various supernatural afflictions effecting the girls that Sakuta interacts with. For anyone craving anime dramas like it, I'd strongly recommend checking it out at least once.
Last updated Sunday, February 03 2019. Created Sunday, February 03 2019.
Seishun Buta Yarou wa Bunny Girl Senpai no Yume wo Minai
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Initially, I wasn't sure which keywords to assign to this show, because episode one was somewhat confusing and didn't make it clear just what this series would be about. The incident in the library was bizarre and left me curious, but afterwards the plot seemed to drift into mundane high school life as if nothing unusual had happened at all. I wondered if the show was trying to be a comedy or a drama, and if I should take it seriously (or if it was taking itself seriously). Sakuta is mildly shocked by what he sees in the library, but not enough to ask some pretty obvious questions, so I wondered if it had all been meant as little more than a joke. With time the odd premise of the show becomes clear: stuff that ought to be impossible--like the same day, June 27th, repeating again and again and apparently only Sakuta is aware of it--keep happening. Whether it was a matter of science fiction or the supernatural remained unclear. The concepts that the characters offered to explain it--'Observation Theory' or 'Adolescence Syndrome'--didn't make a whole lot of sense and were hard to follow. Apparently Adolescence Syndrome is basically any sort of weird, inexplicable stuff that happens to the adolescents Sakuta and Mai or any two characters with a major disagreement over something. Early on, it seemed that each arc was sort of a half-hearted meditation on a philosophical concept, like 'Schrodinger's Cat' in arc one and 'LaPlace's Demon' in arc two; later even this is dropped and strange things just happen. I don't think I ever fully understood the concept behind any of the arcs. If, for example, I were asked to explain the second one, I would say it was something about if a person has a deep, unresolved emotional problem time will keep repeating until they fix it--but don't quote me on that. A constant source of frustration for me throughout the show was that we never get much of an explanation of just what's going on. Then, when the two parties make up, the problem just seems to go away.
Fortunately, a complete understanding of what's going on isn't completely necessary. Despite the confusion I was left kind of curious about where this would go from here. Also titillating was the bit at the end of episode one where Mai needs a place to stay since apparently Sakuta is the only person who hasn't forgotten who she is. While watching episode two I noticed that the humor in this show was some wit to it, like the time Sakuta jokes that Sakuragawa must be an imposter because she isn't being as arrogant and obnoxious as she once was. It's frustrating that this show is a mix of witty dialogue and weird stuff posing as theoretical physics. I like the former but wish the premise had stronger legs to stand on. The final episode left me thinking that the story was somewhat incomplete: apparently, this arc isn't about Adolescence Syndrome, since the problem doesn't vanish after the right solution is found. I wondered if this might actually be a two-season show, because the disappointing outcome for Sakura's sister Kaede was not what all the previous arcs had left us expecting. It wasn't terrible, however—Kaede (who suffers from amnesia) has made some progress and there's reason to be guardedly optimistic about her plight. This arc was an anomaly, and regarding the rest it seemed to me that we never really get a satisfactory explanation of what just happened and the romantic conclusion that we get instead seemed like a poor substitute to me. But this show got a good deal of praise on ANN, so maybe the average viewer will enjoy it more than I did.
P.S: Apparently a movie by this title is scheduled for release in 2019.
Last updated Sunday, January 06 2019. Created Friday, October 05 2018.