My god, this show is two years old… it still feels like it came out yesterday. But it also feels like it came out a thousand years ago. Does that make sense? Probably not. Life these last few months has turned my brain to pudding.
Initially, I wrote Bunny Girl Senpai off as just another show that revolved around cute anime girls doing horny things for horny audiences. But oh, how wrong I was! Little did I know that I was staring at a diamond, one that would shine as bright as the sun if I just picked it up and gave it a proper look!
Though to be fair: you could see my mistake, considering how this is how the first episode opens up.
This story stars Sakuta Azusagawa, teenage outcast living with his shut-in sister Kaede. One day, he sees a famous actress/ school senpai Mai Sakurajima strutting about the library in a bunny outfit. Turns out, people can’t see her because of Adolescence Syndrome, a strange phenomenon that effects teenagers in impossible, almost magical ways. Having been deeply affected by it himself, Sakuta dedicates himself to helping her. Can he find a way to save Mai from disappearing?
And all that’s just the first three episodes!
This series feels more like a series of movies than a TV show. Each three-episode arc is structured like a film, with each episode being an act; episode one being act one, the introduction, episode two being the conflict and the struggle, and episode three being the resolution. This makes the show a bit difficult to binge, but perfect for watching in chunks.
It doesn’t just pull new plots out of its ass, though. Each and every arc of this story is setup before hand, hinted at in smaller scenes. Remember that girl that kicked Sakuta in episode two? Well, now it’s episode four and she’s the next star of the show! This gives the plot an excellent sense of cohesion and structure.
Which makes the final arc of the series all the more powerful. It doesn’t come out of nowhere. It’s the payoff to an entire season of buildup, then hits like a burning truck. Shit hurts, man. But like, in a good way.
There is one big problem, though: it doesn’t resolve the biggest plotline of the show. They decided to save that one for the movie, ‘Rascal Does Not Dream of a Dreaming Girl’. A movie that has proven to be a pain in the ass to find. Which is kind of a letdown.
But none of that would matter if the characters weren’t compelling. Luckily, this show features one of the most charismatic and memorable casts of characters in anime.
This show nails something very few anime manage to get right: banter. The characters in this story have some incredibly witty and entertaining exchanges. Not only does each line do a perfect job of communicating their personality, but they also bounce off of the other members of the cast flawlessly! It’s hard not to get attached to these characters!
Mai and Sakuta are easily the best. The dynamic they share is easily the most entertaining in the show. Futaba is another great one, with her dry but witty and intelligent approach to insulting Sakuta. Kaede manages to be genuinely cute without becoming annoying, like most ‘cute’ anime girls.
It certainly helps that not all the male-female dynamics are romantic. Sakuta and Futaba have one of the most solid, realistic, and wholesome friendships I’ve ever seen between a dude and a chick in anime. It’s so much fun to watch!
Better yet: Sakuta doesn’t even consider making a move on his sister! He even makes fun of other anime for romanticizing incest! *Applause* Well done!
And all of that is before mentioning the presentation! Because god damn, the art and animation in this show is incredible! It really does feel like a series of movies! It’s all so bright, colorful, and smooth!
The character designs are all fantastic as well! They’re beautifully simplistic and diverse! They are absolutely gorgeous, especially in the show’s chosen art style!
And the music is an absolute jam! The OP and ED are both rock solid (there are different versions of the ED for each girl in each arc and I love it), being catchy as hell! Then there’s the OST itself, which is subtle but memorable.
Seasonal anime come and go. The cycle is so rapid that it’s easy to forget a lot of shows, even if they were good and you watched them all the way through. It’s very rare that a show manage to stand out, to be so memorable that I can’t help but rewatch it even all these years later. Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai is one of these shows. One that you, too, should give a chance.
I still hate that title, though. What’s with Japan and putting a full sentence at the title?