Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai (Fall 2018) – What’s Wrong with Puberty?

I just can’t deny how hype this anime was. “Senpai Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl” was inspired by many anime. One of them is “Monogatari” series and “Oregairu“. But, I’d rather say that this anime is also inspired by “Clannad” and “The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya. It’s an anime you could just say is best from all its aspects. First question, why is the promotional poster like that? I know this is an “anime” but, why? It is very deceptive and it cannot be separated from my first thought which this is just typical tropes in general. But, I was wrong. Despite its long title, this anime emphasizes a study of character, things related to otaku, and of course, “fanservice”. Quotes there.

It’s a show about adolescence. We all went through some kind of adolescence phase, act silly, make drama, and many more. Everyone is different and has their own story. Experience being bullied, being alienated, or maybe, the first time you are dating or kissing. There was a problem for all of us. And that’s why this is called a puberty syndrome, a supernatural problem that is difficult to explain how it works.

The story starts with a straight-forward plot. Sakuta Azusagawa is just another typical trope of anime. He is lonely, uncaring, and easy going. Just like Hachiman from “Oregairu” or Oreki from “Hyouka”. From here, he meets Mai Sakurajima. She is a bunny girl who centers her existence unknown by anyone. Her invisibility made it impossible for people around her to see herself. Similar to Fuuko’s or Shima’s case from “Clannad” series. Strangely, Mai was a well-known artist and celebrity yet few people and only Sakuta could see her. From here, Sakuta tried to make her presence noticed by people and her friends back.

“AoButa” is not just a story about Mai trying to get attention to the situation people forgot. It hurts and we all don’t want to be like which. It deals with all of those puberty syndromes besides Mai alone. There is Kaede Azusagawa as Sakuta’s sister who is afraid of the outside world. She never left the house or interacted with outsiders because of traumatized experience. There is an Endless Eight arc from “The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya” inspiring Tomoe Koga’s character. She has a group of friends where she tries to maintain her relationship so that there were no problems.

There is Sakuta’s friend, Rio Futaba and I think, this is a weird character that acts as a plot device. I mean, quantum mechanics? Doppelganger? Science? Now, we bring bullcrap here. However, she offers a good narrative. Her existence is inseparable from Sakuta itself so that she is an important character besides acting as a device only. In addition, she also experienced a unique puberty syndrome for herself who is a doppelganger.

The concept of this show is about times. Along with various arcs, this show shows the time, date, and month of the setting. Leaving an impression that this anime runs back and forth every time. Each character encourages each other. Not only offering one goal from each character, but each arc of them is also perfect as its balanced to one and another. The chemistry between them has a dynamic focus on these conflicts. They change, they experience each other, and they have a portion. Unfortunately, we don’t have any clear plot with Shouko’s arc except in the movie itself with a more important and longer plot. The result is that is not just Sakuta and Mai. However, this shows the most important thing what the plot is having.

Sakuta, personally, is a refreshing main character after “Oregairu” or “Hyouka”. Both of them are my favorite anime because their characters are very unique from most anime in general. To say at least, this is also not a harem show. It’s a comedy, romance, school, with coming-of-age tales. Sakuta has the same nature as Hachiman. Have dead eyes, easy care, treat some people in the same way, and play bad guys for someone they want to save. He is like a dying character, does not have personality, but will achieve whatever is the obstacle.

On the other hand, Mai is a great main heroine. She is smart, independent, and honest. She has a dynamic for some reason. We are very easy to care about her other side beside her sarcastic personality just like Senjougahara from “Monogatari” series. But, the plot and chemistry between them affect each of these characters so that there is something so important in it.

CloverWorks previously worked on “DARLING in the FRANXX”, one of the overhyped anime of the season. The anime was helped by A-1 Pictures and Trigger. CloverWorks also worked on the Winter anime on this year, “The Promised Neverland”. They also worked on “Persona 5 the Animation” which is a bad step for them and “Slow Start”, another cute-girls-doing-cute-things anime.

The artwork in this anime is full of energy. The background is great with a nice shot of composition and CGI apart from this is a school genre anime. I love the composition of the opening theme songs where it concludes what the show is about. The soundtrack is nice, casual, relaxing, with a light disposition. I mean, how could “Kimi no Sei” be one of the most memorable earworm songs at the season? The ending theme song is great but unique. “Fukashigi no Carte” is sung by each voice acting heroine for each arc. It gives a sense of feeling from each arc.

“Senpai Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl” combines surrealism in criticism of adolescence, anxiety, and socialism. So many powerful metaphors where this show combines a fantasy from the puberty syndrome. Besides which, this anime has great aspects. You can do studies, analysis, criticism, or anything else because that’s the show is what about. It has a powerful character, great chemistry between characters, the pace, the music, and great visual. Apart from being inspired by many anime, this is definitely not just an overhyped or overrated one. But, it’s a genuine and honest show at the season. Just except a troll for the ending. Oh, I forgot. Probably, this is an anime has all waifuable heroines characters. Definitely.

4.5 out of 5 stars.

Salman Al Farisi

An Indonesian who loves to watch and read everything. A literary student who likes to write about reviews and essays on Crackdown Review. But, I just wannabe critics who love arthouse than anything.

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