First Impressions – Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl

Seishun Bita Yarou wa Banii Gaaru Senpai no Yume wo Minai (青春ブタ野郎はバニーガール先輩の夢を見ない ) – Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl
Animation Studio: CloverWorks Premiere Date: October 3rd 2018
No. of Episodes: 12 Airing Time: Wednesdays at 26:15 (JST)
Genre: Slice of Life, Comedy, Supernatural, Romance. Airing Channel: ABC
Information Links: Seishun Buta Yarou Official Website, AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia

Sakuta Azusagawa (Kaito Ishikawa) wakes up one morning and discovers a strange entry in his journal written to his future self, begging him to remember how he met a bunny girl one day. He then recalls how he met Mai Sakurajima (Asami Seto), a famous teenage actress who goes to his high school while he was in the library one day; walking into the aisle he was in, in a bunny girl outfit.  Strangely, despite her daring outfit, no one can see her and when Sakuta goes to talk to her, she tells him to forget about what he saw. The next day after school, Sakuta bumps into Mai at the train station and after  saving her from a fan trying to take her photo, Mai talks to Sakuta. On the train ride home, Mai questions Sakuta about the rumors of him being responsible for the ‘hospitalization incident,’ an incident where he allegedly sent three people to the hospital. At the same time, Mai reveals that she developed the power to become invisible to people after deciding to take a hiatus from work due to stress.

Leaving the next station, Sakuta reveals that he is aware of the rumors of people developing powers and asks if her power is a result of “Adolescence Syndrome,” a strange phenomenon where adolescent children begin to develop strange powers around puberty because of social stresses, issues or traumas. Arriving at Sakuta’s apartment, Sakuta invites Mai in and explains that he was the one actually hospitalized during the hospitalization incident, as his younger sister, Kaede Azusagawa (Yurika Kubo), began to develop the power to cut things (mostly herself) as a result of cyber-bullying and death threats from a popular girl in her class and began to stay home from school. When Sakuta offers a possible solution to Mai’s problem, he inadvertently offends Mai by mentioning her manager and she leaves. She then skips schools for a while and the episode ends with Sakuta finding her in front of his apartment, waiting for him.

So, that’s the basic premise of the first episode, judging just from the plot and the nice pacing of it, it looks to be an interesting anime. While it is based on a light novel, the plot is pretty much similar to Sakurada Reset (or Sagrada Reset) with less philosophical and psychological analyzing and more slice of life stuff. The supernatural elements are treated as a common phenomenon while the characters are pretty likable and their problems are relatable. Kaito Ishikawa’s interpretation of Sakuta is pretty similar to his role as Kei Asai (Sagrada Reset), only he shows slightly more emotions than him and likes to tease people. Mai is rather straightforward and blunt, but one can tell how exhausted she is from her acting career and how she doesn’t like her invisibility just from her voice. Sakuta’s shy little sister ‘Kaede’ is the cute little sister character who cuddles up to her big brother, however, her problems are probably the most relatable and anyone who has been cyber-bullied or just plain bullied before will probably relate to her. Then there’s Sakuta’s best friend ‘Yuma Kunimi (Yuuma Uchida)‘ who is one of the most popular guys at his school and who works at the same workplace as Sakuta, as well as his overprotective girlfriend, Saki Kamisato (Himika Akaneya), who worries about Yuma’s popularity dwindling because of his friendship with Sakuta. Both of them seem to be decent characters however we will have to wait to see how they will develop from here.

As to the overall tone of the show, while there are some funny comedic moments, its pretty clear that this show is gonna get heavy later on as the characters come to grip with the issues behind their adolescence syndromes. The opening theme song ‘It’s your fault (Kimi no Sei) by The Peggies is a cheery, country-ish, Hanasaku Iroha-esque song which set ups the slice of life elements, while the ending theme song “Miraculous Carte (Fukashigi no Karute)” create a sad romantic mood foreshadowing the later heaviness of the series. I doubt that the series will get as heavy as Charlotte, but I look forward to the development of the relationships between all of  the characters and the developing relationship between Mai and Sakuta. Overall, I’d say that most fans of the slice of life, high school drama shows will definitely like it, so please be sure to check it out!

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