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Rascal Does Not Dream Of Bunny Girl Senpai – Anime Of The Season Review

Now that the Autumn 2018 season is officially coming to a close and the Winter 2019 season and lineup is almost upon us, it is time to begin discussing the shows that aired this season, and what better way to start than with what I consider the ‘Anime Of The Season’.

Airing in the Autumn 2018 Season, Seishun Buta Yarou Wa Bunny Girl Senpai No Yume Wo Minai or Rascal Does Not Dream Of Bunny Girl Senpai (will be referenced as Seishun Buta Yarou in this review) is a light novel adaptation of the first 5 volumes of the Seishin Buta Yarou series from the authors Kamoshida, Hajime (Story) and Mizoguchi, Keiji (Art).

This anime received a lot of praise at the beginning of the season from big ‘anitubers‘ such as Gigguk, which is the main reason I watched this show, it falls under the School, Romance, Comedy and Supernatural genres and is an extremely well done show, hence getting my Anime Of The Season title. 13 24-minute episodes later and I still hum Kimi No Sei and smile when I think of the show, and mostly the characters.

Please remember that these are all my views and opinions on Seishun Buta Yarou and I am in no way opposing any views or opinions others may have on the show. Without further ado, let’s begin.

My Anime List Synopsis:

Puberty syndrome – abnormal experiences rumoured on the internet to be caused by sensitivity and instability during adolescence.

This year, Sakuta Azusagawa, a second-year student at a high school near Enoshima, meets several girls that are experiencing this “puberty syndrome.” For instance, he meets a wild bunny girl in the library. She turns out to be an actress on hiatus, Mai Sakurajima, who is also his senior at the school. For some reason, no one else can see this enchanting girl. How did she become invisible…? As Sakuta searches for answers to help Mai, they spend more time together, and he eventually learns of her hidden feelings…

This is an unusual story that takes place in a town of bright skies and glistening seas, where Sakuta encounters various intriguing girls.

My Review:

Seishun Buta Yarou is what I would call a surprise, I honestly didn’t expect much from the series when I heard the name and expected it to be another trashy ecchi-romance school anime with the dash of Imouto thrown in there too. Luckily it was not and turned out to be one of my favourite anime of 2018.

Story: 9/10

Seishun Buta Yarou follows Azusagawa Sakuta, a high school student who has few friends and a poor reputation in his school due to the ‘Hospitalization Incident’. The story begins with him meeting Sakurajima Mai, a popular teenage actress who is his senpai at school, roaming around a library in a bunny girl costume and no one can see her except him. That is the basis of the story and how the next events come to be, of course I don’t do spoilers.

The story is spread out over 13 episodes and uses 5 volumes worth of source material each with its own ‘main girl’. Each arc is approximately 2-3 episodes and feels like it could be its own anime series in itself. It is so masterfully done that at the end of the 3rd episode I felt the completion and satisfaction, along with all the other feelings, you get from completing a really good series. Then I realized I had only watched 3 episodes and that there were 10 more to go. Each episode wastes no time, no filler and does everything perfectly and without wasting anyone’s time. It is rare to see a story depicted as well as the studio behind the anime has done and such a unique story too. However, there are a few downfalls.

One of them is the lack of male victims. During the show we see that Sakuta himself was afflicted by the Syndrome for a bit; however, throughout the rest of the show we only see the female victims of the syndrome and I for one believe that this was one huge missed opportunity. Including a guy who was afflicted by the syndrome, perhaps Kunimi, would have made this show much better as it would have opened up so many opportunities as guys and girls can react in wildly different manners in certain situations. It would have also been a test of friendship for Sakuta and Kunimi and would have introduced a dynamic that was missing from the show.

Just think about it, instead of, mainly, Sakuta helping out girls, it would have been nice to see him and the girls working together to cure a guy of the syndrome. I just think this was a huge missed opportunity and I hope that in the coming seasons or movies that they hopefully have planned, they explore this route as I believe that it will introduce something that this show was clearly lacking and will allow for, story twists and a new aesthetic to the show. As of now, the only relevant guy in the show is Sakuta, with his dad and Kunimi making minor appearances, this is something that needs to be changed for me to give this show a 10/10 for the story.

Namely, the ‘Adolescent’ or ‘Puberty’ syndrome that acts as the basis for what happens to the various characters in the series. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great plot device and works very well, but the incorrect and random quantum physics theorems that the show attempts to use to describe the phenomenon, however reasonable and credible they sound, are quite funny, and not in the good way. Sure they provide a nice scientific basis and are all real phenomenon, but the way they relate to what is happening to the main character of the arc and the effect of the Syndrome that they are facing, makes no sense, but that is something I am willing to overlook as it didn’t take anything away from my enjoyment of the series.

Characters: 10/10

This is where Seishun Buta Yarou shines it’s brightest. I might have not been the biggest fan of all the characters, I only didn’t like Tomoe, they are all individual and unique characters that don’t fall back under one of the anime girl stereotypes or ‘-dere’. I am not saying that the characters don’t, it just isn’t as blatant and obvious as many series make it, namely most harem series.

Our main protagonist, Sakuta, is the man we all, at least my friends and I, aim to become. He is such an honest and incredible MC and is relatable for the show’s audience. I am at a loss for words when describing Sakuta as I don’t believe the words I say can do him justice. Even while being the selfless person he is, he doesn’t lack his own issues, which aren’t waved aside like many are in other series’. The only way to understand how masterfully written Sakuta is is to watch the series. He is just such a funny and unique character and alongside the other characters, makes the show an experience to have.

Onto the main and best girl of the first volume and the whole series, everyone’s favourite bunny girl and probably one of the best anime girlfriends, Sakurajima Mai, or Mai-san. Mai-san is another great character, as are all of the characters, for a few specific reasons. She is adorable, funny and a great person in essence. She has her own independent problems and situations even outside of her arc that keeps her involved and doesn’t just have her moving to the side for another character. This consistency and complexity of emotions she displays as a character alongside the new sides of her that surprise viewers when you least expect it, make her a great character in all.

The heroine of each arc, no matter who it is, is always deeply rooted with the side of the Syndrome that they are being afflicted by. It is a very emotional journey as you experience and learn about the reasons and backstory about why each character is suffering from what they are and there are specific moments in which each character manages to shine the brightest they possibly can. In this way they are all unique characters, displaying their own unique motives and intentions throughout their portion of the story, and continuing to be involved in the rest as well.

But what really makes the characters a 10/10 for me is how the show is not scared to do what they think is best for the characters in the story, whether it is heartbreaking or heartwarming, and this decision truly does justice to each character and their own story and I hope that when we get more of the series in the future, they don’t hesitate to do whatever is necessary again.

Animation: 7/10

The animation is Seishun Buta Yarou’s weakest point as a show, and by no means does this mean that it is bad. The animation is great, it’s just the fact that it is also rather average and nothing out of the ordinary for an anime in 2018. There are certain portions in which the animation style stands out for what it is, and that’s the reason it gets raised from a 6 to a 7, but otherwise there’s nothing really different about it.

Sound: 10/10

Another home run for this show. Let me start with the OP, Kimi No Sei, one of my favourite openings of 2018, on par with Nanatsu No Taizai: Revival Of The Commandments OP 2 and a little ahead of OP 1, but only falling behind the likes of Fiction by Sumika which was the OP for Wotakoi: Love is Hard for Otaku, which has to be one of my all time favourite songs of all time now. Nevertheless, Kimi No Sei is an insanely good OP and suits Seishun Buta Yarou perfectly.

The lyrics have a deeply rooted meaning which sits well with the premise and the themes of the show and the video going along with the OP is nothing extremely exciting like most shows have, but that’s what makes it even better, the bare bones attitude of the video that plays with Kimi No Sei. Above all, Kimi No Sei was a perfect fit for the anime and is a great song, and one that will sit in my playlist for a few months at the very least. It is on par with, if not better than the likes of Peace Sign, Fly High and Hikari Are in terms of Anime Openings.

The voice acting for Seishun Buta Yarou is top quality and I don’t see any issues with it. The score and OST for the show itself is really nice and suits and sits well with the themes of the show and is beautifully blended in with whatever is happening on screen so that it doesn’t distract you from what’s going on or draw attention to itself but feels right and adds to the experience of watching the show.

Enjoyment: 9/10

Seishun Buta Yarou was my favourite anime to watch this season, and generally because it was all around awesome and there are hardly any flaws with it. The only reason I am giving enjoyment a 9/10 instead of full is because I did manage to become a little disinterested during the Tomoe arc. Apart from that, the show is amazing and definitely warrants a high recommendation from me and deserves a watch from everyone.

Final Verdict:

Seishun Buta Yarou is an incredible anime and definitely one of the best of 2018. Its story, characters and soundtrack are excellent and is very enjoyable; however, it lacks slightly in the animation. As Anime of the Season for Autumn 2018, I highly recommend watching the show as soon as possible. It’s clear-cut relate-ability and in-depth character development do it merit and lay out a heartwarming and heartbreaking story at the same time. I for one plan to read on in the series in time for the movie releasing next year.

If you enjoyed this show then check out Koe No Katachi, you can read my review of it here.

Final Score: Fantastic! (9/10)

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