Title: Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai
Author: Hajime Kamoshida (Original Story), Tsugumi Nanamiya (Artwork), Ken Mizoguchi (Characters)
Publisher: Yen Press
Genre: Sci-Fi, Slice of Life
Publication Date: August 16, 2020
I heard good things about the anime but never watched it. Then, I heard that Yen Press was picking up the manga adaptation so I decided to give in and check out Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai.
The story starts out with a boy named Sakuta Azusagawa who noticed the famous actress Mai Sakurajima wearing a bunny suit in a public library. It strikes Sakuta kind of oddly when she mentions that he can still see her. From that moment on, Sakuta takes an interest in Mai.
Apparently, Mai isn’t able to be seen by many people and that number keeps growing more and more every day. Still, she finds it odd that Sakuta can continue to see her each and every time that they meet. Sakuta, himself, doesn’t have many friends. He has two of them in total in a boy named Yuuma Kunimi and a girl named Rio Futaba. The two of them continue to know who Mai is as well so Sakuta isn’t alone in this strange occurrence. In addition, he later bumps into a classmate named Tomoe Koga who can also remember who Mai is.
Mai gave up on acting for personal reasons; however, it seems to be the catalyst for this strange event that’s happening where everyone cannot remember her. Sakuta relates it to Adolescence Syndrome as his sister Kaede is also going through the same thing but in a completely different manner. This serves as the sci-fi twist to the series as, obviously, something like this just doesn’t happen in real life but it tends to ground this sci-fi aspect into a normal slice of life world.
There are two volumes of the manga; however, Yen Press combined them both into one single omnibus so this is it. This one, single volume is the entire story. Normally, I would talk about the ending to the manga but since that also concludes the story, I will refrain from doing so because it would spoil it. Just know that this manga is the journey Sakuta takes into trying to figure out why Mai is being forgotten by everyone and what he tries to do in order to solve the problem. It’s also about the development of a relationship between the two of them as he works to figure out just what’s going on!
Since this omnibus is a complete series, there are a few characters to go through here.
The first is Sakuta, our first main character. Sakura’s personality is a bit brash. While he seems kind-hearted through his actions, he has no problem whatsoever in speaking his mind. He is honest about the way a cute girl like Mai makes him feel but, at the same time, he also has a reservation about him as if relationships aren’t for him. It’s kind of a weird yin/yang dynamic but it works so well because it brings a lot of personality and character to him. Of course, those nuances about him change over time but he starts out this way because of a rumor that spread about him that he sent people to the hospital. He feels that there is no point in arguing with air as people will believe whatever they want and nothing you say… even the truth… can sway people’s opinions. Therefore, he keeps short company with him and limits the number of friends he has. I really enjoyed him as a main character as he had so much going for him. He broke the stereotypical mold of main characters that you would normally see in this kind of story.
Next up is our other main character Mai. Mai gave up on acting because her mother was her manager. When she was in middle school, she forced Mai to take part in a swimsuit photoshoot that she didn’t want to do. She realized that her mother was only exploiting her for money so she rebelled by going on hiatus from her acting career. She only wished that she could be alone and it was the power of this wish that caused everyone to begin to forget about her. Mai is a bit of a tsundere here as she seems really reserved but rather than hide the reasons why, through the story itself, you naturally learn about those reasons and, therefore, you understand her position. Still… the armor slowly begins to chip away the more that Sakuta gets involved and tries to help solve her problem. She starts to let her guard down and it’s probably some of the most adorable moments in the series!
Outside of these two, the rest of the characters felt like they were in the background a bit too much. The only ones that really stood out were Rio and Kaede.
Rio is one of Sakuta’s two friends. She wears a lab coat and loves science. She always looks at the analytical and data-driven side of things and decides to help Sakuta with investigating this strange occurrence with Mai. She seems pretty cool but she also acts as if Sakuta is a bother to her at times. Kind of a weird friendship that the two of them have but it works… even if Rio comes off as a bit reluctant to do anything with Sakuta.
Kaede is Sakuta’s sister who once ignored a group text on accident. Since then, her friends thought she was ghosting them and even told her to go die. When she reads these messages, her body splits open and she starts to bleed. It looks like a case of self-harm but these injuries are occurring on their own. Because as such, Kaede stopped going to school and Sakuta would do anything to protect his sister. Despite this, her story doesn’t really go anywhere. We never really see a conclusion or a resolution to Kaede’s problem. It was as if she was introduced with this condition to set up an explanation for Mai’s condition and then once it was established, Kaede wasn’t needed anymore so they just put her on the back burner and forgot about her.
Kunimi was about as plain as you could get for a secondary character… same with Koga. It seemed as if they were brought into the story when it was convenient for them to move the plot along and nothing more.
Despite only being a single omnibus, I can see why people loved this anime. I really enjoyed the story but I feel as if it’s missing something in the manga. I’m not sure if that’s how the entire 13-episode series went but maybe I should check it out for myself and see. I also know that there are light novels of this series so I’m wondering if they go into further detail than the manga does.
The ending for the series came so quickly. They spent the better part of 300 pages setting up Mai’s condition and how to solve it… then, an event happens that I thought would have ended the omnibus to set up a second volume but, lo and behold, it ended up actually rushing the series to a conclusion and there wasn’t going to be a second volume. In fact, I don’t even think we got an absolute concrete answer to Sakuta’s outburst at the end, either. It was a really weird ending spot that makes me believe that there is more to it in the light novel or maybe there’s more to it in the anime… although after seeing that it has 13-episodes, I somehow doubt that. There is also the movie as well which may further expand on things but without having experienced this series outside of this omnibus I, personally, cannot say.
I will say that it has encouraged me to check this out. The story was incredibly interesting and I loved watching the characters develop throughout. Even though the ending was rushed, it was a little too predictable. I would have hoped they had solved the problem in another way as it seemed kind of tropish; however, it still worked for what it was and it gave me a pretty good reading experience overall. If you’ve read the source material and/or have seen the anime, I can only assume this omnibus would be a great companion for you so I would highly recommend picking it up!
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This item was provided for review by Yen Press