Seishun Buta Yarou wa Bunny Girl Senpai no Yume wo Minai’s lie, or how I fell in love with Bunny girl senpai in just 3 episodes

{Spoilers for the first 3 episodes of the anime, not for each and every thing cause that would be boring; if you want even less spoilers, just look at the pretty pictures, the art style is pretty great!}
Just a heads-up-the article is pretty damn long! This is basically my version of a love letter to the series and my scream into the void for more people to check it out.

Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai was an anime that aired in October 2018 and at first glance I expected some weird ecchi comedy.

I mean, just look at the cover

The MAL synopsis at the time surely didn’t help; thankfully it has been rewritten, but, either way, at the time of its airing, I decided to give it a go.

I opened up episode 1 without many expectations and was pleasantly surprised, as the anime starts, to phrase it basically, from the end. By the time the opening had lyrics to be read, I was already intrigued.

In short, the anime follows high school student Sakuta Azusagawa and his encounters with the rare and inexplicable Puberty Syndrome (way more supernatural than it sounds) and the people dealing with it, as well as his own experience. One of them is Mai Sakurajima, better known as a third-year high school student who gained fame as a child actress or “the bunny girl senpai”.

It’s a show with supernatural elements that is more down to earth and realistic than some slice of life anime. It tackles real problems, that I’m sure a lot of us have faced ourselves, of characters, that more often than not, seem real people or at the very least like real people.
However, before I knew that, my face did resemble Sakuta’s while watching this scene:

“I’m surprised” Mai calmly states as she stands next to our bewildered main character. “So, you can still see me?”

I didn’t know what I was expecting, but this surely wasn’t it

Despite telling Sakuta to forget what he saw and not to have anything to do with her under any circumstances, he continues to show interest.

A big part of the first three episodes is reading the situation or as the show refers to it-“atmosphere”. Due to a previous incident and the rumors surrounding it, Sakuta is basically a loner with only two friends (Futaba who he asks for advice with stuff concerning Puberty syndrome and Kunimi), to the point of Kunimi’s girlfriend telling him to stop hanging out with Kunimi or his reputation might drop.
Despite the truth being completely different (the only person hospitalized was Sakuta and it all began with his sister Kaede who started getting mysterious injuries while being bullied online), Sakuta doesn’t fight the “atmosphere” as he says it’s pointless.

Mai is in a similar situation- she was all over the billboards and tv screens thanks to her debut as a child actress that led to her receiving more and more roles. However, as a result of suddenly quitting, she returned to school at the second half of year one, when all of the groups and cliques have already formed. People don’t want to talk to her or approach her and stand out themselves, as Sakuta phrases it:
“Once the class takes its shape, it doesn’t change easily. Others will talk behind your back if you stand out, calling you annoying or a show off. And once that happens, everyone knows that there’s no going back.”

Aside from the supernatural plot, what’s really supernatural is how natural these two act. In episode 2 we get a scene of our main characters shopping since Mai can’t do that by herself and the dialogue is both entertaining and clearly shows their dynamic.

The lewdest act of all: hand holding

We also get some more insight and real reasons why Mai left the show business in the first place (turns out it was her mother using her for money and changing a contract against Mai’s wishes), which only gives her actual depth and makes her even more like a person, not just a character or a senpai in a bunny outfit for views. One thing leads to another, and Mai agrees to return to show biz after talking with Sakuta and realizing that she still feels bitter and honestly enjoyed acting.

Sakuta even opens up to Mai about a person who helped him during the hard time that was the whole Kaede situation, Makinohara Shouko, a mysterious girl who doesn’t seem to exist in the student records.
Mai teases him about confessing his love for another during their date, Sakuta denies it saying he was in love; it seems all fun and games until Mai reveals she asked her mother to meet here at the beach where she and Sakuta were talking, as she wants to properly talk to her about returning to the show business and signing a contract with another company.

What follows is a gut punch, I don’t know how else to describe this scene:

Even Mai’s mother doesn’t see her anymore, what was almost horrifying, she doesn’t even remember her own daughter

This leads to a shocking conclusion that not only are people not seeing Mai anymore, it’s like she’s being erased from their memory.

The two decide to take a trip and find out if there are people outside of town that know and remember her and Sakuta promises that even if there aren’t, he can stay by Mai’s side the whole way.

I can only imagine how scary it must be to see your own existence crumbling and how even people that are close to you, or even complete strangers, lose sight of you. However, this is the problem and almost tragedy of Mai Sakurajima, which makes the scene of Sakuta reassuring her that he still sees her, hears her voice and knows who she is, even more impactful and important.

As Sakuta finds out with the help of a few phone calls, the only people that remember Mai seem to be his friends from school, one of who, Futaba, advises Sakuta that this might have something to do with the school.

At the start of the third episode, there are only a handful of people left who remember Mai. As Futaba warns, the reason might be because neither she nor Sakuta got any sleep. She also proposes the idea that Mai was treated as the atmosphere at school and even “took” that atmosphere outside as people inadvertently take hints.
“Sakurajima isn’t being observed by anyone at school, so her existence hasn’t been confirmed. […] sleep acts as a catalyst for memory loss”

Of course, after news like that, Sakuta does everything he can to stay awake and starts writing a journal about Mai.

We get a wholesome scene of Mai helping Sakuta study by teaching him kanji, but the Mai arc reaches its peak as expected, but unexpectedly fast. It turns out Mai figured out that Sakuta was forcing himself awake to remember her and slipped him sleep medicine, not wanting to see him suffer like that for her sake. She thanks for everything he has done and apologizes to Sakuta, saying her last good bye

We return to what is the start of episode 1. Kaede wakes Sakuta up and then freaks out over the bunny outfit that Mai left in a bag earlier in his room, but he doesn’t seem to remember where it’s from. After reading the journal, he jokes that he must’ve written it to fill in a name of a future girlfriend, but while on the train to school he remarks to his friend about feeling like someone is looking at him.

I couldn’t help but feel a ton of emotion all at once by the point Sakuta remembered a glimpse of a conversation he had with Mai, while he was writing the kanji that she was teaching him, over the soft piano music playing in a quiet tone (which I can only describe as tearful for obvious reasons). Tears started to spill for both Sakuta and me, as he, bit by bit, remembered Mai.

Azusagawa Sakuta, who previously stated that this was foolish, finally decides to face the “atmosphere” for the person whom he cherishes and now has remembered. The atmosphere that has formed in the school and is stagnant as it is always easier to follow what others think or say, than to make your own conclusions.
Rumors both in the show and in real life spread just like that, someone said something and a bunch of people just followed. Why look into it or think about it for yourself taking your own thoughts and morals into consideration, when you can just safely repeat something and be just like everybody else, without getting hurt over expressing your own will. You can leave everything to someone else.

And Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai takes a clear stance:
“There’s no reason to torment someone just because everyone else is doing it. Because everyone is doing it, because everyone says so… That doesn’t make it true!”

He chooses to ignore the situation and while standing in front of the entire school loudly proclaims his love for Sakurajima Mai over and over again, until finally…

He breaks the “atmosphere”. Even if Mai tries to warn him saying he’ll get more weird rumors about him if he stands out like this, Sakuta replies that he’s fine with them if they’re about being together with Mai-san and once again repeats that he loves her (after apologizing for forgetting, the anime didn’t brush this aside).
Surprisingly enough, Mai doesn’t “melt” like the usual main girl character over a love confession and says that she wants him to ask again in a month or it will feel like she accepted “steamrolled into it from momentum and ambiance”.

This moment was so sweet it gave me virtual diabetes

Mai goes as far as to clear up the rumors surrounding Sakuta and his hospitalization (calling it all silly nonsense) and as one of the students asks “How does Sakurajima-senpai know about that?” we get reassured that Mai is finally seen.

“And thus the world regained Mai Sakurajima”…and I gained a chance to see an anime that had not only a great story and interesting characters, but also made me fall in love with it in just 3 episodes.

I love it, what else is there to say?

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