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Quick Bunny Girl Senpai Review

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avatar WillowDear
Level 20 : Expert Princess
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Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai, or simply Bunny Girl Senpai shortened, is an acclaimed 2018 romance anime that follows Sakuta Azusagawa, a student who encounters numerous girls whom each have a unique supernatural affliction, all seeming to root from the mystery phenomena known as "puberty syndrome". The show has several "arcs" for each character Sakuta encounters as he helps them individually confront and resolve their complications. Bunny Girl Senpai is a series I really enjoyed, and it has many strengths to point out and discuss. This review contains very minor spoilers for Bunny Girl Senpai.
  
  To start, each character was decently fleshed out, and we got to know them as people. They all underwent complete character arcs, which is something that can be hard to pace correctly, especially in a show with a runtime of only 13 episodes, but I think that Bunny Girl Senpai managed it very well. It always felt like each character was given the right amount of time to develop, and the audience begins to understand who they are as a person and emphasize with them. One of the anime's biggest strengths, in my opinion, is the characters, as they are almost solely what carries the anime. The whole gimmick of "puberty syndrome" is only a means to express the characters' inner conflicts, and takes a backseat to the interactions between the characters and their struggles that are caused by the predicament they have been put in. The dialogue feels natural, and each of the characters has a distinct and believable personality and design. They feel like real teenagers with relatable problems; although we can't understand what it's like to undergo the supernatural phenomena they do, we can understand the day to day occurrences, good and bad, that they face.

  In particular, I would like to mention Sakuta himself along with his primary love interest, Mai Sakurajima. Sakuta is a refreshing contrast compared to the stock male protagonists we are usually stuck with in anime. He's calm and collected, nonchalant, funny, and overall a charming and likeable protagonist. The actions he makes are in line with his character, and while I was watching I always believed his character and the way they presented him. Like all the other characters, he felt real, and the charm he brought to the show is enough to make audiences root for him and sympathize with his struggles, and a great protagonist is something any good story should have; Bunny Girl Senpai does not fail to deliver in that department.
  
  Now, Sakuta's romantic partner, Mai Sakurajima, also serves an important role in benefiting the story. She serves as someone Sakuta can rely on, and when Sakuta is struggling or needs a bit of assistance, Mai is always there for him to lean on. Their relationship is a vital aspect in the story, and the romantic chemistry between them feels natural and they really feel like an organic couple. Their interactions are always highlights of the show, and their teasing of each other and dialogue helps build proficient romantic tension. There's not much else to say about this, besides the fact that them functioning as a couple is one of the best parts of the show and is quite a breath of fresh air from other couples and protagonists in less-well handled anime.

  To wrap up, the characters are definitely the show's strongest part in my opinion, although I do have one complaint, and that is that some of the characters take serious backseats after their arcs wrap up. I understand they mostly wanted to emphasize Mai and Sakuta's relationship, but it can feel jarring to have a prominent character we've learned so much of the story become reduced to a side character with only one or two lines of dialogue throughout the rest of the show. A series that handles this concept far better in my opinion is Bakemonogatari, which is a show with a surprisingly similar premise that I would highly recommend you check out.
  
  Moving on, the atmosphere of Bunny Girl Senpai isn't much to remark on in itself, but what I do have to say is that it feels very grounded. Although the world its set it has a mysterious supernatural element to it, it still feels very real, and while watching the anime I completely bought into the idea that this could have taken place in our Japan. The setting doesn't feel fake at all, and it really gives the show and what's shown in it a down-to-earth feel, which I think is what it was going for. However, one of my complaints is that although the city they're in feels natural, it also feels a bit confusing in a way. Maybe it was just me, but the city didn't feel unique or cleanly presented at all. Much of the travelling the characters underwent was through cuts, and what we do see of the streets and the city all feels blended together. The city doesn't have its own unique charm to it, and overall it feels very stale. I've seen realistic settings handled far better in anime; for instance, the city of Akihabara in Steins;Gate. In Steins;Gate, Akihabara has its own unique touch to it, something that helps it stand out a bit more. The places the characters go to feel lively and they all have their own atmosphere and feel to them, and none of them feel very similar at all, yet it's easily believable it could all be in the same city. The setting of Steins;Gate adds to the memorability of the show, and really helps bring it to life and stand out. The city presented in Bunny Girl Senpai, although feeling realistic, feels poorly presented in comparison.

  This brings me to another department I feel Bunny Girl Senpai falls short in that Steins;Gate excels in: atmosphere. Both shows go for a grounded approach to the world, and each of the locations they are set in feel realistic in their own regards. However, there is something about Steins;Gate's cinematography and color palette that helps set it apart from Bunny Girl Senpai. Bunny Girl Senpai has a very basic color palette, and an admittedly unspecial artstyle. There is nothing unique to the look or presentation of Bunny Girl Senpai, and if I were to be shown an image of a place in the show with no context, I would not be able to tell it apart from hundreds of other anime with similarly bland presentations. Steins;Gate proves that it's not impossible to sell a realistic feel to a show while having its own unique vibe to it. Steins;Gate has a very unsaturated color palette, which already helps give it a unique feel to it. On top of that, the lighting on the show also helps set the mood of scenes and creates a unique atmosphere; most outside settings have very bright lighting, seeming to be caused from the light of the sun, and there's a harsh contrast to this with the shadows and much darker feel of the indoor areas. It really compliments the mysterious undertones the show has, giving off a unique almost otherworldly vibe to it, but at the same time, all of it feels tangible and real, and the audience can completely buy that these are real people in a real setting. It's just the way it's presented is unique and memorable, and helps give the show it's own unique feel to it; these factors are something that Bunny Girl Senpai lacks, leading to a much less memorable and distinct experience.

  To finish up, the soundtrack of Bunny Girl Senpai isn't much to remark about, and I can't remember much music from the show at all aside from the OP and ED, which I thought were fairly exceptional and I've listened to both in my free time quite a bit. The soundtrack served its purpose, but like most things in this show, it took a backseat to what it chose to put the most emphasis on: the characters.

  Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai was an enjoyable experience; it had a lovable protagonist, lovable romance subplot, and a lovable side cast. However, the show lacks in most of its other departments, and nothing else about it feels remarkable or unique. The characters are the show's crutch, and everything else lacks in substance and just feels very generic and forgettable. I would still recommend this anime, since what it does do with its characters is fairly exceptional compared to many other anime, but don't expect much else about this anime to stick with you. I'm giving Bunny Girl Senpai a 6/10.
CreditThe creators of Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai
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