Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai – Anime Preview
Synopsis: “Puberty syndrome – Abnormal experiences rumored 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…? (Official Crunchyroll Synopsis)
1st Episode Review (Warning: Minor Spoilers to Follow):
Tom: What little I knew of Rascal had me expecting the worst. Light Novels aren’t exactly known as a bastion of high quality, and while generally strong and innovative titles can come out of the medium, more often than not content aimed squarely at seducing the horny male teen demographic via fan service and harem-style plot lines is what we get. Often the medium is a tired wash of endless reused tropes and Rascal had me concerned it would be no different. Surprisingly Rascal is most anything but. The story takes itself seriously, with a lot of thought having gone into this “Puberty Syndrome” idea. The episode takes the concept seriously, an idea that feels like a darker take on Charlotte’s concept of children with super powers. Here the children are suffering from horrible supernatural like occurrences, creating a strong air of mystery as Sakuta Azusagawa works to try and help those suffering around him, namely Mai Sakurajima, a girl who is gradually ‘disappearing’ to the world around her.
Linny: It’s definitely surprising given that the show prominently features a girl walking around in a ‘sexy’ bunny outfit, yet the plot itself is actually rather tame, serious and even manages to come up with a semi-plausible excuse for why our female protagonist is walking around in such a sexy outfit. The central mystery in the show is rather dark and sombre and assuming the show develops it with the serious tone it employed in this first episode, Rascal might turn out to be more than the cheap cliche harem it appears as at first glance.
Tom: Rascal’s concept isn’t wholly original, and immediately comparable to many other teen oriented anime, but goes about handling it in a more down to Earth way. The series is helped by a refreshing lead, Sakuta, who wants non of the typical light novel fluff, shooting down his needy sister right at the start, in an effort that I’ve come to understand is the story actively saying “We’re not doing shit like that.” First impressions are important, and Rascal’s managed to assuage my greater fears. Assuming the series is as it billed itself with this first episode I think much like Reincarnated as a Slime, Rascal’s could be a series that helps break the mold just enough to make certain things feel new and fun again. The one last thing I’ll say though, is that for a comedy, Rascal’s is a bit lacking in the chuckles.
Linny: Rascal had me filled me with apprehension with its title, promotional image and that early scene where we find out our lead’s younger sister has a bit of a brother complex. All of which were pointing to aspects I’ve come to strongly dislike in anime. Thankfully, Rascal does a decent job of curving and avoiding the worst and turning these elements into semi positive or credible content. There’s hope that this show could turn out to be much deeper than it seems at first glance but thanks to a very harem style opening, I would still advise viewers to have some reservations until the show’s midpoint.