Not going to lie, I got a little bit confused on what to expect next from Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai. Last episode ends with Sakuta’s surprising reunion with Shoko but the other day, I remember hearing that Futaba was actually going to get the spotlight next. Plus, there seems to be a pattern where Bunny Girl Senpai likes to drop a hint in the second episode of each arc which it in fact did for Futaba during Episode 5. I suppose I should’ve strictly followed the bread crumbs but in my defense, suddenly reintroducing Sakuta’s first crush had me mighty curious.
Evidently, it’s going to be a while before this adaptation gets around to Shoko’s arc. Literally. From my understanding, this is going to be what the upcoming movie will cover. It could even take longer considering the wait time for international release with a lot of anime films. All that easily makes me feeling impatient as there’s something going on here with Shoko. Not only does she not recognize Sakuta but she’s also gotten de-aged into a seventh grader. Darn it, can the movie come out now? I’m dying to know what happened! At least Sakuta is content; he’s aware he won’t get anything from Shoko and is just happy to make her acquaintance again by taking care of the stray cat she found.
Really, I don’t want to sound too annoyed because truth be told, I’m liking where the anime is going anyway. I haven’t really talked much about Futaba in the past episode reviews, the reason being that, up until now, her scenes were just her helping Sakuta try to make sense of what’s been going on the past two arcs. And if I’m being honest, a lot of the “science” that she cites comes across as pure mumble jumble so it didn’t really seem to be worth analyzing. I was however, slowly getting getting more curious about her character as it becomes apparent that she has a very one-sided crush on Kunini, her and Sakuta’s mutual friend who happens to be dating another girl. Knowing Bunny Girl Senpai has explored, this situation is ripe for Adolescence Syndrome to meddle with and, well, here we are with the results.
It’s a curious situation as we seemingly now have two Futabas in the plot. One is the Futaba that we’re familiar. The other, meanwhile, appears to have donned a ponytail, put on contacts, spend her spare time staring longingly at Kunimi, and post suggestive pictures of herself on social media. Who is the “original” and who is the “fake” is a mystery though the logistic is not really what the viewer should take away. If I had to speculate, I’d say Futaba’s predicament represents how she desires to be seen by Kunimi. Her feelings towards the guy are crystal clear but it appears that she’s unsure what would make her more attractive to him. Should she just be herself or should she change her image into something that’s in with the crowds (or at least, she thinks it’s popular and trendy)? At least in terms of how it seems right now, that appears to be what the sudden cloning is meant to convey.
There’s a number of great moments. I particularly enjoy how Futaba’s doppelganger situation gets revealed. When she first appears onscreen, the sudden change in appearance throws you off but your natural assumption is that she is simply trying to look more appealing to Kunimi. Later though, Sakuta and Mai spot Futaba dressed normally, suspiciously heading into an internet cafe. Sakuta gives her a call only to quickly realize that one at the cafe isn’t the one at the fun and then you realize how Adolescence Syndrome is kicking in now. It’s a really clever way to gradually raise your suspicion before it all finally clicks.
The follow-up, meanwhile, is downright hilarious. Sakuta letting Futaba stay at his place makes sense but just make to sure no funny business happens, Mai decides to crash in as well. What an odd conclusion to make. Kaede’s reaction is especially on point, baffled to have
this much competition this many of Sakuta’s female friends all in one place. It’s odd though it does lead to a really cute scene between Sakuta and Mai. Darn it, I was really hoping they’d actually kiss.
I’m curious as to what exact role Sakuta will ultimately play in this arc. Personally, I’d like his relationship with Futaba to stay platonic all the way through, not because I’m a Mai loyalist (okay, maybe because I am) but I think these two work perfectly well as friends. I really enjoy what little tolerance Futaba has with Sakuta’s sexual comments. It’s different from how Mai can counterattack and how Tomoe gets flustered and it’s a reaction that I think works best when the relationship is platonic. Furthermore, I think Futaba’s romantic woes is already complicated. First, her crush is dating someone else and now she literally has herself to worry about. Making Sakuta a potential love interest would not only be repetitive but it’d also be bloated.
However this relationship unfolds, it’ll be interesting to see the one character who’s only speculated on how Adolescence Syndrome works deal with the phenomenon herself. It is fun seeing Futaba and Sakuta play detective together but in the likely event that the former learns a lot about herself from this experience, will she be able to accept it?
ED: “Fukashigi no Karte” by Rio Futaba (CV: Atsumi Tanezaki)
Really clever how this ED incorporates both Futabas. Having both Kunimi and Sakuta at the end is also a nice touch.
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