Boy am I glad Bunny Girl Senpai is getting a movie because I am so perplexed with Shoko Ex Machina right now.
What a surprise that was though. I knew we’d have Sakuta upset over Kaede reverting to her original personality but I didn’t expect Shoko, the older Shoko Sakuta met before, to step in and save the day. I figured that job would be Mai’s (and we’ll get to how she factored into this episode instead). How peculiar that Shoko just appeared in front of Sakuta too. No matter how you look at it, that’s one hell of a coincidence. There’s not even an explanation given to why she suddenly looks older again either. I know I’ve asked this already but who the hell this girl is?
I think we can safely presume this mystery has Puberty Syndrome written over it but who exactly has it? The most obvious suspect is Shoko but after this episode, I’m wondering if this is actually Sakuta’s case. I noticed that his scar still has yet to go away and it seems telling that Shoko appears shortly after it bleeds. Shot in the dark but maybe these two details are connected? Also, Shoko seems to only appear to Sakuta and no one else. In one scene, Futaba speculates that maybe this Shoko is a hallucination created by Sakuta. It’d be plausible except you have to wonder why Sakuta’s hallucination just so happens to resemble a real girl with the same name that Sakuta wouldn’t meet until recently. There’s also the fact that Mai later finds and reads a note Shoko left for him…this is starting to hurt my brain.
For my sanity, let’s move onto something that requires less speculation…
So, as you might’ve guessed from the preceding paragraphs, this episode focused more on Sakuta than Kaede. And understandably so. Kaede is practically a new character and while we should be glad that she regained her memories and can now face her fears, it stings to know that the Kaede we’ve following for the past twelve episodes is no more. It stings and Sakuta has every right to be upset. I do like that he is just left to deal with it though. When you look at all the arcs in Bunny Girl Senpai, no one has gotten exactly what they wanted. Mai ended up going back to showbiz. Both Tomoe and Futaba had to accept the friendzone. And while Nodoka patched things up with Mai, the fact remains that she still has a ways to go in showbiz. That is just a part of life. Nothing goes as perfectly as you want and that’s that. It’s no different for Sakuta and thank goodness he recognizes it as the episode progresses and resolves to still be the best big brother he can be.
To be honest, I wish there was more time dedicated to Kaede. Having her read her diary to recall what happened when she was amnesiac is fine but these scenes are so brief that I can’t help but find it anticlimatic after the emotional rollercoaster the past two episodes had put me through. At the very least, I wish more time was dedicated to getting to know the new Kaede. I get gist of her character but I’m so used to her panda loving, onesie wearing variant that I’m still suffering a sort of culture shock here. But maybe like Sakuta, I too need to just deal with it. I’m sure, with time, I’ll get used to this new Kaede. It’ll be fine…really, it’ll be fine…IT’LL BE FINE.
As for Mai, I’ll admit that the bit with Shoko’s note did feel melodramatic but I can see why she stormed off. Sakuta was at a serious low-point which is the kind of moment a girlfriend should be present for and yet, another girl ended up stepping in instead. Understandably, Mai would feel angry, even envious, at first. Thank goodness she and Sakuta have one of the most stablest relationships an anime couple has ever been graced with as the two are able to clear things up and even go on a date together. I’m sure Mai would’ve eventually come around and apologize but props to Sakuta for going to the extra mile and take the train to where Mai is filming. It really says a lot about how much he wants this relationship to work.
Sakuta not knowing when Mai’s birthday though is…pretty dumb. I know he lacks a phone so it’s not like he’s on social network but did it never occurred to him to ask his girlfriend when her birthday is? I’m with Mai on that, he was cutting it close in that regard. Oh well, water under the bridge.
You know, this finale does kind of reek of non-ending. It was bound to seeing as how this anime is not only based on an ongoing light novel series. That and it was clearly not going to address its biggest mystery. In fact, the last episode proceeded to tease about it even more. Normally, I’d be annoyed when an anime adaptation leaves me hanging like this but the movie is indeed in production so I’m actually just bummed out that I now have to wait to see what lies ahead.
Still, what a surprise Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai was. I do still have issues with the dialogue. Even after thirteen episodes of watching this series, I just think no one talks naturally in various scenes. However, there is a reason why I stopped harping on it during this series of episode reviews. There’s so much more to like about Bunny Girl Senpai. The characters proved to be compelling and endearing and as clunky as the scripts may be, they oddly does have a sharp commentary to them. There’s a lot to relate with these stories that it’s no wonder that they ended up resonating with a lot of viewers, myself included. Against my initial skepticism, I had a really good time with Bunny Girl Senpai and I look forward to seeing its story continued when the movie comes out next year.
- Yay, Nodoka finally got to do something again.
- I’ve enjoyed every version of the ED but it is nice to hear the version with all the girls singing the song for the finale.
Thanks for reading!
For all of my Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai Episode Reviews, check out the show’s archive page!
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