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Light Novel / Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai

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Sakuta Azusagawa's life takes a turn for the unexpected when he meets teenage actress Mai Sakurajima after she wanders into a public library while dressed in a sexy bunny suit and realizes only he can see her. Mai admits she has taken a hiatus from her acting duties and has been attempting to live a normal life, but people are unable to see her, except for Sakuta, who is no stranger to this phenomenon, which he calls "Adolescence Syndrome". Sakuta decides to solve this mystery while continuing to get closer to Mai and meeting other girls who suffer "Adolescence Syndrome" as well.
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Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai (Japanese: 青春ブタ野郎, Seishun Buta Yarō wa Bunny Girl-senpai no Yume wo Minai) is a light novel series written by Hajime Kamoshida and illustrated by Keeji Mizoguchi. It is published by ASCII Media Works under their Dengeki Bunko imprint since April 2014 and has spawned 9 volumes so far. An Animated Adaptation by CloverWorks premiered on October 4, 2018. The sequel film, Rascal Does Not Dream of a Dreaming Girl, which will be focusing on Shoko Makinohara, premiered in Japan on June 15th, 2019 and will be premiering in the US at Anime Expo on July 7th.


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Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai provides examples of:

  • All Periods Are PMS: When Saki tells Sakuta not to ever talk to Yuuma again, Sakuta asks the girl if she's on her period. Her response is to insult him and storm off.
  • Almost Kiss: Mai gives Sakuta permission to kiss her in episode 7. Unfortunately, they bump their foreheads before their lips meet.
    • Happens a couple more times, but usually broken off by Mai as a way to tease Sakuta.
  • Always Someone Better: The source of Mai and her half-sister Nodoka's tension. Mai's mother forced her to take up modeling to spite her ex-husband. Meanwhile her father's new wife forced Nodoka to likewise become a celebrity, and always criticized her whenever Mai got a job they were both competing for. She also hates that she got her start in an idol group while Mai was taking a break from working, and immediately stole her spotlight again the moment she started modeling again.
  • Ambiguous Situation: Sakuta's first love is a girl name Shoko Makinohara, a high school girl who encouraged him when Kaede's bullying problem was at its peak. However, his attempts to find her showed that there didn't seem to be any such person at the school she supposedly went to. Later, he runs into a Shoko Makinohara that looks identical apart from being about six years younger. The relationship between the two is never made clear in the anime, whether the older girl was ever real, whether it's another case of Puberty Syndrome or something even weirder. The sequel film, Rascal Does Not Dream of a Dreaming Girl, will eventually resolve this mystery.
  • Anguished Declaration of Love:
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    • Sakuta does this in episode 3 after finally remembering Mai's name and face. He yells in front of the entire school until his voice strains, which is enough to get everyone's attention. This brings her back to everyone's memory.
    • The climax of episode 6, and of Tomoe's arc, has Tomoe making one of these to Sakuta, knowing full well that she'll be rejected. This allows Tomoe to move on and end her time loops, while also giving her the courage to properly reject her own unwanted suitor from Episode 4.
    • Actually ends up getting Subverted with Rio. Her arc was building up in such a way that it seemed like she was going to make one to Yuuma but come episode 8 it's actually a rather subdued confession because by that point she had finally made peace with the fact that her crush was unrequited.
  • Apocalyptic Log: The tear jerker that is Kaede's diary, full of chronicles of her happy life with Sakuta, thoughts of the future, and ponderings about what happens to a split personality when one's dissociative identity disorder is cured. The last part becomes more and more prevalent as the diary goes on, as she knows finally getting out of their home and going to school would probably cause the old Kaede to return, until she makes her list of goals that she wants to fulfill so her brother won't have any regrets once she's gone. The diary ends on a cheerful "I'll go to school for real tomorrow", the last thing she wrote before disappearing.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: Being the only member of their school's science club, Rio dismisses Adolescence Syndrome as a myth or urban legend which has no factual basis though she does explain various pseudo-sciences behind the cases Sakuta personally comes across that often point him in the right direction. Come episode 7, she's forced to concede that the phenomenon exists when a duplicate of her appears.
  • Arc Words: "Nothing less from you, Azusagawa. What a young rascal." Also doubles as the show's "On the Next Episode of..." Catchphrase.
  • Artifact Title: Mai, the titular Bunny Girl Senpai, gets less attention after her arc resolves, although not going completely Out of Focus. The titles for each volume of the light novels actually change to fit the girl of interest in each arc.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Mai got tired of being recognized by everyone as a famous child actor whenever she went out. Then her Adolescence Syndrome made her completely invisible to an ever increasing number of people. This means she can't do simple but necessary stuff like buying food in an area that keeps getting larger. Becomes even more chilling when people start forgetting her existence as well, including her own mother.
    • More than one instance of Adolencent Syndrome seems to manifest in this way. Such as Nodoka admitting that she wanted to be like her half-sister and accidentally becomes Mai.
  • Blackmail: Futaba's erotic pictures of herself causes someone to send her a text wanting to meet her after he figures out which high school she goes to. He then threatens to leak her pictures and inform the school if she refuses to meet. Fortunately Sakuta was around when she first saw the messages, and tells her to reply that she was going to report the stalker to the police.
  • Bland-Name Product: In episode 5, Sakuta brings Tomoe a tin of Fole-brand mandarin oranges. And of course, there's his recurring part-time job at "Benny's".
  • Cheeky Mouth: While sometimes the animation draws mouths moving properly and showing the background behind them, other times the mouth seems to just migrate to the side of the face instead. Mysterious. Perhaps another case of Puberty Syndrome that has gone unacknowledged.
  • The Confidant: Rio serves as this for Sakuta, usually telling her opinion on how to deal with the Puberty Syndrome despite the fact that she believes it to be a myth. Sakuta is also Rio's confidant, keeping her crush on Yuuma a secret.
  • Contemplate Our Navels: Sakuta frequently engages in inner monologues of this nature, regarding Mai's Adolescence Syndrome.
  • Contemptible Cover: The title and initial previews would give any newcomer an impression that it's going to be an ecchi harem light novel adaptation. However, Mai only wears the Playboy Bunny suit for a few minutes of the first episode, and any expected ecchi elements become absent afterward, or at least extremely downplayed.
  • Credits Running Sequence: Sakuta does this twice in the opening credits.
  • Disappeared Dad: Mai's father left her mother, then married Nodoka's mother. Although both mothers appeared in their respective daughters' arcs, their father has not yet been shown.
  • "Do It Yourself" Theme Tune: The ending theme is sung by the voice actresses of the main female characters, each one taking turns as they enter the spotlight.
  • Evolving Credits: The ending credits has a song sung by the girl featured in the arc as she walks along the beach, usually meeting Sakuta at the end.
    • Episode 2 and 3 had Mai, turning at the end to find Sakuta behind her.
    • Episode 4 and 5 changed this to Tomoe.
    • Episode 7 and 8 has Rio walking along the beach, and both Yuuma and Sakuta are waiting at the end.
    • Episode 9 and 10 had Nodoka on the beach meeting Mai at the end.
    • Episode 11 and 12 has Kaede walking the beach in a school uniform.
    • Episode 13 plays over the end events so no one is walking on the beach, but it has all the girls singing in turn.
  • First Girl Wins: Not that it's a competition, but Mai was the first girl to be cured of her Adolescence Syndrome. Part of it might relate back to him curing it by loudly confessing his love to the entire school.
  • First-Name Basis: Within days of getting to know each other, Sakuta and Mai establish this early on. Mai quickly admits that she finds being called "senpai" by Sakuta tiring, and as both of them have long last names, she proposes that they default to this trope.
  • Foreshadowing: Mai seems surprised when Kaede does not know who she is despite being a well-known child actress. Sakuta explains it as her not watching much TV. This is a super-early foreshadowing of Kaede's memory loss, since she does watch TV very frequently.
  • "Freaky Friday" Flip: The fourth arc, starting with episode 9 features one between Mai and her younger half-sister, Nodoka. This case of Adolescence Syndrome was spurred by their buried resentment towards one another.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: The title in the opening credits shifts around before settling on the anime's full title. In between, the shifting tiles reflect the titles of each of the first few light novels.
  • Gallows Humor: Sakuta relies on this kind of humor to lighten the mood when his friends are in distress, often making inappropriate or flirty quips.
  • "Groundhog Day" Loop: Sakuta winds up dealing with one in episode 4 thanks to Tomoe, the newest victim of Adolescence Syndrome. She cannot bring herself to reject a varsity basketball player confessing to her for fear that it will cause her to lose face with her friends. She and Sakuta are later mistaken for a couple when they realize that they are the only two people trapped in one, but while this does cause the loop to snap, it causes Mai's relationship with him to temporarily sour when he and Tomoe pretend to date for the time being.
    • Episode 6 features another one on the last day Sakuta and Tomoe agree to end their relationship, caused again by the latter. Although Tomoe feigns ignorance, she is forced to come clean on the fourth loop and admits that she had developed genuine feelings for Sakuta over the month they spent together; she refused to let them part while she still had them, especially knowing that he had feelings for Mai in turn and that she wanted to be his friend at the very least. Sakuta is able to talk some sense into Tomoe by convincing her that they would remain close no matter what.
    • In the end, the loops were completely reset; Sakuta and Tomoe's agreement to remain Platonic Life-Partners resets them back to what was originally the first day of the loop, where Tomoe manages to push through with her original rejection while she and Sakuta affirm their friendship with each other. Aside from him managing to confirm a relationship with Mai and the lack of a fake relationship to uphold, the rest of the loop's original events - such as Tomoe becoming Sakuta's co-worker - play as they did. Sakuta believes that the previous loops were all just a simulation of the future they went through together, while Rio hypothesizes that their initial butt-kicking escapade caused them to be the only two aware of the time loops to begin with.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: The light novel's volumes always follow the "Rascal Does Not Dream of X" naming scheme, with a different girl each time. The "Bunny Girl Senpai" title used for the anime is actually the title of the first volume, though the opening sequence does briefly flash the titles of the books adapted into the show: Rascal Does Not Dream of Petit Devil Kouhai (Tomoe's arc), Rascal Does Not Dream of Logical Witch (Rio's), Rascal Does Not Dream of Siscon Idol (Nodoka's) and Rascal Does Not Dream of House-sitting Sister (Kaede's).
  • Innocent Cohabitation:
    • When Rio's Adolescence Syndrome triggers and creates a clone of herself who begins to live in the original's house, Sakuta proposes that she live with him and his sister for the time being. Mai initially expressed her skepticism by asking how he would feel if the tables were reversed, so to avoid any possible misunderstandings that could also happen in the future, she chooses to temporarily stay over for however long Rio does. The favor is returned by Rio's duplicate when she asks Sakuta to stay in her house after receiving unwanted advances in public.
    • Mai, trapped in Nodoka's body, again moves in with Sakuta as staying in the same home as her sister is uncomfortable.
  • The Insomniac: Sakuta inflicts this on himself when a conversation with Rio makes him realize that falling asleep could cause him to also forget who Mai is. He goes on for roughly 3 days without sleep by forcing himself to drink energy drinks and the like to stay awake. Ultimately, Mai herself is the one who puts him to sleep by drugging him with sleeping pills under the pretense of tutoring him, knowing full well that he is suffering because of her.
  • Jerkass: Saki Kamisato, Yuuma's girlfriend, is always hostile and dismissive of Sakuta because of his reputation without really knowing him. Luckily Sakuta either ignores her complaints or answers with his trademark snark and verbal harassment.
    • Might have shades of Jerk with a Heart of Gold as of episode 7, where she is the reason why Sakuta finds out about Futaba's secret twitter account, where she anonymously posts lewd pictures of herself while wearing her high school uniform. While it could just be that she's protecting Yuuma's reputation, she doesn't mention or allude to him. She even asks Sakuta, "Isn't that girl doing something risky?" which almost sounds like genuine concern.
  • Lampshade Hanging: When Futaba states her mother and father are always both away on business trips, Sakuta lampshades her status as a Lonely Rich Kid saying her life is like a TV drama.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: In episode 11, Kaede's childhood friend tells Sakuta that the girls who bullied and harassed Kaede ended up being bullied themselves (directly as a result of their treatment of Kaede, no less) and had to transfer schools because of it.
  • Literal Ass-Kicking: Tomoe has Sakuta do this to her to get even with her after she mistakenly thinks he's a pedophile and slaps him (or in the anime, had kicked his butt first). They're subsequently caught by a passing adult and given a strongly-worded lecture.
  • Long Title: It has eight words!
  • Lovable Jock: Yuuma, Sakuta's sole male friend in the series. He's a member of the basketball team and fairly popular with his classmates but despite that, he's also close friends with both Sakuta and Rio despite the two being outcasts. He's also insanely nice and, in a cast full a teenagers with baggage leading to them suffering "Adolescence Syndrome" seems to be the only character without it.
  • Love Triangle: For the second arc, Koga likes Sakuta, who is all but officially in a relationship with Mai by this point. However, it's made very clear that there's no way for her to break into the relationship and win Sakuta for herself. The best she can do is get a direct rejection so that she can give up for real and move on.
  • Minor Living Alone:
    • Sakuta and his sister Kaede live together in an apartment, having moved out after Kaede's Adolescence Syndrome manifested.
    • Mai has moved out on her own, living alone in her apartment. Her half-sister later moves in with her.
    • After a second Rio Futaba starts existing, one doesn't feel comfortable going home and makes other arrangements, eventually settling for Sakuta's apartment. The other Rio lives in a large house usually by herself since her parents are often overseas for business.
  • Miss Exposition: Futaba's main role in the show. When odd things start happening, Sakuta will often talk to her to get an idea of the latest incident of the Puberty Syndrome.
  • Mistaken for Pedophile: When Sakuta is trying to help a little girl calm down and find her mother, Tomoe attacks him thinking he's a child molester and they end up getting taken in by the police.
  • Official Couple: The main pairing for the story is Sakuta x Mai. It's made clear that no other girl will be able to interfere with this and even his first love wouldn't be able to get in the way of their relationship.
  • One Steve Limit: When he was a middle school student and victim of Puberty Syndrome, Sakuta was helped by a senior at his future high school called Shoko Makinohara. After going to the school, he found that no such person existed, but later met a younger girl who had the same name. It's repeatedly enforced that this girl is an only child. Ultimately revealed in "Rascal Does Not Dream of a Dreaming Girl" that both Shoko Makinoharas are indeed the same person. Young Shoko is fatally ill, yet she sometimes becomes a teenager for an unknown reason.
  • Only Friend: Ever since the unexplained incident, Yuuma and Rio seem to be Sakuta's only friends. After sorting out her feelings for him, Tomoe becomes one.
  • Parents as People: Sakuta and Kaede ended up suffering from Parental Abandonment due to the fact that Kaede's Adolescence Syndrome resulted in their mother getting hospitalized. When Nodoka asked Sakuta if he had any resentment towards his parents for abandoning the two, Sakuta responds that he has a lot of feelings towards his parents but that he still sees them as his parents. Later on, when Sakuta meets up with his father it's shown that while there's definitely a lot of awkwardness between the two, it's also apparent that they care about one another. It's also apparent that his dad is still the one financially supporting Sakuta and Kaede since the two are living alone.
  • Product Placement: "If you're lying to me, I'll make you eat Pocky through your nose."
  • Reality Ensues: Eventually, Mai and Sakuta's relationship is discovered and published in the tabloids. Even with his face blurred out, a former classmate of Kaede's is able to track him down through this photograph.
  • Senpai Kohai: Mai is the senpai to Sakuta, who in turn is the senpai to Tomoe. Both address their seniors accordingly, but Mai later insists that she and Sakuta use their first names instead.
  • She's Got Legs: Sakuta seems to be something of a legs man, since he openly checks out Tomoe and Mai's legs, even when they tell him to cut it out.
  • Single-Target Sexuality: Sakuta towards Mai. During Tomoe's arc, she kept inadvertently resetting his Love Confession to Mai, and then asked him to be her fake boyfriend to scare off a guy she had no interest in. Despite this, he continues to reaffirm his feelings for Mai to her, which she finally accepts after an Anguished Declaration of Love to him.
  • Snark-to-Snark Combat: A good chunk of the dialogue consist of the characters throwing deadpan sarcastic comments at each other, especially Sakuta and Mai or Sakuta and Rio.
  • Split Personality: Kaede has a form of this, although we don't learn about it until episode 12. One day, Kaede woke up with no memories of herself, and started acting in subtly different ways. At the end of episode 12 when Kaede's list of goals was finally completed, she woke up the next morning and recovered her childhood memories but lost the last two years. Sakuta is devastated at having lost the 2nd version of his sister.
  • Spotting the Thread: The key to ending the "Groundhog Day" Loop that Sakuta gets caught in—he has to spot anyone acting differently than the previous loop. In Episode 4, he realizes that Tomoe is the only person acting differently from before because she's hiding from the boy who asked her out. In Episode 6, Tomoe tries to pretend she isn't aware of a second loop, but her lie is revealed when she makes a subtle move that Sakuta notices.
  • Stage Mom: A double whammy of them. After Mai's father divorced her mother for Nodoka's, the two women have been having a nasty proxy war with each other, using their daughters's careers as the battlefield. No one is happy about this: Mai went on hiatus despite loving the job after her mother tricked her into doing a swimsuit photoshoot that she absolutely refused to do, and the forced competition heavily strained Nodoka's relationship with not only her mother, but also with Mai. Though at the very least, Nodoka's mother is shown to have major regrets over what she did to her daughter.
  • Suggestive Collision: While trying to hide from a guy repeatedly trying to make advances from her, Tomoe and Sakuta accidentally knock over a podium they were hiding in and wind up in this position. On one hand, the guy believes Tomoe was trying to make an advance on Sakuta, which breaks the "Groundhog Day" Loop that Sakuta and her had suffered through for three days. On the other hand, the next person to see the two is Mai....
  • Sustained Misunderstanding: The time loop in episode 4 is indirectly caused by the misunderstanding between Tomoe and a guy who is trying to ask her out. Rather than just turn the guy down, Tomoe keeps ignoring him and her chance meeting with Sakuta causes the guy to think Tomoe is already dating Sakuta. While this undoes the time loop, it causes trouble in Sakuta's relationship with Mai. By the next day, Tomoe starts working in the same restaurant as Sakuta and asks him to keep pretending to be her boyfriend so she can impress her friends. Sakuta, who understands Tomoe has the same problem as Kaede, reluctantly agrees.
    • Mai cuts this trope off at the pass. After catching Sakuta on top of Tomoe in a suggestive fashion, the next time she is seen, she's approached Sakuta for an explanation when he doesn't come offer one himself. The whole situation is then explained by the start of the subsequent episode.
    • She does this again when a paparazzi photo of her with Sakuta makes the rounds. She holds a press conference openly revealing her relationship, and more importantly, her decision to maintain it, convincing the press and public that Sakuta and her relationship with him are what gave her the strength to return to acting in the first place. She only asks that they not pry into his private life.
  • Tempting Fate: Both positive and negative examples: In episode 4 Sakuta is looking for "the Demon of Laplace" (a person not affected by the "Groundhog Day" Loop), and wonders how he's going to find someone acting different, then immediately notices Tomoe is acting different. Then, after their Suggestive Collision, Sakuta doesn't worry because he thinks he can just redo the day. Cut to the next day.
  • Understanding Girlfriend: Having been on the receiving end of his help at the start of the story, Mai is understanding when Sakuta hares off to the rescue of the next girl with Adolescence Syndrome. He gets caught up in a few harem protagonist shenanigans, like the above-mentioned Suggestive Collision and Innocent Cohabitation, but only needs proper explanation from her boyfriend to understand what's going on and, in the case of the latter, proceeds to live with them for the duration of the problem to prevent misunderstandings. It even gets lampshaded in the final episode, when Nodoka points out that Mai trusts Sakuta way too much to get angry at him for meeting Shouko again without telling her, and that she's clearly mad at herself for not being by his side in his time of need to the point another girl had to pick up the slack.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Sakuta meets Mai because she's walking around in a bookstore wearing a bunny girl outfit. He later realized that no one else was reacting to this. Of course, he later learns this is because of her Adolescence Syndrome, and Mai being slowly forgotten by everyone.
  • Wham Line:
    • From the end of episode 11: "Kaede has no memories."
    • Again, at the end of episode 12: "The zoo? I didn't go. Big Brother, what's wrong with you?" This all indicates that Kaede's reverted to her pre-Adolescence Syndrome self and likely lost all her bonds and memories from the past 11 episodes.
  • Weirdness Censor: When Mai was slowly being forgotten and ignored by the world, people would also ignore inanimate objects she happens to be holding. It did not, however, apply to Sakuta when she held onto him.
  • Will They or Won't They?: Even after Sakuta publicly declares his love for Mai - partially due to it being the key to restoring the world's memories of her, they never formally become boyfriend and girlfriend. They come close when Sakuta manages to get Mai to agree on a proper date, but the time loops caused by Tomoe's Adolescence Syndrome complicates this. At the end of Tomoe's arc, Mai reaffirms her affection for Sakuta when he asks how she actually feels about him by tricking him into looking out the window so she can plant a long kiss on the cheek. She subsequently proves to be supportive in his efforts to help other girls suffering their own brands of the Syndrome, as listed in Understanding Girlfriend above. Later, Mai's manager wanting her to be single while she's acting adds an extra obstacle in their relationship. Their relationship is solidified in Episode 11, when Mai holds a press conference over it.

Alternative Title(s): Seishun Buta Yarou Wa Bunny Girl Senpai No Yume Wo Minai

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