Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai: A Teen Boy Romantic Comedy

Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai – there's another mouthful of a title. This often means it's a light novel (Young Adult in Japan). High school student Sukata Azusugawa sees something you don't see every day in the school library, a girl in a bunny suit out of Playboy. And it's not just any girl; it's Mai Sakurajima, a minor celebrity in his school. A former child star from TV, she's now walking around in a bunny outfit, and he's the only one who sees her. That's certainly a unique meet-cute for their romantic comedy.

Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai official cover by Yen Press.
Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai official cover by Yen Press.

Mai isn't just invisible to people; she's slowly disappearing. Her presence is fading from the world, and Sukata is the only one who still sees her. That's why she could mess around like go into public in a Playboy bunny outfit, but the issue is more serious than that. He decides to solve the mystery and save her from vanishing from the world completely. Sukata enlists the help of his Science geek classmate Rio Futaba, who gives him theories about Schrodinger's Cat and various supernatural phenomena. Sukata coins Mai's problem "Adolescent Syndrome," a supernatural affliction that affects high school girls based on their emotional issues. Mai's problem stems from her going from a celebrity early in life to anonymity in her teenage years. Sukata's younger sister suffers from her version of Adolescent Syndrome after getting bullied at school and now stays home as an agoraphobic. As Sukata tries to figure out how to stop Mai's ailment, he also inches towards a romance with the cool and aloof Mai in that usual romantic comedy way.

Rascal Doesn't Dream… is a light novel aimed at male Young Adult readers. It caters to the Harem genre, where the hero is surrounded by girls who end up adoring him after he helps them. Bunny Girl is the first light novel in the series, so Sukata has to solve another girl's Adolescent Syndrome in the subsequent novels while trying to date Mai. The gender politics are very dodgy since the entire premise of the series is about girls who can't solve their supernatural teenage afflictions and needs a slightly douchey guy to save them. At least the female characters are not passive, submissive shrinking violets, but that can make the notion that they need a guy to save them that much more irksome.

It's interesting that Sukata is called a rascal, a term hardly used in the West anymore, to describe his occasionally roguish – hell, douchey – ways. He's a bit of a jerk but a well-meaning jerk, as every teenage boy is or likes to think he is. It's a PG-rated teenage male power fantasy. Author Hajime Kamoshida and artist Keji Mizoguchi have designed, along with their editor,  the series with the full knowledge of what fans of the harem genre expect. The characterizations, the dramatic and comedy beats, and the pacing of the plot are all meticulous. That the series has a manga adaptation, an anime series and movie indicates just how popular it is. If you like the "dude saves girls from supernatural problems" genre, then this series is certainly the sort of thing you'll like.

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About Adi Tantimedh

Adi Tantimedh is a filmmaker, screenwriter and novelist who just likes to writer. He wrote radio plays for the BBC Radio, “JLA: Age of Wonder” for DC Comics, “Blackshirt” for Moonstone Books, and “La Muse” for Big Head Press. Most recently, he wrote “Her Nightly Embrace”, “Her Beautiful Monster” and “Her Fugitive Heart”, a trilogy of novels featuring a British-Indian private eye published by Atria Books, a division Simon & Schuster.
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