Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai
by Theron Martin,
How would you rate episode 13 of
Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai ?
Early in the season, Sakuta took a lot of heat for being rather flat in character, with little but his snark to define him. However, in recent episodes we've seen his most sensitive side as he even got a little emotional, and this finale goes the extra mile to turn him into a full-blown emotional wreck. Indeed, his feelings must be painfully mixed under these circumstances.
There are many anime where the loss of one personality in favor of another is equated to the loss from someone dying, but rarely has it carried such a convincing punch. Sakuta became so emotionally invested in trying to help the Kaede persona that had developed over the last two years that of course he's going to be devastated when that personality goes away in favor of the original, even if that does mean that Kaede is ultimately better off. The scene where he calmly leaves Kaede's hospital room and then runs out into the rain to scream in anguish is potent, as is the later scene of him crying in the tub after hearing Kaede's diary read.
As good as these scenes are, the episode needs the later context with Mai to properly close things out. Mai's upset because she couldn't be there for Sakuta when he needed comforting most. Their meeting at the end, and the way they work things out without recrimination, provides another batch of reminders why their relationship is one of the series' greatest strengths. Meanwhile, Kaede is back to the way she was before this all started, and she does indeed have a different personality, but we also get a shot of her with the diary of her alternate persona. Hopefully the upcoming movie will provide some detail on how that impacts her.
However, the movie, which will adapt the 6th and 7th novels, will feature Shoko for good reason. The suggestion that high school-aged Shoko may be a figment of Sakuta's imagination is intriguing, but it makes sense as she's only appeared when Sakuta most desperately needed someone to talk with him and help sort out his feelings. The specificity and timing of her appearances is creepy enough that it can't be coincidence. But then why is there a middle school-aged version of this figment, who has been seen by other characters? The series has carefully set up that mystery without really distracting from the main story in each arc, and I'm eager to see how that plays out when it becomes the main focus.
Technical merits, though not bad, weren't quite as sharp this week as in some other episodes. Still, I loved the details about the behavior of the cats, which make for a nice little bonus in an episode that closes out (for now) on a high note.
Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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