Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai
by Theron Martin,
How would you rate episode 5 of
Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai ?
The second episode of Tomoe's arc is curious in that not much seems to happen, and yet I can't shake the feeling that we actually have seen some significant developments. Certainly nothing happens to immediately trigger another time loop, but the progression of the episode is curiously specific about putting dates to everything that happens. Events may be gradually building toward a much bigger loop happening before this story arc is done.
It's also becoming increasingly clear that Tomoe's case is practically the diametric opposite of Mai's. Whereas Mai yearned to be anonymous so that she could properly socialize, Tomoe is practically desperate to be popular so that she can properly socialize. Actually, that's not entirely accurate; it's not so much about being popular as it is about fitting in. She admits that she's a follower rather than a leader and prioritizes keeping up with group conversations so that she won't fall behind others. She's the type to follow the popular kids around like a puppy but doesn't really belong with them, and she'll do anything to get along with them even if it means holding back on her own feelings so as to not ruffle feathers. As this episode demonstrates, the problem with that approach is that it leaves those students in a very vulnerable position. They can easily be taken advantage of by an unscrupulous popular kid, and even a slight misstep can result in opinion harshly turning against them.
This leads to the scene where Tomoe was seen in a compromising position by Maesawa, the guy hitting on her. The implication is that he spread around nasty rumors about her promiscuity when he was (in his view) thwarted in making her one of his conquests. As much as that might seem like cliché high school villainy, I remember encountering kids this cruel in real life. His problem with pulling that stunt is that Sakuta isn't the type to tolerate it, and he has sufficient wits and a lack of concern for his own image to do something about it. I practically cheered when he publicly declared that he was still a virgin just to defend Tomoe's reputation. Even without accounting for harem tropes, it's no surprise that Tomoe is starting to fall for him, and the last scene seems to imply that she now sees Mai as at least a rival if not an enemy.
Otherwise, the character interactions are pretty standard for the series. Sakuta and Mai still have an entertaining rapport between them, but I also liked how Mai is trying to help out Sakuta's sister. Science Girl and Sakuta's handsome friend also get their requisite screen time, while his friend's girlfriend pops up again to be crabby. Those interactions don't seem to serve much purpose beyond giving Sakuta reason to be sharp-tongued with a girl that he can afford to drive away, though I suppose they could be indicative of other aspects of the drama-laden high school social scene.
Overall, the story is settling into a pattern that seems unlikely to change. If the series isn't working for you by this point, then I doubt it ever will. For now it's doing enough to be a solid Monogatari-lite, and I think I actually prefer the concept executed this way.
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