Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai
by Theron Martin,
How would you rate episode 7 of
Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai ?
Looks like I was off base in my assumptions last week. Despite being introduced with a distinct mystery surrounding her, Shoko Makinohara proves not to be the focal point of the new arc; it's not even clear if this is the same Shoko that Sakuta once fell in love with, especially given that his first love interest was a high schooler and this version is in middle school, which should make that impossible. The similar name and appearance is just too uncanny for there to not be some kind of connection, however.
Instead, her appearance as a younger doppelganger helps set up the focus of this new arc, which begins the adaptation of the third novel. The subject this time is Science Girl, aka Rio Futaba. The philosophical phenomenon tied to her has yet to be revealed, but her more immediate problem is that she literally has a doppelganger; there are suddenly now two of her. She theorizes that some kind of quantum teleportation might be responsible, and that she might genuinely be both people because she's observing herself in both cases, but the precise mechanics behind it are less important than her having a counterpart. There isn't a dramatic personality difference taking place, either. Sakuta encounters both, and both have full knowledge and behavior in line with her past self. The only real difference is that the new version is apparently less inhibited (especially if the episode's last scene is any indication) and knows that the original is lying about not having a clue how this happened. My guess is that it has something to do with her rational and emotional sides not being in agreement with each other.
This angle has some juicy possibilities, especially given that Sakuta's fried Yuma is at least aware of Rio and his contrary girlfriend Saki is also involved, though not necessarily as the adversary this time. Although the new arc is supposed to be focusing on Rio, the highlight of this episode is still Sakuta and Mai's relationship. They definitely bring out the playful sides of each other (relatively speaking), and watching Mai try to find a balance between her own interest in a potentially physical relationship and not wanting to make things too easy for Sakuta is an absolute delight. As dry and one-note as both seem to be at first, their interactions have gradually loosened each other up just enough to make them both more dynamic and interesting characters, and the night scene where Mai talks to Sakuta on the floor is a golden example of this. Hopefully the “discussion” that they have won't involve Mai having to distance herself for professional reasons after her agent found out that she had a boyfriend, though at this point I can't imagine her tolerating that.
Will Rio's problems be able to overshadow that thread? I doubt it, but it makes a wonderful complement for this or any following story arc. These two cats are so adorable together.
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