Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai
by Theron Martin,
How would you rate episode 8 of
Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai ?
Episode 8 definitively wraps up the story arc focused on Rio, with the epilogue indicating that the blond girl from the opener will be the focus of the next arc. A brief scene early in this episode shows that she's an idol singer who's acquainted enough with Mai to mention being a fan in a TV broadcast, and Mai's response of turning off the TV immediately is telling. It'll be interesting to discover what connection they share.
However, the focus of this episode is still on Rio and her rather big problem of becoming two separate people. Since she was posting racy pictures of herself before the split, this isn't merely a case of her less inhibited side spinning off to do stuff her base personality wouldn't dare. Instead, both Rios have the same basic personality, with the split happening because of the core contradiction she felt between how much she hated showing off her body and how much she craved the attention it got. The story also aims a little higher than normal by connecting that to the awkwardness of her being the first among her classmates to hit puberty, which brought all sorts of attention down on her that she didn't necessarily want. In other words, she hates her own body, but for different reasons than expected.
With Rio doubting that the two parts can be recombined, it of course falls to Sakuta to try and resolve the matter. There's nothing extraordinary about how he goes about this, except perhaps for his attitude when dealing with each version of Rio, and I definitely thought the whole business with him getting sick because he went out bicycling around in near-typhoon conditions was overplayed. (Yes, I know getting wet = getting sick is such a deeply-ingrained Japanese cultural idiosyncrasy that it often get used as a plot point, but that doesn't make it come across as any less silly.) Still, I thought the final resolution of the matter was handled pretty well, even if it's not a truly great scene. The process also allows for a neat fireworks scene with Rio, Sakuta, and Sakuta's basketball player friend.
Lastly, the series wouldn't be Bunny Girl Senpai without a little more Mai time. As expected, her manager has nixed the open dating thing, though I was heartened to see that Mai was letting Sakuta be part of the decision-making process; Mai also makes the good point that socializing requirements aren't as stringent for actresses as they are for idols. (It probably means something that she was looking specifically at the blonde girl on TV.) The compromise Sakuta suggests – a strategic retreat – is sensible as it considers her career, her feelings, and his feelings, recognizing that there's no need to entirely reject the system for the sake of their developing love. Their relationship definitely looks stronger and more stable than we commonly see in anime so far.
Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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