MakeChai is an anime fan that is interested in a deeper analysis of the less obvious parts of the content being consumed.
Okay, first off, Rascal Does Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai's decision to have Mai Sakurajima in a bunny girl costume and as the face of the posters is definitely a marketing strategy. It's the "I came for the bunny girl senpai, but stayed for emotionally wrecking story." So it's understandable why you watched it and why you're here right now. It's all good. Now, let's head to the story analysis.
The Importance of Sakuta's Flat Arc in the Whole Story
Many people think that the criticism of other viewers may be about Sakuta Azusagawa, the protagonist of Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai, which is not what it seems. Sakuta is considered a "flat arc protagonist" who is meant to go through much internal development as other protagonists usually do. However, this seemingly boring trait actually has a strong significance in the story as the conflicts in it are not of Sakuta but rather of his friends around him.
The unique point of a flat arc protagonist is how it keeps the plot moving not because of the protagonist's character development but of how the protagonist can initiate change in the people and the situation around them. The anime is still effective in making the audience relate to it through Sakuta's friends and an empathetic perspective from Sakuta himself.
What's Up With the Supernatural Pseudoscience?
Let's be honest, without the weird supernatural pseudoscience of the Bunny Girl Senpai, we wouldn't be here right now, and the anime wouldn't be what it is. It's a seemingly random way of explaining the struggles of the characters going through adolescence, but how do teenagers even try to explain their situations anyway? It's all so confusing when the internet throws out new terms around, self-diagnosis is common, and adults can't relate and are not too present in their lives.
How the characters called the phenomenon "Puberty Syndrome" is the same as how people in real life search the internet about their experiences to validate or confirm their existence. This doesn't mean that people can be wrong, and in this instance, so are the people in the anime. Rio Futaba is the character we all probably labeled as the science girl who used scientific theories like "Schrodinger's Cat" and "Laplace's Demon" even though science experts would do a facepalm just by hearing her misuse the terms. Again, it's a way for these adolescent characters to understand their situations.
But then again...
Resolution of the Conflict by the Protagonist is Not that Satisfying- If it's Someone Else's
Yes, I know what I said earlier. Though a flat arc protagonist is the most fitting kind for this type of storytelling in an anime, the execution is still flawed. As many viewers thought, Sakuta is just really boring, and being a flat arc protagonist doesn't mean being also "one-dimensional." Many films can execute the flat arc protagonist without sacrificing the story or the protagonist itself (e.g., 12 Angry Men and Wonder Woman). The problem lies in Sakuta becoming the hero that conquered his friend's "Puberty Syndrome." It's not his conflict to resolve; it's his friends'.
In an alternative, he can face conflict in understanding the phenomenon by observing his friend's experiences and his own while also helping out. Each arc would end with his friend having to deal with their problems on their own. But before then, while Sakuta figures out the situation, his friends would suffer the longer it goes on. As cruel as it may sound, it's a sure way for the audience to empathize with the characters.
The Impact of Pacing for Emotional Investment
Continuing on from the previous point, the longer the audience can see the characters, like Mai, suffering without the heroic intervention of Sakuta, the more there is space for details to be shown. How does Mai react when her own mother forgets about her? Is there just a little hint of her denying the need to be remembered because of her fame? Limiting the arcs to just a couple of episodes for only Sakuta to resolve it is not the satisfaction many wanted.
Then again, this is just a blog that is meant to share the quieter opinions of anime fans that watched Bunny Girl Senpai. I've heard more criticism about the anime but just writing about the main story components that make up the anime is more than enough for people to get a wider perspective, hopefully.
© 2021 MakeChai
mads on June 26, 2021:
I LOVE IT LOVE U
Nigel Kirk from Calgary, AB, CAN on June 25, 2021:
Also, I noticed this is your first Article with HubPages. I been periodically writing about anime and games for the past ten years (but not as often as I'd like, which I'm working on).
This was a well-written article, and I hope you stick around and write more here. Look forward to hearing your other thoughts on other shows or whatever you fancy writing about. We're here to support you as well and offer you tips if you're interested!
Nigel Kirk from Calgary, AB, CAN on June 25, 2021:
I'm watching the series right now. It tends to remind me a lot of the Haruhi Suzumiya series, where it deals with paranormal pseudoscience, and has a "flat arc protagonist" as you described who has some character development, but is used more as a driving force for the story and for everyone else's character development around him, and while the Haruhi Suzumiya franchise is my favorite franchise, it is an acquired taste, and tends to find itself trying to hard to be unique while relying on the same tropes—ones you mentioned here in fact—as similar anime.
Just because I love the series doesn't mean others will, and your criticism is valid and something I'll consider when continuing watching the series as well as revisiting the Haruhi series.