Before beginning today’s blog post let me summarise the plot of Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny-Girl Senpai (since its title doesn’t really tell you anything)! It’s protagonist, Sakuta, whilst studying in his school’s library, catches a glimpse of his beautiful, yet aloof, senpai, Mai, dressed up as a bunny girl. After confronting her he learns that she is a victim of puberty syndrome – a mysterious phenomenon where the conflict that an individual experiences during adolescence manifests itself in strange and unusual ways – and that only he can see her. The rest of the show consists of Sakuta, your prototypical white knight, rescuing her and his other cute cohorts from the clutches of this bizarre condition.
The young girls of Bunny-Girl Senpai struggle to communicate with other people, to earn the recognition of others, and with their ever-evolving identities. These issues, whilst painful and unpleasant, are not altogether unusual for girls their age. Even dissociation, in response to traumatic events, is not unheard of in girls of Kaede’s age. However, as a result of these problems, the girls experience some pretty unusual phenomena. Tomoe learns to manipulate time in order to achieve her own ends, Mai turns invisible, and Rio splits into two versions of herself, a la Freaky Friday. All of this got me wondering, is there any merit in using supernatural phenomena like these to explore everyday issues? Below I briefly consider this question.