Sakuta Azusagawa was minding his own business, studying at the library during Golden Week (a series of closely spaced national holidays in Japan), when a vision throws his entire life sideways. He sees a girl in a bunny suit, who is wandering around waving her hands in front of people and sitting next to them, seemingly unnoticed. When she realizes he can see her, she tells him to forget and leaves. He recognizes Mai Sakurajima, young model and actress, and just can’t let it go. Down the rabbit hole he goes.
There are some really great discussions of bullying, and within the first quarter of the manga the term adolescence syndrome is introduced. Under intense pressure, Mai took a hiatus from her career, only to discover that people (except for Sakuta) cannot see her at all. The plot starts to really escalate, getting into concepts behind quantum physics and Schroedinger’s cat as it relates to Mai’s problem. Sakuta and Mai get closer as things develop, leading to a date that turns into a desperate train ride and a sleepless night. I don’t want to ruin the surprise, but the end of this volume is incredibly sweet after an intense couple of chapters.
Honestly, I didn’t realize it was a first volume when I initially read it, and I have some concerns about the story maintaining momentum. As a standalone, it’s fantastic. The story starts strong and doesn’t really have any lulls, nor does it escalate too quickly. It feels very natural, as much as a story like this can, in progression and kept me engaged. I was a little surprised by the admission at the end but it wasn’t completely out of the blue. There are four volumes in total, based on a series of light novels, as well as an anime adaptation. This can make it great for collection development because it’s a limited series so there’s no concern about getting the first few and realizing there are 80 more volumes to collect. But the story is such that I’m not sure where it could go from here, and that could mean escalation issues like in many fighting-based series, or the story just falling flat.
As far as the art goes, this manga is a delight to the eyes. Characters are distinct without going too far into having over the top characteristics and background characters are still drawn with care. Backgrounds aren’t typically high detail, but instead use careful blocking of black and white with some sketched detail to give clear impressions of buildings at night, or a convenience store in the afternoon. Everything is very consistently drawn too, leading to a very pleasing visual experience. There is some partial nudity, primarily of girls, and some questionable moments like showing underwear or a camera view from between a girl’s legs, but thankfully they aren’t the majority.
I don’t know how the rest of the series goes, but the first volume was strong enough that I hope the rest is as good, and the series reminded me of an older one I really loved. If your library has any fans of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya or unusual slice of life stories, this is a great choice. It can also be a fun option for patrons who are manga fans looking for something that doesn’t fall into the usual tropes and covers some unusual topics.
Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai Vol. 1 Review
By Hajime Kamoshida
Art by Tsugumi Nanamiya
Yen Press, 2020
Publisher Age Rating: T
Series ISBNS and Order
Title Details and Representation
NFNT Age Recommendation: Adult (18+), Older Teen (16-18), Teen (13-16)