Genre(s): Comedy, Romance, Supernatural, Drama, School
Age-Appropriateness: 13+ (minor profanity, suggestive themes)
Platforms: Crunchyroll, Hulu, Funimation
TheAwersome Rating: 8.7 / 10 (Solid, Interesting, Substantial)
Premise: Most believe Adolescence Syndrome to be a myth. A rare disease that affects teenagers, the symptoms are so supernatural that hardly anyone recognizes it as a legitimate occurrence. High Schooler Sakuta Azusagawa knows of its reality from personal experience, and of its prevalence at his school. Mai Sakurajima, a third-year high schooler gained fame as a childhood actress, and as such few approach or interact with her at school. That is, until Sakuta sees her wandering the library in a bunny girl costume. Despite the getup, nobody notices her and, after confronting her, he realizes that she is another victim of Adolescence Syndrome. As Sakuta tries to help her through her predicament, he comes across other girls that are also afflicted with the elusive disease.
TheAwersome’s Thoughts: This was nothing at all like what I was expecting, and I am very grateful for it. Despite the name, there is no ecchi aspect to the show whatsoever. Instead there is a lot of mystery, philosophical and psychological dialogue, and great character depth and development. As is increasingly becoming the norm, the animation and background artwork are stellar, drawing (hah pun) from real-life locations in Japan. What surprised me a lot with this piece was how real the characters and issues felt, despite being a collection of supernatural stories. There weren’t clean and clear obvious “This is the right thing to do in X situation” answers because life rarely is that way. When it comes to coping with loss, there isn’t a solid correct path that works for everyone; it’s different case by case.
TLDR: Take the philosophical and supernatural side of Monogatari and mix it with the truthful teenager experience of Toradora.
Let me reiterate that this is NOT an ecchi anime. There’s more “inappropriate humor” in a single episode of How I Met Your Mother than in this whole series, so don’t clutch your pearls at this one. It’s just a very click-bait title to lure degenerates into watching something good for a change. Other than the supernatural maladies that beset the cast, this is up there with shows like A Place Further Than the Universe, Toradora, and the like with how Real and Human the characters feel.
Like Toradora, Bunny Girl Senpai does a stellar job of portraying and exploring what it IS to be a teenager, and how that differs drastically for everyone. Yet with every character and their issues that were presented I found myself saying “I knew this person. I was friends with that person in High School,” as well as “That was me my entire Junior Year.” The problems the characters grapple with are very real, and while the Adolescence Syndrome affliction forces them to confront them at a quickened pace, it still feels very natural.
While not anywhere near as mind-bending or abstract an experience as Monogatari, the dialogue is sharp and witty, which coupled with great chemistry between the characters makes every moment of this show an addicting delight to watch. While inspired by Monogatari in format (highschool loner dude helps various girls through supernatural afflictions coupled with witty philosophical dialogue) I feel that Bunny Girl Senpai is like “Parks & Rec.” while Monogatari is like the original UK “The Office.” This is a lot easier to understand and doesn’t leave a bad taste in your mouth. At the end of every episode of this Harbour and I would say “Dang, this is a great show,” so don’t sleep on this one. It’s got a great, simple soundtrack with absolute bangers for its OP and ED as well.
There is a movie, Rascal Does Not Dream of a Dreaming Girl that will be reviewed next week.