Title: Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai Volume 1
Author: Hajime Kamoshida
Release Date: Slice-of-Life, Romance, Fantasy
Publisher: Yen Press
For the past few years, it has been almost impossible to escape knowing about Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai. The series exploded onto the west at the end of 2018 with a 13 episode anime, quickly cementing itself as one of the best slice-of-life/romance series of the decade.
Even though I consider myself a massive fan of the genre, the series evaded me until Yen Press released the first volume of the manga adaptation. With hopes high, I decided it was finally time to see what all the hype was about with Bunny Girl Senpai.
Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai follows Sakuta Azusagawa, a high school loner with a callous personality. While studying one day in the library, he notices a girl walking around in a revealing bunny costume, but despite the outrageousness of her outfit, no one seems to be able to see her but him. This chance encounter leads Sakuta into a world of romance, awkward situations, and mysterious psychological syndromes.
Sadly, after Volume 1 of Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai, I can’t say I really understand why this series is so beloved. Most of Bunny Girl Senpai feels like a generic slice-of-life series that I’ve seen hundreds of times before, which ends up hurting its appeal.
I’ve read tons of seemingly generic series that I’ve been able to get into through likable characters alone. Still, Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai just doesn’t have any that draw me within its first volume.
The thing is, Sakuta, in particular, is a dull, unlikable protagonist that I have a hard time rooting for. While many characters around him, such as his sister, friends, and Mai, seem to hold much more interesting stories, this volume doesn’t really get into any of them.
Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai volume 1 struggled to pull me in for its first ten or so chapters. While it kept dropping hints about Mai’s interesting backstory and her struggles with adolescence syndrome, nothing particularly interesting happens until I was too deep into the story to really care.
Though Bunny Girl Senpai is a generally tame romance story, the manga adaptation continually tries to make the series more ecchi than it should be. Now, don’t get me wrong, I can appreciate ecchi as much as the next guy, but not when it takes away or distracts from a plot or story.
The plethora of ecchi panels in the first volume of Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai only took me out of the experience. It made me wonder why I was being shown such perverted stuff in a series that appears to be serious and not that sexual at heart.
Outside of the strange abundance of ecchi, Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai volume one features fantastic art by Tsugumi Nanamiya. Pretty much every panel is a joy to look at, with the excellent character designs by Keji Mizoguchi translating well to the page.
Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai volume one isn’t a terrible experience, but it certainly doesn’t seem to be the best way to enjoy this story. While things may ramp up in later volumes, the first doesn’t get interesting until it already lost my attention. Longtime fans of Bunny Girl Senpai will surely enjoy this adaptation, but those looking to get into the series should look elsewhere.
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