Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai
By Danae Stahlnecker,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Serious, hopeful anime about adolescence has sexual banter.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Don't leave others who are struggling to fend for themselves. Be true to yourself instead of following the crowd. Adolescence is hard, but strong friendships can help you cope with the challenges. It's better to face your problems than run from them.
Positive Role Models
Sakuta is patient, caring, and determined; he's persistent about helping others around him who are struggling. Teen friends tease each other but help each other out during a crisis.
Both male and female characters are shown to struggle with issues of self-worth, identity, depression, and outward appearance. Sakuta rejects social pressure of rumors around classmates' promiscuity; however, both male and female characters tease each other with sexual innuendos and objectification. In this Japanese show there's little discussion or representation of cultural diversity.
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Violence & Scariness
Characters discuss past experiences with bullying. Mentions of suicide and self-harm include a character trying to drown herself and other characters suffering from cuts that magically appear on their bodies after remembering traumatic memories. In a flashback, a mother coerces her preteen daughter into wearing a swimsuit for a modeling job despite the daughter's objections.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Characters wear revealing outfits. Female characters wear bunny-girl costumes and bikini swimsuits; Sakuta is often shown shirtless, wearing just boxers or sitting in the bath. Teens talk about love, kissing, dating. Characters exchange banter about erotic thoughts, masturbation, and incest, but characters never have sex. Male and female characters tease each other with sexual innuendos and objectification.
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Language includes insults ("idiot," "stupid," "rascal"), threats ("die"), and sexual innuendos.
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Products & Purchases
Characters eat branded food and clearly show the packaging; some brands are their true name (e.g., Pocky) and some are fictitious (e.g., "Fole" instead of "Dole" fruit). Sakuta works at a Benny's diner, a reference to Denny's.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
A character puts sleeping pills in another character's drink.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai is a serious drama with sci-fi elements about the challenges of adolescence. High school students struggle with insecurity, bullying, harmful parenting, depression, suicide, and self-harm. The show's overall message, though, is a hopeful one about the importance of friendship, courage, self-confidence, and going against the status quo. Teens go on dates and infrequently kiss; they banter about sex but it's nothing more than talk. Characters wear revealing outfits with no sensitive body parts shown; a male character is often shirtless in his home. There's product placement throughout the show with both real and fictionalized (but obvious) brands.
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Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai
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What's the Story?
RASCAL DOES NOT DREAM OF BUNNY-GIRL SENPAI tells the stories of teens overcoming their fears and anxieties as they navigate the pressures of modern adolescence. When Sakuta Azusagawa (voiced by Kaito Ishikawa) sees Mai Sakurajima (voiced by Asami Seto) walking through a public library while wearing a skin-tight bunny-girl outfit, he learns she's slowly becoming invisible to everyone around her. He believes she is experiencing "adolescence syndrome" -- a condition where teens gain special powers during periods of sensitivity or instability in youth. He's experienced this himself, and is now determined to help Mai -- and others -- break free from her curse.
Is It Any Good?
This thoughtful drama tackles tough topics with sensitivity and empathy for the pains of growing up. Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai does a good job of taking teens' struggles seriously. The characters are likable, their problems relatable, and the solutions both realistic and feasible. Although the characters deal with seemingly magical effects like turning invisible or controlling time, the answers they seek are all rooted in real-world relationship building and emotional growth.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about peer pressure and individual choices. Sakuta often talks about "reading the room" and "the atmosphere." What does he mean by this? Why is it important to make your own choices and not just follow what everyone else is doing?
Families can talk about mental health and self-harm. Characters dealing with "Adolescence Syndrome" have had difficult experiences with peers, self-image, and family. How do these characters react, and how do they handle their emotions? What strategies can we use in real life to deal with overwhelming, unexpected, scary feelings?
- Premiere date: October 4, 2018
- Cast: Kaito Ishikawa, Asami Seto, Nao Tōyama
- Network: Netflix
- Genre: Drama
- Topics: Friendship, High School
- TV rating: TV-PG
- Last updated: April 14, 2023
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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