Funimation had the movie Rascal Does Not Dream of a Dreaming Girl over the weekend
so I watched it. It is a real tear-jerker, all about love and death. If you haven’t seen the original series, Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai, it is all about how the extreme stresses of adolescence cause puberty syndrome, where paranormal phenomena (such as time loops and invisibility) start to manifest.
It’s also a kind of harem where the hero meets various attractive girls with puberty syndrome to find the solution to their problem. Through it all, he manages to stay faithful to his leading lady and she manages to stay the understanding girlfriend.
Rascal (Sakuta Azusagawa) and Bunny (Mai Sakurajima) are in their second year of high school when suddenly an enigmatic woman from his past shows up at his apartment door asking to stay there. She is Shoko Makinohara.
Shoko was Sakuta’s first love from middle school. In the original series, she meets him at the beach as a high schooler to support him when he was falling apart over his sister’s Kaede’s problems. It is all very mysterious as she doesn’t show up in any records. Now, 6 months later she shows up again at his apartment as a college woman. At the same time, Shoko is also still a middle schooler, hospitalized with a weak heart.
Little girl Shoko in the hospital on left. College woman Shoko in the tub on right.
Mai is somewhat taken back at the request of the very adult Shoko to live at her boyfriend’s place and decides to live there too. She trusts her Rascal but…!
This is yet another case of puberty syndrome. Shoko is slowing down her own biological clock so as to delay a future she fears, hence she is still a bedridden middle school girl nearing her crisis. At the same time, she’s projecting a second version of herself so as to experience all the things she fears she will miss out on if she dies young.
Shoko creating memories with Sakuta
Projected Shoko wants to experience some of the things with Sakuta that young Shoko doesn’t think she’ll ever know. It becomes evident that he might save her at the cost of his own life. Mai proclaims her love for Rascal even as he is torn between his current commitment to Bunny Girl and the life of the little girl in the hospital.
All of the girls from the earlier season show up as support cast, particularly Rio Futaba who ascribes Shoko’s ability to vary her own time as a function of General Relativity. Kaede is recovering from her bullying trauma and preparing for school. Nodoka Toyohama and Tomoe Koga are still close platonic friends.
Unlike the previous series where all the problems are traceable to bad parenting and self-image issues, this one revolves around more existential issues.
Will love triumph over all, including even death?