Even for a Bunny Senpai-Chasing Rascal, Sincerity Covers a Multitude of Sins

The problem with having a harem series where you really explore meaningful connections between the protagonist and each of the girls is that you’re left with a lead who either needs to be characterized as clueless beyond belief (see Nisekoi’s Raku), one that’s hard to root for because he’s walking a line between being faithful to the main girl and flirting with the rest (see Monogatari’s Arararararagi), or a guy who is simply a jerk (see Suzuka’s Yamato). It’s difficult to write a character who is kind enough to invest himself in others, real enough to succumb at least somewhat to temptation, and faithful enough to keep his eyes ultimately on one girl—but in Sakuta of Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai, the trick seems to have been accomplished, with a focus right where it should be for a harem protagonist, and maybe where our own hearts should be as well.

In episode five of the series, Sakuta continues a plan to have a fake relationship with Tomoe, partly because he feels for her but also because she reminds him of his own sister, Kaede. The idea is really, really stupid. He’s risking his (almost) relationship with Mai to be in a pretend one. Yes, it makes sense in an anime world (and maybe according to the weird time situation he finds himself in), but not at all in reality. His care should be with Mai, someone he is already invested in and whom he’s fallen for, but he makes a decision that could jeopardize that while going along with a plan that seems sure to fail.

In other words, Sakuta’s whole plan is problematic. Thankfully, Mai is understanding of the situation, even if she has her worries. Why? Because she’s seen Sakuta’s character first hand and because he exhibits that rarest of qualities for a high schooler—he is authentic and sincere.

Episode five shows Sakuta’s quality over and over again. He plainly tells the truth without regard to how it might get him in trouble (a side that frustrates Mai but which she also seems to love). There’s one scene in particular that I thought was telling, when Sakuta tells Tomoe that he probably wouldn’t have helped her if she wasn’t cute—he’s being completely honest here, whether or not saying so will be beneficial to him.

Later in the episode, after rumors about Tomoe being easy have spread, Sakuta turns the tables on an athletic rumormonger, courageously using both his brains and brawn to help change opinions about Tomoe at school. Again, his integrity shines through, and I think that’s inextricably connected to his authenticity. Sakuta is a person of character and honesty. He is truthworthy, even when he’s not. You get the real Sakuta, both in success and failure, in good decisions and bad.

Sakuta again tells is like it is.

I think Sakuta made a bad decision to get involved with Tomoe, and worse was how he decided to go along with her. But there’s no question that him choosing to do so is the only way Sakuta knows how to do things, and that there’s goodness there, enough to maybe (DEFINITELY) turn the tide and take a weird situation and make it into something good. Without that authenticity, I couldn’t believe in him as a viewer and Tomoe and others couldn’t believe in him as a friend/classmate/fake boyfriend. But what we see is what we get, and so we can.

If only we all could make mistakes as authentic as Sakuta’s.

Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai can be streamed on Crunchyroll.

6 thoughts on “Even for a Bunny Senpai-Chasing Rascal, Sincerity Covers a Multitude of Sins

  1. Most of us can act like Sakuta… but we choose not to.

    Because we all have a bit of Tomoe in us, a fear of standing out, being ostracised, being excluded if we fail society’s norms.

    Sakuta is courageous enough to do what he perceives to be the right thing (declare his love in the open, confront the popular senior) and eat the consequences.

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    1. Can most of us act like him? I think you’re right, but it’s certainly harder for some than for others. A lot of us become like Tomoe and find it difficult to become like Sakuta. Certainly, many adults never turn out like that! But that’s the goal—to do and say what’s right even when we fear the consequences.

      Thank you for sharing! It was good food for thought.

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  2. You cannot make fake mistakes. Either they are genuine mistakes or they are not.

    “Authentic” does not make it better. Neither does “sincere.” If it did, Greek tragedies would be comedies. Tragic flaws grow out of one’s strengths as a person, which just makes the sinning more effective.

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    1. I agree. I think its interesting, though, how Sakuta does things that I clearly see as a mistake but he doesn’t. He’s unaware of that. But because he dives into all that he does with authenticity, interesting and good things occur even in the midst of such mistakes.

      God can use even when we’re willfully sinning, so how much more so if we’re living transparent, self-examined lives? So even if we should make a mistake, or stray from the path, or willfully sin, that availability as seen through our humility, opens us up to being used for things that glorify God, even if our initial steps did the opposite.

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  3. Imo he is a superhero. In the modern day ignoring what others think to stay true to himself is definitely akin to superhuman qualities. This especially in high school. Applying this spiritually is also very challenging for me we are all called to spread the Gospel everywhere. However, I know in my personal life I’m very unintrusive and self-conscious. Which is something I really need to overcome before entering the ministry. Taking a page out of Sakuta’s book would help me in many aspects of my life if correctly applied.

    Keep up the good work whoever wrote this.

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    1. Thanks for the encouraging words! And I hope you’ll grow to be more and more like Sakuta—I was very shy, self-concious, and awkward when I was in high school and even into young adulthood, but God was able to really work in me and grow boldness and confidence in me as I became older, and I pray something similar with happen with you to help you in your goals. Take care and God bless!

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