This is part two of my character analysis of Rio Futaba from the anime Seishun Buta Yarou wa Bunny Girl Senpai no Yuma wo Minai, also known as Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai.
Part one of this analysis can be found here:
Futaba Part 1
Carrying on from part 1, we have just learned that Futaba has been posting suggestive pictures of her body on twitter. We begin with Sakuta’s confrontation of old Futaba about this.
Bathtub Convo #2
After finding out that Futaba can make a decent curry, we move on to the second bathtub conversation between old Futaba and Sakuta.
First interesting tidbit is that old Futaba considers new Futaba a fake. She already mentioned this earlier, when first telling Sakuta about her doppelganger, but I find it interesting how this is so. There’s this sort of resentment from old Futaba towards new Futaba, a resentment that only goes one way apparently. New Futaba never really talks about old Futaba like this.
Once again, the moment old Futaba is cornered by Sakuta, she immediately spills the beans and tells him about her twitter account.
Futaba continues by telling Sakuta that she may have created the account because she wanted attention. Futaba describes how she came to hate her body because she didn’t like being leered at by boys when she was younger. She says her body made her feel filthy. Basically, she blamed herself, resulting in an inferiority complex in regards to her body. So why would she post pictures of her body online?
“It gets reactions. Just getting reactions from people, whoever they were, put me at ease.” – Futaba
“You sure make it sound like that’s not how you wanted it.”
This is the contradiction that caused Futaba to split into two.
You see, Futaba had one key issue – loneliness. Lack of social fulfillment, lack of attention. Whatever you’d like to call it, that’s what Futaba felt. And she knew this, so she decided to create a twitter account, thinking that this would help her. For some reason or another, she ended up posting one of her selfies, and when she got a reaction, she felt a little less lonely.
Just acknowledgement from anyone was enough to accomplish this – that’s how desperate Futaba was / is.
But part of Futaba wasn’t desperate enough to want to continue posting pictures of her body online – because she had a complex about this. And so the contradiction between wanting attention at any cost and not wanting to show off her body due to her inferiority complex caused Futaba to split.
Remember how old Futaba resents new Futaba? This is why. Yes, new Futaba is living in the house, and going to school and whatnot, but that’s not the main reason for old Futaba’s resentment. Old Futaba resents new Futaba because she knows that new Futaba is still posting pictures online, and getting attention for it.
Imagine watching a copy of yourself do something that you didn’t want, and everyone thought that was you. The frustration and powerlessness would probably be unbearable to a large extent. Someone out there acting as you, doing things that against your will in your name. This is probably how old Futaba feels about the whole situation.
So why lie, why hide the truth as much as she did?
There is a reason that will begin to become more clear as we examine Futaba’s actions.
When pressed, old Futaba admits that she wants new Futaba to stop posting pictures of herself on twitter – Sakuta promises to take care of it.
Futaba’s Photography Habit
On the train to school the next day, Sakuta asks new Futaba if she has anymore pictures saved on her phone. She shows him, and he finds pictures that she had taken of herself from middle school. She explains that she took them for herself with no intention of showing them to anyone else, that their purpose was so that she could put herself down.
“What does that even achieve?”
“It’s a form of self-harm. You may not understand, but I hate myself.”
As Sakuta mentions, old Futaba said something similar to this, when she mentioned how she had a complex over her own body. New Futaba puts it more plainly by outright stating that she hates herself, but it’s in the same vein as what old Futaba said about having low self-esteem.
Is her body the only reason she hates herself?
New Futaba tells Sakuta that he should choose one of her (as in, choose either old or new Futaba), as the world isn’t big enough for the both of them. She then walks off the train, and Sakuta abandons his plan of hanging out with her for the entire day.
Sakuta spends the following day with new Futaba at school. On the way home while waiting for the train, she gets messages from someone who recognizes her school uniform and asks to meet up, and threatens to report her to the school if she doesn’t respond.
It’s clear she never anticipated a situation like this, because new Futaba locks up in a panic. Eventually she grabs Sakuta’s shirt, as a way of asking for help, and Sakuta responds to the individual for her. New Futaba immediately is filled with regret, and begs Sakuta to delete her twitter account.
Even after Sakuta walks her home and agrees to stay the night, the scare still hasn’t completely worn off, resulting in a brief bathtub scene where Futaba is constantly seeking assurance that Sakuta is still nearby.
The whole ordeal had a large impact on new Futaba.
“I was probably scared. I may have you and Kunimi now, but I was afraid I’d go back to being alone someday… I never had these worries until high school. At school or home, being alone was the standard for me. But once I started high school and got put in the same class as you two, I started feeling anxious.”
As you can see, the scare was finally enough to cause new Futaba to open up about her feelings – which means we are also learning about old Futaba through this. All it takes is getting through to one of the two Futabas to learn the truth. Perhaps Sakuta knew this as well, it’s hard to say for sure, as he often knows more than he lets on.
“I was so scared when Kunimi got a girlfriend… I thought you’d (Sakuta) stop hanging out with me after getting such a pretty girlfriend.”
With this, we finally get the full picture of what ails Futaba.
We can now deduce Futaba’s reasons for creating a twitter page and posting pictures of herself online, despite her low self-esteem regarding her body.
Time and time again we have seen that whenever Futaba is in trouble, she attempts to solve it herself. Retracting into her shell, so to speak. And this was what she did with her ultimate fear, the fear of losing her only friends.
Futaba was used to being alone for her entire childhood, until high school. Until Kunimi offered her a chocolate cornet at lunchtime, and until she held a short conversation with Sakuta in the classroom. Those two moments were important to Futaba, two interactions with other people that she cherished, because she probably hadn’t experienced anything like them before.
Futaba became friends with Kunimi and Sakuta, and she began to love having friends at high school. She may not have ever shown it, but it’s clear she cherished these two friendships.
But two things happened that Futaba perceived as a threat to her friendships – Kunimi and Sakuta both found girlfriends.
This caused Futaba to begin worrying. What if Kunimi and Sakuta stopped seeing her, hanging out with her? What if they abandoned her, now that they both had a girlfriend to spend time with instead?
Remember, Futaba has extremely low self-esteem. She doesn’t see herself as valuable, and in fact, she likely didn’t quite understand why Kunimi and Sakuta would spend any time with someone like her in the first place. So of course she would think that they would abandon her once they found someone else, because she thinks that she is worthless.
So what did Futaba do?
She retracted into her shell.
Instead of voicing her fears to her friends, she internalized them. She desperately didn’t want to lose what she had, the interactions with her friends, but she also didn’t have the confidence to say anything about it.
And so, Futaba created a twitter, with hopes that interacting with people online would somehow fill the hole that she feared would open up after losing her two friends. Her desperation for attention, any attention, led her to post pictures of her own body online – causing the contradiction, and causing her to split into two.
Believe it or not, we don’t need to continue any further than this, because we now know everything we needed to know about Futaba, her struggle, and the cause of her puberty syndrome. That said, I love how Sakuta treats Futaba’s situations, so we will continue on with what solved Futaba’s issues.
New Futaba Resolution
I’ll briefly mention how both Futabas end up overcoming their fears, and their puberty syndrome.
Sakuta calls Kunimi that night, telling him that Futaba is in trouble. Futaba and Sakuta meet an out of breath Kunimi who had rushed over. By doing this, Sakuta demonstrated to new Futaba that she wasn’t worthless to Kunimi, and that Kunimi thought of her as a valuable friend. Her fears of being abandoned were allayed thanks to this. They stay up all night, making memories as friends.
Old Futaba Resolution
New Futaba gives her phone to Sakuta to give to old Futaba, who was still suffering with the fears of losing her friends. After seeing the new phone wallpaper of Sakuta, Kunimi, and new Futaba all together, old Futaba snaps and runs away.
Sakuta goes out in the pouring rain, and finds old Futaba at school.
“If I go away, it’ll solve everything.”
“As a solution, that’s way off the mark… everything is wrong with it from the ground up.”
“Then why’d you take that photo?! I would’ve KILLED to be in that!
What else am I supposed to think after seeing it?
There’s no place for me here anymore! Nobody needs me.”
Now scared that new Futaba had replaced her, old Futaba feels like she now has no solution left but to disappear. Her fears of losing her friends were now amplified. Fears of losing them to their girlfriends, and now fears of losing them to her own doppelganger. Old Futaba’s emotions run high in this scene, and it’s an amazing scene as a result.
Sakuta then collapses, because exposure to rain is dangerous for anime characters. Old Futaba some way or another gets him to the hospital, and also contacts Mai. Old Futaba stays at the hospial while he recovers. Sakuta goes and speaks to her. She ends up feeling better about herself, wants to go see the fireworks with Sakuta and Kunimi, and ends up calling her doppelganger – at which point, they join back together.
What I love about this is that while Kunimi’s display of friendship was what ultimately helped new Futaba realize that she was a valuable friend, it’s Sakuta’s display of friendship that helps old Futaba realize her value. By going out in the rain and risking his personal health, Sakuta showed old Futaba that she meant something to him. So both Kunimi and Sakuta manage to help the two Futabas realize that they are not worthless, and that Futaba is loved.
Old & New Futaba
While I’ve been calling them old Futaba and new Futaba, it would probably be more explanatory to call them “conservative Futaba” and “risk-taking Futaba”, because the nature of her split was along those lines.
Old Futaba was the representation of Futaba’s desire for things to remain the same. If she just kept living as if nothing had happened, maybe nothing would happen. So she kept everything inside, and hid her feelings from Sakuta for as long as she thought she could. Old Futaba didn’t have a solution to her internal struggle, but she was also afraid that if she tried to change anything, that things would fall apart as a result of her actions. This is why she was more opposed to something as drastic as the twitter account.
New Futaba was the representation of Futaba’s desire to try and do something about the situation. she didn’t exactly go about it the right way, but remember that new Futaba is still constrained to Futaba’s tendencies. So while creating a twitter account might not seem outgoing to you or me, it was for Futaba. Same goes for her appearance, wearing contacts, putting her hair up and ditching the labcoat. I think that changing the routine, doing things differently, is not the norm for Futaba. Which is why new Futaba felt like such a different character.
While new Futaba’s methods still ended in failure, she was trying to do something about her fears. In a way, you have the tortoise and the hare, with old Futaba hiding in her shell, and with new Futaba running around blindly.
Futaba ends up confessing to Kunimi at the fireworks show, but she knows that he won’t accept her feelings as he has a girlfriend. What this shows is that she is both willing to get closure on her feelings, and that she understands Kunimi won’t stop being her friend, even if he rejects her.
With that final closure, Futaba’s issues have mostly been wrapped up. I’d imagine that she still feels insecure about herself to a degree, because there’s no way something like that would disappear overnight, but hopefully the reassurance she received from Kunumi and Sakuta was enough to give her a stronger sense of self-worth.
The lesson learned from Futaba’s story is this – don’t be afraid to ask for help, and don’t be afraid to voice your fears. There are people out there who are willing to help, if you just reach out and ask. You’re not alone, and you don’t have to go it alone.
Futaba’s low self-esteem led her to believe that her own friends would leave her, that she wasn’t worth their time. She couldn’t have been more wrong. While I can’t speak for everyone’s individual situations, I can say that you are a valuable person. Even if no one else seems to care, I want you to understand that someone out there does. I do.
One night when I was living alone in Vancouver, I suffered a stress-induced panic attack where my right arm completely tightened up, the muscles so tense that my entire arm was in pain. I couldn’t move it or control it. I’ve never felt more alone than in that moment, worried that my arm would somehow be permanently damaged as a result of the hypertension. I ended up calling the hospital and speaking to a nurse, who I spoke with for about an hour. She managed to calm me down and help me to relax. The reassurance from her voice was a godsend to me, I’ll never forget it.
I know there are more serious issues out there, but all I’m trying to get across here is that human interaction is important. Even if you don’t realize it, we need it. I used to think nothing of it, until that moment of extreme loneliness and helplessness almost overtook me. There are people out there willing to help, so don’t go it alone. If you need help, please seek it out. There are better suited people out there, but at the very least I’d be willing to listen, if no-one else.
What Futaba suffered from was a combination of separation anxiety and self-deprecation. Upon making friends, Futaba became anxious and scared of losing them – but her low self-confidence caused her to bottle up her fears instead of speaking up and seeking help.
This internal conflict reached a climax with Sakuta getting a girlfriend, eventually causing Futaba to split into two – two different Futaba’s with two different methods of coping, but neither willing to ask for help.
This was the puberty syndrome of Futaba Rio, doppelganger.
Despite only being two episodes long, Futaba’s arc managed to garner just as many words as Koga. I think the interesting and more complicated nature of her puberty syndrome is the reason for this. What I really love about the Futaba arc is that information is given at a steady rate, like pieces of a puzzle. The night where new Futaba spills her fears is when you are finally able to put all of the pieces together. Sakuta did exactly this, and proceeded to work towards reassuring both new and old Futaba from that moment onwards.
It’s an excellent arc with a strong message at the core of it. To fit such a great story in two episodes really is impressive, because it certainly feels longer to me after writing all of this. Unlike with Koga, the anime had the opportunity to show us Futaba in prior episodes, which definitely helped.
I wasn’t originally planning on including my own anecdote in the lesson portion of the analysis, but I also felt like it fit in well enough that it was worth adding.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this second character analysis from the bunny-girl anime.
Until next time!
Thanks for reading.