Quick edit – for those of you who have come across this post with questions from the Rascal Does Not Dream of Dreaming Girl movie, I have another post where I go through all of that which you can find here:
This post is predictions that I had made regarding what would happen next based on what happened in the Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl anime. If you’re interested in seeing how I did, please keep reading and see for yourself!
Welcome to my final character analysis from Seishun Buta Yarou wa Bunny Girl Senpai no Yuma wo Minai, also known as Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai, where I will be looking at our protagonist – Sakuta Azusagawa.
In case you’ve missed the previous analyses, you can find them all below:
- Koga Tomoe – (Part 1) (Part 2)
- Futaba Rio – (Part 1) (Part 2)
- Nodoka Toyohama – (Part 1)
- Sakurajima Mai – (Part 1)
- Kaede Azusagawa – (Part 1) (Part 2)
This post will take a look at the last major character from the anime – Sakuta Azusagawa. Someone we follow closely, and someone who still has many questions surrounding himself at the end of the season.
Just a quick warning, what I theorize here MAY actually end up spoiling parts of the Seishun Buta Yarou wa Yumemiru Shoujo no Yume wo Minai movie that is coming out later this year. If you want to enjoy the movie without knowing any potential spoilers, you may want to avoid this post, or give it a read after you’ve seen the movie.
That said, my theories presented in this analysis are based PURELY on the anime – I have not read the light novels, or watched any movie trailers / PVs. I didn’t even know that there WAS a movie until after coming up with the ideas that are presented in this post.
Sakuta is the protagonist of Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai, the character we see the most of. While he certainly doesn’t show it most of the time, Sakuta does in fact suffer from puberty syndrome. However, unlike the other characters, we are never explicitly provided any answers as to Sakuta’s personal affliction. Which leaves a great deal up for speculation. After writing about all of the major characters, and watching the anime enough to have seen it at least 4 times, if not more, I’ve formulated my own theories for Sakuta.
And so, what I’m going to write about in this post is Sakuta’s puberty syndrome: the cause, how it works, and some potential cures. And by doing so, this will also provide some answers for perhaps the biggest question of all: Makinohara Shouko.
Sakuta’s Puberty Syndrome
What is Sakuta Azusagawa’s puberty syndrome?
“After she lost her memories, I had no idea how to interact with her at first. The way she spoke was different. Her dominant hand was different. The order she ate her food in was different. She now buttoned her pajamas from the top. The way she walked was different. She was not the Kaede I knew. Anything and everything about her had changed.
Mom couldn’t take what happened to Kaede and developed a mental illness. And then, I…
I was taken to a hospital, and nobody there believed me. I tried and tried to explain, but they only saw it as a delusion, a mental issue, and a form of self-harm. I was powerless. I couldn’t do a thing for Kaede. Sick and tired of it all, I snuck out of the hospital one day. And that was when I met her.”
To sum it up, Sakuta suffered physical injury as a result of trauma – but it doesn’t end there. He also met Makinohara Shouko, who helped him to regain his composure and mental well-being. Make no mistake – Sakuta’s puberty syndrome doesn’t end at the physical injury alone. Shouko is absolutely a part of Sakuta’s puberty syndrome.
Before I dig into my theories behind Sakuta’s puberty syndrome, I want to recap what we’ve learned through all of the other major characters and their puberty syndromes, as I believe it’s very relevant to Sakuta’s own puberty syndrome. Try to keep Sakuta’s puberty syndrome in mind as you read these, because there are connections.
Disappears due to not being observed by others. Uses the observation theory as reasoning – if something is not observed, then it doesn’t exist.
Able to predict future events in order to avoid potential trauma. Koga is linked to Sakuta via quantum entanglement, allowing Sakuta to live as a part of her future predictions.
A clone of herself is created as a result of conflicting internal values / goals. The clone is created by two separate conscious’ observing Futaba at the same time, ultimately being a combination of observation theory, quantum entanglement, and quantum teleportation. This also uses the flip side of the observation theory, where something is actually created by being observed.
Body changes to look and sound like her sister because of an inferiority complex, through some combination of quantum entanglement and observation theory. Mai’s body also changes in the same way, but likely due to her personal desire to help her little sister.
Suffers bodily harm and loss of past memories as a result of severe mental trauma. Doesn’t seem to have any relation to observation theory or the quantum theories. The key with Kaede is that she suffered physical injury as a result of non-physical trauma.
Notice anything about all of this?
See any similarities with Sakuta’s puberty syndrome?
Drawing Some Connections
Thinking on all of the above puberty syndromes is what allowed me to figure out what is going on with Sakuta and his personal issues. And the reason for this, is because I was able to draw many connections between Sakuta and the other characters from the series.
1. Kaede – Physical Injury
The first and most obvious is Sakuta’s similarities to Kaede’s puberty syndrome – suffering physical injury as a result of mental trauma. Almost the exact same symptom, and a very similar reasoning behind it. And this addresses the first part of Sakuta’s puberty syndrome – the physical injury.
But what about the second aspect? Makinohara Shouko.
What elements from the series could possibly lead to an older Makinohara Shouko appearing in Sakuta’s moments of need? And not only this, but how is Sakuta the only one to ever have seen her?
2. Mai – Observation
For this, we have to take a look at some of the “science” in the anime. First off is the observation theory, which works in two ways. Observing, or lack of observation, can either cause something to exist, or not exist. Sakuta is the only one who ever observes Shouko, but this alone is enough for her to “exist”.
And she does exist, she’s not a ghost or figment of his imagination – we know this because on several occasions Shouko interacts with physical objects, and she even leaves a letter in Sakuta’s post box.
So let’s assume that Shouko exists because Sakuta is observing her in his times of need. Then how is Sakuta observing her? After all, he had never met her before.
3. Koga – Entanglement
This is where I believe quantum entanglement comes in. Remember how Sakuta was the ONLY person who was able to re-live days with Koga Tomoe? The reason for this was because he was entangled with her. This allowed Sakuta, and Koga, to experience and see things in a way that NO ONE else could, because they were the only ones aware that they were in a time loop.
Quantum entanglement can serve to explain why Sakuta alone is able to observe Shouko. But it doen’t explain how he became entangled with Shouko, someone he had never met previously.
4. Futaba & Nodoka – Teleportation
The final “scientific” piece of the puzzle comes from Futaba & Nodoka. We’ve learned that not only can observation cause something to exist, but that with quantum entanglement added to the mix, something can be observed at a different location from where the observed object started out. In other words, quantum teleportation. Both Futaba and Nodoka have variants of this, with Futaba observing two Futabas, and with Nodoka observing Mai as herseslf / Mai observing Nodoka as herself.
This is important, but we still need to answer the question: how did Sakuta become entangled with Shouko if he had never met her prior to meeting her?
The answer is, he had met her. We see her many times throughout the anime – young Makinohara Shouko. In other words, Sakuta became entangled with Shouko in her past, but his future. Didn’t you think it was odd how there are two Makinohara Shoukos? One young, one old(er). This is no coincidence.
But as I just eluded to, the kicker is that Sakuta hasn’t become entangled with Shouko yet. Despite the fact that we see her multiple times, I’m certain that the two have not yet interacted in a way that could cause quantum entanglement. I believe that something is going to happen in the future between Sakuta and Shouko.
The reason I believe this is because the anime foreshadows that something is wrong with young Shouko. She stops coming by the Azusagawa residence to visit Hayate, and on the phone she says she has been feeling “a little under the weather”. That’s the last we hear from young Shouko, meaning that, she’s most likely still under the weather when the anime concludes. My personal guess is that she’s feeling much worse than just “under the weather”. Perhaps whatever is happening with her is also the reason for why she can’t take in Hayate (the cat), despite wanting to.
Now this is just speculation, but I think that Shouko is either suffering from another form of puberty syndrome, or something just as severe. The reason being so that Sakuta can help her, just like he helped all of the other girls in the anime. And in doing this, Sakuta will become entangled with Shouko. Entangled to the point that time itself is not a factor anymore, entangled enough that their past, present, and future are linked. Sakuta will save young Shouko from whatever it is she is facing.
And this explains how Sakuta could become entangled with a woman he’s never met before.
With that theory out in the open, everything comes together. When experiencing mental trauma, Sakuta not only develops physical injury, but also begins to observe Makinohara Shouko, who then appears as a result of quantum entanglement and quantum teleportation. It explains how Sakuta is able to observe an older Shouko despite never knowing her prior to meeting her, and it explains how Shouko could possibly appear in the first place, despite being from the future.
Evidence of Time Travel
What this means is that there is an endless cycle at play, because we have moved into time-travel territory. Sakuta saves Shouko, and they become entangled. It’s likely that Sakuta inspires Shouko to help others and become a kinder person during the ordeal. Future Shouko then goes back and saves past Sakuta. Past Sakuta then changes and becomes inspired to help others. Which leads him right back to helping young Shouko…
In summary, Sakuta inspires Shouko, who goes back and inspires past Sakuta.
Or the other way around, as there’s no clear beginning to this loop.
“My life was in no terms filled with dreams and hopes. Still, I was able to find a purpose for myself. You see, Sakuta-kun, I believe life is a series of trials to make you a kinder person. I live my life hoping to become a kinder person with each passing day.”
“Hey, Shouko-san. Can I live like you too?”
“Of course you can! Now that you’ve seen pain that others don’t sympathize with, I’m sure you can become the kindest person of all. I know that you can be a pillar of support for many.”
Here are a few takeaways from this scene.
“My life was in no terms filled with dreams and hopes.“. This is most likely referring to the young Shouko we know now. Which means that young Shouko has no hopes or dreams, uncertainty towards her future. Hopelessness. It’s not only more evidence that young Shouko is going through something harsh at the moment, but also tells us that something big must happen to change her outlook on life. Or perhaps someone has a profound effect on her – someone like Sakuta.
Shouko’s second quote from above also is important. It eludes to Sakuta’s future – what he accomplishes throughout the anime. He becomes a pillar of support, just as Shouko said. And this is something that future Shouko would know, because she has already met with Sakuta’s future self.
Not only this, but Shouko is currently Sakuta’s pullar of support, although he doesn’t consciously realize it.
So as you can see, this scene between future Shouko and past Sakuta on the beach actually hints at what I’ve mentioned – Sakuta will save Shouko, and in her future, Shouko will come back to save Sakuta.
Evidence of Time Travel Pt 2. – Episode 13
Episode 13 is what I’d like to call Sakuta’s episode from the season. Despite Kaede being a part of it, her puberty syndrome had already been cured. The episode’s primary focus is on Sakuta’s reaction to that. And just like in the past, we get to see Sakuta’s puberty syndrome in action.
Sakuta runs out of the hospital into the rain, screaming out in pain. The sister he had known, lived with, and loved for two years was now gone. In his panic, his old wounds began to bleed once again. Just as he seems like he can’t walk any further, Shouko appears.
“Yes. It’s your Shouko-san. Now that I’m here, you’ll be all right.”
They go back to Sakuta’s apartment, and Sakuta takes a bath. While in there, he talks to Shouko.
“I couldn’t do a thing.”
“That’s not true. You did very well.”
“What would you even know about it?”
“You’re thinking that maybe you could have done more for Kaede-san. I understand very well that that’s your biggest regret right now. Your Shouko-san sees through everything!”
Once again, Shouko demonstrates that she knows Sakuta despite him not knowing her. The reason she is able to see through everything is because she is from the future. She even knows exactly how to reassure Sakuta that he did well, that what had happened was what Kaede had wanted. That he should have no regrets.
And after a night’s sleep, Sakuta is feeling much better. Which also means Shouko is no longer required – she leaves a note for Sakuta, which he finds on the table.
Here’s something I want to quickly clear up – the reason why Mai got so angry at Sakuta after seeing Shouko’s note. When I first watched through Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai, I assumed Mai’s anger was out of jealousy, or something like this, because that’s what Sakuta thinks. But that’s not the case.
The reason Mai was angry was because Sakuta relied on Shouko, and not her. In episode 11, when on the phone with Mai, Sakuta tells her that when he’s worn out, he’ll have her baby him to a full recovery. What Shouko’s note told Mai is that Sakuta lied. He didn’t ask Mai for help, instead he kept his pain a secret from her.
When he finally did tell Mai about Kaede’s memories returning, she dropped everything to go out and see him, because she wanted to be there for him. But when she arrived, she found out that Sakuta had just relied on Shouko instead. This betrayal was the source of Mai’s frustration, her disappointment. Sakuta betrayed her by breaking his word, keeping her in the dark, and instead relying on Shouko in his time of need.
The first time I saw this, I missed the tear in Mai’s eye as she waited for the elevator. Just goes to show how she really felt at that moment.
Sakuta’s puberty syndrome is still potentially ongoing. We don’t ever see a cure for his puberty syndrome. But I can tell you what the cure is – Sakurajima Mai.
The reason Sakuta observed future Shouko two years ago was because he felt alone – no one would believe him and everyone doubted him. He was able to observe Shouko because he desperately wanted someone to believe him, and being entangled with Shouko, she fit the criteria. Shouko was able come to his aid and believe in him. Future Shouko is the ONLY one who could have understood Sakuta at the time. It’s why he summoned future Shouko, and not present Shouko. And it’s why she became his pillar of support.
While Sakuta’s puberty syndrome is still ongoing and has not yet been cured, we can still derive a lesson from his experiences. And wouldn’t you believe it, it’s the same lesson that applies to many of the other characters from the series.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help, and don’t be afraid to rely on others when you know you can’t manage on your own. Sakuta felt like there was no one in his life that he could rely on, that no one would believe him, and as a result, that no one would believe IN him. While Sakuta was able to summon Shouko to his side, it’s clear that what he really needed was people around him that he could rely on.
By helping so many others throughout the anime, Sakuta has built up a group of friends that he understands, and that will understand him. In a time of need, any of the other characters Sakuta had helped would definitely jump in to help him out as well. While future Shouko was all that Sakuta had in the past, he now has an amazing group of people in his life. Next time, when the time comes, I’m sure that his friends will be there for him. And I’m positive that above all, Sakurajima Mai will be there for him, to become his new pillar of support.
Why rely on one pillar of support when you can have five?
Upcoming Movie Predictions
The only thing I know about the upcoming movie is that it is completely centered around Makinohara Shouko. This can be derived from the title, Seishun Buta Yarou wa Yumemiru Shoujo no Yume wo Minai. My rough translation for this is Adolescent Pig (Rascal) Does Not Dream of Dreaming Girl. Of course, “dreaming girl” would be referring to Makinohara Shouko. Probably young Shouko, who is currently lacking dreams and hopes.
When I had originally figured out the above theory for Sakuta / Shouko, I didn’t even know there was a movie coming out. So to see that the movie is ABOUT Shouko definitely enforces what I had already thought about all of this – Shouko and Sakuta are very closely tied together, and there has to be a reason for it.
If I’m correct, we can expect the movie to involve Sakuta saving young Shouko, and then time travel as future Shouko is “observed” back in time to save Sakuta. I have a feeling that the movie will follow future Shouko at some point, because the movie will likely want to show us the process behind why Shouko left that letter in Sakuta’s postbox.
Remember, Shouko had tried to meet with Sakuta before Kaede’s memories had even returned, but Sakuta couldn’t make it in time. Now maybe this is too meta, but perhaps Shouko actually was there at the beach, and she met with Mai? Maybe Shouko warned Mai that Sakuta was going to break down soon… and that’s why Mai went rushing to Sakuta’s aid, only to find that Shouko had already intervened?
It would explain why Mai was so eager to be there for Sakuta, and add to why she was so upset, at least. It would definitely be more upsetting to know something was going to happen, only to not get that phone call from Sakuta until it’s already too late.
Either way, I think that letter and Shouko wanting to meet Sakuta will be important. The rest, well I’ve already mentioned the gist of it above. I do wonder what sort of challenges young Shouko will face though, because they’d have to be something serious for Sakuta to need to step in and help. Serious enough to get them both very entangled, assuming my theory is correct.
All we can do now is wait and see.
I can say that I have never been more excited to watch a movie!
I’ve also never “spoiled” a movie prior to it’s release like this, assuming I’m correct!
I’ll definitely have to write up a post after the movie comes out, comparing my theories here to what actually happens. I can’t wait. Just letting you know now, I’m going to be pretty boastful if I’ve managed to correctly predict the entire movie, or most of it.
This concludes my character analyses of Seishun Buta Yarou wa Bunny Girl Senpai no Yuma wo Minai, also known as Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai.
I hope you’ve enjoyed all of these analysis posts, they were a lot of work to put together but I am more than pleased with the final results. I’ve never dived into an anime as much as I have with this one, and it’s been a lot of fun.
Until next time,
Thanks for reading! 🙂