Next week’s (final) episode review may or may not be delayed due to holiday stuff. We’ll see.
Sakuta finally tells Mai and Nodoka about what happened to Kaede two years ago, when she suffered from the effects of her Puberty Syndrome. Kaede eventually developed some form of Dissociative Identity Disorder, which caused a new “persona” to manifest, and caused her to lose all memory of her previous self. Sakuta’s mother was unable to deal with the stress caused by this turn of events, and developed a mental illness of her own. Not long after this, Sakuta became afflicted with the three deep scratches on his chest, and was temporarily admitted to a hospital. During his stay at the hospital, Sakuta met “Shoko-san,” who helped him cope with his current bleak situation. After being released from the hospital, Sakuta and Kaede moved into their own apartment, and Sakuta gradually got used to this “new” Kaede.
Back in the present, Sakuta notices that bruises begin to appear on Kaede’s body again whenever she is close to regaining her memories and he becomes concerned. After Kaede reads a note (delivered by Sakuta) from one of her old childhood friends, Kaede appears to briefly regain her previous memories and faints. She’s taken to the hospital and quickly recovers. However—based on what the doctors have said—Sakuta understands that once Kaede regains her old memories again, it’s possible that all of her current memories (and current persona) will disappear.
After her hospital release, Kaede is determined to go to school, but her fear of people (and of her old classmates in particular) make her unable to get near the school grounds. To cheer her up, Sakuta takes Kaede to the zoo for a day, where she thoroughly enjoys herself. After night falls, Sakuta and Kaede go back the school—which is now much less stressful on Kaede with no one around. Sakuta and Kaede then go home to celebrate Kaede’s achievements with pudding.
The next day, Sakuta wakes Kaede up, only to find that her speech and mannerisms have changed. She’s regained her old memories again but has completely forgotten the last two years of her life when she lived as “new” Kaede—much to Sakuta’s horror.
(Holy geeze was this episode’s summary hard to write up. So much happened…)
This is probably the most emotional episode of Bunny-Girl Senpai we have gotten, possibly even rivaling the sheer emotional gut punch caused by episode 3. We get a real bittersweet ending to the episode, in that Kaede regains her memories again; which was always the end goal. But in regaining her old self, Kaede loses her memories AGAIN; this time losing her memories of her new friends and the time she spent with her brother. Sakuta’s face before the credits roll really says it all—how exactly are we supposed to feel in this situation?
Poor Kaede really can’t catch a break. Her amnesia wasn’t even CAUSED by her Puberty Syndrome, it was just a severe reaction TO the effects of it. We still don’t get a full explanation for what her Puberty Syndrome causes or what triggers it. It’s clear by now that the symptoms involve physical scarring and bruising, and appears to be caused by peer bullying; but is that the full extent of it? Sakuta doesn’t really confirm anything in this episode. That said, will we ever get an explanation for why Kaede’s Puberty Syndrome affected Sakuta so badly too? (…Or does Sakuta suffer from some form of Puberty Syndrome as well that he never realized or resolved?)
Apart from, uh. The more emotional parts of the episode, it was nice to see Sakuta and Kaede just hanging out and having fun. The zoo sequence was really heartwarming to watch, and was a much needed break from all the turmoil introduced in the episode. Sakuta really shows off how great a big brother he is here; and also how much he cares for his sister. I get the feeling that Sakuta and Kaede got a lot closer after her new persona emerged, which adds on an extra layer of sadness after what happened at the very end of this week’s episode…
Overall, this was a really great episode—even with the animation being somewhat lower quality than usual. (But, I mean, it doesn’t seem that big a difference compared to what we got already in the last few weeks for this series.) I feel like there’s a lot more I can say about this episode, but I’m having trouble finding the words to properly convey my feelings. This episode is just something that needs to be experienced. Kaede’s desperation to fulfill all of her goals before this version of her “disappears” was both inspiring and heartbreaking. Also, it was nice to see Sakuta being so supportive of his sister (in a non-creepy way by anime standards, holy shit!). Why can’t we all have older brothers as good as Sakuta?
Next week is the last episode, and I hope we at least get a satisfying conclusion to Kaede’s arc AND the season.
Out of five:
Yeah, I’m biased. Because Kaede.