Rent-a-Girlfriend

Rent-a-Girlfriend is perfect for those who are emotionally immature and like romance. So this show was perfect for me. We follow Kazuya in his emotional journey from breakup to the relationship he develops with his rental-girlfriend, Chizuru. Surely nothing like jealous ex’s, other rental girlfriends, and overbearing grandmothers could complicate this simple transaction… right?

Characters

We have a good assortment of characters to talk about. Gran is a gem, for example, but let’s be honest. We are going to talk about my main girls Chizuru, Ruko, and Mami. Oh yeah, and Kazuya.

Chizuru is the ideal girlfriend. Is she basically an escort? I mean, she prefers “rental girlfriend” but that is beside the point. Chizuru is kind hearted, passionate, motivated, righteous, and takes ZERO shit. It doesn’t take a nuclear rocket scientist to understand why the 4 brain cells that Kazuya has fired to attract him to this amazing two dimensional woman. Chizuru quickly becomes the show’s favorite for the role of main love interest but does everything needed to earn that role (this sentence will be funnier after you watch the show). I personally enjoyed her private personality where we are able to explore her interests, quirks, personality, and goals. She feels like a well developed character in romantic comedy terms.

Ruko is possessive, obsessive, overbearing, and immature. It’s only natural that I find myself relating to her. Ruko finds herself in the backseat of Kazuya’s love but you wouldn’t be able to tell by how hard she works. This girl takes backseat driving to a whole new level and nearly manages to drive the car while leaning over the front seat in the final couple episodes. Is it weird that she tracks Kazuya down multiple times and visits him on campus after being asked several times not to? I mean if you want to split hairs, I guess. Does she have zero character development? Stop asking so many questions, it’s not that serious! She makes up for her complete lack of development with her… spontaneity… and… eagerness… yeah 😉.

Mami-chan is a stone fucking cold bitch. Shit doesn’t go her way? I hope to God you aren’t some guy hoping for a chance at a date because those eyes will suck the living soul from your body and send it straight to the afterlife. If you watch the first four minutes of Rent-a-Girlfriend, you learn that Mami is Kazuya’s ex-girlfriend and for reasons we don’t quite know why, she is dead set on keeping him single. She doesn’t want him, but no one else can have him either. I wish I could learn more about Mami, the show gives us very little development about anyone but Chizuru and Kazuya and this is a shame. We get a brief glimpse at Mami’s life in one scene but beyond that all we see is her being super fake. The ironic part is that she actually stands up for Kazuya in the most absolutely ruthless way at the end of the season. Her dialog points to deeper issues on her side but we need more. I want more. Maybe she will get some love in season two, which has been confirmed for production

Kazuya, Kazuya, Kazsuya. Virginity personified. Awkward embodied. Self-pity given life. This guy doesn’t have a lot going for him to be honest. This is where to charm lies. Kazuya straddles the line of an overly sexual loser and someone who cares deeply for the people around him. He risks his body, reputation, and pride to allow others to feel good and succeed in what they care about. We learn about his keep connection with his grandmother and how he seeks a relationship to fulfill her expectations as the family heir. We see that he has internal and external conflicts and conflicting motivations that make him anxious, confused, and misled. I firmly believe that Kazuya, while causing me to cringe more than any other character, is probably the most relatable one for a vast portion of the target audience. 

All in all, we get to see about two of the four main characters develop and another important character gets little attention in season one, my score reflects this. 3/6

Emotion

As someone who is a hopeless romantic, emphasis on hopeless, this show was for me. Kazuya perfectly exemplifies the silly emotions that guys feel when they like girls around them. A girl does something completely normal and compassionate? Clearly likes me. A girl isn’t an ass when she should be, well hot fucking dog we are out of the friend zone boys. I tend to get high emotional value from anime because the shows I watch meet me where I am at. Rent-a-Girlfriend does a great job at meeting me by showing how ridiculous and funny these situations and emotions are. I enjoyed the show a lot, I found myself smiling through Kazuya antics and I can’t wait for a second season. 4/6

Ideas

Abandon intellect all ye who enter here. I wanted to write a whole long thing about the ideas in this show because I really enjoyed the show and I wanted to boost the score but sadly… this show really doesn’t bring any new ideas.The shtick of the rental girlfriends is something that I am personally new to as far as anime goes but the idea is not something that really plays a big intellectual role in the show. It’s just a job. I did appreciate that the show takes place in college which makes the sexualization of the women not nearly as creepy, keyword here is nearly. I love this show but the ideas just aren’t here. 2/6

Pacing

I came into the show worried about pacing because a fellow Lotad Gang said it was not the best, especially in introducing the primary girls. As an independent and heavily biased observer of anime, I enjoyed the pacing of the show. Chizuru and Kazuya walk together through the story at a pace that kept me sucked in. If I am honest, I stayed up past 1AM on an occasion or two watching Rent-a-Girlfriend. Sorry for being sleepy at work, Robb. Rent-a-Girlfrind also largely avoids the plague of useless episodes, too many useless characters, and that awkward beach epi… oh nevermind. 3/4

Animation

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be an artist who used crayons their whole life? Yeah, I didn’t either until I saw Rent-a-Girlfriends backgrounds. I can picture the studio where these sharp-nosed, glasses-wearing, classically trained artists sit next to this oversized baby who colors on his tablet with a crayon. Just like babies, the background art was cute! It lacked detail overall but it was endearing and fit the dialog centric show. I felt as if the female characters got a lot more detail in their clothing and hair than the male characters did. Our boy Shun literally had two teeth and Chizuru and Mami got flowing frilled blouses. Sexist? Yes. Complaints? Not a single one. 

Well, actually some of the text that is used for humor is quite long and it’s hard to read all of that AND the subtitles at the same time. So maybe I did have some complaints. 3/4

The World 

So Parasyte had a shitty world, right? They made it feel like nothing was connected or close or anything else, right? Well if you disliked that welcome to something good! Allow Kazuya to follow logical lines of travel, revisit locations, and behave like a normal person! If you buy now, Kazuya will bring you to appropriately distanced new locations that fit into the story in both a logical and emotionally entertaining way. Was the world beautiful or inspiring? No, it was normal. But I liked it, and it made sense. 2/3

Music

We have legs for days on these girls and you want to talk about music? Fine, fine. Let me think, was the music intrusive? For sure not. In fact, they had some cool guitar riffs and nice background music that really fit the mood of the show. I didn’t expect to enjoy the music because until six episodes in I really didn’t… hear it… but once I did some ear stretches I got a pretty good listen at the subtlety of it. Don’t get me wrong, they reuse music and the opening song wasn’t a banger like other anime I have watched, but overall the music gave more than it took. I would be happy with this level of music in any romantic comedy. 2/3

CategoryPoints GivenPoints Possible
I am interested in the characters in the story36
I liked the emotion the story made me feel46
The story brings up interesting ideas26
I felt the pacing of the show was appropriate34
The animation in the show is beautiful34
I am interested in the world that the story takes place in23
I felt that the music added to the story in a meaningful way23
Overall Score

19/32

In contradiction to the title, Rent-a-Girlfriend is worth owning. I thoroughly enjoyed the show. If you are also a fan of eye rolling, cringe filled male behavior, roundhouse kicks to the stomach, and several overbearing women this show is for you. Jokes aside, the show is a hoot and I am excited for the second season. I can’t say this show makes the top ten animes by any means but it was fun and caused some funny group chat arguments. 

Published by Marshal Brummel

Anime Amateur

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