You know, it recently dawned on me that I don’t really discuss the comedy of Rent-a-Girlfriend and I admit that’s negligent of me as this is a romcom. Though to be honest, I really question this show’s effectiveness as a comedy. Some exceptions do exist; I get a little amused at the coincidences that keep happening to Kazuya and Chizuru even if they can be chalked up as contrivances. But for the most part, I find the show’s attempts rather cringey and often clashing with the more serious elements. The biggest offenders are Kazuya’s best friends being even lamer than him (which is saying something) and his grandmother’s bizarre fixation on Chizuru. They’re just not that funny and there’s only so many ways I can write that down. While that’s obviously a huge flaw for a romcom, I must concede that Rent-a-Girlfriend still remains a fairly interesting anime, hence why I keep finding myself reviewing this series.
Anyway, I’m halfway through Rent-a-Girlfriend and this episode even serves as a vehicle for which the story can transition to a new status quo and introduce new characters. As Kazuya and Chizuru spends the night together, Kazuya asks if the two of them could continue “dating”. The reason he gives is that he thinks the experience will not only give him a better boyfriend but also just a better person overall. It’s a selfish request, Kazuya knows this and readily says he’ll “break up” with Chizuru if that’s what she wants. Considering he wanted to keep this act going not too long, I think this even speaks to the fact that he is maturing. Ultimately, Chizuru agrees. Obviously, that’s the professional response. So long as Kazuya can pay and the experience isn’t unbearable, Chizuru will help her client. It’s entirely possible however that Chizuru is also just curious, curious as to what kind of person Kazuya will ultimately become from this experience. All in all, this is a good justification to keep the story going…I just question for how long. Kazuya learning to better himself as a person could honestly be stretched indefinitely and that worries me.
The second part of the episode introduces us to the third major female character, Ruka Sarashina (Nao Touyama; this show’s casting has seriously been spot on). Turns out Ruka is Shun’s girlfriend which surprises Kazuya as he thought for sure Shun had even less romantic skills than he did (judging by the comic relief, I’m honestly inclined to agree with him). There are however hints that Ruka is a rental girlfriend much like Chizuru is. She doesn’t seem that attracted to Shun and the way they depart is very reminiscent to the first rental dates Kazuya and Chizuru had. Most telling however is that Ruka knows of the rental service as well as the fact Chizuru is a rental girlfriend. Next episode will most likely give an explicit confirmation if she is a rental girlfriend. I’m okay with either though I must admit that the concept of Kazuya’s lamer friends having a legitimate girlfriend would’ve made for some amusing irony.
That Ruka knows that Chizuru and Kazuya is faking their relationship does shake things up. I’ll admit that it does lead to one of the more effective gags where Ruka eggs the two into kissing to prove their love and Chizuru ultimately chickens out at the last minute, failing to convince Ruka otherwise. That said, I wonder what even is in it for Ruka to get so nosy. It sounds like blackmail is the goal but what on Earth does she have to gain with these two strangers? And as awkward as rental dates may be, it’s hardly a scandal. Assuming she is a rental girlfriend herself, maybe she’s just curious what the job is like for another woman and if there are a genuine budding interest between our two leads. The only problem with that is that it sounds far too plain and this show has proven so much that it likes being wacky, even at its own expense.
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