Rent-a-Girlfriend – Ep. 7

I wasn’t sure what to make of Ruka last episode though to be fair, the last episode was introducing the character. Now, I’ve learned more about her and yet, I think I also still don’t know what to make of her.

Admittedly, I actually enjoy not knowing what she’s up to. The episodes starts with her confession that she’s a rental girlfriend (hence how she knows Chizuru is one) and dealing with Kazuya’s desperate pleas to not reveal the secret to anyone. Then the following day, she comes up to Kazuya and asks to be his girlfriend. She uses some drastic measures too such as ratting Shun out as a client in front of Kazuya (I don’t even like Shun and I still bad for him here) and using her knowledge of Chizuru’s secret to blackmail Kazuya into dating her. Something clearly is going on with her and that has you wondering what that might be until the episode pulls away the curtains. It reminds me a bit of Mami and how you don’t entirely know what her deal is though I will say that there’s more clarity with Ruka’s character and Ruka is definitely way better girlfriend material than Mami.

I’m surprised and annoyed with myself that I didn’t expect Ruka to ask Kazuya out. Sure, KanoKari has really driven home how much of a loser Kazuya is and with the recent agreement between him and Chizuru, it’s harder to imagine him getting a real girlfriend so soon after. But even so, Ruka wanting Kazuya as her boyfriend really does sound like the course of action to take with her character.

Eventually, you learn what Ruka’s deal is. Turns out, she suffers from a low heart rate and is only working as a rental girlfriend to find someone she’s attracted to and therefore get her heart racing. Kazuya as it turns out is the first person who has made her heart beat at the numbers she needs, hence why she’s asking him out. And I know that pacemakers are a thing but let’s just roll with it for the show’s sake. That does raise the question if Ruka’s intent is to simply use Kazuya for her own gain though I doubt she’s being disingenuous either. She’s clearly desperate for the two of them to be a couple and gets sad when her plan starts to fail. Also, Kazuya must be doing something right if it’s physically affecting Ruka.

Something does bug me about the reveal however. You actually learn of Ruka’s condition via the ED, one entirely unique to this episode. It’s actually a pretty good sequence. I like that it’s presented like a manga with a bluish monochrome color palette and it does get the point across in a concise manner. What I don’t get is why only the audience is becoming privy to this information and Kazuya and Chizuru aren’t. Ruka has nothing to lose by telling them the truth. If anything, it’d increase her chances. Maybe Ruka is afraid of coming across as selfish though that got thrown out of the window after she tried to blackmail her crush. Ruka could also explain things later though that would be rather repetitive if explicitly shown.

To give credit where’s due, I think Kazuya might be the smartest and most likable he’s ever been. Dating Ruka would pretty much guarantee the secret remaining a secret and the Kazuya from earlier in the series would be super ecstatic to have a legitimate girlfriend again. At the same time, Kazuya is aware of the complications. He’d have to tell everyone that he’s “broken up” with Chizuru and while that’s the end goal to begin with, it’ll definitely be harder to do if the context is that he’s dating someone else now. In the case of Shun, dating Ruka would get extremely awkward. There’s also the fact that Kazuya is attracted to Chizuru while Ruka he’s only met recently. Honestly, Kazuya’s plan to tell Shun that Chizuru is a rental girlfriend is a smart plan. It’d makes things between less awkward and Shun would have little reason to rat Kazuya out since his own similar secret has already been discovered. I honestly wish Kazuya would go through with it though obviously, that’d be the easy way out.

I do like that Chizuru is the one who convinces Kazuya to give Ruka a chance. She’s being true to her word that she’d help him out with these kinds of things. It also goes to show how much Kazuya confides in her and trusts her opinion. Also, while we’re on the subject, I want to acknowledge the bit where Chizuru deals with Ruka clinging onto her client and trying her best not to show her annoyance and possibly jealousy. That cracked me up and that’s saying something how hit or miss Kanokari has been as a comedy.

One concern I do have with Ruka’s role is how long she and Kazuya will be dating. There’s no way this is the status quo for the rest of the series. Kanokari still needs to introduce one more lady and even if Ruka and Kazuya’s relationship is an on and off sort of thing, I’d be shocked if she’s the love interest who ultimately “wins”.

Thanks for reading!

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