I am not the least bit surprised that Rent-a-Girlfriend has been renewed for a second season. The manga source material is pretty popular right now and even if this summer wasn’t hit hard by COVID-19, this anime adaptation would still be one of the most popular shows at the moment. It’d be more surprising if this show didn’t get renewed for more. For fans of this series, that’s great news. As for me personally…that’s great news for the fans.
My biggest issue with Kanokari right now (aside from it not being all that funny…) is its padding. That’s admittedly a common problem with a lot of romantic comedy anime/manga. Ideally, this type of story ought to be over much sooner than they typically do. The point still stands though. When you really think about it, this story should only comprise of Kazuya, Chizuru, and Mami and be done in one cour. I like Sumi as much as the next guy and Ruka is at least interesting but they distract more from the plot than they add to it. You could easily cut them out and not feel their absence at all. Unfortunately, that’s not considered good business for a romcom series so here we are with Kanokari prolonging its existence and overstaying its welcome. Some shows can make it work but I remain unconvinced this is one of them.
What sucks is that this season finale had a chance to shake things up. Mami’s date with Chizuru? That could’ve taken the show to somewhere really interesting. And for what it’s worth, that scene is pretty good if you examine it in a vacuum. Mami is as ambiguous as always (Aoi Yuuki is still great as her) and Chizuru stays professional despite how tense and dubious the whole situation is. Both characters raise some interesting points about each other and their respective relationship with Kazuya. Mami has a point that unless those two legitimately commit, Kazuya is locked in a romantic stalemate if he keeps renting Chizuru. The fact that Mami thinks her ex deserves a real girlfriend says a lot about how she actually feels about him too. Meanwhile, Chizuru is quick to ask Mami if she’s ever taken Kazuya seriously and judging by Mami’s hostile reaction, that point clearly hit home for her. It’s the end result that undermines the whole interaction. Why does Mami bother to keep her lips sealed about Kazuya and Chizuru’s relationship? Why doesn’t she decide to give her ex another chance when Chizuru is allowing her to do so? Apart from the plot demanding it, she has no incentive not to take action one way or another and it doesn’t line up with her past actions.
The same can be said about what Kazuya does in this episode. I wish he let go of his feelings towards Chizuru and give Ruka a proper chance. I wish he confess to Chizuru and not chicken out in the process. Either one would work. Just give me something. Any direction he picked would be far more interesting than sticking back to square one. But no, that would make progress and this series is clearly going for the long game.
I suppose this is where the second season comes into play and I’ll admit that I am interested in seeing a couple more episodes at least. For what it’s worth, the series isn’t boring, frustrating and unfunny but it kept my attention throughout and I’d be lying if I haven’t gotten invested in the characters. As for coverage, we’ll see. It all depends on what’ll air alongside it and if any of it is far more worth my attention.