- Alt. Names
- Kanojo, Okarishimasu
- Release Date
- Summer 2020
- No. of Episodes
- TMS Entertainment
Sometimes breakups are a terrible part of life, whether with a friend or in a relationship. However, everyone is going to deal with them a plethora of times within their lifetime. Yet, sometimes the worst part of a relationship is when someone breaks up with the other person randomly, it sucks, but it happens. When the other person believes that everything is going well, sometimes people don’t harmonize well together. Life can be hectic, especially if one is in college.
Rent-A-Girlfriend is a 2020 Romantic Comedy anime series from one of the oldest and most famous anime studios in Japan, TMS Entertainment. They have created numerous anime franchises and series such as Lupin the 3rd, The Rose of Versailles, Dr. Stone, and Fruits Basket (2019). While this significant studio has made some of the most beloved anime series, that doesn’t always mean everything will be a smash hit, especially when it comes to starting a new adaptation. Though even the best entertainment companies have flops now and then, Mulan (2020) was a massive flop both by audiences and revenue.
Kazuya Kinoshita is a 20-year-old college student who has a wonderful girlfriend: the bright and sunny Mami Nanami. But suddenly, he doesn’t. Without warning, Mami breaks up with him, leaving him utterly heartbroken and pathetically alone. Being lonely and wanting something that’ll soothe the pain of a fresh breakup, he hires a rental girlfriend through an online app. His partner is Chizuru Mizuhara, who manages to gain Kazuya’s affection through her unparalleled beauty and cute demeanor.
But after reading reviews from past customers’ experiences with Chizuru, Kazuya believes her warm and caring personality was all just an act to toy with his heart and rates her very poorly. As the two squabbles over her performance, problems arise in both their personal lives that they can’t break free. As Kazuya is still trying to get over his ex and the turmoil from his previous relationship with Mami, can this rental girlfriend and client relationship continue?
Most will immediately assume this is the inherent harem anime series, which happens from time to time. However, the most significant positive within this storyline is that it’s relatable – minus the renting a girlfriend part. People in high school and college break up; it’s a part of life we all must go through. So this simplistic story took that idea and escalated it by adding three more girls into the mix. Outside of that, Rent-a-Girlfriend’s hook within its narrative is that of any other romantic comedy show where the series keeps adding more attractive female characters. To some, this will be an entertaining journey, but to others who either don’t like harems or poorly done character additions, this will be a clear negative.
For whatever reason, for Romantic Comedy anime series and specifically harems, there is always a slew of negatives. With an anime series such as this, though, this series had its fair share of romcom and harem-like problems, like the pacing halted at times and wouldn’t continue, the characters weren’t believable enough to warrant specific reactions, etc. Though the most significant obstacle this story has wasn’t within the genre itself, it gives the viewer hope for a better plot than a unique version of an open relationship while in college.
Another negative within Rent-A-Girl’s narrative is that it tries to be a harem anime but even fails at doing a half-assed job. While there are multiple females within this series, most of them are only around for at most two, unless you’re the main characters. Every character within this wannabe harem pretty much vanishes off the face of the earth. Then suddenly, they’re all back for the final episode. Pathetic writing that hopefully shows that this series wasn’t faithful to its source material.
While the story was the worst part of this series, the art style will bring people in and hopefully keep them there. This series nailed the simple yet stunning look with the bright and cheery setting to the just as colorful character designs. This artistic design was simplistic, where the characters are well-drawn and don’t become too flashy. Each scene can be pleasing to one’s eye and is effortlessly captivating towards its audiences. Though the art style is impressive, many people will find this style very generic, which isn’t a fair assessment; it’s more foolish criticism.
While the artistic style within this series was a great addition, the production side of this Rent-A-Girlfriend is the area that perhaps may spark one’s interest. The opening segment was decently created and crafted with the song “centimeter” by all-woman Japanese rock band the peggies. The song choice was excellent, and the animation throughout the opening was nonexclusive towards the genre, but in the best way possible. It showcases each character without giving too much away, which is a pleasing task to complete for any series. However, this series properly utilizes its multiple characters using two different ending sequences and numerous closing songs.
Unlike the story, the characters are considerately more realistic – which isn’t saying much. The series main male character is Kazuya Kinoshita, a 20-year-old college student who lives in Tokyo. Throughout the anime series, the viewer will not only notice his indecisive personality, but they’ll also realize the lack of appeal for a majority of the series. He’s not the worst main character a series has had, but they’re just wasn’t anything redeemable within this series for him to do outside of one instance. Don’t expect much from him, but don’t count him out as well.
Perhaps this series central negative character aspect was the females within the series. With any anime series with a decent amount of female characters, there are bound to be fan groups of specific characters. However, this series seemed to be hating on characters for ridiculous reasons. Our main female, Chizuru Mizuhara, is a college student who has a part-time job as a rental girlfriend. She is one of the highest-rated rentals for newcomers, so that means she’s excellent at what she does. The series indeed lacks real competition outside of her whenever it tries to delve deeper within this genre.
Though the two other females within this romantic comedy series are Ruka Sarashina and Sumi Sakurasawa, Ruka is a girl who is also a rental girlfriend, but after realizing how kind and passionately Kazuya is towards Chizuru, wants him for herself. Sumi, on the other hand, is a first-year college student and new to the whole rental job, and while she’s the most in-and-out character within one episode, she’s the quietest. For whatever reason, this series tries to shove character after character without a valid reason.
While this series is nowhere near perfect, it does have some redeemable qualities. For instance, Rent-A-Girlfriend has a what-will-happen yet straightforward atmosphere that is somewhat reminiscent of watching one’s friends come to terms with their romantic feelings. Though this series does have a sugary bite to it upon first viewing, the series quickly has a weird after taste as the dust settles. It’s a simple yet redundant tale that offers a little newness within itself to warrant anything exciting.
Upon first viewing, the viewer could become enamored with the emotions emitting from the characters, but they’ll quickly identify the massive holes within itself when viewed again. Rent-A-Girlfriend is an attempt to showcase how popular, beautiful character designs can be without a solid story behind it. There are problems within this series of all sizes, but the biggest is that nothing seems to be genuine towards the series plot. The characters are not stable, nor are they even half-assed; they’re merely there to take space. If one wants to watch this series, it’s enjoyable, but I don’t see how one would watch it again.
Cody Senpai is the creator of BakaNow, an anime review website that specializes in spoiler-free reviews for everyone. He is an avid anime watcher who has traveled to Japan numerous times to not only experience the culture and history but also to build friendships with people through a common interest. He is an avid animation fanatic from birth and even went on to major in communication to help share the importance of the stories we love to watch and listen to. Cody lives in Denver, Colorado and loves to do anything adventurous.