Rent-a-Girlfriend 2

Alt title: Kanojo, Okarishimasu 2

TV (12 eps)
3.641 out of 5 from 2,170 votes
Rank #3,412

The second season of Rent-A-Girlfriend.

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HKBattosai
4.6

Intro I originally wrote this as a preliminary review of Rent-A-Girlfriend 2 and updated it as the season progressed. I made references to my review of the first season since this is a direct continuation of it. Now that it has ended and I have finished watching it in its entirety, I have decided to overhaul this review and write it completely, thoroughly, and without reservation. Story For a direct continuation of the mightily cliff-hangered first season, Rent-A-Girlfriend 2 must make it clear the direction it is going in. In the very first few episodes, it looks promising. In greater detail, we learn that Chizuru aspires to be an actress and that her talents are evident. We learn that her determination is driven beyond that of her just chasing some whimsical dream, but that her grandmother, Sayuri, is as much a catalyst for her resolve to making it come true, and that resolve shows in Chizuru’s acting and in nearly everything else she does in life. If the first few episodes are an accurate representation of the main story arc for this season, while continuing along with the Kazuya-Chizuru relationship conundrum and mixing in and further developing some of the other interesting subplots from the first season, then season two is bound to be a success. Sadly, beginning shortly after the encouraging start, many looming questions begin to form and linger throughout most of the season. I will address a select few of them, one-by-one, as it pertains to both the story and characters (later), but first, here is a message from our sponsors (imagine an energetic voiced infomercial):  “Are you getting enough anime with a chaotic, jumbled mess for a plot? Do you enjoy repetitive and misleading, direct sequel seasons? Do you wish for more relevant characters to nearly disappear as if they practically never existed? Do you despise Mami Nanami? If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions, then we have the perfect anime for you. It’s called ‘Rent-A-Girlfriend 2.’ Give us a call at 1-555-TIS-CRAP to order this steamy POS today. We promise you will surely be disappointed! Now back to your normally written program.” First obvious question, aren’t Ruka and Kazuya supposed to be in an actual boyfriend-girlfriend relationship? They share a large portion of one episode together early on with semi-dating behavior on display, but then nothing seems to occur afterwards for quite some time. As a quick recap, Ruka is not introduced until the second half of Rent-A-Girlfriend, but she makes an immediate impression and holds some significant importance going into this season, so I would expect to see more of her relationship with Kazuya and as an individual take shape from the beginning. However, it does not happen right away, and her character almost feels forced up to the point where their relationship finally ramps up and gets some serious inclusion. I will further dive into the whole debacle of this “relationshit” they find themselves in later in Characters, but Ruka’s lack of presence half-way through is just the beginning of the randomness or disappearance of the season one cast, and how it can be plot damaging by managing characters in this manner. How are the grandmothers of both Chizuru and Kazuya doing? We see some early snippets of Chizuru’s grandma, Sayuri, briefly within the first few episodes, so we know she is alive and functioning at the very least, but there are no signs of Nagomi, Kazuya’s grandma. Both are minor characters, but both are pivotal in season one regarding the history and status quo of Kazuya and Chizuru’s “fake” romance. When Nagomi finally gets reintroduced, who cares? By this time, any impact and relevance she has is merely a side show now, even when she and Ruka finally share some minor moments together, the supposed to be real girlfriend. Where is the Shin and Kibe support system for Kazuya? Continuing with the pattern of plot wondering characters, they are practically nonexistent midway through the second season, period! When they do make a relevant appearance, we come to find out that they are worse d-heads than Kazuya ever was and currently is. They have their girlfriend troubles, or lack-there-of said girlfriends, but that does not excuse their behavior, nor does it explain how poorly written and disappointing they have become as individual characters and support for Kazuya. Lastly, what about Mami-chan and her supposedly being the the disruptive b*tch that many of us loath and despise!? Well, at least that part remains intact, but just barely, as she too falls victim to the random appearance illness that plagues this season. One moment, she appears, and it looks like she is up to her vile, nosy mischief where I find myself saying, “Watch out! Here comes the obsessive, troublesome, crazy b*tch!” The next moment, she becomes a nothing character that goes unnoticed for two or more episodes. Personally, it looks like her horrid character is being setup as a more impactful and problematic one in the recently announced upcoming season, Rent-a-Girlfriend 3. The “trio-ship” between Kazuya, Chizuru, and Ruka better proceed with caution, assuming the writers do not screw this plot potential up like most of this season’s entirety has gone awry. Ultimately, the story suffers severely due to the inconsistencies and misrepresentations in the writing, as do the characters. The plot, subplots, and irregular character appearances are unorganized and poorly executed far too much throughout, and the above are just some examples that stick out from this chaotic, sporadic, mess that TMS Entertainment calls a storyline. Animation & Sound Without getting too elaborate, I will say that the animation is smooth and consistent, and the art is even more dazzling and detailed than it is in season one, especially when it comes to the character designs close-up, such as the eyes, the strands of hair, their clothing designs, and other various features. Additionally, the OP and ED are decent and the remainder of the audio, while not drastically important in this particular anime, is functional and appropriate to the typical scene and overall atmosphere. Characters First off, I am going to discuss the primary expectations for the Rent-A-Girlfriend 2 main cast, and that is the mutual relationship, or friendship between Kazuya and Chizuru. Please remain seated for what I am about to say. Although it pains me to say this, the star of this season is not Chizuru, Ruka, others not yet mentioned, or any of the missing-in-action characters. Nope! It is non other than the ‘spineless, no guts, lying, and self-loathing’ Kazuya. Wait, what!? That is not a typo. It is correct! Let me explain, but not before I rehash the mentioning of Chizuru’s acting prowess and the development of her character very briefly. She is a talented actress as we witness in the very first episode of this season. She gives an all-out, stand-out performance in front of a premier director/producer who could advance her career tremendously. Unfortunately for her, she happens to get the bad end of a predetermined choice of another performer being selected by the name of Shiori, who is a pointless character addition to this season, aside from her proving that Chizuru got shafted after delivering an audience-pleasing, phenomenal performance. Shiori, an innocent young actress herself, is unaware that the only reason she is chosen instead of Chizuru is because of her prior relationship with the director/producer. Upon the decision, Chizuru is completely devastated with the outcome. Step in, Kazuya. From nearly the very beginning, Kazuya shows how much he is progressing along as a not-so-bad, humane human being, who he himself aspires to be a better person, even if he is unaware of it at first. When Chizuru inadvertently finds out that he attends the play she is in, she questions him, then becomes negative and starts doubting her talents as an actress. Kazuya abruptly interrupts her in a crowded public setting and embarrasses himself at the expense of encouraging her to never give up her dream. According to him, and based upon the rest of the audience’s reactions, she is the one who clearly stood out the most among all the other acting performances. He shouts out in tears on how much she cannot give up just because of one little setback, and that he will continue to support her in any way he possibly can, even though he has zero obligations to do so. Without truly realizing it at first, Chizuru is overwhelmed by his passion for her talent and dream. Without divulging further moments, situations, and scenarios that happen later, Kazuya continues to become more and more self-aware of himself and of who he is, what he wants, who he wants, and aware of certain situations in and around his life. His development does not come without certain moments and behaviors that remain unsavory though. These can easily make someone cringe, get angry, or continue to flat-out dislike him, even if these qualities add an honest sense of realism between his character and a real-life person. One (of two) of the most relevant situations is how he mishandles his relationship with Ruka. Although he still has his cowardice moments and it might be a difficult task, he really needs to make it clear with Ruka whether or not he is interested in dating her. She can be an annoying, nosy, pain-in-the-ass young woman sometimes, but it is not fair for him to unintentionally taunt her with thoughts of being in a real relationship together. However, that above fact does not excuse Ruka for being intrusive into Kazuya’s life as much as she is, and for forcibly pushing herself onto him. She is similarly intrusive to the way that Mami b*tch-chan, Kazuya’s ex-girlfriend, happens to be. The only difference is Ruka is not playing some sadistic game of self-amusement like Mami-chan, which is a major difference. She genuinely believes that she loves Kazuya, even if it is mainly due to the BPM of her heart. Either way, the relationship Ruka thinks she has with him is controversial at best, and she should face the possibility that Kazuya does not like her like a girlfriend no matter what unfiltered hot-headed comment she blurts out, or what guile scheme she tries to pull. She should either painfully walk away and cope, or Kazuya should “man-up” and tell her flat out how he feels about their dating relationship, and whether he wants to be just friends and co-workers, or if he wants to have a more serious relationship with her. No matter what, Ruka might end up getting hurt, but she will be better off in the long run if she and Kazuya do not end up officially remaining a couple. Some guy out there will be able to return her currently unrequited love. Really quick, two (of two) of Kazuya’s mishandled situations is the one where both he and Chizuru are at fault, and that is their current interpersonal situation. They need to be forth right and completely honest with themselves on what their individual feelings are for the other one because it is causing complete chaos for all other parties involved them. In fact, this is on Chizuru even more so since Kazuya confesses certain thoughts and feelings to her at some point. However, her biggest problem stems from being so strong-minded and stubborn when it comes to being open with her true feelings and emotions. Regardless of his mishaps, Kazuya’s character grows the most, whether someone wants to admit it or not. Yes, he still has his faults as we have seen, but for anyone who thinks he is not a good person overall or does not have generally good intentions, is flat out hating on him. His unnecessary obligation and desire to help Chizuru, his not taking advantage of specific situations, especially with Ruka, his looking out for certain individuals, and his willingness to come clean at one point to everyone about his “fake” romance with Chizuru shows that he is becoming a better character and growing up, little-by-little. As for any other significant character presence, there really is not much, to be blunt. Kiba and Shun may as well not even be in Rent-A-Girlfriend 2 except in name only. Mami-chan is underutilized, but maybe it is because her character is being setup for the next season as mentioned prior. But what about Sumi Sakurasawa? What happened to her? In season one, she is thrown in near the end rather awkwardly and with no real practicality, unless she is meant to prosper, develop, and come into her own this season, which never happens. The two episodes she is primarily in are more like filler episodes than actual important plot-related one. That is too bad, especially when episode 11 is a feel-good gem and one of the best standalone ones of the season. It just does not have any major relevance to an already scrambled plot. Like Mami, perhaps Sumi’s character will have a stronger presence in the next season. Let’s hope so. She is the best behaved, genuinely sweetest character with no apparent ulterior motive. Final Thoughts My closing thoughts are these. I gave season one a fair chance to impress. It had variable shortcomings but was done well enough and it was cohesive enough to lay a foundation to develop and improve upon. Unfortunately, the writers did not get the corporate memo regarding that. So, we the viewers received diminished returns of time invested on what was an anime already teetering on the borderline of being a fun, enjoyable anime and a poo-pile plot of indecisive characters. Additionally, I wrote that season one felt more Seinen than Shounen due to the plot and character writing being what they were. Well, this season felt like neither because it could not get out of its own damn way of being consistently good to gear towards an accurate demographic. Another way to look at it; episodes one, two, 11, and 12 were more mature and quite good on their own merits, whereas everything else in between was totally chaotic and completely all over the place in nearly all facets of writing, direction, and overall development. In conclusion, I will most likely watch season three when it debuts, but not because of improvements that take place in this season, since quite the opposite takes place. I want to see if TMS Entertainment can turn the series around and finally give dedicated viewers an entire worthwhile season where the characters and story align much better, and where something actually happens instead of a continued Do-si-do dance of confusion and repetitive nothing. Overall:  46/100 points Entertainment Score:  7/10 Achievement Score:  -4 to OVERALL My expectations were Moderate, and it delivered Below those expectations. Age Rating:  TV-14+ (some minor sexual fanservice, confusing character relationships) Additional Information: Video Format:  Streaming FHD (1080p) Audio Format:  Japanese with English subtitles Publisher:  Crunchyroll Equipment Used:  Acer AN515-53-55G9 Nitro 5 Laptop

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