This show is NOT for everyone. And fair warning, Episode 1 will make you want to #RAGEQUIT because the main character is such a piece of sh*t....it is really ROUGH and hard to sit through...
But....if you have an appetite for CRINGE comedy, and can enjoy watching characters sabotage themselves and have to keep spinning lie after ludicrous lie and can appreciate the absurdity it entails...you might be willing to give this show a chance.
Also, if you remember the plot in American Pie (2?) where Alyson Hannigan suggests being the main character's "pretend" girlfriend....
There's a wise saying...."We are who we pretend to be."
Anyway, this RomCom was, for me, vastly entertaining....Ep.1 is the main character at his lowest, most awful, self-pitying worst....he does get better (after he gets to college and is unceremoniously dumped by his High School girlfriend his freshman year of college). Also, his "rental" girlfriend, Chizaru, really steals the show. She's an aspiring actress, attends the same college as Kazuya, and is the consumate professional when it comes to the rental girlfriend business. Kazuya becomes her regular client because of the elaborate lies he spins about her to impress his male friends and also to keep his grandma off his back about finding a girlfriend to carry on the family legacy. Kazuya's grandmother is blown away by Chizuru and adores her...Chizuru to her shock & surprise finds out Kazuya's grandmother is also coincidentally best friends with her own grandmother. They're forced to keep pretending and Kazuya keeps spending the rental dough on Chizuru.
Chizuru struggles to keep things strictly professional while also dealing with Kazuya's crazy Ex-girlfriend who starts hanging around again, causing problems.
Chizuru and Kazuya go through so many trials and tribulations together, some of them even life threatening...that their bond just keeps getting stronger. Chizuru is maybe even lying to herself about how she genuinely feels, and she is increasingly unable to find a way to extract herself from the "fake" relationship she and Kazuya invented....because none of it exists in a vacuum but touches so many other lives and fates. It's a little stressful to watch....yes, Chizuru is an actress and the rental gig is a JOB, but the best actresses channel GENUINE emotions in their performance....Chizuru keeps telling herself it's strictly professional but she has little moments of doubt and moments that go "off script" into the real sometimes.
Ruka is a rival Rental Girlfriend who stirs things up and points out some of the ethical boundaries Chizuru is already crossing, breaking best practices standards, etc. But Ruka's motives are self-interested....she likes Kazuya for real and wants Chizuru to back off. But Ruka, in my opinion, comes on too strong and her relationship with Kazuya is co-dependent and unhealthy....Ruka's far too desperate and emotionally needy....Kazuya does think she's beautiful but his heart beats only for Chizuru and he doesn't want to take advantage of Ruka under false pretenses....It's pure harem soap-opera nonsense but I thoroughly enjoyed it. I do hope Season 2 gets dubbed, I look forward to continuing the story.