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HKBattosai

  • Japan, Edo period
  • Joined Mar 22, 2017
  • 38 / M

Rent-A-Girlfriend

Oct 4, 2020

Intro

I was not intending on writing a review for Rent-A-Girlfriend, but many of the other reviews up to the time in which I published this review make it out to be one of the worst anime imaginable. That is simply not the case. After watching season one in full, here is my review.

Story (15 points)

The anime is primarily about the near spineless, no guts, lying and self-loathing male main character, Kazuya Kinoshita. He is a college student who recently experienced his first girlfriend by way of the pretty-faced, nasty attituded, depraved, self-centered b**ch, Mami, who happened to be the one who dumped him only a month or so after they started dating. Kazuya’s first dance with dating ecstasy also became his first dance being cast aside like a pair of dirty, worn out, poo-poo stained underwear that no longer serves a purpose to its wearer. That is pretty much how Mami treated him.

In his time of self-pity, he catches an advertisement for a rental agency that happens to include the renting out of girlfriends (in a non-sexual demeanor). This is when the other main character joins the fray. Her name, Chizuru Mizuhara (aka Chizuru Ichinose). She is a dynamite looker (not hooker) who has the looks, brains, and personality to be included on anyone’s anime waifu list. To be fair, she does have her head strong, b**chy, arrogant moments as well, but there is more meaning behind them then what we witness at face value. Overall, she is good person with mostly good intentions.

Upon the amicable and pleasant first date, Kazuya goes totally bonkers and unfairly snaps and insults Chizuru at their second rendezvous. Fortunately, she has the fortitude of a professional who truly looks forward to being the “best” girlfriend she can be, even amid a selfish person like Kazuya. Through this, some way somehow, he takes her to visit his recovering grandmother at the hospital where she is recovering. In doing so, he introduces her as his actual girlfriend, which not only puts her in a bind, but her grandmother is also recovering at the same facility. From there the main story arc revolves around their “fake” relationship that they both keep alive for separate reasons.

While a little bland, there are situations and character appearances that make the anime more interesting as it moves along in episodes. Mami and the later debut of Ruka Sarashina certainly help escalate the events near the end of this season. I would give examples, but then that would mean spoilers. Nope! Not going to do it!

Animation (8 points)

Both art style and animation are somewhat reminiscent of TMS Entertainment’s Kamisama Kiss, which is more of a compliment than it is an insult. It is not mind blowing, but it is pleasant to the eyes and maintained consistency throughout the series. The backgrounds are relatively simply, but they are colorful. The characters are well drawn, but not overly detailed. The quality and detail fit this type of series almost perfectly.

Sound (5 points)

Meh. The opening (OP) and closing (ED) songs are adequate, but nothing spectacular for my taste of music. The same goes for the audio throughout each episode. However, watching a series of this genre(s) is not typically viewed for the music, although the previously mentioned Kamisama Kiss has both an excellent OP and ED courtesy of J-Pop artist, Hanae.

Characters (21 points)

While the plot is ever so slightly above average, this anime clearly attempts to drive its success based on its characters as its primary focal point. They make it enjoyable and despicable at the same time. Let me break down the biggest “it” characters of this series.

First, I will start with Kazuya. In diving a little deeper than what I have already stated, he has both a serious lying problem and serious lack of courage. It is quite aggravating! That does not make him a bad person necessarily. He has never had anyone in his life like Mami-chan or Chizuru, nor has he had a very good family support system, at least based on what we see in the first two episodes. There are some signs of hope, promise, and growth from him as a character. Episode four is a prime example.

Like another person stated on his comments page, “To put it plainly, if he pisses you off, it's because you're closer to him than you want to admit.” I think there is a fair amount of merit to that statement. He is someone who can make you angry, but someone many can relate to. He is a very “human” character on some levels, fictional or not.

Next up is Mami Nanami. I am going to get a little personal with her; she can go f**k off! She is an excellent character because she is so disgustingly self-absorbed, self-depraved, self-righteous, and a pretentious b**ch that you can easily despise, or even possibly hate a bit. When Chizuru and her meet at a social gathering, it is fantastic how Chizuru calls her out and puts her in her right place…the gutter (metaphorically speaking). What makes it worse is that the idiot that Kazuya is does not even see this in her. He is so worried about having a girlfriend, being dumped, and “getting busy” with a woman that he does not see her for the trashy person she truly is. She is a great character for all the wrong reasons!

Now we get to Chizuru. For all the good things that I have mentioned about her, the two main things she has going wrong for her are that she allows herself to get caught up in Kazuya’s lie, playing along with him, which makes her an unfortunate liar as well. Secondly, she cannot make up her own damn mind on how she feels or views Kazuya. However, she does give him some hints to her personal feelings regarding him and their shared situation, but she could go a little further since Kazuya can be dense at times. She is a solid character who has many more positives going for her than the majority of the cast. Plus, she looks cute (and even charming) when she has her glasses on and her hair is in pigtail braids, but that is just an insignificant bonus.

Lastly, Ruka makes her first appearance mid-series in which she happens to be on a date with Kazuya’s friend, Shun. It isn’t until later that we find out she is in the same line of work as Chizuru, but for more than mere financial gain. She has an irregular heartbeat, which has always been something that personally plagued her. That changes when she experiences a mere coincidental run-in with the non-lying, non-boneheaded, genuinely thoughtful version of Kazuya. In using her "unique BPM barometer" for measuring compatibility with him, she becomes a pivotal character in Rent-A-Girlfriend.

Pivotal, how? We learn about her brash, blackmailing, and selfish behavior. She will stop at nothing to be Kazuya’s "actual" girlfriend. The problem is that her personality often clashes with both him and even more so, Chizuru. She is completely adamant about finding out and exposing the truth of their relationship. She is stubborn and relentless in her pursuits. At times, she can be quite annoying!

However, there are many qualities Ruka possesses that are undeniably positive. Although extremely forward, she exhibits excellent integrity, honesty, and genuine thoughtfulness when it comes to others, even Kazuya’s grandma. We see this in full force in episode nine when she completely lays the smackdown on the situation at hand. It is one of the better moments in the entire anime!

Overall

Too many reviews have been scathing. I have read a portion of them, and while some points are legitimate, others are just unfair and/or inaccurate, mostly based on the inadequacies of Kazuya. If anyone read only those reviews, then I would not want to watch this anime at all.

Bottom line, all reviews are just someone's opinion and point of view on a particular media (anime, manga, music, books, etc.). The best way to completely discover if you may enjoy something or not is to simply experience it for yourself. Rent-A-Girlfriend is a far cry from being the best anime in its genre(s), but it is a far cry from being as horrible as most of the reviews have labeled it to be as well.

Personally, I would recommend giving it a chance. I enjoyed it enough to warrant watching Rent-A-Girlfriend 2 when it comes out. Besides, the cliffhanger at the end of this season, for lack of a better word, sucks! And I would suggest watching it in Japanese with English subtitles. I watched the remaining four episodes in English dub, and while they were okay, the Japanese VA’s capture the personalities better.

Hopefully, this review has brought a different perspective from all the other negative, low-scoring ones. If not, ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.

Entertainment Score:  8/10 (16 points)

Achievement Score:  +2 to Overall

My expectations were Moderate, and it delivered Slightly Above those expectations.

Age Rating:  TV-14+ (tagged Shounen but many elements of the anime have a more mature, Seinen feel to it)

Additional Information:

  • Video Format:  Streaming FHD (1080p)
  • Audio Format:  Japanese with English subtitles (episodes 1-8); English Dub (episodes 9-12)
  • Publisher:  Crunchyroll
  • Equipment Used:  Acer AN515-53-55G9 Nitro 5 Laptop
5/10 story
8/10 animation
5/10 sound
7/10 characters
6.7/10 overall

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