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Metalhead33

  • Budapest, Hungary
  • Joined Jan 8, 2022
  • 29 / M

Rent-A-Girlfriend

Jan 8, 2022

I see that a lot of people - at least on other sites - have rated this anime a very low score. Instead of just reviewing Rent-a-Girlfriend, I am also going to review the reason why so many people rate this anime so low, by comparing it to another anime that is also infamous for being notoriously low-rated. I'll let everyone else figure out which anime I'm talking about.

Both anime are considered horrible, and for the exact same wrong reason: because people are either missing the point, or because it hits too close to home for them with a protagonist who is too relatable for comfort. Or maybe a bit of both. Allow me to elaborate.

Not every piece of fiction needs to have an amazing superhero. Not every piece of fiction needs to have a protagonist with superpowers or amazing deeds that we get to marvel at. Sometimes, it's healthy to have a main character who is just like us - heavily flawed, irrational, occasionally scummy, and most importantly: afraid, indecisive and hesitant. In the Chad vs Virgin meme, the Chad represents exaggerated awesomeness, while the Virgin represents relatable awkwardness. Just like in School Days, in Rent-a-Girlfriend, we are greeted with a main character who is too human for comfort. He's flawed. He's wishy-washy and doesn't like taking risks. He doesn't have the superpower of hindsight. He's relatable, and that's precisely the "problem".

Kazuya is a character who comes from a growing demographic: sexually frustrated and romantically starved young men. He's inexperienced and irrational. But most importantly: he's human. All of the decisions he makes are decisions a real-life human being could realistically make, if put into the same situation. In fact, without the superpower of hindsight, all of the decisions he makes are decisions the majority of us would make, if put into his shoes.

Kazuya Kinoshita is not a bad main character - he's a reflection of the viewer. Don't pretend that you'd be any smarter than him without hindsight. I know this, because I used to build a house of cards from lies all the time as a kid, only to have them fall each time. If you are desperate enough to literally rent a girlfriend, you're definitely going to fall for her, even if it's just an act. That's just how heartbroken people are. His hesitation, his jealousy, these are all perfectly normal human emotions to have. Yes, it is painful to watch, but that is what makes this anime so special: it doesn't sugarcoat reality. It shows us just how awkward and cringeworthy humans can be, and we cringe because it's relatable, because it hits too close to home. It probably reminds us of some of our awkward memories that we would rather remove from our brains altogether. And that is what makes Kazuya a GOOD main character.
99% of what I said about Kazuya applies to all the other characters of the series too, especially Chizuru. Again, we're dealing with real(istic) human beings who have trouble sorting out their own emotions, and overcomplicate simple things. It's just human behaviour. It's awkward, relatable, and I love it (in a somewhat masochistic way), even if it observing it is almost physically painful at first. Humans are complex and awkward, and even professionals act irrational when in love.

Oh right, was I supposed to be reviewing an anime? Rent-a-Girlfriend is a slightly better-than-mediocre anime. Beautiful waifus, nice visuals, a painfully realistic plot and a main character who is way too relatable for comfort. It was a torture to watch, but I will still give it a high score, just to spite the people who were missing the entire point of the anime. Yes, there were times when the suspense/tension was almost literally killing me, but that's the whole point of fiction - people who complain about that shouldn't read books and shouldn't watch movies/anime.
I'm sorry for the somewhat condescending tone towards all the other reviewers, but I just didn't feel it was right to let this go. They were all badmouthing the main character, while I was feeling for him while watching the anime. I figured I'd do this anime - and its hated main protagonist - justice.

10/10 story
10/10 animation
10/10 sound
8/10 characters
8/10 overall

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