This season’s Rent-a-Girlfriend from Crunchyroll has perhaps one of the most intriguing premise I’ve seen in a while. In anime, I see a lot of done to death concepts that I’m quite frankly fed up with watching, but Rent-a-Girlfriend provides something different to the romantic comedy veteran.
The anime follows Kinoshita Kazuya, a 20-year-old college student who gets brutally dumped by his first-ever girlfriend. After a reasonable amount of time weeping and mopping around, he decides to download a girlfriend rental service app called Diamond. He meets up with his newly rented girlfriend Chizuru Mizuhara, and they have a good date. Later on, he realizes she was only kind to him because he was paying (because obviously) and decides to go on a second date to tell her off. Things get more complicated from then on, and both their grandmothers are led to believe they’re dating.
While there are many familiar tropes in Rent-a-Girlfriend, what I found interesting about it was its unique premise. It takes a lot of real-world aspects and properties and turns it into a slapstick rom-com anime while still separating it from the usual watered-down genre. It also sets a more mature tone to other similar anime. For one, the anime is set around college students and not your average highschooler.
They’re old enough to have more mature needs and goals while still young enough to make stupid and questionable decisions. A great example of this comes from Kazuya who after getting dumped decides to rent a girlfriend so he can be in control of a situation for once and get a glimpse of something he never had, only for him to be thrust back into reality and rather than acknowledging his situation, he misplaces his anger on Chizuru.
Aside from that, it’s interesting to see an anime touch on an aspect of Japan (the Rent-a-Girlfriend service) that’s still very much a thing even to this day, and while not being a hundred percent about the subject it’s still interesting to see the concept presented nonetheless.
Still a Rom-Com
Rom-com anime fans need not worry; however, as Rent-a-girlfriend seems to have the same tropes common with similar anime. One such moment can be seen when Kazuya reluctantly shows off his newly acquired rented girlfriend to his folks and, more importantly, his grandmother as his girlfriend so he won’t be seen as the loser he is. His grandmother is understandably excited and decides to show off the couple to her friends, one of which coincidentally (not really) is also Chizuru’s grandmother.
The two decide to run off to avoid being seen where they wind up in a compromising position on a hospital bed in your usual Ecchi moment. They still end up being seen together though rendering the sequence pointless (aside for fan service that is.) After the failed espionage mission, the two have a deep conversation where we learn the main reason Kazuya wants a girlfriend is to fulfill his grandmother’s wish before she passes. While we’re not sure why Chizuru is a rental girlfriend, it’s safe to say she has no other option as she keeps it a secret from others, including her grandmother.
The scene gives the episode a bit more depth than expected, which I quite appreciated. Whether or not subsequent episodes follow the same format is yet to be seen. For now though, Rent-a-Girlfriend seems like quite a unique take on romantic comedy anime. Also, Kazuya’s grandmother is already objectively the best character in the anime.
Rent-a-Girlfriend is available to stream on Crunchyroll right now.
Have you seen Rent-a-Girlfriend yet? What’s your favorite anime this season so far? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.