Rent-a-Girlfriend

Rent-a-Girlfriend

Rent-a-Girlfriend anime series cover art
Rent-a-Girlfriend

Series Overview

Rent-a-Girlfriend (Kanojo, Okarishimasu / 彼女、お借りします) is a harem anime that isn’t tagged as a harem anime for some reason on MyAnimeList. Missing harem tag aside, it’s just a romantic comedy; nothing more and nothing less.

The series follows an insufferable protagonist by the name of Kazuya Kinoshita. Kazuya is human garbage. And if you relate to Kazuya for some reason, I’m sorry to break it to you, but you’re probably human garbage as well. His only “redeeming” quality is that he’s sometimes slightly less garbage.

After being dumped by the girl of his dreams, Kazuya turns to the world of rental girlfriends to fill the void left in his heart. He then, obviously, falls for the girl he rents out, Chizuru Ichinose. And I don’t say “obviously” because anyone would fall for their rental girlfriend — I say it because anyone would fall for Chizuru specifically.

But, despite having new feelings for Chizuru, Kazuya’s end goal is still to rekindle his relationship with his ex, Mami Nanami. I’m not really sure how he expects to do this, though, while parading Chizuru around as his new girlfriend.

I think he wants to show Mami that he’s an in-demand bachelor, but this doesn’t seem like a very well-thought-out strategy. Typically rubbing your new girlfriend in your ex-girlfriend’s face isn’t a good way to win your ex back. Or, maybe it is, but I’m not going to test it out.

And, not only does Kazuya have Mami and Chizuru in his life, but there are also two other girls (so far), Ruka Sarashina and Sumi Sakurasawa. Ruka and Sumi are both rental girlfriends like Chizuru. All four girls in the series have extremely different personalities, so there’s probably one who suits your tastes.

Girlfriend Rankings

Speaking of a girl for every taste, it’s time to rate Chizuru, Mami, Ruka, and Sumi against each other from best to worst.

In case you couldn’t figure it out by now, Chizuru is the best girl in the series. There’s really no competition when it comes to this distinction. Chizuru is simply the best girl in every possible way and if you think otherwise you’re mistaken.

She’s cute, she’s stylish, she’s nice (in a tsundere kind of way), she’s supportive, she’s smart, she has a job and her future lined up, and she doesn’t mind going to the aquarium. These are all ideal characteristics that I look for in any human, not just a rental girlfriend.

Chizuru Ichinose from the anime series Rent-a-Girlfriend
Chizuru Ichinose

The competition for second-best girl is very close. I want to say that Sumi is the second-best girl. But the fact is that we just didn’t see enough of her for me to confidently make that claim. I think out of the 12 episodes, she only appeared in one of them, episode 11.

So, I have to give second place to Ruka, even though I think she’s a bit on the possessive side. Don’t get me wrong, Ruka’s definitely cute and has other good qualities about her, such as her straightforwardness. However, she’s kind of a stalker who blackmails those she likes into dating her.

Unfortunately, there isn’t much to say about Sumi because she was only in one episode, but she’s in third place in my rankings. She’s shy, she’s cute, and that’s about all there is to her.

Finally, we have Mami, the clear worst-girl in the series. Mami is a vindictive bully who seeks to destroy any and all of Kazuya’s future relationships despite being the one who broke up with him — seemingly for no reason.

An Average Series with Above Average Girls

Now, I know I just said that Mami is easily the bottom-tier girl of the show, but that’s mainly due to her personality. All four of the girls have great character designs — they’re all visually cute. And that’s really the main draw of this series for myself and most other people I’ve talked to.

Some people will definitely say that Rent-a-Girlfriend is a bad anime because cute girls are just about the only things it has going for it. Add onto that the terrible protagonist, and I can kind of see where they’re coming from. But to me, it’s not necessarily bad, just average.

There’s not really anything I can point to and say, “that thing is bad about Rent-a-Girlfriend.” Yes, some characters are annoying, but I don’t think that alone makes a series bad. If the character was written to be annoying, then they’re doing their job. This is something I discussed in my review of Girlish Number.

Sumi Sakurasawa from the anime series Rent-a-Girlfriend
Sumi Sakurasawa

Where this series fails is purely in that it doesn’t stand out aside from its female character designs. You could replace it with just about any other harem, romantic comedy and it would effectively be the same.

But, I don’t think that issue is specific to Rent-a-Girlfriend. It’s kind of just how harem, romantic comedy anime are. I mean, what else can they really do to differentiate themselves? Sure, they could add a “twist” as isekai anime do, but they already do that to an extent.

The twist of this series is that three of the four girls are rental girlfriends. But as you can see, that doesn’t really change the dynamic of the series in any meaningful way. It’s kind of like how Oresuki tried to be different, but then that too ended up generic.

Conclusion

As far as I’m concerned, Rent-a-Girlfriend is a 6/10. Did I enjoy my time watching it? Yes. Do I think it’s a good anime? No. It’s alright, and if you’re into romantic comedies you may like it. But for the majority of people, I don’t think this series is going to be anything special.

I’m also not really sure what the series could change to make itself any better. It could make the protagonist less trash-like, but even then it would still be fairly generic. The main improvement that could be made would be to change the English title from “Rent-a-Girlfriend” to “Rental Girlfriend.” I think that just flows off the tongue better.

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