Japan is no stranger to the concept of the worlds oldest profession. Its a regular staple in many young adult and adult manga. Enjou Kousai or compensated dating, is the practice where young women are compensated for spending their time with you. If you think it sounds like prostitution you’re not wrong. Rent-A-Girlfriend is built upon this premise, but without the pesky negative aspects of it. After watching the trailer I was intrigued enough to give it a chance, and I’m pretty happy with it so far.
A NEW SPIN ON AN OLD TROPE
Kazuya Kinoshita is the main character. A typical, underachieving college student. He falls into despair after being dumped by his girlfriend. He clicks on a service to Rent-A-Girlfriend and blindly chooses someone, anyone to fill the void. This is what brings him to meet Chizuru Mizuhara, the female protagonist. She’s the ideal girl: a caring, cute personality and amazing beauty. Her eagerness to be paid for her job, and seemingly perfect public personality, leads Kazuya to believe she’s a vulture. Simply stringing men along and playing with their emotions. So he leaves her a negative rating after their date.
Chizuru is pretty pissed at the level of disrespect levied at her. Then the REAL Chizuru comes out. She’s sassy and extremely temperamental. The exact opposite of her professional persona. The comedy part comes in when Kazuya gets a phone call about his sick grandmother. Kazuya’s kind of a loser, even his family thinks so. They are surprised to find that he’s brought a gorgeous girl with him. Here’s where the ‘fake love’ aspect comes about. The complications grow, when Chizuru’s grandmother enters the scene. She’s best friends with Kazuya’s granny. The two are now being forced to bear the wishes of their family members, and carry on a fake relationship.
A CUTE FUN SUMMER FLING IS JUST WHAT YOU NEED
The main theme behind the series is filled with tropes we’ve seen numerous times before. Young man has a girl, gets dumped by said girl, fills the void with some new girl he barely knows, but falls in love with. It also throws in the “fake love” trope in there we’ve seen in Niseikoi, Scum’s Wish or Wolf Girl & Black Prince. Disclaimer: I’m a huge fan of Niseikoi. It probably was one of the better romantic comedy manga/anime I’ve enjoyed. What made it fun for me was the characters. I’m hoping that Rent-a-Girlfriend will follow suit.
The art and animation are amongst the top tier of the summer season. Character designs for each of the girls are as alluring as you would expect a harem, rom-com to have. The voice acting is among the best collection of actors in Japan right now. While the premise behind the show can be a complete turn off for some, I’d urge you to bear with it if you at least have a spot in your heart for some romantic comedy. Lets see where it goes from here. I usually measure the success of an anime with how quickly it can get me to start reading the manga. I’m already almost halfway convinced I should give it a go.
Did you watch the first episode of Rent-A-Girlfriend? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comments below.