Summer 2022’s girlfriend service experience romance comedy, Rent-a-Girlfriend, has come to its second season’s finale. Currently on MyAnimeList, advertised as the world’s largest anime database and community, Season 2 has received a mediocre score of 6.5/10 weighed from MAL users’ personal ratings. The first season had received a score of 7.17/10 which is fairly good. There’s also been a huge drop in total user ratings; Season 2 has been scored by 39,102 users as of this writing, while Season 1 has 538,653 scores. Although the final episode has not yet aired, it’s clear many viewers are disappointed by Rent-a-Girlfriend‘s second season.
Does it deserve this score? Judging by the lack of personal development and relationship progress, interesting plot lines or rising action, it probably does. In a show that doesn’t have many characters compared to other anime series, character development is unfortunately where Rent-a-Girlfriend has fallen short.
Where Is Kazuya’s Character Development?
Starting with protagonist Kazuya Kinoshita, he’s still largely the same hesitant and awkward young man viewers have seen since Rent-a-Girlfriend‘s premiere episode. On his last date with Chizuru Mizuhara, he’s still embarrassed to even touch her or talk about romantic or serious things with her. He can’t even manage to hug her without being the highest level of cringe.
The character development issue may be that aside from his extreme awkwardness, hesitancy and low self-esteem, Kazuya is already highly intelligent and mentally strong when it comes to being mature in social situations. He can read people’s emotions easily and understand how they may be feeling even when they’re hiding it — yet he’s still being held back.
What’s Going On With Kazuya and Mizuhara’s Relationship?
Kazuya and Mizuhara’s relationship also doesn’t seem to have progressed throughout Rent-a-Girlfriend. Kazuya still pays Mizuhara large sums of money on a near-weekly basis as a rental girlfriend in order to go out with her, spend time with her, and support her financial needs (her dream to become an actor). He still hasn’t asked her out on a real date, and neither can tell each other their true feelings or what they want to do together.
Their relationship has actually regressed in a sense — in Season 1, they always gave each other a piece of their mind. However, this was before they fell in love with each other. Love may have made things a little uncomfortable but given that they’ve been through so much, have spent a long time together and literally live right next to each other, the stale relationship development doesn’t seem realistic.
Nothing Has Happened With Mami Nanami
Mami Nanami, Kazuya’s ex-girlfriend who’s described as a minor antagonist, has barely been a part of Season 2. She’s had no personal growth, even after the meeting with Mizuhara in Season 1’s finale. She’s still the same bitter sociopath fans have seen since the beginning, trying to ruin Kazuya’s life for reasons that haven’t been explored yet.
She’s perhaps the most disappointing part of Rent-a-Girlfriend. Viewers waiting for something significant to happen with Mami throughout the entirety of Season 2 have been sorely let down. Perhaps Ruka has given her a lot to think about after giving her a piece of her mind.
Season 2 Had Too Little Rising Action and Conflict
The rising action and conflict aspects of a story are typically the most interesting, but these moments are short-lived in Season 2 of Rent-a-Girlfriend. Ruka Sarashina has been carrying this part of the story hard with her direct personality and headstrong ability to take the initiative, such as spontaneously deciding to stay over at Kazuya’s place or going for that phenomenal first kiss. Mizuhara, the main love interest, has been lackluster in comparison.
Simply put, tsundere characters are just frustrating when they remain tsundere the entire series. Even Sumi Sakurasawa managed to steal the show in the latest episode with a beautiful and emotionally heartwarming moment that she initiated with Kazuya on her date with him — and this wasn’t even a rental girlfriend date. She deserves points over both Kazuya and Mizuhara for this.
How Does Rent-a-Girlfriend Fare as an Anime After Two Seasons?
While there are plenty of comedic moments — and the whole rental girlfriend service concept in a TV series is largely refreshing — Rent-a-Girlfriend has been unsatisfying in every sense of the word. The amazing and interesting moments audiences felt were going to happen this season never arrived. Characters who needed to be fleshed out — like Mami Nanami’s true feelings and even Mizuhara with her traumatic past — were barely touched on.
Kazuya and Mizuhara’s relationship barely progressed and has become more awkward as Kazuya is still paying for rental girlfriend dates despite knowing her for nearly a year. In short, Rent-a-Girlfriend is frustrating. However, this may be due to the fact that its manga series is still being written.
Where Is Rent-a-Girlfriend’s Manga Currently At?
Episode 11 of Rent-a-Girlfriend Season 2, “Guide and Girlfriend,” ends at the beginning of Chapter 99 in the manga. The manga was originally published in Kodansha’s Weekly Shōnen Magazine on July 12, 2017, and currently has 27 volumes and 251 chapters written as of July 2022. This means the story in the anime thus far is barely at the half-point of the manga.
This means there’s plenty of content remaining for character development and relationship progress as Rent-a-Girlfriend is a long-running manga series. Those who may be disappointed with the anime right now may look into reading the manga to see if they like it before dropping the series entirely. Who knows — Mami Nanami could even end up being best girl.