With the Summer 2020 anime season starting to come to a close, the ending for the Rent-A-Girlfriend anime is also in sight. Thankfully, we don’t have to say goodbye to this cast for good as we can still jump right into the source material with Kodansha having just released Volume 2 into English!
At the end of the previous volume, protagonist Kazuya’s rental girlfriend Mizuhara got into a heated argument with his ex-girlfriend (Mami) over how she treats him. This leads to Mizuhara storming out and Kazuya staying behind and getting moderately drunk. However, as he walks home with Mami, our protagonist discovers that she doesn’t actually have a new boyfriend and begins to wonder if he’s in with a chance of restoring their relationship…
Later in Volume 2, Kazuya and his friends go to the beach to take advantage of their summer break to let loose and have some fun. As Kazuya knows that the rules of Mizuhara’s rental agency don’t allow swimsuits, he decides to tell his friends that she’s too busy to join them.
Leaving Mizuhara behind doesn’t just free him of her rental fee and having to pretend to be girlfriend and boyfriend though, as without her around, Kazuya sees an opportunity to get closer to Mami again. After all, if he manages to get a ‘real’ girlfriend, he’ll be able to break off his deal with Mizuhara and ensure his grandmother isn’t heartbroken. It feels like the perfect solution and Mami certainly seems into Kazuya again, but like everything in this series, things don’t stay perfect for long.
In some ways the direction Rent-A-Girlfriend has taken with Kazuya’s story is a bit odd. Given how quickly Mami dumped him before the start of the series, you’d think Kazuya crazy to be chasing after her again. He simply can’t shake his heartbreak, which is understandable, but there are more fish in the sea.
Although Mami is starting to show signs of wanting to be with him, this also appears to be born out of jealousy, which isn’t going to lead to good things for anyone. Most of all, I’m not convinced this is the right direction for the manga to be going in, since the fun of it is the situation between Kazuya and Mizuhara.
Of course, we do see plenty of Mizuhara in this instalment, even at the beach where she’s come with her friend group! There are plenty of instances where she and Kazuya have to think on their feet to hide the fact she’s a rental girlfriend and that’s what I like most about the series.
Volume 2 feels like a bit of everything thrown in to see what works and that’s a shame when the premise of the first volume was stronger than what’s happening here. This also doesn’t do any favours for my criticism in Volume 1, where I talked about how Kazuya is not a particularly likeable character. Unfortunately, his worst qualities come through when he’s lusting after Mami and that’s sure to put readers off.
I hope that Volume 3 finds a way to restore the balance and what I’ve seen of the anime adaption does seem promising in that regard. It would just be nice as a reader to see Kazuya finally break free of the hold Mami has over him right now.
As previously mentioned Rent-A-Girlfriend Volume 2 comes to the West thanks to Kodansha Comics and has been translated by Kevin Gifford. The translation reads well with no issues to note. Volume 3 of the series is currently scheduled for release in October.
Overall, Volume 2 of Rent-A-Girlfriend is a mixed bag. The content isn’t as enjoyable as the first instalment, but there is enough of the same charm to keep readers interested. However, I am weary of the direction the story is taking and I hope it can change my mind next time.