In Volume 3 of romantic comedy Rent-A-Girlfriend protagonist, Kazuya continued to work through his feelings for rental girlfriend Mizuhara and vowed to get to know her more. While things finally seemed to be calming down in Kazuya’s life, now he finds himself in trouble as someone has figured out he and Mizuhara aren’t truly dating…
At the end of the previous volume, we were introduced to Ruka, who was supposedly dating one of Kazuya’s friends. However, Ruka reveals that not only does she know that Mizuhara is a rental girlfriend but also confesses that she is one too.
Now Kazuya is realising just how risky it is to date Mizuhara and have his friend group interact with her and is ready to call the whole thing off. Before he can do that, Ruka appears and promises not to tell anyone about his relationship with Mizuhara – provided he dates her instead!
At first, Kazuya refuses, after all, he has his heart set on Mizuhara. However, his rental girlfriend thinks it would be better for him to finally have a real girlfriend and encourages him to go out with Ruka on a trial period. Reluctantly our protagonist agrees and he begins dating Ruka, hoping she can replace Mizuhara in his heart.
Of course, it’s not just Kazuya who has become fond of Mizuhara, we as readers have too and it’s difficult to warm to yet another girl coming into the series. That said, Ruka is at least a better character than ex-girlfriend Mami.
Almost straight away Rent-A-Girlfriend gives us a flashback of Ruka’s life, showing us why she wanted to become a rental girlfriend and why she fell in love with Kazuya and is willing to quit her job for him. This serves to convince us that her feelings are genuine and won me over to the potential of her being his girlfriend. She’s a sweet girl with a plucky attitude, not all too dissimilar to Mizuhara, which works well for the story.
If nothing else, it’s nice to finally see some pressure placed on the whole rental girlfriend aspect. Until now, most of the drama in this series has revolved around Kazuya and his feelings, but not necessarily on the fact he’s renting Mizuhara. I also appreciate that Ruka isn’t some evil character out to ruin everyone’s lives, since it would have been easy for her to bring everything crashing down around them.
As with Volume 3, I also appreciate that this instalment offers a great deal of growth for Kazuya. He’s started thinking about the feelings of those around him more and although he can still be quite insensitive at times, I’m coming to like him more as a protagonist as time goes on. Having said that, how he treats Ruka going forward has the potential to ruin a lot of that, so we’ll have to see how things go.
One thing I would like to touch on briefly is how Reiji Miyajima’s artwork has grown over these four volumes. While I’m still not a big fan of Kazuya’s design, Miyajima’s art is much more consistent now meaning Kazuya feels like he fits in with the rest of the world. These last two books, in particular, have been making use of two-page spreads to hammer home some of the more emotional scenes, and I am a huge fan of this. These work especially well, given Kodansha comics use their larger release format for the series.
Rent-A-Girlfriend Volume 4 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 5 of the series is scheduled for release in February 2021.
Overall, Volume 4 of Rent-A-Girlfriend proves an entertaining read. The introduction of a new girl may make some readers groan, but despite the odds stacked against her, she ends up being a welcome addition to the cast.