In the world of Rent-A-Girlfriend, things have become awkward between Kazuya and Mizuhara since Ruka spent the night at Kazuya’s place and deliberately led Mizuhara to believe that they’d slept together. Kazuya has done his best to reassure Mizuhara that nothing happened, but understandably that hasn’t prevented a gap opening up between the two. So with Volume 9 in hand, it’s time for us to find out if our protagonist can patch things up with his love interest.
This instalment of the series begins with Kazuya trying to find a birthday present for Mizuhara and turning to Sumi, who he’d rented for a date as a way of getting her used to her job as a rental girlfriend. Sumi takes Kazuya to a nearby department store show, where Mizuhara is playing the role of a “Rent-A-Ranger” in a superhero performance for kids.
Seeing Mizuhara doing her best even in a budget show like this inspires Kazuya to pick pickled plums as a gift since they’re said to alleviate fatigue. He also includes a note, once again reassuring her that nothing happened between him and Ruka. Now, finally, maybe the two can get back on track as friends.
Of course, when it comes to Kazuya, he’s never more than a stone’s throw from trouble and immediately after having made up with Mizuhara, he finds himself invited to a mixer with his friends. The problem is that Mizuhara and her friends have also been invited! Neither of their friend groups knows Mizuhara is a rental girlfriend and the two have done their best to keep their college lives separate, so now there’s nothing for Kazuya to do but pretend he doesn’t know Mizuhara and try to keep her secret safe.
Since Mizuhara is wearing glasses and has her hair braided, luckily Kazuya’s friends don’t recognise her as his ‘girlfriend’ (whom they met earlier in the series). Naturally, there are a couple of close calls, but Kazuya navigates those by taking part in a drinking game and keeping people distracted.
Seeing how readily Kazuya will put himself out to protect her leads Mizuhara to appreciate this side of him. Throughout the series so far Kazuya has been little but a thorn in her side, but times like these show his kindhearted and dependable side. While she might not want to admit it to herself yet, it’s also the reason she’s begun to develop romantic feelings for him. But it’s still too early for any real movement there and before we can stew too long on Mizuhara’s newfound affections, the spotlight changes back to Ruka who meets Kazuya’s ex-girlfriend Mami for the first time which causes all kinds of problems!
In many ways, I think this volume of Rent-A-Girlfriend manages to capture the more entertaining aspects of the series. What hooked me on the series to start with was the dysfunctional relationship between Kazuya and Mizuhara, so I’m always keen to watch that progress. Plus, the series is always at its best when it doesn’t take itself seriously, which is certainly true of the mixer-focused chapters here.
Rent-A-Girlfriend Volume 9 comes to the West thanks to Kodansha and continues to be translated by Kevin Gifford. The translation reads well with no issues to note. Volume 10 of the series is currently scheduled for release in December.
Overall, Rent-A-Girlfriend Volume 9 offers an entertaining read that goes back to the roots of what made the series fun. While the plot may not have moved forward significantly, that doesn’t mean this book won’t please its readers.