When we left the cast of Rent-A-Girlfriend, Kazuya had almost confessed his sins to his family when a sudden twist threw a spanner in the works. Just as Kazuya is about to come clean, Mizuhara learns that her grandmother’s health has worsened and she may not have much time left. Now the two can’t bring themselves to own up to the fact that they’re not really dating and as we enter into Volume 12, we find our cast wrestling with the painful situation they find themselves in.
At the beginning of this volume, we find Kazuya on a practice date with Sumi – but instead of focusing on the girl in front of him, his mind is consumed with thoughts of Mizuhara. He knows she’s worried about her grandmother and how she wishes she could achieve her goal of acting in a film before she passes and our protagonist wants to do anything he can to help her. Spending all his time worrying about her is starting to take its toll on his mental health, something Sumi quickly notices and wishes she could help him with.
Sumi knows she’s not the best Rental Girlfriend and that her difficulties with communicating mean people don’t open up to her easily, but she cares about Kazuya and wants to be someone he can rely on. After an enjoyable date together and handing him his belated birthday present, Sumi finally summons up the courage to ask him what’s on his mind. At first, Kazuya is reluctant to get into it, but Sumi reasons that he once acted as a wall to listen to her story and now she wants to do the same.
After finally getting things off his chest, Kazuya is filled with renewed determination to find a way to help Mizuhara and Sumi is satisfied that she managed to do something for the man she’s falling for. With that done, the story shifts to Mizuhara’s perspective and shows us why she’s so determined to become an actress in the first place.
Mizuhara has lived with her grandparents from a young age due to the passing of her parents and it was because of discovering that her grandmother used to be an actress that Mizuhara was inspired to follow in her footsteps. Her grandfather in particular spurs her on, telling her to chase her dreams and that they’ll support her, no matter what. Unfortunately, her grandfather passed away when she was still in middle school, leaving Mizuhara with only her grandmother to depend on.
With her history out in the open, it creates an interesting contrast between our heroine and Kazuya. Throughout these 12 books, we’ve seen how large and loving Kazuya’s family is, while Mizuhara is struggling through life knowing her grandmother isn’t going to be around for much longer. Kazuya can’t fathom what it must feel like to be without such a strong support network and that’s one of the reasons he so desperately wants to be there for her, as someone she can depend on in place of the last pillar of support she’s losing.
As much as I have complained fairly recently about the fact Mizuhara gets way more focus than any of the other female characters, this time around I don’t mind, since the time spent fleshing out her backstory is rewarding. Now I find myself even more invested in seeing Mizuhara achieve her dream of becoming an actress and I hope that the storyline with her grandmother will have a happy ending, even if it’s bittersweet. Since Kazuya appears with a ridiculous idea at the end of this volume, I’m certainly hopeful things will work out somehow.
Rent-A-Girlfriend Volume 12 comes to the West thanks to Kodansha and continues to be translated by Kevin Gifford. As always the translation reads well with no problems to note. Volume 13 of the series is currently scheduled for an English release in June.
Overall, Rent-A-Girlfriend Volume 12 continues the emotional storytelling we started in Volume 11 while also showing us Mizuhara’s history. Fans of the series are sure to appreciate seeing Kazuya and co. deal with a more difficult subject than the normal ridiculous situations they find themselves in, as it shows just how much they’ve all grown throughout the story so far.