In the last two instalments of Rent-A-Girlfriend Kazuya and Mizuhara embarked on a crowdfunding project to film a movie that Mizuhara could star in and show to her grandmother. Now the end of the campaign is in sight but will the two be able to raise the money they need in time? Let’s find out!
The final days of crowdfunding have rolled around so Kazuya, Mizuhara and neighbour/new friend Mini are putting everything they have into advertising to raise the money they need. But the campaign is the least of Mizuhara’s worries right now as Mini accidentally reveals that Kazuya is in love with our heroine and has been for the longest time.
At first, Mizuhara refutes this, citing the fact that Kazuya once said he had no feelings for her, but Mini pushes back and eventually, there’s no path forward but for Mizuhara to face facts. But with so much going on, there’s no time to ponder her feelings, especially with the final day of the campaign approaching. In need of a final push to meet their target, Mizuhara approaches Umi, a friend and popular guy from her acting classes.
In exchange for promoting the project on his Twitter account, Umi asks Mizuhara to go on a date with him and reassures her it would only be an outing as friends but it will be on the final day of the campaign. With the chances of the movie being funded riding on this agreement, Mizuhara goes along with it, but when Kazuya catches wind of the plan, he fears Umi is about to make a move and take Mizuhara for himself.
Then in Volume 16, despite some hiccups along the way, we find the project has been funded and filming has begun. Kazuya’s now in the role of producer, which means he’s tasked with doing anything and everything he can to make sure the production goes smoothly.
Being so busy, our main duo manage to put their romantic feelings aside, at least until they end up having to shoot the final scene on their own – and worse still, take an overnight trip together to reach the location. Kazuya knows how important this is for the film, but finds it difficult to concentrate on anything other than his excitement about being on a trip with his love interest.
Mizuhara also finds herself struggling with the fact she’ll be spending the trip alone with Kazuya. As important as this film is to her and as pivotal as this scene is, there’s no denying that Mini’s declaration that Kazuya has feelings for her has left our heroine shaken. Through this crowdfunding arc, Mizuhara has seen how much Kazuya cares for her, given the time and effort he’s put in to make her dream a reality. Now she’s forced to face her own feelings and realise that maybe she does care for Kazuya as more than just a client and a friend…
Volumes 13 and 14 took a much more serious tone than we’re used to seeing in Rent-A-Girlfriend and I’m happy to say the same is true of these two books. Sure, there’s still some melodrama surrounding Mizuhara and Umi’s ‘date’ but by and large, the focus is on completing the film project and that’s treated with all the seriousness it deserves.
I also appreciate that Mini’s intervention means that Mizuhara can no longer put off dealing with her feelings for Kazuya. I’m not saying they’ll date anytime soon (given the series is 30+ volumes, I am sceptical there has been a change), but it does move us out of the cycle we’ve been stuck in of Kazuya pursuing her and having made no advancements. Although this does beg the question of what will happen with Ruka as she still considers herself Kazuya’s girlfriend and makes this known throughout this arc where she’s displeased that Kazuya and Mizuhara are spending so much time together.
The film arc is not quite at its end, but once it does conclude, I’m looking forward to finding out what’s on the cards next. This storyline with Mizuhara wanting to be an actress and show her grandmother a film she’s starring in is something we’ve been following from the early days of the series. So once it’s wrapped up, this series is going to be a very different beast and it needs to find something else compelling to move into, which hopefully will be the case!
Volumes 15 and 16 of the series come to the West thanks to Kodansha and continue to be translated by Kevin Gifford with lettering by Paige Pumphrey. Both books are problem-free and read well, so no complaints here! Volume 17 of the series was released last month and #18 is due for an English release in April.
Overall, this arc of Rent-A-Girlfriend continues to be a highlight of the entire series so far. Not only is the film project a compelling storyline, but it’s reassuring to see some movement on the romance front now Mizuhara can no longer deny either her feelings or those of Kazuya.