Rent-A-Girlfriend Volumes 21 and 22 Review

Volume 20 of the romance series Rent-A-Girlfriend brought us to the start of a new arc, one where Kazuya finds himself getting serious about Mizuhara but has plenty to worry about since his ex-girlfriend Mami is working with his grandmother. Will she spill the beans on Mizuhara being a rental girlfriend?! With two more volumes of the series in hand let’s find out what’s in store for our cast next. 

As we begin Volume 21, we find Mizuhara’s handsome actor friend Umi inviting her and Kazuya to a dinner party he’s hosting. He wants the two to have the opportunity to celebrate the success of their project. Still, Kazuya can’t help but wonder if there’s something else going on, given Umi once showed romantic interest in Mizuhara… 

Although Kazuya goes to the party with Mizuhara, he soon feels out of place in this celebrity gathering. Everyone there is an actor or in the showbiz world, so Kazuya (who has done little more than run a single successful crowdfunding campaign) feels at odds. However, he can tell that both Umi and Mizuhara are right at home here and that leaves a lasting impression on him as he wonders if a relationship would even be right for MIzuhara while she’s trying to make it as an actress and whether he could ever stand by her side in this world. 

Ultimately, the events of the party firm up Kazuya’s resolve as he realises he doesn’t want to miss the chance to be Mizuhara’s girlfriend or let anyone else stand by her side. So he needs to confess his feelings, but first of all, he’s going to have to break it off with his current girlfriend Ruka!

Of course, being as in love with Kazuya as Ruka is, she immediately refuses to break up when he broaches the subject. And now she’s realised he plans on seriously confessing his feelings to Mizuhara, so she’s determined to put a stop to him at any costs. It’s not just Ruka who is getting in the way either, as the universe conspires against Kazuya and sends plenty of trouble his way as he prepares to reveal his feelings! 

This leads us to Volume 22, where Kazuya’s grandmother invites him and Mizuhara on a family vacation to a resort. His grandmother simply wants to cheer up Mizuhara after the death of her grandmother a couple of volumes ago, but the situation quickly gets out of hand when she also invites Ruka and some of Kazuya’s other friends! And unbeknownst to Kazuya, Ruka has told Mizuhara that they’ve slept together and Mami (who also shows up at the resort) has promised to “save” Mizuhara from Kazuya, so there’s no shortage of problems to work through. And that’s without taking into consideration that our protagonist’s family still has no idea that Mizuhara is a rental girlfriend and not his actual girlfriend. 

When I last reviewed Rent-A-Girlfriend, I pointed out that it needs to decide if it’s going to be this kind of over-the-top drama or something more heartfelt. This new arc is still straddling the line, but at least author Reiji Miyajima is addressing my other criticism – Ruka. Admittedly, it does feel like she’s only been brought back in to cause trouble between Kazuya and Mizuhara, but I was pleased that Kazuya did try to break it off with her (which he should have done ages ago!). Now at least the fact she’s still involved in this whole mess is her own doing and not simply because Kazuya didn’t have the guts to break it off properly. 

And putting Ruka aside, it is reassuring to see Kazuya’s more sincere feelings coming to the forefront. He’s in a mess of his own making with plenty of troublesome lies and awkward situations to navigate, but at this point, it’s becoming easier to root for him to get together with Mizuhara. I just hope this resort trip arc doesn’t bring all the goodwill we’ve built up lately to come crumbling down! 

Rent-A-Girlfriend Volumes 21 and 22 come to the West thanks to Kodansha and continued to be translated by Kevin Gifford with lettering by Paige Pumphrey. As always these releases read well with no issues to speak of. Neither have anything to mention in terms of extras, no translation notes or colour pages. 

Volume 23 of the series has just been released this month with #24 following in April and #25 in June, so no sign of this one slowing down anytime soon. Probably a good thing given that Japanese releases are still coming out thick and fast and are up to Volume 35!

Overall, Rent-A-Girlfriend’s latest arc is moving forward with a mixture of over-the-top drama and more heartfelt moments. I remain somewhat apprehensive about the direction of the story, but at least for now, author Reiji Miyajima is slowly addressing some of those concerns.

Our review copy from Kodansha was supplied by Diamond Book Distributors UK. 

8 / 10


When she's not watching anime, reading manga or reviewing, Demelza can generally be found exploring some kind of fantasy world and chasing her dreams of being a hero.

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