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The Summer 2022 Preview Guide
Rent-A-Girlfriend Season 2

How would you rate episode 13 of
Rent-A-Girlfriend (TV 2) ?
Community score: 3.4

What is this?

In Japan, the lonely have a new way out — online services that rent out dads, children, even girlfriends. When Kazuya's true love dumps him, he's just desperate enough to try it, and he's shocked at how cute and sweet his rental girlfriend turns out to be. But she wants to keep their "relationship" a secret, and there's a complication, she goes to his university, their grandmothers are in the same home, and they live next door to each other. Then Kazuya finds out she's not nearly as nice in "real life."

Rent-A-Girlfriend is based on Reiji Miyajima's manga and streams on Crunchyroll on Fridays.

How was the first episode?

Nicholas Dupree

I ended up pretty sour on RAG season one, but I like to think I gave it a fair shake. I gave both the show and main character a lot of rope, and the series proceeded to just let that rope sit there for half the season before indulging in some half-hearted auto-erotic asphyxiation. What seemed like a potentially interesting premise slowly devolved into treading water in a bog-standard harem setup, just with an atypically embarrassing lead character who dragged the show and its meager ambitions into the mud. And I say that as somebody who likes harem anime. Safe to say, I didn't have high expectations for this sequel season, and they have summarily been met.

The biggest issue with RAG's first season was that it started spinning its wheels hard around the time Ruka got established in the cast. Any potential development for Kazuya or his bevy of beautiful girlfriends was put on hold so they could re-hash the same conflict with no resolution in sight for episodes on end. That remains true of this premiere, which is so desperate to fill time that the first three minutes are just recap of season one. Then the next 15 or so are spent on Kazuya low-key stalking Chizuru (again) and watching her perform in a play. That could be used to establish something about Chizuru, or give Kazuya new insight into her personality, but it mostly amounts to a mildly funny play getting constantly interrupted by our main character being amazed at how pretty and charismatic and pretty and professional and pretty his crush is. It drags something fierce, and takes up so much time that could have been spent doing anything else.

But, to be fair, there is actually something in this episode I'd been hoping for through all of the previous season: Chizuru getting to be a character in her own right. So much of this story has been told solely through Kazuya's point of view that our leading lady has only really gotten to exist in the context of her fake relation with him. So getting time with Chizuru, seeing how hard she worked on this play and how broken up she is when nepotism nips her big break in the bud was genuinely refreshing. And while Kazuya's attempt to cheer her up was so cringe-inducing I felt like death was clasping my throat in its icy hands, I can also appreciate that he's trying to be a good partner by supporting her in his own dumbass way. And while the new OP is definitely a downgrade from The Peggies, the visuals remain as solid as they were before. The character designs all look nice, alllllll the money shots are spent on making Chizuru look gorgeous, and the show's eye for fashion continues to deliver. For all its faults, there's a reason this series has spawned stuff like a life-sized Chizuru statue, and I have to respect that.

If this season can commit to actually allowing these characters to grow and develop through their relationship, rather than just spinning plates and making empty promises about conflict with Mami or Ruka, then there may be something worth sticking around for here. I don't have much faith that will happen, but in the interest of keeping an open mind I'll let out a bit more rope and hope for the best.

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