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Rent-A-Girlfriend Season 2
Episode 24

by Nicholas Dupree,

How would you rate episode 24 of
Rent-A-Girlfriend (TV 2) ?
Community score: 4.0

I've got two things to say to ya, Rent-A-Girlfriend. First off: congrats, you managed to have an actually pretty engaging character-focus episode that did a solid job of fleshing out Chizuru's perspective. While there's definitely some wonky bits here and there, I can at least say I have a much more robust understanding of who our main heroine is and what motivates her. For the first time in forever, she feels like a character in her own right instead of an object of obsession for Kazuya. You've done good today.

Second: Where in the absolute fuck was this two months ago? You spend 80% of this season's runtime futzing around with nothing of importance happening, and just now decide to actually do some honest-to-god character writing for your romantic comedy story's main love interest? Fuck off. You don't get brownie points for finally delivering in episode twelve what should have happened in episode three. You can't wait until we're 24 episodes into the story to finally explore your second most important character and expect it to redeem the shallow, hollow attempts at romance that came before it. The horse has been out of the stable and leaving droppings all over the neighborhood for ages – no credit for finally shutting the door.

That more or less sums up my feelings on this season finale – especially after the announcement of a third season that came hot on its heals. As a standalone episode, this really does give us a much-needed understanding of Chizuru as a person in her own right. We witness things through her perspective, learning about her busy day-to-day life as she pursues her career as an actress while balancing school and work and caring for her grandmother. We learn about the loving family she's about to lose for good, and even see why she's got a soft spot for Kazuya, considering her grandpa is basically what he'd be without the airport's worth of baggage he's always lugging around. And we see the warring emotions inside her as she clings to her dream even as the indifferent realities of showbusiness and mortality seek to crush it. I genuinely felt for her, and was happy to finally connect to Chizuru as a character rather than as a plot device that doles out petty rewards to our male lead.

Speaking of, we even get Kazuya doing an honest-to-goodness selfless and proactive thing to help her. Sure, the kickstarter movie idea is a long shot and bound to have problems, but it's an earnest idea that he's come up with entirely disconnected from trying to gain her affections. He's still riddled with self-doubt, but powers through it for the sake of somebody he cares about rather than getting trapped inside his own brain for the millionth time. He's acting like an actual friend, as if what he's learned from being around Chizuru has genuinely changed him for the better, and if this were a different romcom I'd probably be clapping super hard to see all of this happening.

But this isn't another show. It's RAG, and all the last-minute hail mary plays in the world can't save this overall season from feeling like a bust. Thinking back on this whole cour, I'm hard-pressed to think of anything that changed during the middle portion of the experience. Between the first three and last three episodes, Chizuru and Kazuya's relationship didn't develop at all, nor were there any real changes with Ruka or Sumi. Mami caught onto the scent of their lie, but then disappeared into the periphery where she spent most of season one in. Looking back, this season of RAG had maybe four or five episodes' worth of story at most, and spent the rest of its runtime dragging its feet through the dirt. So for as effective as this episode's drama is in a vacuum, as the climax of this entire season, or even the whole show so far, it's too isolated to really work. We've just spent too long with these characters trapped in stasis for this to feel like an organic evolution of their relationship, and don't even have any memorable moments or gags to compensate for all the time wasted. It's organizing deck chairs on the Titanic, but on the deck that's already underwater.

I think that's why I ultimately feel way more negatively about this season of RAG over the first. Sure, that season wound up a frustrating waste of time, but at least it started off with some potentially interesting character dynamics that it ultimately never delivered on. By now that potential is long gone, and what's left is a whole lot of killing time, sporadically interrupted by attempts at making these characters feel like more than light-fanservice vehicles that only works about one in four tries. It makes for a deeply dull watch, and given the choice, I'd rather be angry than bored. We're getting another season of this, and while I'm certainly not excited I can't say I dread it either. RAG right now is too slight, too aimless, to elicit anything that intense.


Rent-A-Girlfriend Season 2 is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.

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