「レンタル彼女 -レンカノ-」 (Rentaru kanojo – renkano –)
You know what really completes summer? Beaches, partying, long nights and
crazy hangovers good food? Wrong on all accounts. It’s your seasonal romance obviously, because nothing says pure entertainment more than artificial drama and failed love, and here to provide it in spades is Kanojo Okarishimasu. That’s right boys and girls, your typical love story written anew is here for all to see, and we certainly won’t be lacking when it comes to battles of the heart.
As teased back in the RC Preview, Kanojo Okarishimasu is at its core your usual romance story. Kazuya (Horie Shun) is your tried and true male MC who has a healthy male desire for the opposite sex and the main female interest Chizuru (Amamiya Sora) pretty much loathes the guy, at least outside of the kernel of desire quietly rooting itself deep within. The selling point of course, however, is the premise twist—instead of the ubiquitous high school romance dominated by club drama and the usual concerns over graduation and the future, Kanojo Okarishimasu goes a distinctively sanitized post-secondary. Teenage crushes are replaced with a realistic representation of rental girlfriends, a service which does actually exist in Japan where the lonely can find a semblance of interested and connection through a few short clicks and hundred bucks. It seems a weird setting to base a romance story when you get down to brass tacks (potential prostitute-client romantic relationships for example are typically avoided in literature and media for a reason), but there’s no denying the potential; with Japan’s demographics and modern culture there’s a lot of relatable grist for this mill, particularly with Kanojo Okarishimasu going for a more mature setting off the bat. Nothing is ever perfect, but it definitely gets a leg up in this regard.
The main issue with Kanojo Okarishimasu though is the same with most other romances: cheese. Kazuya is case in point here, where maturity is quickly sacrificed in favour of childish antics and the all-too-familiar behaviour around the opposite sex. In the span of minutes we go from shock to cuckoldry and every action in between, with the kid effectively acting on impulse and never really considering what he’s doing. Now to be fair it’s not like some of this is unrelatable; god knows I remember what I was like when I was a freshman. The problem rather is its cringe worthiness—there’s nothing particularly fun or rewarding watching Kazuya go through the motions, it’s just sad. Chizuru’s personality switch too only helps this partially, as while her actions and Amamiya Sora’s voice acting keep matters surprisingly realistic and amusing (very), they are hard-pressed to make up for what you damn well know is a hair pulling implosion coming on down the line. For all of Kanojo Okarishimasu’s fairly unique aspects there’s a lot of sameness resting under the hood, because if you thought grandma-induced dating and Chizuru’s real-life appearance weren’t spoiler enough, just wait until the rest of the female cast (and their circumstances) are properly introduced.
While I don’t know whether Kanojo Okarishimasu will wind up part of my summer blogging just yet, there’s no denying if you’re in need of some romantic drama this season that this will more than provide. Between the number of girls on tap and the potential Kazuya responses, this will be one romance which definitely does not fall far from the tree.
OP: 「センチメートル」 (Senchimeetoru) by The Peggies