「元カノと彼女 -モトカノ-」 (Motokano to Kanojo -Motokano-)
“Ex-Girlfriend and Girlfriend”
While any romance aficionado can tell you Kanojo Okarishimasu will be about as unique as vanilla ice cream (albeit with vanilla sprinkles), even they probably didn’t see the maelstrom coming this week. It may indeed be that enough crap thrown at a wall will eventually leave some on said surface, but this show kicks that phrase up to eleven – and leaves room for plenty more. I wasn’t kidding when I earlier said this moving train was loaded for bear.
Outside of cookie cutter plots and predictable developments, often one of the challenges for pure romances is tension. It can be easy to set up pairings and even simple to create competitors and romance rivals, but it can be difficult to create situations to actually test their love and force specific choices. This is why vague and simplistic misunderstandings are the bread and butter of romantic conflict, because without any saving the world premise or major conspiracy and enemy faction to drive decision-making, all you’re left with is (high school) drama to give reason for pushing the limits. Kanojo Okarishimasu, however, manages to avoid all that by creating some ridiculous circumstances and even crazier “coincidences.” The rental girlfriend goes to Kazuya’s college; the rental girlfriend lives beside Kazuya; the rental girlfriend is caught on a date with Kazuya by his friends; the rental girlfriend winds up getting caught on date with Kazuya’s ex-girlfriend; any one of these would seriously be enough to drive this story along, but we’re getting all of them together, and with it one hell of a guarantee of concentrated drama shenanigans.
Case in point in this regard is Chizuru’s business relationship with Kazuya. The kid was actually in the clear thanks to telling dear grandmama the truth, but Chizuru then screws it all up by playing the role she fought hard to try and avoid. It’s certainly down to guilt on her part over any potential interest in Kazuya (remember her own family situation, she also doesn’t want an upset elder), yet it also doesn’t help her going forward because it ties her to Kazuya, and as getting caught out by Kazuya’s friends shows, makes it increasingly harder to keep work life and private life separate. I wouldn’t give it long before her someone associates college Chizuru with girlfriend Chizuru for example, alongside some totally unexpected and not at all possible romantic feelings likely emerging by that point.
The real fun bit though will be what transpires with Mami since I imagine few could’ve overlooked what lies beyond the pretty face. This one is frankly less easy to predict, as while Mami definitely harbours less than savoury desires, it’s unclear what they are and who they’re directed towards. She doesn’t like Kazuya for example, but that vicious public takedown doesn’t mean she dislikes him either; jealousy as indicated is probably a major factor, particularly given Chizuru easily competes in the looks department and wound up with Kazuya seemingly days after he was dumped—and girls are always sensitive and well-attuned to their social standing in relation to their friends. I wouldn’t expect to find out her exact desires anytime soon (because romance conflict), but you can certainly bet the result will be two girls looking to get with Kazuya because putting the female competition in their place is a time-honoured romance tradition.
Of course, whether it results in Kazuya growing a pair and learning to stand up for himself instead of meekly giving into the denigration is anyone’s guess, but hey, all success stories have to start somewhere.