「告白と彼女」 (Kokuhaku to Kanojo)
“Confession and Girlfriend”
Well I’d say that ended as expected. Kazuya did the usual while remaining aggravatingly annoying; Mami revealed little while setting herself up as one tremendous future cockblock; and Chizuru, bless her soul, is right about ready to admit what we all knew a few episodes back. As for Ruka (and Sumi), well, someone’s got to pick up those participation ribbons sometime. What’s that, you expected some sort of resolution in the eleventh hour? Oh you sweet
romance summer child. Considering Kanojo Okarishimasu’s manga is still ongoing, receiving a proper conclusion was never going to be in the cards, but given this series is actually receiving a sequel (who honestly saw that coming?), I’m inclined to overlook the ubiquitous romance copout. Not that next season will stop with the hair pulling insanity, but at least we might get some tangible relationship development. Anyways, onto those final impressions!
If I had to quickly sum up Kanojo Okarishimasu, it would be that it’s your typical romance. While this series was always different from its brethren in its fairly unique premise (rental dates are not a universally approved concept, even for Japan) and college setting, at its core it embraced all the usual romance tropes and stereotypes with little effort spent on pushing the envelope. It’s not to say Kanojo Okarishimasu is especially egregious in any way, but this is one show definitely not top of the class for its genre.
Probably the biggest fault with Kanojo Okarishimasu is its characters, in particularly main lead Kazuya. Weak and shy males are the bread and butter of many romances and romcoms (harem varieties in particular), however Kazuya is probably one the worst thanks to such things as nonsensical lying and outright stalking. Couple it with a relationship premise based on maintaining a mutual lie with Chizuru whose efficacy could be considered exhausted halfway through the season (not to mention the transactional foundation of said relationship) and you’re looking at audience annoyance at best and disgust at worst. Of course, such character traits and rationalizations help a lot when it comes to providing gristle for the drama mill (many of the conflicts this season effectively wrote themselves given character motivations), but as series like Kimi ni Todoke show you cannot rely on drama and misunderstandings forever before the audience starts wanting something more. Kanojo Okarishimasu may have avoided the strategy’s worst excesses here—thanks in part to all four girls getting some time to shine and Kazuya not really being put on the spot—but there’s no guarantee it won’t revel in it when the next season fires up.
What stops the above from fully relegating Kanojo Okarishimasu to the romance background though are some fairly prominent moments of arguable brilliance. For all the aggravation Kazuya may bring for example, the kid shares some pretty interesting and endearing moments with the likes of Chizuru and (especially) Sumi, trading manufactured problems for organic development. While not enough to fully eradicate the aforementioned issues, these diamonds in the rough do help smoothen the edges of this series and indicate the potential to get some tangible and (dare say) lasting progression moving forward. Taken in isolation such things this season may not have been much or worthy of noticeable praise, but if Kanojo Okarishimasu provides suitable payoff in the future they’ll be what helped supply the final results.
Overall while I’d say my time certainly wasn’t wasted covering Kanojo Okarishimasu (Sumi best girl!), this is a romance whose lasting impressions will come down to how its sequel plays outs. Provide some measure of resolution, some form of closed ending, and it’ll be seen as necessary preparation, but continue in the same vein, and, well, it won’t be breaking any top ten list. Like many a romance before it all comes down to the ending we receive, and Kanojo Okarishimasu has at least one more shot to show us just what it’s really made of.