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Rent-A-Girlfriend (彼女、お借りします; Kanojo, Okarishimasu, or Kanokari for short) is a manga series by Reiji Miyajima. It has been serialized in Weekly Shōnen Magazine since July 2017.

Kazuya Kinoshita is a typical happy-go-lucky 20-year-old with a girlfriend. After a month, though, she dumps him. Angry and depressed at this outcome, he uses an app so he can rent a girlfriend named Chizuru Mizuhara. This begins a series of events that reveal just how closely entwined their two fates are.

A spinoff, titled Rent-A-(Really Shy!)-Girlfriend (彼女、人見知ります; Kanojo, Hitomishirimasu), has been serialized in Magazine Pocket since June 2020, starring Breakout Character Sumi Sakurasawa. An anime adaptation aired from July 11 to September 26, 2020. Crunchyroll is streaming the anime here for people living in North America, Central America, South America, Europe, Africa, Oceania, the Middle East, and CIS. A second season has been announced.

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Tropes in the series

  • 13 Is Unlucky: When Mami rents Chizuru after discovering her secret, they visit the same karaoke bar where Kazuya works, and are fittingly assigned to room 13. Furthermore, huge Bitch in Sheep's Clothing Mami was born on November 13th.
  • Accidental Misnaming: In Chapter 168, Kazuya's boss at the karaoke place gets his name wrong and calls him "Hananoshita," despite the fact that Kazuya's been working for him for months.
  • Adaptation Explanation Extrication: Downplayed when it comes to Ruka's heart condition. The anime includes the part in which Ruka's heart condition is explained, but as a montage of manga panels set to the special ending theme for Episode 7. The basic explanation is there, but it forgoes some of the more specific details.
  • All Men Are Perverts: Nearly every guy, particularly Kazuya and the guys around him, are desperate to get laid, fantasize about the girls and check them out as much as possible. Even the other guys gawking at the female characters make it clear how far they want to go with them.
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  • Armor-Piercing Question: Chizuru outright asks Mami if she cares about Kazuya's feelings. Mami is so taken aback by it, she becomes speechless.
  • The B Grade: Chizuru gets really mad that Kazuya gave her a 1-star review on their first date. It knocked her rating down 0.3 points!
  • Beach Episode:
    • The My Girlfriend and the Sea Arc has Kazuya and his college friends take a trip to the beach to enjoy his vacation. It's extra awkward for him since his ex Mami is there. Then it gets even more complicated Chizuru and her college friends are also visiting the beach at the same time, prompting Kazuya and Chizuru to have to pose as boyfriend and girlfriend in front of his friends.
    • The Girlfriend and Paradise Arc has Nagomi arrange a family trip to a water park. She then arranges for Kazuya to bring Chizuru and many of his friends (Ruka, Kibe, Kuri) along. Mami also just "happens to be there" when they arrive at the park.
  • Big "WHAT?!": Happens when Kazuya and Chizuru find out that they actually live next to each other.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing:
    • Kazuya's ex-girlfriend Mami Nanami, despite consistently maintaining a pleasant tone and cheerful expression, is actually incredibly petty and manipulative towards her ex.
    • Ruka, while she isn't by any means as bad as Mami, is still manipulative, self-centered and hypocritical. She's literally ready to do anything to be with Kazuya.
    • Chizuru is introduced as a bit of one when she drops the sweet girlfriend facade and chews Kazuya out, revealing her to be the scary opposite of what she pretends to be. However, not only was she justified in doing so, but Kazuya's tendency to constantly lie and make things worse for her doesn't exactly make her wrong. Over time, realizing he's not as bad as she thinks he is, she slowly starts displaying a much kinder side. And her case is actually downplayed, as while she's more belligerent and aggressive than she looks, she really is a good person at heart.
  • Blackmail:
    • In the second chapter of the manga, Kazuya desperately begs Chizuru to return as his date to the hospital because his grandmother wants to see her. When she refuses, he coerces her into cooperating by threatening to spill her secret on campus since he knows they attend the same college. That's how afraid he is of disappointing his grandmother.
    • After Ruka exposes Chizuru's secret, she promises to keep it a secret under the condition that Kazuya dates her as a temporary girlfriend.
  • Bland-Name Product: Many of the laptops that the characters use have fake brand names on them, clearly based on real ones.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall:
    • There are some instances in the manga where one of the girls might pop up for a single panel and explain something to the readers, such as Chizuru saying that sucking on a cut finger goes against common sense, or when Mami pops up after being absent for several chapters just to explain Chopsticks.
    • The preview for Episode 12 features Kazuya, Chizuru and Mami talking about how it's the final episode, with Mami suggesting to reach out to the fans and studio bigwigs to renew them for a second season. Even poor Sumi chimes in at the end asking for the fans' help.
  • Brick Joke: Mami once remarked that she'd have named her and Kazuya's child "Maya", a portmanteau of the first syllable of her first name and the last syllable of Kazuya's. In Chapter 45 and Episode 11, she uses this name when requesting Chizuru as a rental girlfriend.
  • The Bro Code: When Ruka asks Kazuya out, one of the complicating factors he discusses with Chizuru is that Kuri had rented her before. Even if she was a rental, Kazuya thinks it would be a slap in the face if he started going out with the girl Kuri rented and started falling for.
  • Caught the Heart on His Sleeve: Chizuru grabs Kazuya by the sleeve at the end of Chapter 90 to stop him from telling her grandmother that they've broken up. Unfortunately for Kazuya, it turns out to be a non-romantic version as she reaffirms that they're not dating for real.
  • Central Theme: Truth and Lies. Kazuya is quick to realize the artificial and fake nature of the rental girlfriend service, and Chizuru encourages him to find an actual girlfriend because a relationship means nothing if his feelings aren't real. Kazuya constantly lies to his friends and family to avoid hurting them, but he only digs himself deeper each time. Although Chizuru calls him out on it, she can't bring herself to tell their grandparents the truth of their fake relationship, and deep down believes that lying is necessary so others can be happy. Overall, the majority of the cast has a hard time telling the truth and resort to comfortable lies as a short-term solution, but they only make things worse in the long run.
  • Christmas Episode: Chapters 29-31/Episode 8 involves Kazuya following Chizuru and Umi around, having mistakenly come to believe they are in a relationship. They aren't.
  • Cliffhanger: Two big reveals occur in Chapter 45. The first is Chizuru telling Kazuya she's thinking about quitting the rental girlfriend business, which means he wouldn't be able to rent her any longer. The second one is when she shows up for a morning date the next day, and finds out Mami was the one "renting" her after she herself found out about it.
  • Compensated Dating: The series is about a girl engaging in this. However, the agency who run the app don't allow it to be used for prostitution, just for date rentals.
  • Contrived Coincidence: Pretty much the whole plot depends on this happening at every opportunity:
    • Chizuru not only attends the same college as Kazuya, but they even live right next door to each other, and their grandmothers happen to be friends. While Chizuru mentions that she tries to only do her job with guys from out of town, it seems a bit too convenient that she's right next door just as his grandmother comes to visit him.
    • They happen to end up at the same beach with their separate group of friends.
    • Kazuya happens to discover Chizuru's actress life by chance after seeing her walking with a guy in the street.
    • Kazuya discovers that Chizuru actually cares about him because she and his ex conveniently went to have a discussion in the place where he works.
  • Covers Always Lie: If you were to look up a lot of Rent-A-Girlfriend promotional artwork with all the girls smiling together, you'd be forgiven for thinking that Mami is a supporting protagonist who's possibly part of Kazuya's harem, friends with the rest of the female cast and an overall nice girl. In actuality, she's quite the manipulative, underhanded person and a big antagonist of the story with a lot of Hate Sink characteristics to boot.
  • Crossover: One chapter is one with Senryu Girl, in which Chizuru and Nanako end up visiting an onsen together on a bus trip. Chizuru tries to give Nanako some relationship advice, but when the owner's dog pops up and starts licking them, Kazuya and Eiji both get the wrong idea, causing Eiji to freak out and knock the fence down.
  • Death Glare: Kazuya's constantly on the receiving end of this from Chizuru and Ruka.
  • Don't Try This at Home: In Chapter 96, after Kazuya cuts his finger on a date with Sumi, Chizuru tells the audience that sucking on a wound isn't a good idea and goes against common sense.
  • Everyone Can See It: A lot of characters begin to suspect that there's more to Kazuya and Chizuru's relationship than either is willing to admit, seeing as how much they've done for each other should be signs of something else. Kazuya has only ever confessed his feelings toward Chizuru to his neighbor Mini Yaemori because of how easily she saw through him but nobody else. And although her friends and other acquaintances can't get Chizuru to admit that she might have any feelings for Kazuya, they're not buying it.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Mami's attitude and actions towards Kazuya bring this out of everyone else. While everybody, including his family, considers him a spineless wimp, Mami taking advantage of Kazuya because of this brings heavy concern, and often outright scorn, against her from anybody that knows her true character.
  • Evolving Credits: The credits segment of the anime ends with a first-person shot facing each of the four main girls, with one of them leaning in for a kiss. Although most end with Chizuru, Mami gets Episode 3, Ruka gets Episode 6, and Sumi gets Episode 11.
  • Fake Relationship:
    • The concept of the "rental girlfriend" is for guys to pay for a service to experience having a wholesome girlfriend.
    • The bulk of the plot involves Kazuya and Chizuru pretending to be in a relationship to please their grandparents. At first, they agree to break things off as soon as possible without hurting anyone, but as time passes they find themselves trapped because their grandparents have grown fond of them, and the guilt of lying to everyone and themselves for so long starts to take a massive emotional toll on both of them.
  • The First Cut Is the Deepest:
    • Kazuya has trouble getting over his one-month-long ex-girlfriend Mami. In their time together, she deflected his attempts of intimacy and she dumped him claiming she found somebody else.
    • After Kuri gets exposed for renting a girlfriend, he becomes seriously depressed and loses all faith in women. Knowing what it's like to fall for a rental, Kazuya asks Chizuru to help him steer Kuri back on course.
  • Foreshadowing: In the Girlfriend and Paradise Arc, when everyone visits the pool, Chizuru can't stop thinking about how her top feels loose. One trip through the water slide later...
  • Forgotten First Meeting: In Chapter 5 of Rent-A-(Really Shy!)-Girlfriend, Sumi witnesses Mami manipulate some guys while using a fake name. When Mami approaches her in Chapter 9, Sumi believes that she has seen the former somewhere but she can't remember.
  • Four-Philosophy Ensemble: Kazuya and all the girls he's surrounded by:
    • Kazuya himself is the Optimist, as he thinks of doing the right thing, but often without considering logic and rational thinking, acting impulsively and purely based on feelings.
    • Mami is the Cynic, of course. She is an unscrupulous, selfish, petty and manipulative maneater, anything else to add?
    • Chizuru is the Realist. She knows almost exactly what to say and do in a bad situation, all while keeping her cool. Although she works hard on pursuing a dream of her own, she also believes it's foolish in a world where many of them don't come true, and even as a child she got into arguments with her grandfather, putting down his idealistic way of thinking. She finds Kazuya's optimism to be just as irresponsible and unrealistic, and is very grounded in reality.
    • Ruka is the Apathetic. She's definitely immature, just cares about her own happiness, and would do anything to get Kazuya to fall for her, often using underhanded means and blackmail.
    • Sumi is the Conflicted. Despite her increbible shyness, lack of confidence, and incapability of engaging in conversation with her dates, she's surprisingly determined to continue working, and when she sees that Kazuya and Chizuru, the ones who have helped and supported her, are in trouble, she doesn't shy away from helping them and does whatever she can to repay them for the kindness they've shown her, no matter the cost.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble:
    • Kazuya is Phlegmatic most of the time. He's kind and supportive, but also a spineless Extreme Doormat, can be overly optimistic, and overall is neither an introvert nor an extrovert.
    • Mami is Choleric underneath her sweet act, being such a sociopath who genuinely likes to be cruel to others. She's incredibly petty, manipulative, possessive, spiteful, and genuinely malicious. And she gets angry and frightening if she sees Kazuya with another girl.
    • Chizuru is Eclectic through and through. Her different behaviours demonstrate she has a friendly and playful side, a calmer and quieter one, a more irritable one, and a sad one deep down.
    • Ruka is Sanguine, being a Genki Girl who just wants to have fun, is playful and obsessive. She's a less sympathetic case indeed due to said obsession with Kazuya.
    • Sumi is Melancholic. She's a Shrinking Violet who is extremely sensitive and has trouble talking to others. She tends to overthink and lacks confidence in herself, but despite this she's still determined and is very kind.
  • Funny Background Event: Despite Sumi getting her hand stuck in the bowling ball as she throws it, she still manages to get a strike.
  • Head-Turning Beauty: Pretty much all of the girls who associate with Kazuya, particularly Chizuru, Mami, Ruka and Sumi, are top-tier beauties that easily catch the attention of every guy around them. When one of the girls are introduced in public, they're usually surrounded by several guys staring at them and saying how attractive they are, only to be disappointed when Kazuya arrives. One chapter even lampshades this, with a character wondering if this is the only purpose they serve.
  • Hourglass Plot: At the start of the series, Chizuru insists that she and Kazuya clear up the misunderstandings about their relationship, while Kazuya, despite knowing that they can't lie to their families forever, is reluctant to break his family's hearts. Later on, Kazuya ends up being the one who insists that he and Chizuru should come clean, while Chizuru is now opposed to it.
  • Imagine Spot: The manga is filled with this from Kazuya's perspective, whether he's fantasizing about having sex with Mami or the other girls, seeing Chizuru in revealing clothes or without any at all, or having delusions about Chizuru confessing her "real" feelings to him. When he starts fantasizing about the possibility of Chizuru accepting another guy's love confession, Kazuya tries ripping his own thought bubble apart. He later feels guilty whenever he has these thoughts.
  • Inconsistent Dub: The dub's translations of the anime generally use English modes of address when translating text onscreen. For example, Chizuru's bill in the opening is addressed to "Mr. Kazuya Kinoshita". Despite this, the dubbed episodes leave the honorifics in, such as when Chizuru calls Kazuya "Kazuya-san" in a speech bubble in Episode 10.
  • It's a Small World After All:
    • The first three chapters of the manga establish that Kazuya and Chizuru go to the same college, have both their grandmothers in the same hospital and they both lived next to each other in the same apartment.
    • The spinoff Rent-A-(Really Shy!)-Girlfriend has Sumi run into the other characters. Her running into Chizuru is justified since they work at the same rental girlfriend agency, although Chizuru mentions that she doesn't often meet her colleagues.
    • Following the summer break, it's revealed that Mini and Kuri know each other. Granted, they attend the same college, but what are the odds that the only two people there who are in on Kazuya's secret are pals now?
  • Jerkass Has a Point: A common trend in the series, since many of the characters are jerks (with hearts of gold or otherwise) who often criticize others, who usually deserve the criticism. For example, Shimizu is rather dismissive of Kazuya's movie project, but he raises some valid points - the film can't possibly succeed unless Kazuya does everything in his power to make it a success, and he needs to consider the perspectives of those he's asking for money.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold:
    • Kazuya and Chizuru, although just to a little extent, as they're genuinely kind most of the time. Kazuya ultimately has bad habits, such as lying, not because he's truly a jerk, but rather because of his immense indecisiveness and low self-esteem; still, despite this cowardly side of his personality, he has a good heart and always helps everyone in need. Chizuru counts as this towards Kazuya, being belligerent and strict towards him (admittedly, it's understandable that she's annoyed by his Consummate Liar tendencies and bad habits overall); though, otherwise she's a genuinely Nice Girl who is ready to help the ones in need, just like Kazuya.
    • Ruka. Despite her self-centeredness, and hypocritical tendencies, she isn't a bad person by any means. She's just immature, being younger than the other main characters, and wants to live a happy life as she has sort of a heart disease which makes her feel worried.
    • Kibe, one of Kazuya's best friends, is rather strict and brash towards him, often ribbing on him, and even punches him on the beach because of his bad behaviour and because he still acts like a lovesick puppy towards Mami. Granted, Chizuru is not Kazuya's true girlfriend, but he still made everyone believe it... And he naturally has good intentions at heart, hoping that Kazuya will maintain his relationship with Chizuru, understanding the latter is definitely a good person because of how she stood up to Mami for Kazuya, who was insulted in front of everyone by that scumbag.
  • Just in Time: Just when it seems that Sayuri is on her deathbed and won't live long enough to Chizuru's film debut, Kazuya receives a phone call and storms off. He returns with a projector and the finished version of the movie, leaving Chizuru to watch it alone with Sayuri. Pleased with the movie, and after telling Chizuru how much she loves her and how proud of her she is, Sayuri passes away later that night.
  • Locked Out of the Loop: Most of the cast aren't aware that Kazuya and Chizuru aren't really in a relationship, causing a lot of misunderstandings and problems between their families and friends that neither of them can afford to clear up.
  • Love Triangle:
    • At the beginning of the story, Kazuya finds himself torn between Chizuru and his ex-girlfriend Mami. Bitter and jealous that Kazuya hooked up with another pretty girl right after she dumped him, Mami sends him mixed signals about wanting him back just to destroy his relationship with Chizuru. Although he nearly falls for it, he ends up falling for Chizuru instead because she's more kind and supportive towards him than Mami ever was.
    • Once Ruka enters the picture, she takes over as Chizuru's primary rival and forces herself to become Kazuya's trial girlfriend. Envious of Chizuru, Ruka does everything she can to become her replacement, and although Chizuru insists otherwise, she finds herself becoming confused and distressed over her newfound jealousy.
    • Downplayed with Sumi. Even though they have great chemistry and there's a mutual attraction between them, Sumi falls for Kazuya already knowing how dedicated he is towards Chizuru. Because she also looks up to Chizuru, admires her as a friend, and believes in Kazuya's love for her, Sumi keeps her feelings to herself but opens up just enough to let Kazuya know how happy he makes her feel, but it ends up going over his head.
  • Lying to Protect Your Feelings: Most of the cast have a habit of lying to others to avoid causing problems or hurting them, with Kazuya being the worst offender. Chizuru even keeps up the charade of pretending to be Kazuya's real-life girlfriend for the sake of both their grandparents, even after they've decided to break things off. Kazuya also tends to lie to Chizuru and Ruka about how he feels so he doesn't upset them, which inadvertently ends up hurting Chizuru.
  • Magnetic Girlfriend: Kazuya's luck with women changed when he rented Chizuru as his girlfriend after being dumped by his previous girlfriend Mami.
  • Maintain the Lie: Although Kazuya does attempt to break off his fake relationship with Chizuru numerous times because of how much of a burden he's been to her, she doesn't want to disappoint their grandparents by telling them the truth, and goes to great lengths to keep nearly everyone convinced that she's Kazuya's actual girlfriend.
  • Meet the In-Laws:
    • Played for Drama with Mami. While Kazuya was happy enough with his first girlfriend Mami, Mami herself felt like he was rushing the relationship too much. Kazuya bringing her over to meet his parents was the straw that broke the camel's back, and she coldly breaks up with him for that among other things.
    • Near the start of the series, Chizuru meets Kazuya's parents and paternal grandmother, while Kazuya meets Chizuru's grandmother Sayuri, her only surviving relative who's still in her life. The problem is not that anyone in the Kinoshita family dislikes Chizuru or Sayuri dislikes Kazuya. In fact, everyone is thrilled at the relationship. The problem is that because everyone concerned is so excited, Kazuya finds it difficult to let them down by revealing that Chizuru is not actually his girlfriend.
  • Men Don't Cry: Averted for Kazuya and a rare female example for Chizuru. Kazuya is unashamed of showing weakness and crying in front of friends when emotionally overwhelmed while Chizuru has only ever once cried in front of someone in Chapter 103 and has since then never has despite whatever emotional turmoil she must be in. She cries a lot when she's alone, though.
  • Naked Freak-Out: Chizuru ends up losing her bikini top during the Girlfriend and Paradise Arc, and has a minor panic attack while still in the pool, even though nobody yet noticed. When Kazuya notices her distress and finds out she lost her top he freaks out almost as hard as her, but manages to calm down and find her top for her.
  • Netorare: Several of Kazuya's early Imagine Spot feature this, with him imagining a faceless man having amazing sex with Chizuru / Mami / Ruka. The thoughts often leave Kazuya both angry and horny.
  • Nice Guy:
    • While Kazuya is definitely not flawless, he has a good heart and is genuinely kind and caring towards others.
    • Chizuru is a really good-hearted, helpful person, who is genuinely kind and sweet, if you look beyond her belligerence towards Kazuya.
    • Sumi is a cuddly, adorable bundle of kindness and shyness. She's a total sweetheart, and doesn't have a mean bone in her body.
  • Not-So-Innocent Whistle:
    • When Ruka first meets Kazuya's family and realizes they're suddenly putting up with her antics, she immediately suspects Kazuya told them something. He tries to react this way but doesn't know how to whistle.
    • Much later on, when Chizuru is too embarrassed to face Kazuya after Mini tells her how he feels about her, Kazuya gets the wrong idea about it and freaks out. Realizing what she's done, Mini starts sweating profusely, and just like her master, doesn't know how to whistle either.
  • Not What It Looks Like:
    • In Chapter 3 of the manga, Kazuya's father sees him giving money to Chizuru, suggesting that he may have learned that his son's in a fake relationship. He finally confronts Kazuya about it in Chapter 55, and for better or worse, he thinks Kazuya was borrowing money from his girlfriend and punches him for taking advantage of her kindness and not being a responsible adult. While he's annoyed, Kazuya understands why his father would feel that way and is relieved that his secret's still safe.
    • In the Christmas and My Girlfriend Arc, Kazuya spots Chizuru on what appears to be a date with another guy, and jumps to all kinds of conclusions about how far their relationship has gone, or whether Chizuru's getting set up by him. He's wrong on every count.
    • Just as Chizuru's leaving Kazuya's apartment after discussing their project, she finds Ruka at the door, and the sight of an unmade bed, cooked food, and tissues leads Ruka to think that they went at it behind her back.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Both Kazuya and Chizuru have this reaction when they both discover that they attend the same college. It happens again when they later discover that they've been living next to each other the entire time.
    • When Kazuya's grandmother storms off to introduce his "girlfriend" to her friends, Chizuru freaks out because her grandmother is also being admitted in the same hospital, and doesn't know about her job as a rental girlfriend. As it so happens, Kazuya's grandmother happens to know Chizuru's grandmother, and the latter is the one other person who gets to see Chizuru with Kazuya.
    • Kazuya's friends have this reaction when they see Mami at the mixer they take him and Chizuru to. They apologize to him, since they were completely unaware that she would be there.
    • Kazuya gets a surprise visit from his father, who asks if Kazuya has something to say to him. Kazuya's horrified, wondering if he's learned about Chizuru being a rental girlfriend, but it turns out that Kazuo assumes that Kazuya is borrowing money from Chizuru.
    • Later on, Kazuya does this when he sees Chizuru when he and his friends go out drinking together. The problem is that she's her real self, as Chizuru Ichinose, rather than her "rental girlfriend" persona, Chizuru Mizuhara, and neither of them wants the others to realize that Ichinose and Mizuhara are the same person.
  • Opposites Attract: Kazuya and Chizuru couldn't be any more opposite to each other if they tried. Kazuya is plagued with self-doubt while Chizuru breathes confidence. Kazuya is aimless in life while Chizuru has clearly defined goals. Kazuya is not afraid of showing weakness and crying in front of friends while Chizuru refuses to let her stoic demeanor slip. Naturally, it's why they're perfect for each other.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Mami's constantly on the receiving end of this from the others:
    • After embarrassing Kazuya in front of his friends, Chizuru calls her out for revealing the details of their relationship for no other reason than to be cruel to him.
    • She gets a brief one from Kibe after he gets into a fight with Kazuya, calling her out for leading Kazuya on when she was the one who dumped him in the first place, and is only doing it because he's already "dating" someone else.
    • When Mami visits Kazuya at the karaoke bar, not only does Ruka get jealous, but once she realizes that she's his evil ex, Ruka absolutely rips into her about visiting him with ulterior motives, and tells her that she's never getting him back.
  • Relationship Sabotage:
    • Chapter 7 reveals that Mami plans to do this between Kazuya and Chizuru, not bothering to remember the latter's name properly, due to thinking it incredulous that he got over her and that he sided with Chizuru over her.
    • Ruka tries her hardest to sabotage Kazuya's feelings for Chizuru so she can have him for herself, to the point that when Kazuya admits he's trying to confess, she makes a point of never letting them be alone together so he won't have a chance. When she starts to suspect that Chizuru also has feelings for Kazuya, Ruka makes Chizuru believe she and Kazuya have slept together.
  • Romantic Fake–Real Turn: Chizuru begins to stop charging Kazuya in Chapter 56, and Kazuya starts to prioritize her acting dreams above his own interests and personal well-being. As the story progresses, it's becoming increasingly clear that Kazuya and Chizuru's relationship has gone far beyond the bounds of a "rental girlfriend" and into something much more serious, though Chizuru has yet to admit it.
  • Running Gag:
    • The girls are often the subject of Eating the Eye Candy from background characters, sometimes in front of their own girlfriends. If Kazuya is with them, he will be subjected with insults or even threats from those jealous guys.
    • The messiness of Kazuya's room, which Chizuru always points out whenever she visits.
    • The camera often cuts to Kazuya's Lungfish who then gives a criticizing comment aimed at Kazuya.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: Shimizu tells Kazuya that he can't promote the film project on Campfire's recommendations page because it's not up to him, but a group of people, and it's based on project growth. Towards the end of the campaign, after seeing for himself just how determined and passionate Kazuya is, Shimizu promotes it anyway, a decision that puts him in hot water with his superiors.
  • Shout-Out:
    • When Chizuru is at the karaoke bar and discusses what songs she'd probably sing for Kazuya, she mentions RAD and Little Glee, most likely referring to RADWIMPS and Little Glee Monster. This was changed in the anime to The Peggies and Halca, who perform the opening and ending themes, respectively.
    • Chapter 54 includes a brief panel showing that Sumi is a huge fan of a kids’ anime, apparently a Magical Girl series, and the character onscreen is named Cure Evidence. Chapter 13 of Rent-A-(Really Shy!)-Girlfriend shows another character from the same anime named Cure Alternative. In other words, Sumi’s a Pretty Cure fan.
    • On Kazuya’s second practice date with Sumi, she takes him to a mall stage show where Chizuru is performing as the suit actress for the Pink Ranger in a rental-themed Super Sentai pastiche.
    • Chapter 10 of Rent-A-(Really Shy!)-Girlfriend has Sumi freaking out when a young boy makes eye contact with her at a conveyor belt sushi place, so much that she doesn't get the avocado shrimp she wants. The chapter ends with a text box saying, "Result of today's battle: Sumi's total defeat."
    • Chapter 11 of Rent-A-(Really Shy!)-Girlfriend involves Sumi doing a photoshoot for her agency, but she becomes so stone-faced and stiff that she ends up resembling a Minecraft character, and even starts using a pickaxe for no particular reason. We also get a return of the “Result of today’s battle” gag from Kaguya-sama.
  • Shower Scene: Chizuru and Sumi both have a lot of gratuitous Bath and shower scene, usually with only Censor Steam or Godiva Hair covering them. Even Kazuya got a Shower of Angst After a failed confession to Chizuru, but he got Censor Shadow covering his groin.
  • Shown Their Work: The author is a fan of fashion magazines, so every manga chapter opens with one of the girls, usually Chizuru, in a fashionable new outfit or a Sexy Whatever Outfit that they're likely wearing in said chapter, usually with a rather detailed explanation about clothing item or accessory.
  • Slapstick Knows No Gender:
    • When Ruka joins Kazuya at his job, she embraces him for a hug and he blocks her face with a large pan. She asks his boss to reduce his pay for it.
    • When Mini suggests that Chizuru spend even more time with a friend that Kazuya is extremely suspicious of, he punches her in the back of the head to get her to shut up.
    • After Kazuya and Chizuru return from a trip that Yaemori arranged so it would be just the two of them, she nonchalantly mentions that Ruka gave her a good couple of lumps over it.
  • Sleep Cute: A one-sided version happens in Chapter 138 due to Chizuru not being able to sleep the previous night.
  • Slice of Life: The early chapters of Rent-A-(Really Shy!)-Girlfriend has more of this vibe compared to the main series, such as the first chapter revolving around Sumi going to a donut shop to try out a French Angel donut. The later chapters focus more on her struggles of being a rental girlfriend and her interactions with the other characters.
  • Slippery Swimsuit: During the Girlfriend and Paradise Arc, Chizuru ends up losing her top after sliding down a water slide with Kazuya. She actually spends almost a whole chapter without noticing it (since she's only visible from the shoulders up). She panics when she does notice it and resorts to Hand-or-Object Underwear while a nervous Kazuya goes search for it on the pool. He finds it quickly, but it still leads to an awkward situation where he has to tie the bikini for her while trying not to ogle at her Toplessness from the Back.
  • So Much for Stealth: Whenever Kazuya tries to avoid being seen by certain people, whether it's his family, friends, or the rental girlfriends, his first instinct is to hide behind something. Whenever this happens, he gets spotted every time. Even when Chizuru does this on one of their dates, it turns out it was all in vain. The only one who doesn't see them whenever this happens is Mami.
  • Spoiler Opening: A minor example in the opening. It shows Ruka in the uniform she wears at the karaoke bar, spoiling that she eventually gets a job working alongside Kazuya.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome:
    • Online anonymity won't protect you if you do something that will hint at your real identity. Kazuya complaining about Chizuru not knowing the names of certain fish tipped her off that he was the one who wrote her first one-star review before he blew up at her.
    • Kazuya and Chizuru often go to their balconies to talk to each other, since they live next door. Unfortunately, their apartment complex has thin walls, so it's easy for their neighbors to hear them, which is how Mini, who moves next door to Kazuya midway through the series, learns about their relationship.
    • As much as you try to cheer up someone after they've suffered a great loss, even if you succeed, it could all be undone the instant something reminds them of said loss. As happy as Kazuya makes Chizuru during the "cheer up" date, her happiness vanishes the moment she sees a child and her grandmother together.
  • Thanks for the Mammary: Often. Nagomi does this to Chizuru when they're bathing together, Kazuya accidentally grabs Ruka's chest when he's chasing her down, Ruka does this to Chizuru to see if her heart races for Kazuya, and Kazuya accidentally does this to Chizuru when he slips on a date.
  • Those Two Guys: Kazuya's friends Kibe and Kuri, fulfilling all the usual tropes associated with the role.
  • Unlimited Wardrobe: With some exceptions, most of the characters are hardly seen wearing the same thing more than once. Chizuru is a standout example, and is often depicted in a wide variety of cosplay outfits in the opening notes. Even Sumi, who does somewhat poorly at her rental girlfriend job compared to Chizuru, is competent enough to strategically select her outfits to maximize her appeal. Miyajima has stated that he uses fashion magazines as a reference to determine what certain characters wear in the story.
  • Unwanted Harem: Kazuya only has eyes for Chizuru, but as the story progresses, more and more women fall into his orbit. He acknowledges that under normal circumstances he'd be open to dating any of them, but so far his situation is far from what most would call normal. Once Mini moves in, she finds herself so amazed by this that she insists on calling Kazuya her "master", and Ruka mistakes her as yet another rival at first.
  • Virgin-Shaming: A lot of the characters poke fun at Kazuya for being a virgin, but sometimes he's able to turn the tables on them, too.
  • We Do Not Know Each Other:
    • Part of the rental girlfriend drama is that Chizuru and Kazuya have to treat her like a total stranger while at the university. Given that they're constantly pretending to be a couple to keep up appearances, it only adds more to their difficulties in keeping the lie when they start developing feelings for each other.
    • This also happens to Kuri and Ruka later during the trip to the water park, since Kuri doesn't want Kibe to find out he had a rental girlfriend and Ruka doesn't want Kazuya's family to find out she was a rental girlfriend.
  • Wham Episode: Chapter 152. Sayuri passes away, but not before watching Chizuru's movie and telling her how proud she was of her in her final moments. Although Kazuya stays the entire night and tells Chizuru that he's there for emotional support, instead of showing him her tears, Chizuru leaves with a smile and tells him she's fine when she's clearly not. Now that their movie is finished and the person that Chizuru was living a lie for is gone, Chizuru becomes the central conflict of the story and Kazuya is completely stumped on how to break through to her without making things worse than they already are. And considering that she no longer has any real reason to pretend they're in a relationship, any wrong move could potentially destroy everything that's led up to this point.
  • Wham Line:
    • The series begins with Kazuya happily spending time with his girlfriend Mami, who promptly breaks up with him.
    • Ruka almost immediately guesses that Chizuru is Kazuya's rental girlfriend, even though neither one of them told her. During a conversation with Kazuya, she reveals why she was able to figure it out:
      Ruka: I'm a rental girlfriend, too.
    • At the end of Chapter 60, after Kazuya asks Chizuru to confide in him, she tells him something important:
    • At the end of Chapter 152, Kazuya recalls what Chizuru said to him the previous night when her grandmother died, after telling her that she could go to him for emotional support:
      Chizuru: I'm fine!
    • During the party to celebrate the movie, Umi gets Kazuya alone to talk one-on-one. Apropos of nothing, he asks Kazuya what he thinks of the line, “I don’t not like you.” He gives no context for this, but the reader and Chizuru already know that this paraphrases what Chizuru said when Umi asked her if she liked Kazuya. Learning that Umi brought it up to Kazuya completely throws her off.
  • Wham Shot:
    • At the end of Chapter 45 of the main series/Episode 11, Chizuru gets hired by someone named Maya and waits for her client. The client shows up and is revealed to be Kazuya's ex-girlfriend Mami.
    • At the end of Chapter 13 of Rent-A-(Really Shy!)-Girlfriend, Sumi gets hired by someone named Fumiki, who turns out to look like a young boy.
  • Will They or Won't They?: The beginning of the story does everything it can to spell out that Kazuya and Chizuru are fated to be together, and despite insisting otherwise, nearly everyone in their circle insist that they've fallen for each other. It seems that the only thing preventing them from getting together is Kazuya's lack of self-confidence and Chizuru being in denial of her feelings toward him, but whenever it seems they've jumped a hurdle and gotten closer, they end up being further apart. After tragedy strikes for Chizuru, there's no telling if Kazuya's efforts to help her will bring them closer than ever or amount to absolutely nothing.
  • Women Are Wiser: Chizuru is much more mature, level-headed and has stronger morals than Kazuya does, and made her grandfather look like a bumbling fool when she was younger. Most of the guys in the cast are constantly thinking about sex and little else, while the girls are much more grounded in reality and hardly fall for anything.
  • Worst. Whatever. Ever!: In Episode 8 of the English dub, Kazuya, after stalking Chizuru and Umi all day only to realize he was wrong about them being in a relationship, thinks, "Worst. Christmas. Ever."

 
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Mami Nanami

For the most part, Mami appears to be a kindly young woman, but she is revealed to actually be a conniving control freak who admits to dating Kazuya simply for convenience and has no qualms with verbally abusing him. Despite dumping him, she is nevertheless psychotically obsessed with breaking up his "relationship" with Chizuru for no other reason than spite.

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Main / TheSociopath

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