Rent-a-Girlfriend – 09 – Fuel to the Fire

Last week Kazuya acted like a heinous criminal but suffered zero consequences and was actually rewarded with a phone case because Chizuru conveniently ceased to remotely resemble the character we’d known up to that point, while Ruka fell of the face of the earth. How do you come back from such a fiasco?

First, by bursting Kazuya’s bubble: he didn’t get a gift from Chizuru because he’s special, but because it’s a common rental girlfriend practice. And Chizuru still considers their relationship strictly business. When she straight-up asks if Kaz has fallen for her, he lies and denies it. But you can’t help but think she’s lying too.

Second, by welcoming Ruka back to the show, and with a vengeance! Devastated that he blew her off to go on a date with his rental, Ruka demands to immediately go on another date with him that same day, and it’s well within her rights as his GF to do so. When it’s clear to her his mind is elsewhere, she blindfolds him and spirits him away to a love hotel room.

There, she removes her socks (to get comfy) and Kazuya tells her about the situation with his and Chizuru’s grans. Ruka tells him straight up there’s no future for him and Chizuru, who can only ever be platonic, while his gran is very likely looking at the future in the form of a great-grandchild, which Ruka is ready and willing to provide when the time comes.

That time isn’t now, however. Kazuya is overwhelmed and retreats to the bathroom, which gives Ruka the opportunity to slow things down a bit. Her heart rate has never been faster but she knows she shouldn’t rush into sex.

When he fled to the toilet, however, Kazuya left his phone with Ruka, who sees a notification on his lock screen that tells her where and when he’s attending a New Year’s shrine visit with his family and Chizuru. She then decides to crash said visit…and good for her!

I for one have had enough of Kazuya and Chizuru comfortably maintaining a charade when the bottom line is they’re lying to their families. So I was elated to see Ruka invite herself and make them squirm. Kazuya agreed to be her boyfriend, after all; by rights, she should be there, and Chizuru should be off on some other rental date or acting shoot.

Ruka even comes right out and states the truth to Kazuya’s family that she’s his girlfriend, leading Kazuya to tell his grandmother that she’s a pathological liar. Kazuya, you absolute scumbag. Lowest of the low. Die in the garbage fire to which you and Chizuru keep adding fuel!

Ruka then confronts Chizuru in private, telling her Kazuya told him what the score is, and that she’s grossly overstepping her rental GF bounds. When Chizuru pleads “it’s complicated”, Ruka rightly responds that’s because they’re making it complicated.

Ruka suspects that’s intentional, perceiving that Chizuru has fallen for Kazuya and wants to stay on as his “girlfriend” indefinitely. She gives Chizuru an ultimatum: if she doesn’t love Kazuya, then walk away. It’s the right, fair thing to do. Shit or get off the pot, Chizu-chan!

At the shrine, Ruka takes Chizuru’s gran aside, and learns that it’s not just a great-grandchild she’s after. All Gran wants to do is ask Ruka—who in addition to being a “pathological liar” is also Chizuru’s “nearest, dearest friend”—all about her future granddaughter-in-law. It’s clear to Ruka that Gran loves Chizuru and wants her to be family. So it really is more complicated.

That doesn’t change the fact that as long as Chizuru and Kazuya only see themselves as a rental arrangement, it is wrong to keep leading Gran on. So after Kazuya earnestly apologizes to Ruka for the terrible things he told his fam, she makes it clear to him that she’s not giving up on winning both him and his Gran over, no matter how long it takes.

To that end, she gets a job at the same karaoke parlor where he’s working. He has to learn that further ghosting and two-timing of his real girlfriend will not be tolerated. Kazuya doesn’t deserve Ruka—honestly, Kazuya doesn’t deserve a quick death—but he’s got her.

The question is, will he be won over by her, or will she be the catalyst that forces him and Chizuru to abandon their ridiculous current arrangement for something—anything—real? My guess is the latter. Hopefully we’ll know the answer in three weeks’ time.

Author: sesameacrylic

Zane Kalish is a staff writer for RABUJOI.

3 thoughts on “Rent-a-Girlfriend – 09 – Fuel to the Fire”

  1. I have no problem with you disliking Kazuya for being a creepy stalker last episode… As someone who is current in the manga, I can tell you that that behavior is never repeated (not that it excuses it)… But lets be consistent… Ruka isn’t his real girlfriend, she is a trial girlfriend, and only because she stalked him home, threatened him and Chizuru with exposure, and then cried like a child when he kept gently rejecting her until Chizuru askied him to date her out of pity… From which point she has acted like an obsessive and posessive child. Crashing the family gathering was highly inappropriate. Yes, she has a somewhat sad backstory, but that doesn’t give her license to blackmail her way into a relationship and try to break everything. Look how she treated Kibe (her client who had done nothing bad to her that we ever saw). Ruka is at least as toxic as Mami, if not more.

  2. One sidenote, stalking friends or love intrests on dates (or perceived dates) has been a trope in comedy/romance anime and manga for at least 30 years. The characters who do it very rarely ever get punished. So while I completely agree that it is wrong, and I think that it is an unhealthy trope, I am honestly not surprised that last episode went the way it did.

    1. All of what you say about Ruka may be true, but I still side with and root for Ruka over Kazuya or Chizuru for one simple reason: she’s honest with her feelings—i.e. the fact that no one makes her heart race like Kazuya. Her heart dosn’t lie, and so neither does she.

      Kazuya and Chizuru wouldn’t be in a position to be blackmailed if they had done the right thing and come clean to their grans—or better yet, admitted the feelings that have developed between them.

      They’ve done neither, instead choosing to layer one lie over another until they’re sitting on twin thrones of lies. Their continued refusal to step down from those thrones makes them harder to root for than Ruka because they have the power to stop all of this but won’t…because it’s hard.

      If Chizuru admits her feelings for Kazuya, she loses face. If Kazuya admits to his gran he has no real girlfriend, he loses face. They’re only looking out for themselves and don’t care who ultimately gets hurt as long as it’s not them.

      Ruka is also looking out for number one, but she’s long dispensed with keeping face. She’s earnestly going after what she wants and what she believes her heart needs. The only two people she’s hurting through blackmail are people who have already hurt themselves worse and continue to do so. She’s not breaking anything that’s not already broken.

Comments are closed.