WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Rent-A-Girlfriend Episode 11, "Truth and Girlfriend," streaming now on Crunchyroll.
In the action-packed penultimate episode of Rent-A-Girlfriend, a new rental girlfriend arrives on the scene with a heartwarming introduction and brings the best -- and, of course, the worst -- out of Kazuya. Mami is firmly back in the picture armed with damaging new information, while a potentially life-changing decision from Chizuru brings Kazuya face to face with a hard choice of his own. It feels like a critical turning point for everyone involved as emotions run high and long-kept secrets begin to unravel.
True to Chizuru's request, Kazuya goes on a rental date with a friend and co-worker of hers who is a kind person but gets poor reviews for being too shy. Enter Sumi Sakurasawa, the very picture of innocence with a smile to protect with your life, who is so nervous she can't even speak to Kazuya. A short internal monologue reveals Sumi is an introverted but kindhearted girl who goes about her daily routine and generally enjoys her life. Her only issue is when she's at work, i.e. in "girlfriend mode" on rental dates, she freezes up around her clients. Is Kazuya up to the task of helping her come out of her shell?
In his own typically flawed way, he is. He immediately understands Sumi's struggles to connect so he steers the conversation and takes her to different several places to try and help her relax. The two go bowling, play soccer, share some ice cream and more, and Sumi very slowly starts to open up. At the bowling alley, Kazuya leaves to get drinks and Sumi is suddenly harassed by a trio of sleazy guys. Does Kazuya do the right thing and go straight over to help? Of course not. When he spots the bigger, tougher-looking men, he hides out of fear but then realizes he could never face Chizuru again if he doesn't help Sumi. Belatedly, he strides over and leads her away safely, ignoring all the insults hurled at him in the process.
As Sumi is incredibly introverted and struggles to connect with strangers, so Kazuya wonders why she would take a job as a rental girlfriend in the first place. A highlight of Rent-A-Girlfriend has been specific characters' motivations to better themselves as people and achieve bigger goals in life. Chizuru works as a rental girlfriend to sharpen her acting skills and land full-time roles after she graduates college. Sumi's goal may not be as grand but is just as earnest, as she challenges herself to open up to more people and new experiences. After Kazuya saves her from the lecherous guys, she thanks him by gently holding his hand and smiling. All's well that ends well -- until the two are spotted by none other than Mami.
As Mami already mistakenly believes Kazuya is dating Chizuru, getting caught in such a position with Sumi is bad news for Kazuya. He's flustered and unable to think of a decent explanation on the spot, letting Mami run with her own thoughts. The most obvious conclusion is that Kazuya is two-timing Chizuru, and that is what Mami believes. Sumi doesn't understand what's going on but immediately intuits that Mami's appearance is not good, so she takes his hand and slams them down together on the table, wordlessly conveying to Mami that she and Kazuya are a couple. It's a surprisingly forceful moment from Sumi that shows her growing bravery, but unfortunately makes matters more complicated. Mami, however, promises to pretend she never saw anything.
The awkward reunion with Kazuya leaves Mami suspicious and questioning her own feelings, though it's mainly the assumption that Kazuya seems to have become a ladies' man more than any jealousy. Despite being largely driven by spite thus far, she can't help wondering if there's something she's missing from her ex. Her curiosity leads her to look up Sumi on the internet, where she finally discovers the full truth: Sumi and Chizuru are rental girlfriends and Kazuya has been lying about his relationships all along.
On top of all this, Chizuru makes a confession to Kazuya -- she's landed a significant new acting role in a play, leading her to question if it's time to quit her rental girlfriend job and move on. She and Kazuya continue to leave much unspoken, but she asks his opinion on the matter. He rightly responds that she's already done more than enough on his behalf and should quit the job if that's what she wants. For all of Kazuya's flaws, he's been consistent in one area for a while: putting Chizuru's feelings and desires ahead of his own. He feels he has no right to confess his feelings for her and doesn't want to be a bother any longer as she pursues her goals.
As Chizuru continues to ponder her complicated life shortly before a rental date with a new client, she's met by none other than Mami, who makes clear she has learned the truth. It'll be fascinating to see how Mami chooses to use her newfound revelations, but as someone whose best skill is manipulation, it's potentially devastating for everyone involved. Whether Kazuya or Chizuru are ready, their secret is out, making the series finale a must-watch.