When Kazuya Kinoshita, the hapless protagonist of Rent-A-Girlfriend, got dumped and rented a girlfriend named Chizuru Mizuhara, he couldn't have possibly imagined all the misadventures and romantic feelings that would emerge. As the two continue posing as a legitimate couple for their family and friends while keeping the truth hidden, a fellow rental girlfriend named Ruka Sarashina learns their secret -- and genuinely (if inexplicably) falls in love with Kazuya.
As Season 1 develops, it becomes increasingly clear Kazuya is developing feelings for Chizuru. There are hints that the feelings are mutual, though Chizuru has never truly opened up about them, even to herself. Meanwhile, Ruka uses her knowledge to blackmail Kazuya into a relationship. It's a storyline loaded with potential, but Ruka is mostly treated like a pest who is constantly in the way. The finale, however, shakes things up as Kazuya nearly agrees to an honest relationship with Ruka before other events concerning Chizuru change his mind. Here's why he should consider following through on his near-confession to Ruka.
Ruka Is Serious & Dedicated
In a cast of characters mostly ambivalent about their feelings, Ruka's straightforward honesty is refreshing. Ruka measures her potential romantic feelings by her heart rate, and when Kazuya's touch sends her BPM over 90, she quickly starts to view him as someone special. When she figures out that Chizuru is really a rental girlfriend, she promises to keep the secret, but only if Kazuya agrees to a provisional relationship with Ruka.
Ruka, who worked as a rental girlfriend herself, subsequently quits her job to strengthen their bond. She even gets a new job at the karaoke place where Kazuya works so they can spend more time together. She understands and accepts that he has feelings for Chizuru but wants to be given a chance in her own right, and makes it clear that she will continue fighting to win his heart. Chizuru is busy pursuing her acting career and has repeatedly told Kazuya they need to end their fake relationship and go their separate ways. Ruka, on the other hand, isn't going anywhere.
Kazuya Needs Relationship Experience
Kazuya may be a college student, but he still has a lot of growing up to do. Chizuru, on the other hand, is far more mature, working as a rental girlfriend while also pursuing her studies and a budding acting career. She gives him solid advice -- and common sense -- that he often fails to heed. Ruka is somewhere between the two. An honest relationship with Ruka, the girl who is most serious about him, would give Kazuya some much-needed life experience regardless of how it turns out. The two are at similar points in life and could help each other grow as people. If there's one thing Kazuya needs to learn, it's how to be open and honest with the people around him. Who better to show him the way than Ruka?
On top of that, the feelings aren't completely one-sided. As acknowledged in the finale, Kazuya likes Ruka and thinks she's a wonderful person. He feels bad for constantly treating her like a sideshow when she has fought earnestly for his heart and made personal sacrifices for him. If not for Chizuru and Mami showing up at their workplace, Kazuya would have finished confessing to Ruka and they would have been in an official relationship.
Season 1 ends with no real plot resolutions and everything up in the air. While Kazuya knows he has feelings for Chizuru, he still doesn't know the "real" Chizuru that well. How much of his attraction is based on her perfect rental girlfriend exterior versus the everyday girl beneath the mask? She's also landed a significant new acting role and will surely be traveling more often in the future. Even if she has feelings for Kazuya, would she have the time for a relationship with him at this point in her life? In contrast, Ruka is fiercely dedicated to Kazuya and isn't going anywhere for the foreseeable future. There's still plenty of room in the story for a genuine Kazuya/Ruka relationship.