In Reiji Miyajima’s Rent-A-Girlfriend, protagonist Kazuya Kinoshita has the worst luck when it comes to love. His previous girlfriend Mami Nanami dumps him after a month of dating. Now, he must continue a “fake relationship” with a rental girlfriend he hired named Chizuru Mizuhara due to his grandmother taking a liking to her.
Over the course of Season 1, Kazuya goes from no girl liking him to handling four girls who are causing so much drama in his life. Rent-A-Girlfriend is filled with shocking plot twists, showcasing just how difficult love and relationships are for college students. Let’s take a look at some of the major plot twists before Season 2.
Two-Faced Mami Kisses Kazuya at the Beach
After breaking up with Kazuya, it's natural to assume that Mami wants nothing to do with him. However, Mami is a manipulator and desires to be the center of attention, so she takes advantage of Kazuya’s feelings. Her scheme escalates in Episode 3 “Beach and Girlfriend,” when she kisses Kazuya at a secluded beach spot. The kiss causes him to rethink his feelings for Mami, believing there’s a chance for them to get back together.
This episode is frustrating to watch because Rent-A-Girlfriend shows its viewers how cunning Mami truly is, but Kazuya is so blinded by love that he can’t see it. Furthermore, Mami wasn't expected to go to such lengths and kiss her ex-boyfriend out of jealousy because he got a new girlfriend. She wants to cause drama and doesn’t care about anyone else’s feelings but her own.
Ruka’s Confession to Kazuya
Kazuya uses Chizuru as a “fake” girlfriend for now, until he gets a real one to appease his grandmother. In Episode 7 “Provisional Girlfriend and Girlfriend,” the opportunity for an actual relationship arises when Ruka Sarashina confesses that she has a crush on Kazuya and will keep Chizuru’s rental girlfriend job a secret -- if Kazuya agrees to go out with her. Chizuru encourages him to seize this opportunity because it could finally end their fake couple shenanigans.
It’s a surprise to Rent-A-Girlfriend viewers that anyone would even want to be romantically involved with Kazuya since he seems more interested in getting a girlfriend for superficial reasons. However, this episode shows that Ruka genuinely likes Kazuya, even though she expresses her feelings in a clingy manner.
Chizuru Is an Actress
In Episode 8 “Christmas and Girlfriend,” Kazuya learns the real reason why Chizuru has a rental girlfriend job: to practice her acting skills, as her goal in life is to become a professional actress. Later on, Chizuru reveals that once her acting career takes off, she will quit the rental girlfriend business, but she promises to be Kazuya’s fake girlfriend to the very end.
This episode provides more character development for Chizuru with insight into her goals and dreams. Yet we also see that her relationship with Kazuya has a time limit. Therefore, they must find him a real girlfriend -- one his grandmother would approve of -- before she quits.
Kazuya Saves Chizuru from a Life-Threatening Situation
In Episode 4 “Friends and Girlfriend,” after a falling out between Kazuya and his friend Kibe Yoshiaki, Kibe tries to convince Chizuru to reconcile with Kazuya after they announced their breakup. He gives Chizuru two tickets for her and Kazuya to ride the ferry. However, while on the boat, Chizuru gets sick and accidentally falls overboard, with Kazuya diving into the water to save her.
Although they are pretending to be a couple, Kazuya shows he sincerely cares for Chizuru when he’s willing to sacrifice his life for her. He was planning to work things out with Mami after she kissed him and was going to meet her after the ferry ride, but those plans got spoiled when Chizuru fell overboard. Kazuya’s actions showcased his true feelings: he'll choose Chizuru over Mami any day.
Kazuya Abruptly Reveals His Feelings to Chizuru
In Rent-A-Girlfriend's Season 1 finale, “Confession and Girlfriend,” Mami rents Chizuru and they go on a date. Mami reveals that she knows about Chizuru’s occupation and the true nature of her and Kazuya’s relationship. Kazuya overhears their conversation as Chizuru asks Mami whether or not Kazuya was the love of her life, but Mami refuses to answer. Later, in front of their apartments, Chizuru apologizes to Kazuya for being unable to get a real girlfriend, but then he abruptly reveals that the girl he wants is her (as a “rental” girlfriend). She enters her apartment feeling flustered by his declaration.
Season 1 ends on this cliffhanger. Throughout Rent-A-Girlfriend, Chizuru treats her relationship with Kazuya as strictly business. However, by being flustered by Kazuya’s “confession,” we get a small glimpse at her actual feelings. Thus, viewers are left waiting for Season 2 to see their relationship possibly blossom -- or not.