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Anime Like Rent-A-Girlfriend Rom-Com Fans Need To Watch Next

Based on the popular manga, "Rent-a-Girlfriend" is an anime series that seems at first glance like a boilerplate romantic comedy, but the show's basic premise quickly evolves into a nuanced, touching, and even hilarious story. In fact, it's left fans wanting more.

The series begins with college student Kazuya Kinoshita losing his longtime girlfriend. Depressed and lonely, Kazuya rents a girlfriend-for-hire. The rental, Chizuru Mizuhara, then quickly proves herself more than a hired piece of arm candy. More and more in each episode, Chizuru struggles to avoid mixing business with pleasure, a feat made all the harder by the fact that her business is pleasure. As the first season unfolded, fans fell in love with Chizuru, and she soon cemented her status as a popular waifu. Chizuru — equal parts tsundere and thoughtful — and the sometimes-painfully relatable Kazuya proved a popular couple.

If you're a fan of anime rom-coms, you may be on the hunt for more laughs and loves to tide you over until the release of Season 2. We have a few ideas that might help. Here are rom-com anime that "Rent-a-Girlfriend" fans need to watch.

Yuri on Ice

One of the things that gives "Rent-a-Girlfriend" so much storytelling momentum is that Kazuya and Chizuru's relationship is built upon an uneven foundation. Chizuru is Kazuya's employee, meaning she relies on him for her income. In turn, he relies on her to maintain the facade of genuine romance. The dynamic leads the characters to explore complicated and conflicting emotions, and another anime series, "Yuri on Ice," tackles a similar issue.

The series, which follows failed figure skater Yuri Katsuki on his road back to relevance, plays on the theme of mixing work with pleasure by pairing Yuri with his coach and childhood idol, skating legend Victor Nikiforov. After Victor sees a video of Yuri practice-skating, he resolves to train Yuri and help him regain his prominence in the sport. Then, as Victor begins to understand Yuri as a person, he resolves to make their relationship intimate.

The resulting back-and-forth and will-they-won't-they between the two digs deep into the strain that different statuses can place on a couple, even a purely potential one. The results are often bittersweet, and "Yuri on Ice" savors every little flavor. The show plays out like the figure skating routines it depicts –- a graceful arrangement of leaps and falls, and a spectacle of competing emotions. If you enjoyed how "Rent-a-Girlfriend" pitted its would-be lovers' emotions against their duties, "Yuri on Ice" may just be your speed.

Kaguya-sama: Love is War

One of the most popular tentpoles of the rom-com genre is the inability of its characters to express how they feel. The trope propels almost every rom-com in some way, including "Rent-a-Girlfriend." Both Kazuya and Chizuru begin grappling with feelings that they find either uncomfortable or impermissible. "Kaguya-sama: Love is War" takes this idea and flips it on its head in a fresh, fun way.

The show's main characters are Kaguya Shinomiya and Miyuki Shirogane, their prestigious academy's vice-president and president, respectively. The two are both highly ambitious and dedicated to their studies and status. More than that, as the academy's two best students, they exist in a state of constant competition. That is why, though each is in love with the other, neither will admit it. To admit their love first would mean showing weakness and losing the upper hand in their competitive relationship. Since neither is willing to lose at anything, even if it means love, the two spend the series concocting elaborate schemes to force the other to confess first.

"Kaguya-sama: Love is War" does an excellent job of blending the zany slapstick nature of the pair's schemes with its central theme: the importance of being earnest to others and yourself. This effortless balancing act is driven by the show's central, brilliant twist of forcing two people into a will-they-won't-they affair, despite the fact that they already are. "Kaguya-sama: Love is War" is a must-see for rom-com fans.

Your Lie in April

Warning: "Your Lie in April" is virtually guaranteed to elicit tears before its end. The fan-favorite series shares with "Rent-a-Girlfriend" its high school setting, charismatic and pensive characters, and viewer frustration as you watch them constantly fail to unite. Where "Your Lie In April" differs, however, is how deeply it is willing to wade into a sea of pathos for the sake of its story.

Like "Rent-a-Girlfriend," "Your Lie In April" begins with a boy and girl who are complete opposites on one side of the coin and twin souls on the other. While Kosei Arima spends his days trudging through a monochrome depression after the death of his mother, Kaori Miyazono behaves like a magic sprite, imbuing the world around her with a rainbow of colors. Both Kosei and Kaori, however, have found their calling in the world through music performance. Though Kosei has refused to play the piano since his mother's death, and though Kaori has trouble finding the energy to play her violin due to her rapidly deteriorating health, the two both view their world through the lens of music. "Your Lie In April" lends us that lens, as the show unfolds like an intimate, subdued symphony.

"Your Lie in April" is the definition of a tearjerker, but from its tragic start, the film builds into one of the most robust and touching romances in anime –- however fleeting it may be.


"Rent-a-Girlfriend" ultimately succeeds most when its central off-kilter duo find their equilibrium between love's awkward foibles and fleeting feelings of compassion. "Toradora!" walks the same tenuous tightrope and adds in a juggling act. Both of the show's leads, Ryuji Takasu and Taiga Aisaka, have accrued their own reputations for danger and delinquency, and so watching their thorny relationship develop a gooey center is a delight. As the pair repurpose their half-cocked, aggressive antics to set each other up with their respective crushes, the circus act becomes a marvel.

"Toradora!" adds impish fun to its tale of high school romance, and Ryuji and Taiga's conspiracy to help each other win love begins outlandishly. The hotheaded Taiga, a victim of unhealthy relationships in her early life, treats Ryuji as something between a friend and a pest. Though at first, her constant berating of Ryuji is difficult to bear, the cracks soon form in her armor and let her deeper self shine through. Much like "Rent-a-Girlfriend," the joy in "Toradora!" is seeing a genuine understanding between two people gradually melt away their defenses and allow them to form deeper bonds.

The show's second half adds a fun twist to the already convoluted tangle of feelings that Ryuji, Taiga, and their crushes share (or don't share) by introducing transfer student/model Ami Kawashima, who appears on the surface to be an insufferable brat. With an extra dose of chaos and comedy, the show's second half plays like its own separate season, and for many fans, this will seem like a treat.

The Tatami Galaxy

There are plenty of slice-of-life anime available to watch, but few contain quite so many slices as "The Tatami Galaxy." It's a rom-com that uses frequent jumps between parallel universes to show how its nameless protagonist might have best spent his college years — and his affections — if only he had joined the right club.

Similar to "Rent-a-Girlfriend," the protagonist in "The Tatami Galaxy" is unlucky in love and melancholy, but destined to meet a woman who will change his life. The plot follows the basic "Groundhog's Day" formula, with each episode showing how changes in the student's choices affect his fate and that of the people around him. Themes begin to emerge as certain events play out in multiple timelines. The most important recurring incident is his crush on fellow student Akashi. Not every timeline leads to their union, or even them meeting at all. These repeating insights into one man's influence and responsibility hammer home the lesson to stop worrying about what could have been and instead focus on the here and now.

Bolstered by its unique art and dizzying pace, staples of singular writer-director Masaaki Yuasa, "The Tatami Galaxy" is an anime rom-com that stands alone, and for that reason deserves a watch.

Your Name

With all subgenres and storytelling twists aside, "Rent-a-Girlfriend" is a pure rom-com, through and through. For fans of the genre, there are likely no better recommendations than the highest-rated anime rom-com ever and the "most popular anime of all time." "Your Name" happens to be both.

When it was released in 2016, "Your Name" took Japan by storm, and the rest of the world soon followed. The story begins with a classic body swap between city-dwelling Taki Tachibana and small-town girl Mitsuha Miyamizu. However, it launches itself far above the obvious tropes of movies like "Freaky Friday." There is plenty of body anxiety humor, like when the pair first act out the obligatory "how do I use the bathroom" scene, but "Your Name" is quick to give viewers more.

The lighthearted fumbles of the film's beginning soon give way to a larger story involving science fiction, fantasy, and most importantly, a deeply touching human connection. As Taki and Mitsuha begin unravelling the knotted mystery of their connection, they leave notes for each other and build a simultaneously heartbreaking and heartwarming bond. Fans of rom-com anime, regardless of style, are sure to find "Your Name" a worthy viewing.