The premise of the show is that generic anime guy gets dumped, so he proceeds to use the fortune his dad gave him to rent the services of an actress to act as his platonic girlfriend. One thing leads to another and she finds herself stuck in an awkward situation where she's compelled to keep up the act to avoid their families finding out about her job. They sort of fall in love too.
Other girls get involved because this is an anime.
While the premise and presentation are at times goofy, there's just enough seriousness to really make me think about the idea of rental girlfriends. If I had to condense the entire messaging of the show down into a single premise it would be; there's something inherently valuable in the platonic aspect of relationships.
I say this because it's made abundantly clear that the anime's rental gf services are completely platonic, with the most physical contact allowed being handholding. Chizuru, the main girl, says in one of her paid dates that her services are meant as emergency care to alleviate emotional pain and give a man the confidence find a real girlfriend.
So would this actually work in real life, or would is it just a scheme to manipulate men out of their money and send them into despair?
I think the best way to determine whether or not something is good is to listen to your consciousness. A big issue with this whole setup is that you're essentially paying a woman to cheer you up by pretending to be interested in you. It just sounds like self-imposed manipulation, and that's what I thought it was at first. But I think the platonic restrictions in place could force you to rethink your approach to dating and leave you more interested in finding a woman that you can have a healthier relationship with that isn't based on speedrunning having sex with her.
If you are interested in marriage, it's more important than ever to be extremely selective. You do actually need to pick a woman who you're compatible with at the platonic level. This doesn't mean that you share the exact same interests, but you do need a very strong chemistry. I'd define this as the ability to communicate clearly and openly to one another.
Dating has become this gross setup wherein people are having sex soon after meeting and getting into doomed marriages with women who've dated like this their entire lives. It's impossible to expect the population produced by this behavior to be moral or normal. The situation is as bad as it can get but will become even worse once zoomers start doing this. A long period of zero births is preferable to whatever we have going on.
So I think something like rental-gfs could certainly help a lot of people see the value in the platonic aspect of relationships, but this is a bit of a paradox; the only men who would seriously benefit from such a thing are the ones who would not be able to see it as a therapeutic exercise, but who would instead fall in love.
Now let's get into who the best-girl was.
I think it's safe to say that title belongs to Ruka and it's not even a contest.
Chizuru is way too manipulative and dedicated to her career to be likable. I hate that the reason given for her being a rental girlfriend is to pay for her acting classes. From a story perspective, this makes no sense. She's already in college (no idea why) and occasionally shows signs of regretting her job, so personally I would've written her to have the job to pay for her grandma's medical expenses, while claiming that her money is coming from acting. There are still a lot of episodes left so maybe there's a twist where this happens and I can stop hating her. But I hate her so much that I'm tempted to not even finish what's left.
Mami and Sumi have so little screen time that they sort of blend together and I don't care about them.