Money makes the world go around. Yuki, the protagonist of Renai Karichaimashita: Koikari – Love For Hire knows this well. This visual novel developed by ASa Project and brought to us by NekoNyan follows his life as a ‘rental human’, acting as a lover, brother, and more to different heroines.
Yuki loves his little sister. Not in the same way as in ASa Project’s other title, Sankaku Renai: Love Triangle Trouble, but he adores her and wants her to be happy. Due to circumstances, all they have is each other. So when she gets upset that he doesn’t plan on going to university due to money problems and decides she won’t go either, he sets out to change that.
Enter the Human Rental agency. Seeing a shady advert claiming high pay for little work, he signs up. Soon he finds himself rented out to pretend to be a boyfriend, a lover, and an older brother. Separate to that, he finds himself offered a wad of cash to be a friend.
The concept is a lot of fun. It goes as expected for a romantic comedy in many ways, with a ton of misunderstandings and accidental run-ins. It never really takes things too seriously, even at times when Yuki is suspected of cheating on a girlfriend by unaware friends or his clients run into each other.
As with most similar visual novels, there isn’t much in the way of plot progression in Koikari – Love for Hire. There are situations popping up where people find out and scenes where characters start a relationship, but it’s mostly a lot of comedic or slice of life scenes. It’s carried by the absolutely hilarious banter between the characters, more than the plot and it does it well. The translator definitely deserves praise here for managing to get the humor across so well or coming up with good alternatives.
Money Over Love
Yuki is a reasonably serious protagonist, at least compared to the heroines. He’ll dote on his younger sister and make jokes about bathing together with her, but he treats most of the heroines with less interest. Money is the motivation here, not sex or love. That said, he’ll act as needed to keep his job and does have the odd over-the-top reaction.
In most cases, the heroines are the ones pursuing him. Whether it’s to keep up their lies or for their own desires, they tend to go for Yuki.
I’m glad that they avoided the standard horny eroge protagonist in this case. The heroines of Koikari – Love for Hire are all odd enough themselves that it’s not needed. Each one has some kind of character flaw or something socially unacceptable about them.
Girlfriend and Friend
Emi is one of the first characters we meet. Beautiful, athletic, and fairly popular, you’d think she’s great on the surface. It turns out that she’s a show-off, which has gotten her into trouble. She pretended she had a boyfriend, which is why she hires Yuki. She’s quick to anger (and occasionally violence), along with loud outbursts too.
Emi’s route is one of the more comedic ones. It’s a lot of fun when she proclaims things as society’s fault or gets into silly conversations with her friends Saki and Momoko.
Hasumi is more mysterious at first. She’s from a well-off family, friendly, and everyone in the class loves her. She claims that she wants to be seen as a ‘badass’, rather than the honor student that everyone knows her as, which involves things like sneaking around with who she thinks is her friend’s boyfriend. Her more serious character flaw only comes out later in the story.
She’s one of my favorite heroines in this visual novel. She does get a lot of fun scenes and I burst out in laughter at some parts, but that’s not why; Hasumi just has a pure love for the protagonist and it shines through. It’s also interesting that she’s the only one who doesn’t exactly rent him.
Emi and Hasumi are the main heroines of Koikari – Love For Hire. After the common route, they share a long character route, before breaking off into their own. Even then, they often appear in each other’s stories as both love rivals and friends.
Brother and Lover
Chinatsu and Konatsu are near-identical twins but are far apart in personality. They share a single route and both want Yuki to act like their older brother, though for different reasons. Chinatsu is more aloof but loves being babied, while Konatsu is laid back and openly horny.
I did find that Konatsu stole the show between the two and was my other favorite. She’s very much the ‘weird’ heroine, coming out with lines like ‘adopted sisters, stepsisters, sisters-in-law, and fake sisters are all fair game’ and competing with Yuki’s blood-related sister. Chinatsu was fun too of course, and she has own more subtle kink.
While all of the other characters are still in school, Tsubaki is the exception. At twenty-five years old and never having had a boyfriend, her family is pressuring her. Hiring Yuki to pretend to be her lover is the solution. She’s more interested in games than guys.
Her route is interesting as we get to see Yuki act flirty, where he treats the other heroines with more disinterest at first. I did think it was a pity that some of the situations here didn’t really blow up, as there were perfect chances for it.
While Emi and Hatsumi do get more time spent on them, I didn’t feel like the others had any less attention until the common route ended. The only difference is that the twins and Tsubaki start their route directly after the common route. Even then, all heroines appear in all routes.
But Wait, There’s More
With Emi and Hasumi as the main routes and the twins and Tsubaki having their own routes, there’s already plenty of content here. It took me sixteen hours to complete Koikari – Love For Hire, at a fast reading speed.
While the majority was spent on those routes, there are a few hidden endings to find too. I was particularly glad for one, as I enjoyed the character and thought we didn’t see enough of her.
Those familiar with ASa Project’s Sankaku Renai: Love Triangle Trouble might be expecting constant sexual jokes. While they’re certainly included (especially when Konatsu is around), the comedy here is more about the wordplay.
When it comes to images, the Steam version has some slight CG edits and removes the adult scenes, but can be patched to restore content. If you buy the game on Denpasoft or other adult storefronts, it’s mostly uncensored. Playing the patched Steam version. I found no mosaics in CGs and nude sprites, but oddly there’s a white circle that covers the lower areas on those sprites. The CGs don’t cover anything.
In terms of content, it’s twenty-six scenes which are mostly vanilla. A variety of outfits including swimsuits, school uniforms, and more did tend to come up frequently. There’s nothing particularly objectionable compared to similar visual novels.
In terms of issues, Koikari – Love For Hire is mostly free of them. I did find a few minor points though, which I imagine will be patched.
The editing was high quality overall, but I did come across a handful of typos. It was rare enough that it didn’t impact the experience and is quite common for visual novels, especially at release.
Taking screenshots via Steam was a pain at times. Pressing the default screenshot button brings up a windows dialog box. That needs to be then clicked to get rid of it and the screenshot is then taken. Occasionally it just didn’t work, especially if the dialogue window wasn’t present. For some reason, an issue also occasionally happened where pressing the Enter key (used to proceed as an alternative of mouse clicks) took a screenshot every time it was pressed too. Closing the game and reopening it stopped this. This is a complaint that will only affect a minority of people though, such as myself and can be worked around by external software if needed.
There was also a slight issue with achievements not triggering. It may have been fixed as I know NekoNyan are aware of it and it hasn’t happened since I completed my first route.
Graphics and Audio
The artwork is high quality overall, as can be seen in the screenshots. There is quite a variety too with 72 standard CGs (including 18+ ones), with 10 additional super-deformed ones. It’s worth noting that the resolution is only 1280×720, but it looks surprisingly high-quality despite that.
Each character has multiple sprite poses, expressions, and outfits too, which can be played around with in the sprite viewer. During the main game, it makes great use of animation to keep the energy high where needed with sprites often changing expression and moving.
The story is accompanied by 30 pieces of music, with one of them being a vocal track. It helps to set the scene and it all feels appropriate. The voice acting is brilliant too, bringing the characters to life. It’s fully voiced aside from the main character, with even side characters having spoken parts.
Koikari – Love For Hire has fairly good options, letting you choose fonts, individually adjust the volume for characters and change things like the opacity of the text box and animation speed.
I had a great time with Renai Karichaimashita: Koikari – Love For Hire. I found the comedy hilarious and it never felt like it went overboard. The premise was interesting and it was used well to set up fun situations. The eccentric cast of heroines was particularly great. I hear that the fandiscs are planned to be translated too and I look forward to them.
RENAI KARICHAIMASHITA: KOIKARI – LOVE FOR HIRE IS HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
If you are looking for another more comedic visual novel, perhaps Sankaku Renai or the more recent Harem Kingdom would be worth checking out. We have also covered a wide variety of visual novels both original to English and localized from Japanese, which you can check out here.
Many thanks go to the publisher NekoNyan for a review code for this title.
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A gamer since the days of Amstrad and DOS and someone who has dabbled in a variety of professions. He enjoys a wide variety of genres, but has been focusing on visual novels and virtual reality in recent years. Head Editor of NookGaming. Follow him and the website on @NookSite.