Probably one of the more mature romances out there, Rec largely seems to have been swept under the rug. I stumbled upon it entirely by accident while looking for something else, and the only reason I decided to give it a whirl was its span of nine thirteen minute episodes (there is a tenth, but it's a "bonus" episode...I never watched it.) To my pleasant surprise, I fell in love with the series within minutes, and couldn't help but smile all the way through.
Rec, in compacted terms, is a romance between two recent college graduates who are just beginning their lives in the corporate world. There is a very natural and realistic feel to the series, as it opens up with Matsumaru getting stood up on a date -- who can't relate to that? He ends up meeting Aka, an aspiring voice actress, and he ends up seeing a movie with her instead. Later that night, Aka's house burns to the ground, and Matsumaru finds her alone and distraught in a park nearby her house. He offers her a place to stay, and it kicks off from there.
The story, most certainly, isn't of love at first sight. Matsumaru has lived alone as a bachelor for quite some time in a one room (not bedroom, but room), one bathroom apartment, and he soon realizes that the addition of a roommate isn't the easiest thing to deal with. What really hooked me about Rec is that it really reflects on the mistakes all of us make in our relationships. Saying things that you don't actually mean, for instance, when you know it's hurting the other person, and for reasons you can't really explain. Unlike Vegas, stress acquired at work doesn't stay at work, and the characters in Rec are definitely influenced by this; when you're not in a rational state of mind, you can do things that you'll later regret.
I found myself really disappointed when it came to a close. It has such a beautiful, elegant, and realistic quality to it that I simply didn't want it to end. Rec has earned a special place in my collection, as its one of the few romance anime that I've come to really enjoy to its fullest.
One of the reasons Rec probably lacks in popularity is poor advertising. From the animation, you can tell that the series had a pretty low budget. For a fairly recent production, character designs are surprisingly simplistic and the background detail could use some work. Still, in spite of this, I really can't find a reason to complain. Aka is cute, and her character design fits her personality rather well (especially the hair) even if not a visual masterpiece. The males tend to have a little less enthusiasm put into their designs, but I still find them to be passable. For what's there, I think the animators did a good job with the tools available to them.
As with the animation, the sound budget probably wasn't too hot either. Again, though, low budget does not denote low quality, as the majority of the musical score is decent. Perhaps the most notable aspect of the sound is the opening theme, which I began to like after the third episode for some reason. It's sung by the seiyuu who voices Aka, and it has some strange appeal, as ordinarily hyper opening themes don't catch my interest. Other than that, not much to talk about; you won't be hunting down the OST, but you won't be turning your speakers down either.
Above anything else, Rec really shines due to its characters. Aka stood out as a surprisingly solid female lead, and I could definitely empathize with her on many occasions. She's one of those characters you just want to reach out hug, as she doesn't seem to deserve any of the pitfalls that come her way. Her optimism and cheeriness in the face of all her problems is contagious, and serves to brighten your mood as you watch. Unlike many anime which try to make their romances convincing simply because the girl is physically attractive, Aka has a beautiful personality to compliment her features, and that really makes the romance come alive.
Matsumaru shows a substantive amount of growth as the series progresses too. Initially he's just out for sex, but as he spends time with Aka he begins to develop feelings for her. Being that I tend to loathe such one-dimensional members of my gender, I was quite enthusiastic that he was given a complex character. By the end he realizes that Aka isn't just another girl -- she's someone quite dear to him.
If you're a fan of the romance genre, Rec is not a series to be missed. It doesn't aim to blow your mind away with stunning graphics, rapture your ears with beautiful music, or engulf you in an epic storyline -- its sole focus is merely to tell the heartwarming tale of a budding romance between two people. This form of simplicity does the series great justice, as it builds a framework of actual love and not just some high school crush. My suggestion would be to save Rec for a day when you're feeling down; at such a short length, it's easily watched in a couple hours. By the end I couldn't help but smile, and I'm sure it will do the same to you.
Rec is a rather short adult romance anime with some comedy, set in the world of business, PR and voice acting. By adult romance, I mean there is none of that trope highschool kid stuff, just a couple of individuals who are brought together by work and more besides. This turned out to be unique and great. Don't judge a book by it's cover, this is certainly true here. Initially I expected it to be generic, trope-filled tat, but turned out otherwise. This is the first anime in a good while that has had me glued to the screen, it's actually quite interesting. There aren't too many great romance animes, but this is one of the more unique and ineresting ones and should be commended for it. It's mostly sensible and not many things annoyed me, so well done for that. It reminded me of decent romance anime like Please Teacher and Kimi Ga Nozomu Eien at times. Who is it aimed towards? I'm not really sure of that, since it does have a rather grown-up storyline but is appears in a colourful youthful style. If you've enjoyed romance anime before or just like romance or unique stories, give this a try. It's pretty short too, 10 episodes at 13 minutes each.
The animation quality was surprisingly good. I watched it in 480p (couldn't find any better), but it seemed just as good as HD quality. Things were very clear, however the colourful style seems to juxtapose the rather mature nature of the anime. There is the occasional good use of filters and colour to help portray a particular atmosphere. Facial expressions and the like are also sometimes used to comedic effect. A bunch of curry leaves fall on the main character and remain on him during the next scene, for example. Or during a scene meant to show despair, it's raining and the rain above the character is more intense like a waterfall. The colourful sort of style usually goes hand in hand with 'terrible' romance anime which usually go for the ecchi/harem option. Speaking of which, this anime doesn't contain ecchi scenes or any pointless offensive stuff either. It does reference eroge, porn and sex, but nothing obscene appears on-screen and these subjects are relevant to the plot points when they appear. Don't get the wrong idea, I'll mention it in the story part of this review. Character designs seem okay, I initially hated the design of the female protagonist since she looks half her age, but things were put into perspective for me and I was able to forgive it for that. The animation of the outro seemed very artistic, despite some okay half-nudity. Not bad.
Sound is fairly important given that this anime has voice acting at its core. But the intro song is one of those thigns that give off the wrong vibe about this anime. The intro seems generic and cheesy, the sort of thing one would expect of a much less tasteful anime. It's not exactly terrible per se, but it doesn't do the show any good. As I said, don't judge a book by its cover, the outro is much more appropriate and chilled out. The backing to the anime is comedic, which works fine given the comedy aspect of the anime. However, during the serious scenes, music didn't really stand out too well. Perhaps it shouldn't and it was just being used at opportune moments, I'll give it the benefit of the doubt. This anime is only available in Japanese and the voice acting is pretty good, as it should be for an anime where voice acting is a major part of the plot. The voice actor for Aka Onda hasn't been in many anime, the only role of note is Ayumi Tsuwabuki in Kaze No Stigma. Perhaps they purposely used such a voice actor, who could relate to the character better. If so, then well done. Matsumaru's VA Makoto Yasumura has been in quite a lot more anime, though I haven't watched many of them, besides Overdrive, in which he did the voice of Yousuke. On the other hand, Yoshioka's VA Megumi Toyoguchi is a bigger name in voice acting, as Revi from Black Lagoon, Winry from FMA, Dawn from Pokemon, Chihiro from Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo, Rosalia from SAO and many more. Quite a surprise how they did the roles here. I must also add, the references and quotes from Audrey Hepburn movies add a unique flavour and further proves this anime as a sensible adult romance.
The male protagonist of this anime is Fumihiko Matsumaru, a 24 year old who works in the marketing department of a snacks company. Just the average salaryman then, his ideas usually don't get approved, but one day things go well and his idea for a mascot character for the new snack 'Ha' goes through. He isn't perfect and things don't usually work out for him. He is often driven by his feelings and emotions, sometimes being a jerk because of it. As a guy, he is subject to certain desires and this can also make him do stupid things at times. However, when it matters most, he holds true to his feelings and doesn't do anything to hurt anyone. On a few occasions towards the end when he's being a meany, he regrets it instantly as if he has a split personality and genuinely feels guility about it. At a first glance this appears to be a bad character, perhaps playing on tropes, but look further in and he turns out to be a very human, relatable character. Heck, at times he reminded me of myself.
Aka Onda is the female protagonist of this anime, a 20 year old up and coming voice actor. Her house gets burnt and she moves in with Matsumaru. Early on in the anime she gets simple roles like voicing the Nekoki mascot created by Matsumaru. She does make bad decisions that end up making things awkward or causing misunderstandings, especially towards the start. Her sense of moral and personal respect comes into question when she gets a job to voice a character for an Eroge (hentai game). Her favourite actor is Audrey Hepburn and she aspires to be like her. She's also memorised many lines from movies Hepburn has been in. She does look very young and has a voice that could be mistaken for a teenager, but that's the thing. This aspect of the character is realistic, often Japanese voice actors appear very young and have voices that suggest they are young too. At one point she is voicing a young male character in an anime, also something realistic. As a voice actor, she is very flexible with her voice. She's a bit reluctant and slightly shy at times, she hits Matsumaru for doing silly things like walking in on her when she's in the bathroom. I don't know how I feel about that, since it reminds me of terrible trope characters from bad anime. But overall, Aka is a great character who is also somewhat realistic.
Other characters are not so important obviously but a few honourable mentions. Aka's manager Yoshioka is a somewhat emotionless, yet sensible and to the point character. She can read Aka like a book and helps out, giving her good advice and such. Matsumaru's original crush and colleague Tanaka 'from accounting' is a terrible person, yet realistic too. She stands up Matsumaru at a date to hang out with her real boyfriend, some big tough guy who looks like he's in the mafia. Later on she gets dumped and complains about it. I have no sympathy for a woman who chooses her men, based on superficial attributes. However, when she does realise she might have messed things up between Matsumaru and Aka, she takes the initiative and explains that nothing happened between her and Matsumaru when she got drunk and he had to take her home. Matsumaru's friend and colleague from the same department Yoshio Hatakeda is a very happy, boisterous man, who has an obvious infatuation with Aka as a fan of hers. Matsumaru's attempts to hide his relationship from him can be funny at times.
In the first episode, the two meet at a cinema where Matsumaru is stood up by his date Tanaka 'from accounting' and ends up watching the movie with Aka who stops him as he is about to discard the movie tickets. Aka feels bad for him and treats him to a beer and Yakitori (Japanese pub grub) at an Izakaya (Japanese pub). Later that night, Matsumaru is woken by sirens and goes out in the rain with his umbrella to find that the same Aka Onda from before, has lost her home to a fire. He takes her into his flat to shelter her from the rain, where she sobs in his arms and make the bad decision of sleeping together. A realistic start to the next morning, Matsomaru wakes up to find his one night love has gone and both are put in an awkward position. They end up living together and going through much that tests their relationship. I'll say this, there isn't any love between them at the start, but feelings are developed throughout and finally realised. This is how love should be written in fiction (and how it should be IRL). No love bullshit liek love at first sight, just true-to-heart romance. And I commend them for writing it as such. There were cringeworthy sections at times, like the bit about Aka having to voice an Eroge, but they treated these parts of the story rather sensibly with professionalism, instead of falling down the hole and trying to make pervy comedy or ecchi fan-service bullshit out of it. That said, there is some comedy at times, like Aka getting jealous when they bump into Tanaka 'from accounting.' There were many realistic parts of to the story, things that I can relate to like casual drinking, getting drunk and having to take care of someone, taking them home and looking after them. That may be just me showing my reckless youthfulness. The anime ends with a satisfactory ending, wrapping up the romance plot. This is something that never happens in many romance anime, especially harem anime. As with all good anime it left me wanting more and being sad that it wasn't longer or that there wasn't a sequel. Also like all good anime, it wrapped up the story so well, that it doesn't need a sequel, yet it still makes me want one. One thing I have to say, the one night stand was my least favourite part of the story, even if it was adding realism. I disagree with such things and they don't do any good for relationships, the fact that they even continued to hang around each other afterwards is surprising and it did make things awkward between them at times. Normally that wouldn't happen, but given the situation, I guess the realistic event of her return was inevitable. I do like how ideal the romance is, this is how romance should be. Well done.
A surprisingly good, if short romance anime then. Even though it looked like a trope-filled generic anime at first and if the intro was cringy, it turned out to be rather sensible, realistic and relatable. Both the characters and the story were relatable, therefore realistic too. The romance was depicted and developed in the ideal fashion and it reminded me of good romance anime I've seen before like Please Teacher and Kimi Ga Nozomu Eien. I'm glad to have watched this one. I'd give it a better rating if it didn't have some minor flaws here and there. Heck, since this is so short, just over 2 hours total, I'd recommend it to anyone. Especially, people who can relate (working adults) and those who don't normally enjoy anime or the romance genre, simply because there is something to learn here. How does love really come about?
Family-friendliness Rating: 3/5 There is a lot of inappropriate implications, nothing visual (lower is better)
Overall Rating: 8.5/10 (higher is better)
Rec is a thriller movie about zombies that… wait, wrong title. Rec is a short anime series about a voice actress having to stay in the same house as a bland MC. While it seems to be a forgettable mediocrity like so many other romantic comedies, it stands out by doing things differently.
It’s an overall low budget series, with nothing eye-popping about it, made in an era when studio SHAFT didn’t try to shove as many head tilts and repetitive Shimbo minimalism as it could. It looks dull, but it’s also what makes you focus on what is going on instead of spacing out because of the pretty colors.
It is slice of life, which means there is very little to pay attention to theme-wise, but it also doesn’t resort to fan service so it can distract the horny audience from realizing they are watching absolutely nothing of substance. The females have normal proportions and don’t run around half naked by default.
There is unfortunately some ecchi, but it almost feels excused based on the circumstances. It is not a deal breaker and it doesn’t prevent you from having respect for the characters, instead of objectifying them as masturbation material.
It’s also short, it has no time to waste, it gets straight to the point, and thus it’s extremely well paced. It doesn’t stretch events so every episode will last 20 minutes, and it ends before it starts to get boring.
The premise is about voice acting but it doesn’t really go anywhere. It is showing what it means to be one with the voices changing depending on the role and the mood, but it’s not a theme that gets much exploration. It’s more of an excuse to kickstart the sudden cohabitation of a voice actress with a guy whose love life is going bad.
And before you think it’s just going to be another cocktease of constant misunderstandings that never lead anywhere, be informed that the two of them have sex in the very first episode, something doesn’t happen in 99.99% of all anime that are supposed to be romances and are just going in endless circles before ending with nothing resolved.
And I am not saying the show is a masterpiece of plot progression either, since not many things are happening, not much is explored, and the ending doesn’t really wrap up everything. It’s just that despite the simplicity and the shortcomings of the nothing ever happens genre, it’s still way better than most of whatever comes out today.
It’s not about time resets, trapped in videogames, dark and edgy gorefests, or constant tits and ass. In effect, it’s more real than any of the overhyped bullshit of today that everybody calls realistic when it’s just blatant self-indulgence.
It is not very memorable but it’s a fine example of why average beats flashy trainwreck and why once again retro always wins.
The best enjoyment per minute ratio I have ever seen.
First off: yeah, I know such a short series as this hardly justifies the longest review in my reviewing-career, but I think it deserves to be picked apart like this.
Rec is a good show, mostly because it manages to be enjoyable and features characters which are actually likeable. Seeing the episodes are short, one would think the show won't leave any impression at all. The opposite is true though, since this might be the most enjoyable 'short watch' I have seen in my entire anime-career.
The story is simple, straight and breathes an atmosphere of maturity and slice-of-life. If you have seen Koi Kaze or Rumic Theater, I think you will understand what I mean. For the people who have not seen those shows, I think it's best to say that there is not that much happening.
Due to circumstances our male protagonist meets up with the always-positive female protagonist and the end of the very first episode already shows that this series is not meant to be childish and silly, while the beginning may seem like that.
There are several scenes where silliness seems to get the upper hand, but they show the silly (and sometimes rough) realism (a product always needs a mascot, for instance and there is always someone who behaves like that particular co-worker) and sometimes it's just a little silliness which can still relate to reality. Add a little ecchi in one or two scenes which is also not out of place and you will realize that this series combines a lot of aspects in its realistic setting.
Good pace, good flow.
Although the story might sometimes seem silly and with the limited timespan you can hardly get any proper story across, but for this anime, the story works. I didn't think they could make a coherent story with this, but they pulled it off. Moreover, it is a fresh and enjoyable story with only 1 or 2 scenes not being as good as the rest. But that is being compensated for with the pace of the series. The flow of the story is often most important and although short, this series has decided on a pace which makes the story flow well, without cliffhangers and without forced endings of episodes. A 9 for this is high, especially when you consider the product "Ha" sounding pretty silly, but I think it deserves it. Usually these short stories get tangled up in its own plot, but this time it plays well. That alone is worth raising it from the initial 8 I had in mind to a 9.
I think the animation might be the least good of the entire show and I couldn't come up with anything better than the above catchline because of that.
The animation by itself isn't that outstanding. In fact, the animation is - despite the nice choices for colors - only average. Perhaps even a bit below that. Lucky for the series, it isn't that noticeable because the rest makes up for it. One thing which does make it good was the fact that there were no overused scenes, or reused frames. One wouldn't expect that in such short animated shows, but I have seen that happen.
It has really good character designs, refreshing and colorful, which does the anime a lot of good.
Aka is different from other characters in the sense that she doesn't suffer from bigbreastity while still being attractive without being overly pretty. She is a normal girl you can fall in love with without knowing why.
So a 6 for the animation and an 8 for the char design make up for a meager 7.
The best aspect of this is the fact that the girl playing Aka makes the most use of her voice. Like a real seiyuu (voiceactor), they have to use all kind of voices for the roles they play and talented ones are the ones who can reach great variety with their voice. The voiceactress for Aka shows this well, with using different voices for different situations/roles. While she might not be the best voiceactress I've heard, it's definitely the first one who manages to use so much variety in a single show. That at least gets the message across about what it is to be a seiyuu.
Matsumaru has a good voice too. While he doesn't do that much with his voice (and his voice isn't even attractive), his voice suits the character very well. His voice is also much more full/round, unlike the voices we know so well from regular men in anime. It's hard to express properly what I mean, but I guess it'll be sufficient to say that his mature voice adds to his own character. Both voices are done so well that I would have given it the full mark - if not for the music.
OP/ED and BGM
As said before, all episodes of 12 minutes actually have an OP and ED song. Usually series of such format have either only an OP or ED, but this one does both, which reduces the actual playtime from 12 to less than 9 minutes. Is it worth it? I'm not sure, but although the animation of the OP and ED was everything but great (it looked more silly-happy than the series itself) they did add to the atmosphere. The songs being used were also done well, reflecting the happy feeling Aka tries to emit.
As for BGM, I was a bit disappointed with the lack of music, but I shouldn't be. Who would expect there will be lots of good music in a 9 minute ep? Instead, there was a good set of sounds, which gave the series a more mature feeling. Still, I cannot feel like giving it the maximum value.
At first sight our dear male protagonist looks a lot like Chobits' Hideki, but after only a few minutes (!) he grows up, matures and becomes a full character. More important, he keeps that stature throughout the entire series, without degenerating into a comedy-character. Still, he's a lighter character than the sometimes heavy mooded Koshiro from Koi Kaze. No, he is not a flawless character, but he is one of the most realistic, grown up protagonists I have seen in my anime.
But other than him, our dear Aka pushes the mood up with her positive appearance. The little woman, hardly tall enough to take serious, is a worthy character to have in your anime. Her character is attractive (her appearance too, btw) and likeable and while she has a really positive attitude, she never gets the treat to become annoying (as so many others do in other series, unfortunately).
There are not many real characters other than them, but the characters who do return on an occasional base do give some extra atmosphere to the show. They are only there because they need to be there, but they don't really feel out of place.
But because the two main characters are so good, I will give them full points. And I don't usually give characters a 10, really ... not to mention they earn that in a series as short as this.
Overall Rating: (8.75/10)
I thought it would be a silly comedy. I'm glad they proved me wrong.
Rec comes to us from director Ryutaro Nakamura, who also directed Serial Experiments Lain and Kino's Journey, two anime who have very high acclaim. Now, even if you haven't seen Rec or Lain or Kino's Journey, you notice Rec looks rather different than Lain and Kino's Journey, and indeed, they are rather different. Serial Experiments Lain and Kino's Journey focus on one female character within a hostile environment which they have to work their way around, and has many dark tones. Rec, on the other hand, is about two people trying to deal with the hardships getting into a relationship in a passive-aggressive environment they created for themselves and has lighter tones, and look at me, dancing around the issue. Dancy, Dancy Dancy. Alright, let's just skip to the end, is Rec good? Yes. Is it better than Serial Experiments Lain and Kino's Journey? No.
Rec centralizes two characters, Aka, who is an up and coming voice actress with a love for Audrey Hepburn films, and Matsumaru, an average-joe worker who works in the marketing department of a snack company. They met one night, and then Aka's house caught on fire and Matsumaru offered her to stay at his place until she can move back in. Now, these two characters have perfect chemistry, in the fact that while they still are worlds apart from each other, their interaction seems really natural and flows quite nicely. They have a variety of personality, and use all of it when dealing with their problems. While a good number of they time, they do act passive-aggressively, there are many ways they express that, even dipping into their other emotions. The anime sets its priority straight and only focuses on those two characters for most of the time, however, they each have one character to confide in, Hatakeda for Matsumaru and Yoshioka for Aka. These characters are entertaining in their own right, but they aren't all that developed, but that's what makes it better. We can focus on the main characters much more and the two other characters don't over-power that at all.
For most of the series, we are focused on Aka's problems she addresses in a passive-aggressive manor, and only three episodes where Matsumaru has problems and expresses them like so. While both of these are rather well executed, I feel like it could have been balanced more. I feel at least one more episode where Matsumaru's problems are addressed could make it a little more worth-while. That being said, Matsumaru's problem-handling portion of Rec is easily the better part. Don't get me wrong, they're both good, but after Aka's life seems to get better, his life gets a little worse and he doesn't know how to deal with it and that creates another main problem after the first main problem gets solved without it being contrived in some sense.
I will admit, the music is just seemingly generic J-Pop stuff, but that's compensated with a focus on story and characters and is not meant to blow you away rather, just to set the mood, and at that, it handles it quite nicely. Still, it could have been a little more interesting. The voice acting is really good though. It flows like a Bruce Lee fight scene in a river, and Bruce is moving with it, creating a good atmosphere with the characters, and making them more enjoyable as a whole. The art of Rec is very well put together, illustrating the right level of shading to create a good tone, which is not quite dark, but still not entirely light-hearted. Again, like the soundtrack, it's mean to play second fiddle for the story and characters, and it also does a good job at it.
When comparing this to Lain or Kino's Journey, you will notice some differences. The main difference is that Rec is about two characters and Lain and Kino's Journey are about one. Lain and Kino's Journey deal with more darker tones and themes, where Rec is more light-hearted. That's not to say they don't have similarities as well. Both take place in a hostile environment, however Rec's environment is not only man-made, but also much smaller than the ones in Lain and Kino's Journey. The both deal with problems of the characters and look at them as people, rather than as characters. The soundtrack and art aren't as vital as the story and characters in all of them, and they're all expressive and free-flowing. So, while it doesn't have all of what made those two shows good, but Nakamura did manage to sneak in a taste of that, and it make the anime all the more delicious.
Overall: Rec, while not as good as Serial Experiments Lain or Kino's Journey, it's still worth watching, and I would recommend it for RomCom fans, as well as fans of Lain and Kino's Journey. Hell, I'd recommend it to almost anyone looking for anything good to watch. 9.8/10