Fumihiko Matsumaru is a salary man who works in the marketing department of a snack company. As a bachelor, he tried to date a girl from his company; but coincidently, he met Aka Onda, a rookie voice actor, instead. Through another stroke of fate, Aka’s house burned down that very night. With nowhere to stay and no family to aid Aka, Fumihiko took her in; and the next day, Fumihiko’s new marketing idea was accepted, and Aka’s being hired for the product’s voice actor! As the relationship of Aka and Fumihiko deepens, the more difficult their relationship becomes. Can they live together under the same roof while keeping the secret of their relationship safe?
StoryProbably 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.AnimationOne 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.SoundAs 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.CharactersAbove 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.OverallIf 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. Animation 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 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. Characters 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. Story 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. Conclusion 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.
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