Type: TV Series (9 Episodes)
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Version: Region 1 DVD
Reviewed: 4/10/06


Aka Onda dreams of becoming a famous voice actress, and she knows that only hard work will get her there.

Then her apartment burns down.

She wakes up the next morning in the bed of a man she met the night before, and, of course, decides to move in. Luckily for her, she’s chosen salary man Matsumaru, who has no backbone and who she uses as a stepping stone for her own career.

Waaaaaait. Women empowerment in an anime? Say it ain’t so, brother man! Sorry fellas, welcome to an anime devoid of ridiculously cliché male dominance. Though Aka and Matsumaru are coincidently thrown together time and time again to keep the plot afloat, their tentative romance is held at bay by Aka’s career, which begins to far outstrip Matsumaru’s own. Watching her claw her way up from commercials, hentai games, and bit roles to the big leagues gives the audience something to cheer for. Matsumaru in turn struggles to make his one big chance succeed, and he and Aka work together even when things just aren’t fair for them, which is pretty much all the time. Though the ending of the series is predictable, since this a romance comedy, the roles have been reversed, and Matsumaru is most definitely Aka’s bitch. But in a sweet way!

Screen Shot
That’s probably not a condom.

Kanako Sakai, who voices Aka, is an up and coming voice actress herself, and she performs admirably–particularly the opening song, which is toe tapping girly fun. In fact, all the voices are well done, which is a bit odd considering that the show is a quick, nine-episode, flash-in-the-pan series. Animation quality is above average, good but unremarkable. This might be because the animators have done a very good rendition of typical Japanese living, with none of the ridiculous scenery expected in most comedies.

All told, REC only runs a little over 90 minutes. There’s a lot stuffed into each ten-minute episode, and some of them, especially the first, are elegantly crafted. The problems that Aka and Mastumaru are given to surmount grow steadily larger which each episode, but by the end, a definite feeling of “been there, done that,” has pervaded the newest crisis. It ends up feeling too rushed and too short at the same time, leaving the audience longing for more of the funny sweetness that pervades the earlier episodes, and less of the angst-driven emotional silliness that ends the show.

Screen Shot

Japan seems to have a love affair with shows of the “be the best” category. To finally watch a series about a girl who wants to be the best voice actress screams Japanese sensibilities, where prime time is dominated by anime instead of sitcoms. It’s a strange slice of life comedy for Americans, but for those who want a fascinating look into a much more realistic view of Japan, albeit from a protagonist with a very lofty goal, REC is a good place for it.

-Andrew Duff