Since I have insomnia...
Watched more of REC (episodes 4 and 5 tonight).
REC's quickly turning me into a fan. I'm still having a little trouble establishing a true link to the characters, but I think that's only due to two factors. One is the length of the episodes: At approximately 12 minutes, they're a bit on the short side. Two, I haven't spent that much time with the characters (5 episodes isn't a lot), so I think they need a little more room to grow on me.
I am however, impressed at how much Aka and Matsumaru feel like real people, and not just idealised rom/com characters. Love Hina this aint. Matsumaru is... Well, not the ideal guy. He's not a wimp like a Keitaro or a Tenchi when it comes to women (as various activities with Aka have so far proven), but he's also a bit of a creep. Not in the bad way mind you. But he's got a very flawed personality, with features outside the regular formula. He works thanklessly (it's a salaryman's life, what do you expect?), he dislikes his boss a great deal for various reason (one of which is how often said boss hits on Aka after meeting her), and he's lonely. Very, very lonely. When Aka comes into his life, it's like he doesn't quite know what to do. She's the first accessible female, the first girl who hasn't stood him up on a date or treated him like crap, and really the only company he's had in a long time.
So he's a wee bit lecherous. And he's an idiot. And a creep. But he's not a bad person. Matsumaru is in fact closer to a 'real' person than 99% of other anime characters. It's sort of scary when you realise it too. He's that guy that we men often feel like: Kicked around, under-appreciated, overworked, and damn we'd really just like some female company now and again. Not that we'd know how to behave if they were around.
I obviously relate to Matsumaru on a few levels. Aka, not so much, but she's still a very endearing character. I'd actually like to hear a young woman's take on Aka, to see if there's anything 'real' going on there like with Matsumaru.
REC comes highly recommended. In fact, it gets the Gold Star of Win.