Fourteen-year-old Yukio "Koyuki" Tanaka is a dispirited young boy with no goals in life. However, this all changes when Koyuki saves a strange-looking dog named Beck from being harassed by a group of local kids. The dog's owner, 16-year-old Ryuusuke "Ray" Minami, is an emerging guitarist and the former member of a popular rock band.
After Koyuki meets Ray again in a diner, the older boy leads him to his former band's meeting place and dazzles Koyuki with his amazing guitar skills. Slowly becoming interested in the glamour of western rock culture, Koyuki decides to start playing the guitar while helping Ray achieve his dream of leading the ultimate rock band. Together with Ray's younger sister Maho and a few other members, the two boys launch their career into the world of rock by forming a band called BECK. Beck follows the group's struggles and successes as they spread their fame across Japan.
I ended up rewatching this series recently to kill some spare time, and -- I don't know why -- I found that I liked the whole series a lot more the second time around. I mean, I liked it the first time... but the second time, I really liked it.
It's about this middle school kid named Koyuki, who finally connects with the world around him through music and what eventually becomes a band called Beck... blah, blah, blah.
Story-wise... it's a little kooky. I don't know how other people viewed it, but being from the U.S., well, I had to remind myself a few
times to take it with a grain of salt. I really enjoyed the slow development of Koyuki and the band and the relationships between everyone... I thought that part of the story was really well done. It's just that (especially in the second half), you have to be prepared to suspend your disbelief a little and accept the oddness of the whole Lucille subplot.
The art? I really liked looking at it. There was something very appealing about it. I think I especially liked how the everything was kind of gritty and muted looking to match the mood of the underground music scene. Also, the color palette they chose fit really well with the tone and vibe of the main characters and the story line, I thought.
Okay, the music really, really grew on me. I thought I was going to hate it and I have to admit that the grammar kind of bugged me at first... but I totally hum/sing a bunch of the songs to myself without thinking about it now. Even the opening song is catchy and fun. And even though you do hear bits of a few songs over and over again, it's nice, because I felt like I was getting more and more familiar with their sound... and it gave me a chance to become a "fan" of the band. ;) Also I thought that the people who were singing Koyuki and Maho's parts did a *great* job.
Character-wise... I don't think you get to know anyone as well as you get to know Koyuki. In fact, I think you only get to know everyone else as well as Koyuki himself does. But that's one of the nice things about the show, actually. They don't always like each other. They're bandmates and they aren't each others' whole lives. ...So, it felt okay to be irritated with or irked by some of the characters. And personally, I really prefer characters who are flawed and honest and real, so I really didn't mind not always liking the people on the show because it felt so much more... authentic, in a way.
And I don't know if this is character or story, but I also liked the way the series kind of kept us updated on Beck's rival band and used their story as a contrast to the main story.
I would say though, that if you're not used to the way heavily accented English sounds, listening to some of the conversations and the songs might be a little jarring at first. It didn't bother me since I was watching it w/ subs anyway and I'm used to thick accents, but I know some people who found it distracting... they couldn't concentrate on what was going on because they were too busy listening and trying to figure out what they were saying.
Overall, great show. It's different from your typical perky, funny, energetic sort of high school shows... it's sort of more of a "My So-Called Life" type show, without all the drama and with a band. ;) So, this probably isn't what you're looking for if you want sort of a funny, light-hearted high school slice of life show; it's ...quieter than that. But if you're looking for a break from all the sugar, this is a really nice change of pace.
First of all, it is much better than expected. The storyline was so interesting and wonderfully executed, that I even disregarded the sub par drawing style . I like the idea of a band struggling to make it big not only in Japan, but as well as in America.
Speaking of the band, the BECK: Mongolian Chop Squad was a good band (I say it's "good" because I am not a fan of rap-rock music). Earlier in the series, when Ryuusuke was talking about chemistry in a band and stuff, I did see the chemistry among the five. First you have Ryuusuke, who reeks of pure
rocker, Taira, the mysterious bass player, Chiba, the crazy rapper/singer, Saku, the awesome drummer and even Koyuki, who irritates me sometimes, the wide eyed lead singer/ budding artist.
These guys make wicked music. It's definitely not typical j-rock, it actually sounds modern and americanized. A lot of the songs were in english, but there were definitely a few mistakes in grammar (These grammatical mistakes can also be found in between dialogues with Ryuusuke, Maho and all them americanized Japanese kids). The mistakes are just minor ones anyway that can be overlooked. A few of my favorites are "Hit in the USA", "My world coming down", and "Moon on the water", who are supposedly sang by the fictional band, DyBre. I also like the insert song provided by the band "The Pillows" which makes their cameo as "The Heroes", Taira's 4th band.
I mentioned that Koyuki irritated me sometimes. I just don't like the fact that he gets picked on everywhere he goes. Is there some sort of sign in his head that says "bully bait" or something? I also hated it when he cried. He is such a crybaby. I know he's a kid and all, but I never met a 14-year old boy who would cry at the drop of a hat. He did win me over during the parts when he would sing. His Japanese accent was heavy when he would sing the english songs, but he does have a considerably good voice.
In the beginning of the review I said the drawings were sub par, and that's mainly because the characters were not proportionate, but then again, all anime characters are not drawn proportionately anyway. I did like the different look, cause in a way I was getting tired of the usual way anime are drawn, as well as weird hair and eye colors. As I've said, the storyline does make up for it. Other than that, the inanimate objects are seemingly drawn well. The guitars and cars had very intricate details, and it almost looked life like. Even the electric fan earlier in the series was well designed.
The voice acting was also good. I like the fact that the american characters sounded like americans, and even the italian american guy had the accent going. I did kind of think that Eddie and Ryuusuke kind of sounded like hip hoppers more than rockers, but A for effort anyway.
It was a really good anime, and I hope there's going to be a sequel. I want to know what happens next!
I Loved this show, but my rating is coming with a bias, because i basically just watched my life in an anime. I am a musician who has had many bands playing clubs and an arena, so this show was a great watch.
Story- My opinion on the story is heavily biased, i was instantly drawn into it through the main character Koyuki (Yukio) and his feeling of emptiness at the beginning about how he didn't see his place in the world, and then finding it by being introduced to a well known bandand falling in love with music. Ruyuuske is the average underground musician
in the beginning with his experience. The story is about Ruyuuske creating a new band out of nothing after his old one falls apart and starts a rivalry between him and the other guitarist, which always happens betweens underground musicians. upon the 2 of them meeting they have a rocky friendship which in the end works out as they both complete the new band together and set off to try and make it in scene.
Art- the dark tones and colors really put you in the mood for whats happening. You can see the cold and somewhat dampness to the streets and alleyways. the darkened clubs and bright school atmosphere perfectly give the feel of the true life. Although some people have complained about the art being a little bad, i enjoyed the nice change up. And seeing places named after famous American clubs and other places added a type of comic relief of sorts.
Sound- Sound is a big one, especially for a music anime. I watched both versions, sub and dub, and i prefer the dub solely because of the music. The accents isn't what got to me about the sub it was the tone of voice. During supposed "in your face" songs the Japanese singer seemed lacking. Both versions had the acting done great, and the music quality pushed my rating up to 10.
Character- This is the part that seemed the most realistic to me. The band members being different from one another especially, never have ai seen a band with all the members listening to the same music. You have Chiba as the punk and Rap influenced singer, Koyuki Classic Rock Guitarist, Saku the Hard Rock Drummer, Tyra a New Wave bassist, and Ryuuske the Blues and rock lead Guitarist. Each one brings their own sound and feel and they combine them all for the bands sound. How the characters had their flaws, got on your nerves, and excited you seemed natural, like real people.
Enjoyment- Once again, I'm heavily biased. I enjoyed this anime a lot, I was drawn in and just couldn't stop watching. towards the end it just got better and better as the reality of the scene comes into play even more. The last couple of episodes could be seen as unexpected or a bummer of sorts, but hey, it happens people, take it from an underground musician. lol
Overall- This anime wont be enjoyed by everyone, not even every music fan. It's one of my favorites and its ranked that high because of how I felt wile watching it, as if I saw myself. I doubt anyone will make the connection I made to this anime, but its worth a shot to try and see. You don't have to know anything about music in roder to enjoy the drama that unfolds in this show.
Beck tells the story of a young high school student who picks up a guitar and begins a journey of growth, music, and friendship within a rock band.
While you don't see many serious depictions of rock bands in anime, the story and characters somehow don't really stand out. Koyuki, in particular is as bland as can be, but many of the other characters such as Ryusuke and Maho really don't have much to their personalities either. The story fits the characters and plods along in no real hurry to make a point. Many episodes felt like they ended simply because they were
out of broadcast time.
The two most important elements of this show, though are the art and, of course, the music.
I have never seen as bipolar a series where animation is concerned than Beck. For the vast majority of each episode, the animation is very low quality. Characters have almost no features to them, backgrounds are uninspired and dead, and occasionally, you'll see atrocities like characters with webbed fingers (didn't bother to draw the lines in the hand). One the other hand, the producers of this show clearly threw all of their money into the animation of the musical scenes, which are incredible. Incredibly fine detail is used when showing the most technical elements of their musical performance. The way fingers move while picking a guitar is so convincing, you might believe that it was rotoscoped (I do not believe this is the case). The only problem, is that this pristine animation tends to last only a few seconds at best. A little more balance would have made the show much more tolerable to watch.
As you might expect, the real highlight of this show is the music, which really shines, though they repeat songs quite frequently, and their original productions are rather uninspired. The music is not the usual jPop fare, but a refreshing mix of punk rock and hip-hop. What is most intriguing is that the music actually improves over the course of the series. The last four episodes have a wide variety and display polished songs that have developed over the course of the series. Without a doubt this is the strongest point of the series
While the beginning of this show seems very promising, it ultimately fails to deliver anything above mediocrity. The generally poor animation combined with unengaging story and characters creates a series that is burdensome but punctuated with the occasional impressive music performance. Anyone would be no worse for watching this, but it is difficult to imagine that people other than ardent music fans would love this.