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.
I can honestly say that I have never seen another anime like BECK: Mongolian Chop Squad. Slice-of-life anime is common, of course, but usually it’s that rosy Azumanga Daioh view of high school that resembles real life only in place and time, like a Disney sitcom. The best way to describe this show is that it’s an animated independent film. Except for the patchwork dog and an only slightly far-fetched mobster side-plot near the show’s climax, the series feels grounded not in picturesque reality like a lot of high school slice-of-life, but in the persistently disappointing ennui of real high school life, and the grit
of teenage emotions, obligations, hormones, and escapades, much more like someone with a camcorder running around on the set of that aforementioned Disney show capturing the teen stars complaining about the previous take and the director scratchin’ his bum.
This is consequently both awesome and alienating, of course. For those of us who like watching what feels like a real life through a keyhole, it’s a gripping and refreshing experience. For a lot of other people though, it’s probably slow and boring. The writers feed you Koyuki’s life through exciting days and bland ones and while I think the choice makes this a more visceral human story even for the musically uneducated (MEEEEE!), it’s clearly not for everybody. It’s impossible to categorize BECK, and you will either LOVE it or fall asleep in ten minutes. I loved it and I still fell asleep sometimes if I tried to watch at weird hours.
On the technical side of things, the animation is a little weird. I can’t say it’s bad, because the stilted look is intentional. I think the idea was to make this show like one of those blurred picture montages of real life in jerky motion you see in many music videos…or Evangelion’s druggie moments. Greater attention was paid to the character’s band performances than the doldrums of their daily motion, as we get to see mad finger-picking, cymbal-smashing, and sweat dripping down screaming faces.
Which brings me to the music. There actually is no music in this show unless someone in the show is listening to it or playing it in the show’s world, with the exception of some moments where there is ambient noise in its place, which adds to the realism. Anyway, I’m going to cover the music and the voicework in the same breath here, because while you cannot have a show about battling bands and the power of music and have the music suck, with an English dub you have an entirely new hurdle. Even if the Japanese music is great, because the actual characters in the show’s story are singing it…all of the music has to be dubbed. If they left it in Japanese, the voice disjunction would ruin the experience. Besides that, most of the songs are already in Engrish. The music in BECK, all of it, is fantastic rock, from lite British classic to rap-heavy punk, and there is ooooodles of it. So after hearing the dubbed result, I’m going to say something I don’t say too often.
By my personal experience and estimation, I’d say about 60% of anime sounds much better in Japanese, 35% of anime sounds equally good in either language, and the rare 5% or so of anime sounds much better in English. BECK is firmly in that 5%, and while it is due to stellar singing and acting, most of the issue is just cultural. Of course anime is more rewarding in Japanese if you speak Japanese, but this particular show is more rewarding in Japanese if you DON’T know any English, because Ryuusuke, Maho, and several other “American” characters speak a lot of Engrish in-show and it really takes you out of the story trying to pretend that these guys are native speakers and singers. The dub makes very minimal changes, but flavors the dialogue with the natural crassness of how teenagers really speak, real f-bomb patois in all its glory, and tweaks the lyrics to sound like an English song as the creators no doubt intended, something that really would “hit in America.” Performance-wise, well, Greg Ayres, Brina Palencia, and Justin Cook can belt it with the best of them, and acting is stellar throughout, with nary an awkward line or delivery in the whole package. I may be combated on this as some people think the language barrier in Japanese is infinitely more charming, but I prefer realism to anachronistic charm, personally. Such an intense adaptation can’t be missed, because it’s the best and the most dub singing you’re ever going to hear.
No matter what your language, however, BECK’s concert performances, especially the pivotal final episodes at a music festival, have truly captured what it feels like to be at a concert and lose yourself in the passion and the sound, and that’s what’s so important and special about BECK. The diverse cast feels familiar and it’s always rewarding to hear them ROCK.
All in all, this show is incredibly unique and rewarding, a great coming-of-age story that rings so true and rocks out loud, but it has very limited appeal due to its sluggish pacing, dramatic modesty, and pandering to hard-rock fanatics far more than anime fans out for action and melodrama. It really brought the noise for me, even when the show was silent and slow, but it’s such a hard experience to share or revisit in full, so it's really up to viewer preferences.
*THIS IS A PARTIAL TRANSCRIPT OF MY VIDEO REVIEW WHICH CAN BE FOUND HERE:
Being a fan of rock music I wanted to find a good musical anime that exemplifies my love for the genre. Unfortunately watching a show called K-ON derailed me for a year on trying some other musical based anime. However I came across a great rock anime called Beck.
Yukio Tanaka A.K.A Koyuki is our 14 year old main protagonist. After helping out a strange looking dog (Beck) he meets 16 year old Ryusuke Minami who is making a name for himself in the music business. After witnessing Ryusuke play guitar Koyuki is encouraged to take up playing guitar.
The story is mainly focussing
on the band Beck and the relationships that Koyuki has with each member in particular Ryusuke and his sister Mao.
Beck is a journey of a band trying to make it big. Being a fan of rock music there is nothing thrilling than the thought of being up on stage with your friends playing with all your heart. The bands journey starts off with regular rehearsals and writing up original material in a studio. The band has a few line-up changes before settling on its final five members. Yukio Tanaka plays rhythm guitar and vocals on the slower songs. Ryusuke Minami plays lead guitar and is the lyricist. Tsunemi Chiba is the lead singer/rapper. Yoshiyuki Taira is the bassist. Yuji "Saku" Sakurai is the drummer.
We witness the start of the band as they go from playing in small bars to eventually headlining at a festival. Each member of the band collectively runs into a character which will make their life more difficult which varies from school bullies to cooperate businessmen.
The other focus of the show is the romance between Maho and Koyuki. I'd have to be honest I didn't expect anything from the two at first as they got off on bad terms, but the two eventually become friends and love blossoms... maybe.
Koyuki is our main protagonist. He starts off as being a relatively quiet guy who has above average grades and has a taste for J-Pop music. After meeting Ryusuke he listens to an American band called dying breed and then his life into the rock and roll world begins. Koyuki feels like a relatable character as at one point I was also listening to shitty pop music that had little to no meaning. He also had determination to learn to play guitar something which I also had experience with.
Ryusuke is a perfectionist guy who is also a bit of a slacker. He strives to make Beck the greatest band in the world and will disregard others feelings to do so as we see with Chiba. Ryusuke is not the type of guy that I like, but I will agree he is talented musically.
Chiba is a loudmouth guy who is very energetic. He gets the crowds going with his enthusiasm and his great vocal techniques. He is quick to help those being bullied and is not one to back away from fights. Chiba is by far one of my favourite characters in the show.
Taira is a much grounded guy he is aware of Ryusuke’s talents as well as the other band members. He is aware of his own skills as a bassist and believes the band can achieve something together.
Saku is the drummer of the group (A.K.A Squinty) He transfers into Koyuki’s middle school and the two forms a friendship over their love of music by dying breed. They have the closest relationship out of all the other band moments which is very sweet.
Mr.Saitou is an honourable mention to this list. He is a middle aged pervert with a big heart. He teaches Koyuki how to play guitar and teaches him how to swim better which in turn helps him with his vocals. Saitou is a mentor to Koyuki and the two form a strong friendship.
The characters in the show get a great deal of development, hell even Mr. Saitou changes to a one man woman by the series end. The characters show a strong bond that can pull through even in the hardest of situations.
I wasn’t a fan of the art for the most part as it looked very under budget maybe it was to make up for the money put into the music. However I will give props to the up close guitar playing which looked good, also the character designs which did have distinctive features. However its falls flat for background and movements are often restricted in scenes.
The sound gets major props in this anime with the soundtrack consisting of written songs which are very rock oriented. Tracks like ‘Moon on the water’ by dying breed and ‘Brainstorm’ by Beck our stand out tracks. As for the opening and closing songs they are also pretty enjoyable, the opening being ‘Hit in the USA’ by Beat Crusaders and the ending ‘My world down’ by Dying Breed although I may be wrong on the ending song.
I enjoyed this series a lot. It portrays my wish of hoping to be a rock star and that with hard work and effort you can make it a reality. There was a good mix of music, comedy and drama all of which suits the tone of this series.
However… this series does have its flaws. I fail to believe that a band like Beck can emerge so quickly when it took even the greatest of bands to do the same. Nirvana took five years to make it big. This series also has a slow start to it which can put you off investing your time into it. Other than that effort put into the artwork could have been better.
Although Beck has minor flaws its major points strung a chord with me… (Sorry for the bad joke.)
I would only recommend this to fans of rock and roll music as it has references to a lot of well-known bands. Any fans of romance, drama and comedy may find something in the show so give it try I’d say.
I give Beck a well-deserved 8 out of 10
Series about young boys searching for themselves and their place in life are not rare by any stretch of the imagination, but ones that really grasp the viewer and provide something more than a simple coming of age story are astoundingly rare. Beck takes the coming of age story and introduces two characteristics which help to distinguish it greatly from other series of its kind: a deep immersion in the world of underground rock, and a deep involvement with its subject matter, which lends emotional weight and a sense of honesty to a tired premise.
Koyuki, the main character, is unremarkable at first glance--a currently unskilled
boy who shows a lot of promise(unheard of!)--but the major difference is that Koyuki quickly establishes himself as a real person. A kind, determined, hard-working student, Koyuki often finds himself discouraged by his current situation, and is prone to melancholy and bouts of hopeless resignation. As we watch, we see firsthand the profound impact that the introduction of a new form of music, along with Koyuki's growing love of it and rapid immersion in it, has on the young protagonist, deeply rooted in his newfound friendships and initially rooted in a superficial desire to impress and spend time with the girl he fancies. This assessment is true of most of the cast, all of them interacting together in something which often remarkably resembles real life, and at others completely abandons realism but still remains fundamentally grounded in the series' profound sense of humanity.
The characters in Beck's main cast all retain an honest, human feel to them. This is juxtaposed against the fantastical nature of most of the series' supporting cast, and solidifies the sense of close-knit family which develops within the band and the people close to them. This down to earth feel persists even as the characters gain wider and wider success, making what might have been a completely unbelievable and unsympathetic story decidedly the opposite. Bassist Taira is undoubtedly the weakest of these main characters, his stand-offish demeanor and mysterious history preventing him from capturing sympathy like the rest of the main cast.
The animation in Beck is decidedly high quality, with only a few minor complaints to raise. Foremost among these are the often jarring uses of three dimensional models, particularly during some of the performance scenes. These performance scenes represent both the best and worst of the animation in Beck, usually incredible but occasionally clunky and amateur. It is good to note, however, that all of the major performances are almost universally on the better end, leaving only the minor scenes to suffer this fate. Characters' visual design shares the nature of the characters themselves, the main cast simple and real, and the supporting cast fantastic, from black record executives who encapsulate a good percentage of relevant stereotypes to shop assistants resembling Swedish guitar virtuosos. At times this difference is striking, at other times simply odd, but undeniably the fantastic designs of the supporting cast make the main characters seem even more human by comparison.
Beck's soundtrack represents both the strongest and weakest point of the series. Because of the nature of the story in Beck, a great deal rides on the audience's impression of the soundtrack, particularly the tracks performed by the bands within the series. Unfortunately, this is a dangerous position, as disliking the music gives much of the series a false feel, in part nullifying the humanity of the story and the interactions within it. The soundtrack does, however, perform its task admirably throughout the series, and I personally enjoyed the insert songs played by the various bands from the series a great deal. But while the series stands on its strong points well even should you dislike the insert songs, it becomes nearly impossible to view the series the same way, particularly towards the conclusion, if you find the music to not be your thing.
The voice-acting in Beck, while not spectacular and without featuring any performances which particularly stand out, is universally solid, and is bolstered by good writing and expressive animation, thus making the overall experience on the whole remarkably satisfying. It is worth lauding here that the singing voices and speaking voices of the characters who have both are very well cast, and match up seamlessly. Also noteworthy is the handling of English in the series, especially the characters who are supposed to natively speak it. These characters almost actually do sound as if they speak English naturally--an astoundingly unique trait in animes featuring English(watch Negima if you want a good example)--and, although the writing of the English lines is decidedly sub-par compared to the series as a whole, they perform their parts well, in fact making the writing seem not so bad at times. Even if you ignore the fact that English is a second--conceivably third--language for the actors and writers, the scripting and performances are pretty good. If you take these into consideration, they are simply astounding.
The core plot--both the growth of Koyuki and Beck, and the relationship between Koyuki and Maho--stands as Beck's greatest achievement, a remarkable journey through the life of several remarkably real people. Many of the side-stories, however, leave a great deal to be desired. Sub-plots are all well and good, but Beck's sub-plots leave one anxiously awaiting the series' return to its core, and in many cases simply go on for too long. Though generally interesting and still rather well-written, they lack the emotional weight and honesty that propels the core of the story forward, and in some cases cheapen that quality. Especially guilty of this is the story involving Ryuusuke's guitar, which, especially during the times when it takes center stages, drags the series down right when it should have otherwise been strongest.
Ultimately, Beck rises from the mass of coming of age series by providing solid writing and a uniquely honest take on the whole notion of growing up. It suffers from occasional animation hiccups--particularly with the use of three dimensional models in some of the minor performance sequences--and a heavy reliance on the audience to enjoy the soundtrack, particularly the songs played by Beck, but manages to minimize these weaknesses while bolstering its strong points. The core plot and interactions between characters is highly laudable, but some of the side-stories simply do not compare in quality, and should have been either scrapped, strengthened, or shortened.
Honestly, I wasn't looking forward to this show. I saw it at a pawn shop for a very cheap price so I went ahead to give a chance. Even after having a friend telling me it pretty much sucks. I must say that it was a whole lot better than I expected. It certainly isn't my favourite but there is something special about it.
The concept of the show is fairly simple, just a band trying to gain fame in the world of music. Of course, there's much more to it than that. There are a couple of side stories which do, in fact, spice
up the show a little bit. I personally found the show to be a bit dry in some parts because it does have a tendency to drag on. Other than that, it is a fairly good story. It's simple and will be enjoyable for those who are fans of music. Unfortunately, the show did not provide a satisfying ending. The ending felt rushed, far too much happened in the last episode that could've been elaborated. A second season or an OVA would make it feel complete.
The animation really isn't bad, but does have its flaws. It can be choppy and inconsistent with the characters, but the backgrounds can be interesting at times. The style of the show is interesting because it gives us a variety of styles which keep it from looking like the generic anime. No one really does look same which certainly made me happy.
Characters are fairly normal people with their internal struggles. They are not exaggerated and can even be relatable to those carrying a career in music. The relationships between the characters were strong but at certain points we do lose the Koyuki/Maho relationship. I don't know if it was just me, but I felt they kind of left her out for a while. Aside from that, all characters were likeable and realistic. My older brother was in a band, not necessarily to make it big but I did see how relatable it is for a struggling band to at least gain some attention.
I personally didn't love or hate it but its all preference. There is no denying that the music was really catchy, especially the theme and ending songs. Particularly, the ending song was something I could even listen onto an mp3 more than once. Some of the other songs through out the series even reminded me of the Red Hot Chilli Peppers and seemed American infulenced.
The English dub was pretty good. All voices suited the characters and the voice actors delivered. You can even tell that there is a lot of love put into the voices because it seemed that they really enjoyed it, especially Justin Cook who performed as Chiba. Greg Ayres finally did a voice that I heard that didn’t sound overly squeaky. I was pleasantly surprised to hear his singing voice too. As for the Japanese dub, I cannot say because I only heard snippets of it.
This show wasn’t the most enjoyable ever, but it did have something I feel that a lot of anime does not have- love. I find that there was a lot of love put into this, it wasn’t half-assed. You can see that there was love put into the creation of the characters and the music. That is why I really enjoyed this anime. It gave me a feeling I hadn’t had from an anime for a while. I hope there's at least an OVA or another season.
Pros- music, developing characters, english dub
Cons-tendacy to drag on, animation can be choppy
I never saw a music theme manga or anime until I watched K-On!. Since then, I been hooked to the max for anime like that. I watched some like it and some not like it, but this anime is much more than "Just like K-ON!" Its own feel to it, Its uniqueness that called out to me.
The story is about this young boy, Tanaka Yukio or Koyuki, starting to get tired of his life, only 14 years in this world and he's already getting tired. Until one day... he meets this really mysterious guy with a even more mysterious dog. From the day Koyuki
met Ryuuske and Beck ( The dog), his life changed. They made a band, named after the dog, BECK and rocked my heart off, with lots of romance, weird moments... basically real life.
Enough of the synopsis...
Story was amazing. Its was certainly living up to the word, Slice of Life. Never have I see a anime or manga with Gangsters or anything that showed that America existed. Most anime is like, Japan is the only world out there and that there is the best place ever, which makes a lot of us already hooked to the anime Japanese craze really wanting to go there because of that. But this anime... really showed that is not rainbows and Sailor moon. There were stuff that told us that America was there and it influenced the Japanese culture as they are influencing us, here. That is what really separated this anime from the rest. Not only that, there was Romance in this story, not much, but enough to make us know that this is truly a real life anime. There were some moments that really cried, REAL LIFE, but that is what made this anime awesome.
Now lets go for the characters, shall we? Koyuki, this kid is the wimpiest kid ever, but with a heart of a good person. But that personality of his is what separates him from the other anime and manga characters, filled with cocky guys that know they are hot and are being chased by a girl or guys that are so emo that it seems that their depression will become a black hole and suck us all in. No... Koyuki is the everyman. The way a character should be portrayed, like us, with flaws. For that, I liked him, no matter how much he cried... Not only that, but this kid... has a voice of an angel, beautiful. He sounded AMAZING. And with the other characters music, made it even more beautiful.
Not only him, but the other characters... their personalities are not your average stereotype characters you see in every manga or anime. There is no Tsundare or Moe. or anything of that, its all real. But it's not just the personalties, the looks. Never have I see a anime with each character looking different from the other. No character, not even the background ones looked like the other. The chemistry between them and the other main characters were alight.
Sound was AMAZING. This anime had so much music and all beautiful, but not just the same type of music, its all different. Some was alternative Rock, Pop, Rap... etc. And not that but there was talk of real life bands and singers we know in Real life. The best music was BECKs for me, it was rich and just plain awesome.
The Art, while I said a bit of this in my characters part, was not just that. The background was awesome, I really don't know if it was realistic pictures or if it was hand drawn. It looked so realistic.
Enjoyment? Must I say more? IT WAS AWESOME. SO awesome, that I am reading the manga to see what happened next AND going to watch the live-action movie this fall. So yeah... I totally enjoyed it.
Story: 9 ( I kinda didn't like how it just ended and I have to read the manga to see what happened next... but oh well! xD)
Beck is an anime that I have deep respect for since I am a musician myself. This show really does create a sense of what being a rock musician would really be about and it does have some great moments that make this show memorable. Add that to its good music, and spectacular voice acting and characters, Beck comes off as a fantastic show. However, Beck although very good in its ideas, expression, humor, characters, and just overall awesomeness as an anime also makes some aggravating blunders that bother me to no end. Without these blunders or issues, I feel that this anime could have
been one of the greatest animes ever made. Although the positives do outweigh the negatives in the end, the negatives just stick in my head so much because they were surrounded by so much good. Without further ado, let's get into my review Beck:Mongolian Chop Squad.
Beck’s story is quite an admirable and unique one. The story follows the events of the main protagonist Yukio Tanaka (Koyuki to his friends) as he moves on through his teenage life becoming a guitarist, singer and member of the band Beck: Mongolian Chop Squad. Through the episodes he learns to become a better musician from his band mates as well as from an older man, Mr. Saito. On the side he also does swimming, school, and jobs to help pay for his fees that he needs for the band’s albums and instruments. Over the time he goes through many conflicts, such a romantic issues, bullying, and personal feelings of being unworthy. This turns out to be overall a good, unique, and connectable story. The story has many good ideas as well as some interesting humor, dialogue, and plot twists that work very nicely. Overall it is a very enjoyable story. However, like I said before, there are issues that bother me and the story has a lot of big ones. One issue is the pacing of the events in the show. Although there are some great sections with good plot changes or good humor or meaningful dialogue, there aren’t always great sections in every episode of the series. There are plenty of moments that are just plain awesome, but these moments are always packed together into one or two episodes and then there would be about three or four episodes before anything meaningful happened again. This leaves a few strings of episodes that are boring compared to some of the other episodes. Another issue is how some conflicts between characters just disappear like magic sometimes without a resolution. Somehow these conflicts just end up pushed aside and not mentioned either ever again or not until quite a bit later which just feels really strange. This was quite annoying and confusing for me and it created a lot of questions about how they could just magically forget issues like they never even happened. It was just too unrealistic and unsatisfying, both of which are very bad to me. On the subject of unrealistic and unsatisfying, another issue is how many of the characters (especially the side characters) are just thrown out of the show for long lengths of time and sometimes permanently. A lot of the time they show reasons for these characters to leave but the show doesn’t execute this very well. During this they also add new characters almost in a way to replace the old characters which sometimes feels forced. Many times these characters also even come back just out of the blue without much of an explanation why only to leave again after spending part of one more episode on screen. This ends up creating a lot of questions and also a lack of resolution for issues with the side characters. Now there are plenty of situations where the show gets these situations and character interactions right, but the fact that they can’t get it all right when they already got some of them right doesn’t make sense to me. My last issue is simply with how the ending feels pretty rushed although satisfying overall story-wise.
Art- 6 /10
This is one of the bigger blunders of the series and I feel like I’m honestly being generous for giving it a 6 and not a 5 or lower. I’m not entirely sure why and how it ended up like this either. The art style of the show although not my favorite is interesting so that isn’t necessarily the issue here. The animation done isn’t necessarily bad per say so that’s not the main issue either. I do admit that I have a problem with how the characters look while playing their instruments (in particular Saku the drummer) since they look so rigid and definitely not how real musicians would when playing. However, even with this issue, sometimes they do seem a little more accurate in how they should look and everything else including movements and facial expression and background movement etc, are well done. So then you must be asking, “What is it that you find so bad?” The answer to that question is not lack of style or bad execution, but rather lack of things to execute. Although the animation and style work just fine, there are plenty of things that are just not animated in general. There is so many times where expressions or conversations or events are just not shown from the characters view and instead non- moving pictures of scenery are just added during these scenes to act as a buffer zone. This issue applies very heavily to the ending of the show as the entire ending is essentially just stand still images with narration or small conversations and no animation which is honestly absolutely unacceptable. Also, sometimes when characters are talking, the only thing that is moving is their mouth and nothing else creating very little expression of character through the animation. These issues sometimes aren’t as noticeable as in other episodes but when they are noticeable, they are VERY noticeable, and if you can’t catch them I would be very surprised. I don’t really know why the animations just aren’t great in this series and it is quite disappointing. If this was actually a stylistic choice then I highly disagree with that choice. My best guess is that they probably didn’t have enough funding to do a stellar job for the art. Why they didn’t have a big enough budget, I have no idea; all I know is that it’s a darn shame that they didn’t.
Yay now I get to talk about some of the better stuff. I will split up the sound category into two sections, one for voice acting and one for music.
Voice Acting- 8.5/10
Strangely enough, Beck is the first series that I watched entirely with the English dubs. I honestly never watch anime with the English dubs for I believe subs are just so much better almost all the time. This was one situation that I actually watched the dubs because I enjoyed them more than the subs. There are a few reasons for this. The first reason is that the English dubs are actually quite fantastic. The English voice actors for the main characters are amazing especially for Ryusuke the lead guitar player, his sister Maho, and Chiba the singer. Taira the bassist and Saku the drummer are also consistently good throughout the show when it comes to voice acting. Honestly almost every single voice actor for the English dubs does a great job including most of the side characters as well. I thought the voice actor for Yukio Tanaka was a little weak at first but as the series went on I either got used to it or the actor got more comfortable with his role and started to perform better; either way is fine with me because by the end his voice fit the role of Koyuki very nicely. The second reason for watching the dubs is the amount of English that is actually already in the Japanese dubs. Because of the characters being fluent in English, the Japanese dubs have a lot of Japanese voiced English speech. Although the English speech in the Japanese dubs ends up being pretty good in general (for Japanese people that is), there are some issues with the accents and pronunciations that bother me in the Japanese dubs. I just simply asked myself, “If I’m going to be hearing English consistently either way how do I want to watch this show? Do I want it with good English voice actors with consistently good voice acting, or do I want Japanese voices that although cooler than English voice acting in general, aren’t the best when it comes to English speech. I chose the English dubs. Overall the voice acting for both sides is superb except for some early issues with the English dub and some of the English language issues for the Japanese dub. I personally recommend the English dubs but that might just be me. Do what you want.
Clearly, a show about a rock band has to have good music for it to get some credit. So the question is, “Is it good?” My answer: yes, it is good, very good actually. This is more of a personal thing since not everyone likes rock music particularly punk rock but since I do like rock I say yes, the music is good. I also find that the music they play is indeed good enough to be considered popular and good enough to get them to where they need to be so on that note not only is the music played by Beck good, but it is also realistic. The other bands in the show are also quite good and quite realistic in how they sound as well. I like how they show some of the differences in genres and it’s nice that they had someone knowledgeable enough about music to show that. It’s nice how they don’t only just play punk rock the whole show and delve into different types of rock as well as rap and blues. On the other hand, most of the time if not all the time there is only music being played during a concert or sometime when a band is playing or something of the sort. What does this end up doing? It creates scenes that are completely silent except for dialogue. It’s perfectly fine to have some scenes just have dialogue but when all the scenes that don’t have a band in it have no music it gets annoying. This is one of the issues I didn’t really notice until late but as soon as I noticed it I was quite outraged that they never bothered to have any other sound track music. On side notes, the singing is very good in both the English and Japanese dub (Personally feel it’s better in the English dub and the singing also applies to the voice actors performances) and the OP and ED of the show are good.
The characters of this anime, especially the main ones, are a prime example of good characters. All the members of the band are especially likeable with good character traits and good virtues. Of all the main characters I would have to say my favorites are definitely Koyuki due to his nice and hard working attitude as well as the quite spectacular character development that he experiences throughout the show, Chiba who has an amazing attitude and is just a heck of a party, and last but not least my potentially number one favorite, Maho who is a beautiful, talented, kind, funny, and spunky teenage girl who is just so freaking awesome. The main characters are just absolutely fantastic and that’s why the characters score as high as it is. On the bad side there are some issues with the side characters. There are indeed some good side characters either because they are interesting or funny but most of them because of the strange pacing of the story just randomly disappear and aren’t mentioned ever again. This applies to one of the antagonists of the story which seems pretty messed up to me. Although some of the side characters aren’t great some of them are great like Mr. Saito for example and they just choose to get rid of them and replace them with other ones. This ends up making most of the side characters pointless by the end of the show and overall leading a feeling of disappointment. I also wish that they had chose to add some of the more relevant side characters like Yukio’s mother for example who is never really shown on screen at all. Other than these issues the characters are spectacular.
Personal Enjoyment -9/10
Although there were some annoying issues that bugged me a lot of the time I spent watching this show, I tried to not let them bother my enjoyment of the show. It was honestly because I enjoyed the show so much that I was bothered so much by the annoying issues that plagued much of Beck. Luckily for myself, I was able to keep the issues from ruining the whole show for me. Add my ability to ignore the bad with the oozing amounts of good dialogue, humor, romance, and plot twists, I ended up loving this show from start to finish and I just couldn’t stop watching it. It might not be the best show on a critical stand point, but it’s certainly a fun show to watch.
Beck is one of those shows that could have gone down in my book as one of the greatest animes every created. It had all that it needed to succeed and become a genuine masterpiece but it was plagued so much by a strangely paced and unrealistic story as well poor animation work and some pointless side characters. If these issues had been fixed or maybe just even one of them, this show could have been absolutely phenomenal. I do recommend watching the English dub version over the subbed version and I just want to say that this show was very hard to critique because of its uniqueness and close relationship to my personal life. This is good show that people should watch and I hope that many continue to watch over the course of its existence. I round down the score of 7.5 to 7 instead of 8 because I feel that the issues in the story and the art work are pretty big and I feel that it’s important to show that with a lower score. I give Beck a solid but disappointing 7.5 out of 10.
I am somewhat biased towards this show in a positive way, considering I am a big fan of rock music and I first viewed it when I was not much older than the main character (around 15 or 16). Like Koyuki, I was young, impressionable, and troubled, so that's a major factor into why I love it so much.
The story is a coming-of-age slice of life about Koyuki, a disconnected 14-year-old junior high student who has trouble connecting to his life and the people around him. Starting with his fated meeting with Beck, the scrappy-looking dog, it chronicles his progression into a guitarist in an
indie rock band on the verge of breaking out. They are many other subplots revolving around this main one, usually involving a certain part of the fairly-large cast. The entire series is doused in the classic rock 'n' roll mythology, with references to the well-known bands of yesteryear. They are some bittersweet moments of romance, some hilarious skits of comedy, some intense action scenes and lots of melancholy drama. Overall, the plot is a mixed bag of genres and emotions, and if you are willing to look past the occasional slow episode, you will enjoy this, especially in the last five episodes.
The art, while not outstanding, fits the show's style well, and thanks to this, doesn't draw attention away from the wonderful characters and story. It uses many muted tones, creating a gritty and realistic, very contemporary portrayal of the urban centers of Japan and America.
Now, onto the sound (I might get a bit carried away in this part, just skip the paragraph if you want to move on to the character analysis). Very few shows have a soundtrack so good that I bought them shortly after finishing. Japanese power-pop band Beat Crusaders worked on a lot of the soundtrack, and are essentially Beck. They worked with the voice actors to create the songs, and they are fantastic. Songs like ''Brainstorm (BIG MUFF)'' which lop your head off with furious, crunchy guitars, dangerously funky bassline, and adrenaline-pumping shouted vocals. ''Spice of Life'', which is one of the catchiest rock songs I've heard in my entire life, is still stuck in my mind from my last viewing. Your enjoyment of the soundtrack is all on which style of music you're into, which for me, is pretty obvious.
Character-wise, the entire series revolves around Koyuki. All the things we learn about the supporting characters, we learn through him, so we truly see the story through his eyes, and his mindset. We see him experience romance for the first time, through Maho. We see him experience close friendship, through Saku. By the end of the episodes, you know more about Koyuki than anyone. This cement's it's place as a shonen, in my opinion, but I believe absolutely anyone can enjoy this show.
Unlike the vapid, soulless nonsense that a fair part of the anime industry is filled with, this show offers something else. Real, raw, human feeling. It offers a realistic view of a teenager growing up in small-town Japan. Of discovering his niche, discovering his interests. It creates a window for you, the viewer. It asks you a single question, ''are you truly doing what you want to do?'' The story of Koyuki can teach you a few things, and if you learn from them, the show has already succeeded. So get up, go do what you want, and fuck anyone who says otherwise, whether it be bullies or jealous peers.
Beck was made to hit in America, what are you made to do?
The anime genre is so over saturated with the action packed and heavily fan service driven titles that serious down to Earth works like Beck: Mongolian Chop Squad can easily be overlooked. It still amazes me that anime fans I personally know never heard of it until I mentioned it to them. I think very highly of Beck because it simply speaks to me on a personal level.
Beck: Mongolian Chop Squad is an introspective, slice of life, drama/comedy that follows people whom found their way in life through music. I believe this anime was put together by those whom have been around music and love
it for what it is and can be.
Beck shines brightly in a few areas; the first is definitely in the characters and with some of their development. Koyuki is your typical flawed teen, and the writing works unbelievably well with his development. The viewer will no doubt become attached to him as he grows; you will want him to succeed in everything he does, such as in his music, making new friends, and even in possible romances. The viewer may also grow disgusted at times with his annoying weaknesses as well. He's very different from the typical male characters in anime for the most part which is actually a very good thing. Some of the other characters are developed better than others, and for the most part there's someone for just about everyone.
The story is also very well developed examining multiple themes with bullying and friendship being among the main issues, but music itself is the main story here. This anime was indeed assembled by music fans, as they pay homage to a plethora of acts and people such as The Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Cobain, and many others. The music scene is also delved into. Koyuki and Ryusuke put together a band called Beck, and through them the viewer is taken through a tour of the underground music scene. I love how its so well portrayed, as the band spends countless hours not only putting together songs, but trying to jell as a unit to perform at local bars with the goal being to make it big. The story vibed with me on many levels as a former song writer myself, especially watching Koyuki attempt to write songs in his room and blistering his fingers doing it. I can't imagine a fan of music not feeling this anime. The behind the scene cutthroat part of the business is also examined, and I have heard similar stories like these from many people.
Beck is very solid, and I mean it outshines plenty of anime titles concerning its production values. Most of the music is done by the former Japanese rock group The Beat Crusaders, and I think these guys were very good at their craft. There are several songs being played throughout the anime with even some good background music at times. The music was indeed the focus here to deliver a truly genuine experience, and there is a focus on guitar riffs, bass, drums, and vocals. As a fan of rock I can say that I was never bored with the tunes. The animation is very good for the most part and there is a nice cohesion with the camera work. The characters fingers and hand movements flow nicely, and the camera uses several crafty zoom-ins; the jam sessions and performances are just so cool to watch.
The character designs are heavily manga influenced, and this visual style was quite original at that point in time. There is a big influence in pop culture, and the characters portray it well with their variety in clothes, hairstyles, and even mannerisms. The dialog is pretty well laden with profanities, and even though it may feel forced to some viewers; I have to say it fits like a custom made glove. These characters are city dwelling teens and this is exactly how they should be acting. None of this could have possibly worked though if not for the top notch voice acting consisting of the usual Funimation suspects; Justin Cook, Greg Ayres, Brina Palencia, and Eric Vale. Greg does a great job with displaying the puny geek in regards to Koyuki, but as usual, as great a voice actor he is, I find his squeakiness quite annoying. I'll also come out and say that the English dub is far superior, because I think it's far more energetic and captures the personalities of these misfits very well. The only issues I have in this area is mainly with the frequent use of stills concerning the animation. I understand that the budget for this anime must have been huge, but a handful of scenes did look pretty weird though.
Despite my praise for the writing and the story, Beck does have its flaws such as small story elements either not being wrapped up well or satisfying enough. The romance cliche concerning the male keeping his feelings in check should have been jettisoned, because this is used way too much in anime. Some characters such as the bass player Taira and the drummer Saku could have used more development. The viewer will understand how they think, but bass players, drummers, etc. would've definitely appreciated some depth in regards to those often overlooked instruments. In addition, although wrapped up for the most part; I thought the ending felt pretty rushed.
Sadly, Beck: Mongolian Chop Squad is not an anime for everyone. It's pretty slow-paced, not the least bit action packed, and fan service isn't over the top ridiculous. Although the anime does take itself serious at times, it never ventures off into the dark realm creating some type of genre clash. It's light-hearted, dabbles very well with drama and comedy, and it's actually very uplifting. It's among my favorite coming of age stories in anime that can probably help someone find that missing "thing" in their life. If you enjoy strong character development, rock music, and just an overall good story, then you may not go wrong with this.
Highs: Very strong characterization, animation, and music
This anime is the shit. If you like rock n roll like The Beatles,Led Zeppelin,Jimi Hendrix..this anime is for you. This anime emphasises that rock is not about the looks that attracts the fans. Its the music itself attract the fans.
Story-The best part of the anime. The story starts jr.high school and ends in high school. So the story is 4 over running span. Its about a boy growing up into a man. He wonders if his life going to be interesting etc. Until he met a young professional guitarist. Well w/e just watch the fucking anime.
Art- Art is decent thought not
Character- Throughout the story,the characters grow
Enjoyment-Its enjoyment if your a rock fan but it sucks if your a rap fan
Oh man what a journey this anime was! I'm sort of mad that I had it on my PTW list for so long, and I'll tell you why. Beck is one of those special anime that reels you in with its relatable characters, and intriguing storyline. I'm really glad that I can put this on my list as my 100th completed anime. Nevertheless, the review:
Story 10/10: As someone who is a huge rock/metal fan, the idea of an anime about a rock band forming immediately caught my attention. The story is just that, a rock band that performs and tries to rise to fame. But
there's more than just that to it, there's each characters personal background and stories that seem to fit perfectly into everyone else's for one big combined unanimity. I found this flawless.
Art 9/10: This anime is, I believe, over a decade old, so you kind of know what to expect. I still find it mildly irritating sometimes when the main characters look like blobs for a few frames. Not too big of a deal. What I did love about this animation was watching the band members play and seeing guitar solos being performed and close-ups of the drummer.
Sound 10/10: Immediately I noticed that as an anime focused on music, sound would make a vast influence on the overall rating, and it did so in a beautiful manor here. I watched this dubbed after reading in forums that the dub was more emotion filled, and it definitely was! The songs are beautiful, and every band member played a vital role in making it sound perfect.
Character 10/10: As stated before, all of the characters stories and backgrounds seemed to fit perfectly together, which was perfect. Every character shows its own unique personality and attitude, and from the multiple characters none of them felt "additional", everyone fit in.
Enjoyment 10/10: I finished this in 4 nights, which is rare for me. I usually watch 3-4 episodes a night, but I couldn't stop watching this. Every episode brought upon a unique response to me mentally. Multiple events had me thinking two ways, and would keep me guessing until the last minute.
Overall 10/10: I've seen Nana before, and when I was finished both of these anime it gave me a similar feeling, I want more. Not very many anime can do that to me, but this did. Anime like this are really an "11/10", because they're just that good.
Story: The story its SELF isn't anything amazing,but its not bad either its about a 14 year old boy who goes by the name koyuki who feels his life is going no where until he saves a miss matched dog called beck, who belongs to the guiter player Ryuusuke which then lead him into the world of music with this he goes through hardship of trying to figure out who he is and who he wants to be.
Art: The art is anything great either but it does suit the anime so well the animators did a good job
at making Harolds characters look more proportional and normal then they do in the manga.
Sound: The music in this anime is absolutely brilliant it fits the tone of each performance and scenes so well and you will be begging for more once its done. lets also talk about sub and dub English is a big part of the series as some characters are from america and they sing in English they go back and forth between Japanese and english,the English is not perfect so if broken english or "engrish" annoys you watch the dub as it will be alot smoother,but i do recommend watching the dub as its probably the best dub of an anime i have heard before.
Characters:Most characters in this show are great and the all have character development at some point and extreme character development if you chose to read the manga.
Overall there was never one dull moment for me watching this anime and each one of these parts (sound/art ect) brings it all together to making it the masterpiece it is its amazing and i can watch it over and over again with out getting tired of it the manga also progresses alot further then the anime with 33 volumes and 100 chapters, i wish that this series will get a remake that will go through all the manga because it deferentially deserves it so i give it a 9.4/10
(as i never give 10s)
“… RJ label can only produce “feel good” pop tunes, “escapist” music that says everything is alright which just paralyzes people’s consciousness and steals their ability to solve problems that they face in their everyday lives.” – Wao Sato on pop music, Ep 20.
I was taught to begin a review/speech/whatever with a quote, and so I have for you a quote from the anime itself. When I first saw a mention of this show on a youtuber’s list of best musical anime (incidentally one of the very few youtubers to mention the anime; reason below), it was more than enough to captivate me. There was
a little clip where the MC performs the song called “follow me” at a local festival, and I very well remember saying to myself ‘man, I gotta watch this one’. That was all that took for me to watch this anime, and boy what a good decision that was. Stay with me as I enumerate the reasons why you would like to watch this anime and possibly the only 2 reasons why you might drop it within the first 4 episodes.
Okay, let’s start with the reasons why you might not like it, here’s why:
1- There are certain things in every anime which the viewer can easily relate to but beck, unlike the majority, makes it hard for every viewer to relate to its content because of the close depiction of what musicians/instrumentalist would describe as their “passion for the art”. Not that there is nothing else to relate to, but since music is at the core of this anime, this is something I’ll be stressing upon more often. This in itself is nothing to worry about; on the contrary I think people will enjoy discovering the joy of learning to play an instrument, but only if it’s spread across the length of the entire series and not at the very beginning, in the form of a condensed personal journey of the then ambition-less MC as he strives to learn how to play the guitar and what keeps him going. The problem here is that while some people might find that a little boring, those few starting episodes are elemental to the development of the entire story. If you play/are learning how to play an instrument, these episodes will resonate with you and you will be able to relate to them more closely, not to mention that you’ll immediately realize their importance in the progression of the plot. Just let me put this out there; I fell in love with my guitar all over again after seeing the first few episodes. Never have I come across any other anime which so closely describes the driving force behind a person’s desire to learn how to play a musical instrument. Just so we’re on the same page, goal and passion are very different; other musical anime (more or less) depict what the MC wants to achieve/is trying to achieve (goal) by playing the instrument, (eg. “Hibike! Euphonium”, where the goal is to make it to the nationals) or simply because the MC enjoys playing the instrument along with the rest of his/her friends (eg. “K-on!” Where the story revolves more around the bonds of friendship developed during the times they play together than the music itself. IDC, that anime is still God tier) So basically, in a nutshell, the MC in beck doesn’t just have a goal to achieve, but he actually finds the inspiration to learn the instrument first, facing hurdles along the way (I don’t need to tell that to people who’re currently playing/learning an instrument XD). You get to know what made him WANT to play the instrument. That’s the first time I’ve seen that, or maybe I haven’t seen enough anime XD. This, also, might be one of the reasons why many people don’t mention this anime when making their lists of favourites, and hence you don’t see it much on youtube. After reading the entire bulk of this first point, some of you might be like (-_-) and I apologize if you think I’m talking out of my ass XD but being a guitarist myself, I had to mention this. Other players might see what I’m talking about and I believe they’ll more or less agree with what I have to say. Well this point might be the reason why you’ll dislike this anime, and for some it’ll be the reason why you might like this anime; it works both ways. I’m the latter kind.
2- The art. Yes, the art. It’s nothing like you’ve come to expect from anime (if you’re a relatively new watcher who’s been perusing fairly newer stuff) but that being said, it’s pretty neat considering that it aired in 2004-2005. The colours are not bright, vivid or overly saturated, in fact some might even argue that it’s dull, dark and somewhat “earthy”, (which has its own appeal) but if you can overlook the art, which I still believe is pretty decent and to which others will agree, you have yourself an outstanding anime.
Now for the things that’ll make you like this anime:
1- The music. Boy this anime has some really awesome soundtracks! If you’re a fan of rock/alternative rock/blues, you’ll fall in love with this anime just like I did; it has some really sick tunes. The main theme behind the anime is how current gen popular culture music has spoiled the minds of the people. In the words of one the characters herself, as mentioned in the opening statement “… RJ label can only produce “feel good” pop tunes, “escapist” music that says everything is alright which just paralyzes people’s consciousness and steals their ability to solve problems that they face in their everyday lives.” Wow, that’s a hard look, which holds true to some extent in my opinion. One of the pop songs which the protagonist repeatedly listens to before turning to the world of rock literally reflects what I just quoted “Dakara ne, genki wo dashite, watashi no onegai.” (I’m sure most of you will catch on what it means, so I need not translate XD) The music in this anime is very exciting, energetic and youthful and I have all the OST on my playlist, which is a first because most of the times I only add a handful of the tracks that I like the most :D
2- The story. It’s very relatable, rooted in reality and makes you question your perspective about love, success, friendship, life in general. Is it reasonable for you to live life without ambition, passion, goals? Is it okay to be content with a mediocre, plain life? What will it take for you to want more out of your life? When should you learn how to take a stand for yourself? Is it okay for others to dictate the terms and conditions of your life? I may be going overboard with this, XD but that’s what it resounded with me. Then there is the personal day to day struggle of the protagonist with his surrounding individuals, especially in his school, which is so real that you almost feel like it’s happening to you. At all points, however, he has his friends to rely on, which is very reassuring and make his struggles worthwhile. The anime explores themes of infatuation, adolescent love, rivalry and ambition fuelled by unending passion, at which it succeeds unmistakably. A fair warning for those who hate unfinished endings, this is one such anime which breaks off in the middle of the story, according to the manga, but even if you neglect the manga for a second, the ending is still very well done IMO and definitely has some substance to it. Although I’d have loved to see a second season picking up from where it left off, I was content with the ending I got and wouldn’t make a fuss about how it was not given a proper “closure” (the manga does a far better job at the story, of course. It has 103 chapters, whereas the anime covers only the first 35 chapters from the manga.)
3- The relationships and bonds formed. Just like all other anime/manga, beck does have a lot of bonds being formed, both in terms of love and in friendship. To be honest, I didn’t expect much of that from this anime, but I was sucker-punched. If you’ve made this far through the review, the main purpose you’re probably going to watch the anime is for the music and the story, but this aspect is an added bonus, which definitely adds a charm to it and makes the characters all the more relatable and interesting.
In conclusion, if you’re planning to watch this anime, bear a few things in mind; A) The first few episodes, no matter how dry they might seem to you, are very important for the story to progress, and once you’re through with the first 4, you’re in for an awesome story with some really awesome music. B) This is an anime with music at its core, with other themes of love, friendship and rivalry occurring from time to time, as is customary with any other anime. C) rock rocks, but pop doesn’t pops. :’D
Writing my first review, about the only anime that I would give a 10/10 to feel free to read as you please and make a decision based on this,
As I came across this show by chance, I was very surprised at how well it was done. I did watch this in dub, as I found that if they were speaking English in the anime, might as well do it in dub, and to my surprise, it was one of the best dubs I had ever watched.
The music was great, awesome music, that I enjoyed very much. After all, this anime is about music.
character Relationships is a bit slow, but fascinating as the MC Yukio Tanaka has many decisions to made in his early teen years. Starting with him realizing his true passion after being bored with his life, through his hidden singing talent.
Overall the character development of each character, makes the viewers care for each of the characters, being around 6 or 7 key characters, in which the viewers cares about.
A show about music, romance, comedy, and slice of life makes Beck MCS.
A story from creating a band by chance, and eventually beating all odds, and becoming famous.
BECK was an instant hit for me because it mixed two things I love, slice-of-life animes and music.
BECK tells the story of Koyuki, an average high schooler who one day saves a crazy looking dog from being beaten up. This random act of kindness causes a catalyst for him to be thrown into the world of the dog's owner, Ryuusuke, and his rock music lifestyle where he wishes to create the "ultimate band".
The story development really worked in favour of this anime. It would be all too easy with a plot like this, to rush into plot arcs and scenes with no care for
development and planning, as I've seen many a decent anime do when they seem to get impatient.
Another thing which I REALLY loved was the characters themselves. I don't think I've ever met such a brilliant main band of characters. Ryuusuke himself says near the beginning "its not about skill, its about chemistry". And boy do these lot not only have chemistry, but a great character. Firstly you have Ryuusuke, the quintessential rocker and amazing guitarist. Then you have Chiba, the most crazy and hotheaded but protective and wickedly amazing rapper. You've also got Taira, the mysterious but extremely gifted bass player. Saku, the self taught drummer with little self confidence but awesome rhythm. And finally you have Koyuki, the innocent and naive passionate guitarist/singer.
The good thing about this anime is they have all these characters which too easily could just become 'saints', all getting along amazingly well, never falling out etc. and it'd be far easier to get on with the plot. But the producers never let that happen, instead these guys were sometimes hot tempered or naive or stubborn. But in their flaws, they were human and somehow so realistic, and that really gave the whole anime it's "Slice of Life" feel.
There has also GOT to be a shoutout for the music. I think the reason there aren't many music animes out there that AREN'T revolved around classical music is because it's quite hard to get the feeling of the music right. Too much and it's ramming it down the audience's throat AND you risk the chance of them hating more songs than if you had little. Too little and it's not really a music anime at all. I think BECK had the perfect mix, and the fact they often repeated songs actually helped, it made you feel like you were a fan of the band yourself that you could even hum or sing along to the songs. I actually really liked some of the songs. Koyuki, Maho and Chiba did a fantastic job.
The Lucille arc was... different, and probably the only reason I didn't give this anime a 10, aside the art. It was interesting but stretched me a little, and I just found it a bit out of place when everything else in this anime was rather slice-of-life and down to earth.
Overall, definitely a show I'd recommend you to watch. I just hope for a second season to see where the band are now!
“Is this really all there is? I had to wonder. Fourteen years old, and I already felt like my life was at a dead end.”
So intones the narrator and main character of Beck, fourteen-year-old Yukio “Koyuki” Tanaka, after zoning out in class and being gently mocked by his teacher. The world is filled with people like Koyuki—people who live in fear of the future not because they're stupid or untalented, but because they just happen to have all of the ambition, passion, and direction of rocks stuck in river mud. Beck does a lot of things right, but the reason it really stands out is
its depiction of characters who have the kind of quiet, aching problems and uncertainties that are all too often present in real life. It succeeds as a drama because it isn't a heavy-handed tearjerker, but an insightful projection of a reality that, for many, is bound to hit startlingly close to home.
Beck's story follows Koyuki as he meets guitar player Ryusuke Minami, who brings him into the world of music. Koyuki starts practicing guitar, and, for the first time, discovers something that truly excites and motivates him. This culminates in the creation of a band named “Beck” (hence the title). From there, the band members face a series of trials as they try to stand out in the competitive world of rock-and-roll music while preserving their friendship and having fun. The story is believably paced; it takes Koyuki month after month of practicing to reach a desirable level of skill on the guitar, and it takes the band months to write songs, rehearse, and start playing shows.
If this were the only thing going on, it would be a little tedious, but luckily there are also several subplots about Koyuki's day to day activities as he makes new friends, deals with hostile classmates, and gets a job to support his hobby. These supporting stories sometimes show Koyuki's regular life threatening to interfere with his music, and they usually serve to highlight his new-found confidence and determination to protect the sanctuary that he's finally found. Cleverly enough, though, the inverse also occurs; sometimes events from school or home inspire Koyuki to better understand an aspect of his music. The overall impression is that we're really getting a glimpse of a complete section of somebody's life, where everything is intertwined, and the different subplots all bleed gracefully into one continuous narrative. The only aspect of the story that I found to be unnecessary was a plot thread about the origins of Ryusuke's bullet-riddled guitar; its inclusion doesn't ruin anything, but Beck survives on its realism and emotional impact, so this particular tale doesn't exactly play to the show's strengths, and ultimately ends up feeling a bit out of place.
Koyuki as a character is about as believable as they come. He grows slowly from the shy and unambitious individual we meet in the first episode, gradually becoming more and more comfortable with himself as time passes. Again, “realistic” is the world, and the series is careful to show his turnaround in baby steps. Part of what makes him interesting is that after discovering the life of a musician, he doesn't instantly spurn his “normal” life. He always weighs, with careful consideration, whether or not the path he's going down is the right one. As mentioned before, Koyuki slowly gains the perspective required to apply lessons learned from daily exchanges to his music, and vice versa. This gives the impression that music is not necessarily replacing his life—it's giving him the ability to see value in it that he didn't see before.
The rest of the cast isn't quite as developed as Koyuki, but they have the same air of believability, and they're easy enough to like. Part of what makes them shine is that, while they all have noticeable quirks and personality traits, they aren't defined by them—like real people, they're all capable of going against their own nature when backed into a corner. Chiba, the loud, boisterous hothead, is capable of having an emotional moment of quiet reflection; Taira, the cool and collected bass player, isn't above throwing a punch if he's pushed hard enough; Ryusuke, the musical believer and guitar protege, can be crippled by doubt. All of these transitions are made with appropriate buildup, and they never feel forced or unnatural. In addition, the characters all mix quite well with each other—early in the series, Ryusuke comments that the most important element of a good band is chemistry, and the show doesn't slack on creating the feeling that, when the five band members are put together, there is an intangible element of completeness hanging in the air. This also means that the opposite is true, and when the band members fight (as they frequently do), it's that much more meaningful, because we know there's a chance that someone might walk away, and the magic will disappear forever.
In terms of voice acting, Beck is one series where, for a couple of reasons, I would recommend the English dub. The first is that it's just a good dub, plain and simple. Greg Ayres is a perfect choice for Koyuki. He does a fine job actually sounding like a teenager in this particular instance, and he has enough range to accurately portray both sides of his character—the half that's shy and lacks confidence, and the the half that's full of outspoken passion. The rest of the voice actors show the same ability, and although some off roles can sound a little wooden, at its core this is a dub of a rather high pedigree. The Japanese voice acting is also superb, but runs into some problems with English dialogue. Several of the characters in Beck are supposed to be American-raised, so English is spoken with some frequency in the Japanese track, and it's fairly stilted and heavily accented. In addition, many of the songs performed by the band have English lyrics, so it doesn't come as a big surprise that the reworked lyrics sung by the English voice actors sound a lot better than those on the Japanese track, which are often grammatically incorrect and awkward to the ear. The last thing I would note is that the characters in Beck are teenagers, and on the English track they sound...well, a lot more like teenagers. Not in terms of their voices alone, but the casual dialogue, the way they fashion creative profanity to jokingly put each other down, the biting sarcasm—all of it just sounds a little more natural and down-to-earth on the English track.
It's a show about a band, so of course there has to be some music, and Beck definitely does not disappoint in this regard. The band plays a mixture of headbanging rap-rock and softer ballads, and this heavy/light duality is convincingly similar to that of many popular rock bands. Beck makes full use of this; the more rocking tracks are used to generate energy and a gripping atmosphere, while the ballads highlight more tender moments of the series. The songs are of good quality, but they also have a certain earthy, unrefined edge to them that really makes them sound like they could have been pieced together by teenagers in a garage band. The lyrics often have themes that relate to Koyuki's struggles, with some notable songs being about the power of a positive mindset, appreciating the world for what it is, and the uncertainty of the future. The most surprising thing is how well these voice actors can really sing—Brina Palencia and Greg Ayres can both carry a tune a lot better than I personally would have expected.
Art-wise, Beck seems to be a little more realistic than average. It's a unique-looking show, with character designs that catch the eye not because they're outlandishly beautiful, but because they're unexpectedly and appropriately down-to-earth. In addition to sounding like teens, Beck's characters look like them, too—from their wild hair to their slouching postures, several of them seem to embody the spirit of don't-give-a-damn that's prevalent among young adults, while others, like Koyuki, are convincing depictions of the more “average” high schooler. While the character designs themselves are good, where the art direction of the series really shows its strengths is the way that it depicts live music. Crowds writhe and headbang with a frantic energy in a dim mass of shadows, while the band stands highlighted on stage. The standouts in all this are the instruments themselves—the series features prominent close-ups of them as they're played, and these are easily the most detailed of any models in the show, looking only a step below lifelike. Combine that with the music itself, and the atmosphere that's created is one that's pretty true to the spirit of what rock concerts really are: Total mayhem on every sensory level, but strangely fulfilling on some deeper emotional undercurrent. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Beck also has some moments where the art direction takes on a softer, more emotional role, and these can be surprisingly powerful. A glimpse of the moon while two singers pour their hearts into a song only they can hear, or an image of a friend walking away through a layer of slowly falling snow—these are effective and poignant ways to convey emotion visually, without any need for explanation or narration.
I must admit that I went into Beck not knowing what to expect, but in the end it was a wholly satisfying experience that pleasantly surprised me on every level. Beck is an exemplary drama, where subtlety and a sense of quiet, realistic understatement are used to great effect.
Before I begin I'd like to say beck was a good anime, and you can find several reviews here to give you a plethora of good reasons to watch it; or determine if it isn't your cup of tea. Instead of reviewing every aspect of the show, I'm going to review what I consider the "romantic" aspect. Keep in mind, Beck first and foremost is an anime about the band, and is not centered around romance. However even in non-romance stories, I find that if there is a romance it can be important to how I perceive the show and even play a big
factor in determining if I enjoy it. So if romance is important to you, I hope I can help. [Note: while there may be some minor spoilers, I'm going to try my best to keep it spoiler free]
Everything starts off well enough. Koyuki is likeable and at the very first episode it seems like his friend Izumi is going to play an important role in his life. And shortly afterwards we're introduced to Maho, the younger sister of Ryusuke (the lead guitarist/founding member of beck). And though Izumi gets a bit left out, we get to see some good development with Maho. I'd say really in the first 12 episodes BECK looks like it could development into drama with a romantic plot. Koyuki and Maho even share a kiss in ep.11 (though influenced a bit by a small wager from an earlier episode). Then the very next episode Izumi comes back, and I'll say this: I hate in anime how often silly misunderstandings can be the reasons for major plot developments. What I love about what BECK does here is that even though there might be a bit of a misunderstanding that happens, the thoughts and intentions of the characters come through over it.
And just when I think things are going to start getting good, BECK really tones it down. Maho is still around, and it's pretty obvious she and Koyuki like one another...but not a lot is ever happening. And I think it never really becomes enough a priority for Koyuki, or for Maho really either. While the buildup was pretty good, and the anime ended well enough, I felt like it left a lot of potential hanging (at least for a romantic plot). For every brief moment of potential romantic drama, or scene with Maho and Koyuki actually developing (towards each other), there's practically an eternity. I wanted more. But it never really came. It had sparks, but it never caught fire.
BECK was a very fun show to watch, and while the buildup of the first half kinda fizzles out in the 2nd, it's still there. The ending in terms of romance, though short, was very enjoyable and happy, and I was pleased to see that it did matter somewhat at the end. However, BECK is primarily about the band; and that shines through in every aspect of the show and it's characters. Iif you want a little romance, there's a bit here. Not a ton. But enough to keep me (and hopefully you) happy.