Yukio "Koyuki" Tanaka wasted away his middle school days listening to Japanese pop music and apathetically trudging through life—until a casual run-in with the enigmatic guitarist Ryuusuke "Ray" Minami. Through this encounter, Koyuki realizes what he has been missing all this time as Ray introduces him to western rock music and jumpstarts his desire to play guitar.
Although various struggles plague his path to rock fame, Koyuki refuses to abandon the passion that gave his life purpose, balancing it together with school, work, and friends. Beck tells the story of the love and trial that accompanies pursuing a professional career in music as Koyuki and Ray work toward realizing the guitarist's dream of the ultimate band.
Beck won the 26th Kodansha Manga Award in a tie alongside Sakigake!! Cromartie Koukou for Best Shounen Manga in 2002. A promotional soundtrack, titled Greatful Sound: Tribute to Beck, featuring several different artists performing songs from the manga was released on November 15, 2002. A live-action film adaptation directed by Yukihiko Tsutsumi was released nationwide in theaters on September 10, 2010, which received the Japan Academy Prize for Outstanding Achievement in Music.
The series was published in English as BECK: Mongolian Chop Squad. Due to their license expiring, Tokyopop only published 12 volumes from July 12, 2005 to June 10, 2008.
I began reading this manga after marathoning the anime adaptation over two days and finding myself left wanting more, as the anime ended all too quickly for my liking.
Beck follows the life of 14 year old Tanaka Yukio (Koyuki to his friends) as he grows from a shy, directionless teenager (with terrible taste in music) into an ambitious young musician. After a chance meeting with talented guitarist Minami Ryusuke, his life starts to change and gather momentum as he discovers music's ability to affect people. He begins to learn the guitar, and there is the budding romance with Ryusuke's sister, Maho. He joins
Ryusuke's band, Beck, and the series follows the band's struggle to achieve success, both in Japan and the rest of the world. Because this is predominantly a slice of life style manga, many of the minutiae of Koyuki's and Beck's day to day life are covered, but the manga spans 5-6 years, which allows the various characters and their relationships to properly develop. The one aspect of the story I felt should have been developed a bit more was Maho and Yukio's relationship, it was very well done when it came up, but I think it should have been given a bit more development over the course of the manga.
Sakuishi Harold has a fairly distinctive art style in Beck, which I found a refreshing change from much of the overly disproportioned characters found in many manga and anime. I thought his more realistic style perfectly suited the realistic tone of the manga. His full page frames of the band's performances perfectly captured the spirit of a 'live', and were a personal highlight in the artwork of this manga.
In a manga of this length (both in chapters and period of time covered) there is real space to develop and flesh out both the main and some of the supporting characters. Koyuki's character develops beautifully over the course of the series, from an apathetic teenager into a determined young man. The other characters don't develop in the same fashion, Ryusuke's background is fleshed out and provides much of the conflict in the series, and while more time could have been spent developing the rest of the band members, especially Saku and Taira, they all have their moments during the series which give them real depth.
As I said at the start, I read this manga after finishing the anime adaptation and found myself wanting more. This was the first time I have watched an anime and then gone on to read the manga, as well as one of the first manga I have read, and I was unsure if I would be able to enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed watching it. Turns out there was nothing to worry about, and I even rate the manga higher than the anime, predominantly because I feel the story reaches a much more satisfying conclusion.
To anyone who loved the anime, I thouroughly recommend reading the manga, as it has everything the anime had, as well as a complete storyline. I would also recommend this to anyone who is a fan of rock, or music in general, as it is the only series I have come across that deals with music in such an in depth and genuine way.
Best read with the OST playing in the background, just like this review.
The complete lack of motivation, the dull cycle of everyday life.. an average boy with average grades, average looks, average friends and a very average life. This is the story about that average boy and how he decides to make something out of it, transforming it, taking control of it, and discovering who he is as a person and who he can ultimately be. BECK, at its very core, is not a series about music, but a very well-done coming-of-age tale of a boy's journey through self-discovery.
The story follows Koyuki, the protagonist, and his band-mates, as they work to launch themselves into rock 'n' roll
stardom. The story of BECK is special, for the simple reason that it (generally) depicts the road to gain fame as a prominent band very realistically. It shows that just because you have a sweet voice and some crazy guitarist does not mean you will skyrocket into the music scene and gain a legion of fans. There is much more work to do, finding a good manager, producer, and establishing good connections and making sure not to make the wrong enemies just to name some.
Another prominent element of the story is the romantic relationship between Koyuki and Maho, this is where the melodrama accumulates in this story, some of the incidents are just too coincidental and it feels as if they are happening just for the sake of creating melodrama. Melodrama is fine, but the relationship becomes very predictable and boring by the end.
The main storyline, thankfully, knows how to deliver the drama correctly and it can really get to you sometimes. It's unpredictable, it feels real, and that's what makes it great. The characters can be celebrating on one page only to have tempers rise in the next. Tidal waves of drama and emotions between the characters in this manga is what ultimately makes the story such a good one.
On a side note, this manga is packed with fanservice. No, not as in panty-shots or anything perverted, but as in its references to popular music. Koyuki and the band travel from the grave of Jimi Hendrix to Abbey Road Studio, and with chapter covers filled with endless homages to album covers and bands, and backgrounds packed with references. There is even a dream containing all the deceased big name rock stars. It makes the series even a bit more fun to read.
Like a lot of manga series, the art starts out a bit shaky but eventually gains ground and becomes more defined as the series progresses. Backgrounds are carefully done, if not just for the author's love to add music references into them. What I liked a lot about the art is that the author takes notice to the character's growth, the manga covers around five years and the author makes sure as to show that through the character's height, hair length etc.
This is the central focus of the series, and what makes it so enjoyable. Sakuishi fleshes out all the band members very well and they're just simply very easy to relate to and three dimensional. Readers will all find a bit of themselves in the members of BECK; from the rash hotheadedness of Chiba, to the lack of faith in oneself sometimes found in Koyuki, or the aggressiveness of Ryusuke.
Another thing about the characters that works so well is that so many different personalities are all packed into one cast, and it makes character interaction fun to read and interesting. Koyuki is the soft-spoken, well-meaning but sometimes misunderstood vocalist/guitarist, backed up by his kind and selfless drummer friend Saku; while lead vocalist Chiba is determined to prove himself and loudmouthed, matched only by the blunt, enigmatic, and sometimes troubled lead guitarist Ryusuke. All four of them being balanced by the cool-headed and collective bass player, Taira. Throw this clash of personalities together and you're in for a hell of a ride.
The rest of the cast is pretty colorful too, but some feel out of place and I sometimes have a hard time imagining what's their purpose is in this story and why they were introduced in the first place. Of course the majority of the non-BECK cast is very intriguing and fun. From the intimidating Leon Sykes, to the charismatic Eddie Lee to the sheer assholery of Ran, the useful cast far than makes up for the uselessness of characters such as Saito, Sayaka and Izumi, who are there, really, for bad reasons or no reason at all. One loses all significance after the beginning chapters, another one is a plot device used to poof up more melodrama, and the final one seems like an early character that was scrapped from the story by the editor.
Very enjoyable, but some subplots are unnecessary and can get tiring, and one has to question why pages would be spent talking about Kurt Cobain besides the author getting a bit too self-indulgent. But overall this series is a fucking pleasure, you read and read and before you know it, it's already over. When the manga gets good, it is addictive.
This is a great coming-of-age series about a boy's discovery of a passion for music he never knew he had, the importance of friends and values and how not to lose yourself in the midst of fame and recognition. The story is well-written, and exciting; only to be occasionally dragged down by some irritating subplots. The characters, however, are well worth reading this series for. Hell, just read it because it's a great series in general. So if you want less Bankai's, or Sharingan Arms, and more real life drama and struggles, or just something more down to earth, read this.
At the first I watch Beck's anime by chance and when I loved the anime and when it's come to end I quickly jumped to manga and read it with an enthusiasm cuz it was an overwhelming joyable story.This manga is one of my favourites and here's my review...
This story centered about Tanaka Yukio(Koyuki) and the band named Beck(Mongolian Chop Squad).The story starts slowly with main characters acrossed each other and slowly developed but strong friendships and not too much but enjoyable love parts.Even if it's a manga about music life and even it's music's part was great/awesome/amazing the relation parts was the most effectives
on me and I enjoyed it till the end.
Every character in this manga have it's own attractiveness about it(main/supporting doesn't matter).I love this manga cuz you can find a character to bond yourself to him/her.This is important cuz if you cant bond your toughts to an anime/manga you can't enjoy it fullfilly(atleast that's what I think).
The drawing was good and fit for manga's reading age gap.Atleast I can say Sakuishi Harold did a great job in this manga's drawings.(I wrote but I don't find right for writting about drawings cuz every people has his/her own taste so it doesn't matter how it's drow)
There is nothing much to say I already say over and over this manga full of enjoy ;D
In The End:
It's a manga worthy of reading(i didn't mean when u bored you can read this,this manga will be your best enjoy treasure when u read it ^^)and I know if you read this manga because of me you will thank me(don't think bad :D)cuz when my friend lend me this manga and after I finished it I was really thankful to that guy for letting me enjoy this kind of pleasure...
''If you have never been at the bottom, you can't get to the top. If you've never lost hope, you can't understand what's truly important.''
Ahh, BECK. After rewatching anime two times, i finally gave BECK manga a shot. I don't regret one bit. The story in manga goes 70 chapters onward. Everyone who has watched anime and wants to know what happens with our loved characters afterwards should give this manga a try, too.
And if you don't know anything about this story - think about this: Have you ever wondered what would it feel like to be in a band? If you ever wish
to find out, BECK would be your choice. I've seen quite many anime and manga already and this is one of the best among, really.
~The story starts with a boy who doesn't have a goal in his life. One day he meets a very strange stitched up dog and its mysterious owner. That meeting has an important meaning to his days onward. Our main character Koyuki and the readers of the manga get introduced to the music world.~
The thing you learn most of it is that going through a hard path is something that gives you the best results. Don't give up and just go forward! Be true to yourself! That kind of stories are one of the best ones because they can leave an impact in your life as well.
Something i also noticed was that when you are nice to your enemies it can even be more effective than just having a fight with them.
For example, when someone says something insulting to you and you reply like Koyuki: '' Still, you are one of the best i know because ..'' or
''But, you are excellent at what you are doing..'' etc it can actually make the other person think of what he/she said wrong to you. It's weird but it works!
So overall 10/10,
STORY was truly a masterpiece, nicely wrapped into 103 chapters, which 33 first chapters you can see in anime.
A hard path where something good can't always be on top. Something that is always on top is not always the best. Good things, bad things happen but in the end you need to believe in yourself and give it your best to make something amazing happen. It really makes you interested in music. Not to mention, this manga is the perfect example of showing why anything that is ''popular'' isn't always the best. Usually the real gems are hidden somewhere below the surface.
''Sometimes the greatest trial can lead to the greatest success.''
ART what i truly liked is how you can see characters grow, change as they mature. There are so many manga and anime where characters look the same for years, I'm happy BECK isn't one of them. This just shows how close to real life can sometimes story be.
CHARACTERS are one of the best parts of this. You will start to like every character in their own way. Its how different people make up a great group.
''I'll follow my own inspiration. It's okay for a person to have a different way of living.'' - Koyuki
Koyuki was just too good for the world he lived in ; Ryusuke was so called the ''bad boy'' who got all the girls and got into deep ****; Taira was a collected person and the most mature one. He had really nice skills. He followed by his own instincts not how others told him to (i think i want try out bass guitar one day because of him hehe); Chiba was that mambo-jambo drunken kung-fu panda - anyways, very charismatic and funny character; Yuji - always smiling, growing talent, close relative to Takeshi from Pokemon - never opened his eyes, except one chapter but I was not sure if it was him. Maho was interesting female lead, really excentric, something that you don't see in every story.
ENJOYMENT I'm not sure if I'll enjoy any other manga or anime like I enjoyed this one. Those face-drawings they made were just hilarious. And those city ''parkours'' when Koyuki was in hurry to somewhere and a cop was chasing him. Also that great sensation which not many stories give -
I think that is what makes this manga great - that unexplainable feeling of reading something nice that you won't regret. I think it's the power of band. Of a group. You feel like you are there, with them and never wishing to leave! This was just so great!
I think the questions that anime left unanswered were:
Why did that dog look so weird? Because hey, that dog looked really weird..
What was it about the dream they all saw?
.. Beck was a silly name but if you decide to read this manga you will find out why it was perfect for them.
Growing up is often rife with events that end up shaping who you become. Sure, most people's formative years aren't as exciting as how they're portrayed in these Coming-of-Age anime, but check these ones out and you might (momentarily) forget about how much you missed out on! Hooray for anime!