Creator: Harold Sakuishi
Genre: Drama, Music
Length: 26 Episodes
+ J-Rock goodness
+ Oodles of rock references
+ Well-paced story
Occasional "Engrish" dialogue
This is a must see series for fans of J-Rock. The tunes are so good that you'll catch yourself playing air guitar to the beats when you least expect it. It may be a bit more difficult to bear for non-fans of rock and roll, but music aside, Beck should not be an anime to pass up.
4.5 out of 5 · Highly Recommended
Beck Anime Review
Written by: Raye on 5/19/2006
Making it big is the dream of every band. Beck tells the story of an unknown Japanese band by the same name attempting
to become renowned in America. At first, Tanaka Yuki, also known as Koyuki, had just been a bored high school
student with no particular interest in anything. By chance, he saves a peculiar looking dog from the harassment
of some troublesome kids. While the odd dog may not have been so very kind towards Koyuki's good deed, his owner,
a guitarist by the name of Ryuusuke Minami befriends Koyuki as a result.
One night, Koyuki is invited to watch Ryuusuke play a gig. Upon seeing Ryuusuke's talent, Koyuki becomes inspiried to learn how to play the guitar. His hard work and dedication leads up to him joining Ryuusuke in a newly formed band with their sights set on taking Japan by storm. Alongside the outspoken vocalist Chiba, famous yet reserved bassist Taira, and Koyuki's pal Saku acting as the drummer, they form a group that does just that. They are known as Beck.
The storyline is a great deal more interesting than it seems to be. It's simplistic in the sense that Beck is striving to become famous, but the gigs performed, people met, and challenges that arise make the show worth watching. Beck is all about rooting for the underdogs. The plot twists work very well in building up drama around the storyline while allowing the characters to become more than just a bunch of musicians. Each episode never ends on a dull note and will call upon the viewer to demand what happens next. It is especially a pleasure to watch episodes featuring music content because the series does such a great job in hyping up all of Beck's performances. The pacing is done very well with each episode going at a rate that won't leave anyone confused once it's over. Nothing about the storyline is overly complicated or beyond the normal level of comprehension. Beck's story won't rattle your brain. Everything is very straightforward without the hassle of guessing or making up answers.
The short amount of time it takes him to excel at the guitar is absolutely impressive and definitely inspiring to those who may have given up their hopes on learning how to play. The first time he is allowed to sing as the lead vocalist in front of a live audience is an unforgettable moment in the series. On the other hand, Ryuusuke is a total enigma, which may be a turn-off for some. His cool and calm character is already developed from the first episode, but his past is a total mystery. The truth about his guitar and dog Beck remain unknown for a lengthy amount of time and finally becomes a part of the storyline once the band becomes a little more established.
The only negative aspect of the series concerns the voices used. Beck features a lot of English-speaking folk, whether they be a bunch of thugs on vacation or rock stars from the States. It really wouldn't have hurt if the production team hired more native English speakers rather than having Japanese voice actors attempt to speak the language. It's rather difficult to understand what they are saying sometimes; words are mispronounced and bad grammar is mixed in. A character like Koyuki can't speak English because he's a Japanese student who has never traveled abroad, but for someone like Ryuusuke, a guy who has had lived in America for a while, it's a darn shame that his English has to be so wretched. The decision made by the people in charge of the series is understandable since it would be awkward if Ryuusuke's voice changed whenever he switched languages. Then again, when Koyuki sings, his voice undergoes a drastic change. It's definitely not his voice actor who's doing the work, that's for sure.
Beck is a superb anime that heavily focuses on rock on roll, combining its history and culture into the show. The "zero to hero" transition works quite nicely and the characters are adequately developed enough to grow fond of them. Viewers may have a laugh at the poor English of all the characters who attempt to speak the language, but looking beyond their mispronunciation is something that must be overcome by an English-speaking audience. Another thing that calls for acceptance is the music aspect of Beck. The music is perhaps the best thing about the series. Those who are new to the world of anime and aren't very keen about Japanese music, or any type of rock music, will most likely be a bit hesitant towards Beck. By all means, give the show a try. Who knows; your musical taste might change after watching this show.
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