+ Good pace and drama
+ Detailed artwork
+ Funny rock parody images
Too much development early on
4 out of 5 · Highly Recommended
Beck: Mongolian Chop Squad Manga Review
Written by: Karthon
Tanaka Yukio led a boring average school-life until one day, he met Ryusuke.
Ryusuke was a wild 16 year-old, living on the edge with very little respect for the rules.
Though Tanaka was afraid of him, he couldn't deny Ryusuke's mysterious charm and found himself drawn to Ryusuke. Soon afterwards, he learns that Ryusuke is a guitar player, and goes to watch one of his performances. Inspired by the spectacle, Tanaka begins to learn to play the guitar.
Over time, Ryusuke's band breaks up due to differences in direction and Ryusuke begins recruiting for a new band. Despite Tanaka's effort, he doesn't have much talent for the guitar and is looked over by Ryusuke. After pleading with Ryusuke, he finally gives in and lets Tanaka join the band, as a backup guitarist. Now they have Ryusuke as lead guitarist, Yuji as drummer, Eiji as bassist, and Chiba as the rapper front-man of the band "Beck". But despite the obvious connection between the members of the band, they're still lacking unity until the day that Tanaka sings. His incredible vocal presence pulls the band together and begins propelling them to the top. But along the way they'll have to suffer many set backs as it seems like powerful individuals in the music industry have a history with Ryusuke. Will Tanaka be able to keep the band from shattering under the pressure? Will Beck ever be able to truly break out?
This series is quite dramatic, and at some points, over the top. Yet for the most part the story flows along at a decent pace, and the drama makes the band's chemistry all that more powerful. The characters are very well fleshed out, full of realistic character flaws and elaborate back-stories, which actually play a role in the current story. Both the friction and ties between them evolve constantly based on their interactions, as opposed to outside pressures. This is very different from most mangas where the characters are changed by their environments rather than each other. Some readers may not like this, but I enjoyed the change of pace.
The background art is mostly blank or shades, with only a few highly detailed backgrounds. This is actually done well, because the blank backgrounds allow to reader to focus on the very distinctive and detailed character art of the characters in those panes. Meanwhile, the detailed backgrounds just serve to show that the story has either changed in time or place. Personally, I'm not a huge fan of the character art-style but I will admit it works very well and is very detailed. Over time it grew on me to a certain extent but it's very different from your proto-typical manga art, for better or for worse.
I would have given this a higher score but the story's first few volumes have too much development and not enough actual plot progression so it's difficult to keep interested. If you can make it to the formation of Beck, you're in for a treat.
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