Beck: Mongolian Chop Squad- Slice of Life + Music = High Entertainment Value

Elric-san
I am a huge fan of rock music. I listen to classic rock, alternative rock, etc. So Beck: Mongolian Chop Squad (or just Beck) is an anime that was made for me. I'd been meaning to watch this for a long time, but never got around to it. But then my mother bought the complete series and I watched it with her and my sister. Was it worth the wait? Let's find out.
Beck follows the story of Yukio "Koyuki" Tanaka, a 14 year old junior high student who feels like he has been wasting his life away. But when he saves a young man's dog, his whole life changes. You see, this young man, Ryuske Minami, is part of a band. Once Koyuki starts getting into it, he gets a guitar and becomes a musician himself. The story is quite good. It does well in developing the character of Koyuki and the progression of creating the band Beck. The pacing, however, is very slow. This could be viewed as a problem, but in my opinion, it develops the story more intricately by being so slow. It shows the processes of becoming a band, the music industry, band breakups, everything you can think of, and it really works.
The characters might be bland to some, but I think that they are all written well. Koyuki is your average high school student who really develops when Beck is formed. He becomes a helpful, kind kid, but admittedly, he is a little bland. Ryuske, the lead guitarist of Beck, is smarmy, sarcastic and hot headed. He's a very fun character, even if he can make stupid decisions. Chiba, the lead singer, is just hilarious. He has random outbursts of many emotions, and just has such passion and energy when on stage. Taira, the bassist, and Saku, the drummer, however, have absolutely no character whatsoever. Then there's Maho, Ryuske's sister, and my favorite character. She has the same attitude as Ryuske, but is a bit gentler when it comes to Koyuki, and is just fun to watch. Some of the minor characters are entertaining, too, but most are just there and one is just annoying as hell. Overall, though, the characters are very entertaining.
The animation, however, is a different story. I mean, it's not horrible, but it's not great, either. This was before the age of digital animation, so of course the quality won't be spectacular. But a lot of scenes just have the same motions on replay, and the character designs are quite inconsistent. It does get better when bands are performing at concerts, though.
The audio is a bit tricky. On the one hand, the dub has excellent voice acting and singing (who knew Greg Ayres and Brina Palencia had such great singing voices?), but Maho and Ryuske are from America, so they speak English in certain scenes, but the subtext is removed completely. It's not too noticeable, but it might bother some. The Japanese also has great singing, but in the aforementioned scenes where characters have to speak English (or in this case, Engrish), the acting is horrible and cringeworthy. In my opinion, the dub is your best bet.
Beck is a wonderful music/slice of life series that many love. It might have been overshadowed by anime like K-On! and Nana, but it is an anime that any music fan should watch. Some may find it boring, but for those who can handle a slow pace, this is something that shouldn't be missed.

Comments

Nice review. - ModernSpongeBobSucks

Thanks. - Elric-san

Hey, great review. Even though I like the manga more, I have to say that you gotta watch the anime to listen to the songs. But my opinion differs from your preferance in dub. I think that the characters’ half-baked English makes it more enjoyable watching them try so hard speaking it, especially Tanaka and Chiba in the latter parts.
Anyways, awesome review, you should make these more often. - Undistinguished

Thanks. - Elric-san

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