One of the greatest anime series of all time, a perfect joy!
Jan 31, 2010
I had mixed feelings about this show after I finished watching it last night; on one hand it isn't a perfect series and has some really obvious flaws that kept popping up over and over again. On the other hand those flaws seemed rather insignificant when compared to the overall quality of the show. Docking this show a star because of those flaws almost felt like taking a star away from Cowboy Bebop because ED was an unrealistic character. I mean, who cares?
Beck is undoubtedly one of the most entertaining shows I've ever seen. Apart from Cowboy Bebop I don't think I've ever seen an anime that was as much fun as this one was. It has a lot in common with Bebop in fact; both share similar strengths (although Bebop doesn't really have a weakness and Beck does), namely great characters and soundtrack.
Kyukee is a middle school boy meandering through life without a sense of purpose. He, like many his age, lacks anything to be passionate about or any real hope for the future. That all changes one day when he runs into an ugly mutt named Beck and his owner, Ryuskee, who introduces him to the world of rock and teaches him how to play guitar. From that point on Kyukee is a driven young man who spends his every waking moment honing his skills. Ryuskee meanwhile has just broken up with his old band and is on the lookout to form the perfect band. The end result is Beck, or the Mongolian Chop Squad as it's known in America.
The music is far and away the best part about this show. If Beck were a real band, I'd probably be a fan, and you can bet that I'm going to buy the soundtrack for this show. From the soft melody "Full Moon Rises" to more hardcore rocker songs like "Typhoon" (which was a bit silly with its whole "Typhoon twenty four, twenty four seven" lines but it sounded great) almost every song is amazing; which helps disguise the limited animation it had. It even defeats Bebops jazz music, a shocker I know considering how amazing Bebops music is, but I honestly think Beck has it beat, at least if you like rock music. Otherwise I'd skip this show completely. This is a show you'll want to watch in English, and trust me the dub is as great as any show out there. The mouths don't match the words when their singing (so it's like watching a Godzilla movie almost) but that's a small price to pay for the great music you'll get.
At times during the show it annoyed me that when the bands were playing they wouldn't play the whole song and would stop them mid way through. Well don't let this bother you too much because each volume has its own music video with the complete song just for your listening pleasure.
Along with the music the characters are the second best part of this show, with my favorite being the lead singer, Cheeva. No matter what kind of person you are there will be someone in this show you'll be able to love. Tiara the bass player who's really quiet and introspective, the crazy and charming older friend to Kyukee (sorry, can't remember his name right now), it doesn't matter; most of the main characters are great. But there is also a problem with the characters; there are too many and lots of them don't play any special role or add anything to the overall story. Many characters that are important in the opening volumes suddenly disappear later on, leaving the viewers wondering just what happened to them. A lot of back story is put into some of these characters and a lot if time is invested into them only to have them dropped completely. Izumi is a good example. During the first volume she serves as a love interest for Kyukee and takes up a lot of time, which led me to think she would play an important role during the rest of the show. That wasn't the case however. After the second volume she only made one more brief appearance and its one of those blink and you'll miss it kind of deals. Another character that didn't make much sense was Hiro, who apparently was yet ANOTHER love interest for Kyukee, to go along with Izumi and Mahoo (Ryuskee's younger sister who's also fourteen). Her character didn't do anything during the show, didn't make the main characters grow at all, and really didn't do anything, and yet a lot of time is invested into her. Why? Why bother dropping an already well established character and introducing anther one? Some characters play really important roles yet only show up a handful of times; others play an insignificant role and yet show up almost every episode. Now what's the deal with that?
Also one more oddity I found was the age of all the characters. Kyukee is only fourteen years old at the beginning of the show, while the older members of the band are sixteen, and yet there is no sign of any parents, they act as if they were much older, and are even allowed into bars. The absence of parents was a bit unusual because you'd hear Kyukee's mother all the time and yet you'd never actually see her and she'd never do anything. She never even went to hear him sing. This was probably done on purpose but it was still a bit weird. If all the characters involved were just two years older all those problems would have been solved, but as it was I couldn't help but remember that even the most mature characters in this show are three years younger then me.
It might sound like I didn't like the show, but I really did and it's probably one of my favorites, but I have to point out its flaws for those thinking about buying it. It's a great show, with amazing music and some really great characters. It's very similar to Bebop in so many ways, and yet has some flaws that I could not ignore. Overall it's a great show though and I could not recommend it enough.
Pros. -Great rock music. -Some really interesting characters. -The best dub since Cowboy Bebop. -Very funny at times.
Cons. -Characters are too young, there are too many of them, and many great ones are dropped while the bad ones are kept on.
Replay Value; EXTREMELY high.
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About the reviewer
Jonathan J.D. Lane (A1CJonathanLane)
I am a member of the US Air Force and presently serve overseas at RAF Mildenhall about three hours north of London. I grew up in Pappilion Nebraska and Crestview Florida, but since joining the Air Force … more
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