Tuesday, June 9, 2009

BECK: Mongolian Chop Squad

Tanaka Yukio, better known by his nickname Koyuki is a 14 year old who feels disconnected from life in general. Through the act of saving a mismatched dog, he meets guitarist Minami Ryuusuke, and becomes involved in Ryuusuke's new band BECK. Koyuki's life starts to change as the band struggles towards fame. Source: AnimeNewsNetwork.com
Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket

If anyone was to ask me what slice-of-life really meant. I would tell them to watch BECK. Not only does it have a great realistic and inspiring story but it doesn’t get tainted with “god mode”-like talent or miraculous against all odd success. To me, BECK is the absolute definition of how a slice-of-life anime should be like.

Every episode made progress in the storyline. What feels like a slow pacing at the beginning of the series will build up to be a superb story. Story seemed a little too slow pace for my liking initially, and felt like my interest was swaying as the anime didn’t give me anything to bit on. But all doubts were blown away at episode 10. One of the most interesting points for me was to see after every gig how far the band has improved. Even the songs the band played felt better with each passing Live session gig.
Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket

Every character was well developed. They each had their distinct personalities and traits and made the anime BECK feel the way it is as a whole. Koyuki who is bored with his mundane life. Izumi, the popular girl that everyone has their hearts on. Ryuusuke, the lead with mysterious charm. And many others as the anime progresses. Do allow me to over-exaggerate but none of the characters were dispensable at all. Hmm… Well… probably Tanabe, Koyuki’s friend, could have been cut off. Lol! Don’t really like him anyway. :p
To even incorporate Koyuki’s mom without exploring her character. That way, I knew that Koyuki’s mom wasn’t going to play a role but instead, her being there helps develop the background Koyuki comes from. Not bad at all. Eiji from the rival band however, was just conveniently there to play the villain role. I guess there just weren’t enough episodes to go around seeing how well every other character was well explored.

Really like it when the anime constantly shows Koyuki practicing guitar in his room. The different chords doesn’t make it feel repetitive and it strengthen the images I perceive that Koyuki works his ass off on the guitar instead of disappearing for an episode or 2 and comes back later with a sudden burst of talent. Another point of how realistic BECK feels.
Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket

Animation seems like a cool combination of having both simple and detailed character designs. The cool combo feels really fresh. Character movements both on and off the stage was also fluid. Sweet!
Opening theme is definitely l33t! First listen and I was tapping my feet and drumming my table to the tune. As for the songs in the episode itself, it is not the type that will get you tapping on the first go. Give it a bit more time, and it will definitely grow on you. Most songs I shunned off during the first half of the series turned out to be my favorite by the end of it. I think the songs were slightly over-emphasized though. It’s like the anime wanted viewers to focus on the songs so much that they forgot to make it blend well with the scene.
Lol! Surprisingly, the English used by Ryuusuke, Maho, and some other characters were exceptionally good. There was a scene when Koyuki was telling Ryuusuke about how he really feels about Maho. The anime muted that part. I think that was a very nice move which really made the following scenes felt intense, keeping you in suspense as to what Koyuki’s decision really was.
Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket

Episode 1 shows the lead feeling his mundane life. Animation at this point feels minimalistic. Artwork using a clean outline and nothing too detailed. I love the color fillings, single toned with simple shadows. Maho Minami is the roXxOrs! Lol!
The language barrier presented in episode 3 wasn’t just something mentioned for the sake of creating content. It did play into something of serious significance later on as their relationship deepens. And since when did they teach wrestling history in school? Lol!
Episode 8 starts a little romance conflict involving Koyuki. If there was a moment I have been waiting for since the last 9 episodes, episode 10 would be it. If you couldn’t sit through the slow (and possibly boring to some) pace of the first 9 episodes, you are not worthy of the episodes that follows. That’s the message I felt.
What in the world happened to the first half of episode 13? The animation sucked terribly. It’s great that as the series continue, characters really start showing their human flaws. Even Maho Minami was just human after all. The series does build to have a greater plot later in the series though, which I think slightly tilts the anime away from the slice-of-life but really gives it a boost in terms of excitement.
I like how the romance during the middle of the series played a very significant role towards Koyuki’s development but didn’t over shadow the main plot which is the band.
If only fans during the final Greatful Sound performance were not repetitive scenes. That will really get the mood going.
Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket

BECK: Mongolian Chop Squad
Rating: 5-Stars
Torrents: A-E


  1. one of my favourite series..still have the soundtrack on repeat in winamp..the only thing missing is a great ending...will have to do a review of it myself..nice job

  2. Mine too! Lol! Full Moon Sways still give me goosebumps every now and then.

    Now that you mention it, the ending does feel a bit rushed. Probably wanted to have an Open Ending and left the rest to the viewers. Lol!