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Genres: Shonen, Comedy, Music
Author: Harold Sakuishi
Artist: Harold Sakuishi
Publication: Gekkan Magazine
Start Date: February 17th, 2000
End Date: N/A
Number of chapters at review: 99 (raw)
Number of chapters read by reviewer: 93 (Scanlated)
General Overview: Yukio, known by his friends as "Koyuki", is a regular 14-year-old Japanese boy who enters junior high school with two childhood acquaintances. One is now a useless pervert, and ironically the other is a highly sought after female student. Koyuki's boring life is changed when he saves an odd-looking dog, named Beck, from some kids. Beck's owner turns out to be an emerging rock musician, Ryûsuke Minami, who soon influences Koyuki to start playing the guitar, and even gives one to him.
The story focuses on the trials and tribulations of their rock band, BECK, and an important plot that deals with Koyuki's relationship with Ryûsuke's sister, Maho.
Koyuki, who was plagued by his boring existence, gradually matured through experiences with the band and began to discover who he really was.
Category Ratings: (1-10 scale)
Harold's art style is very fresh. You can tell right away that he draws inspiration from more than just Japanese styles. Every panel is overflowing with emotion, and the detail Harold puts into each page ensures that you never miss a single one. The art changes slightly through the course of the manga, but still retains the basic style.
This is where BECK really shines. BECK is such a breath of fresh air . There are no super powers. There are no supervillains. BECK feels real. It's down to Earth. Seriously - it's a manga about MUSIC. About a band and their trials - their struggles. The beautiful thing about it being a music manga is that you can imagine the bands to sound however you'd like. It leaves a lot to your imagination, and that's a good thing, in my opinion. Of course, you could just watch the anime if you want to hear it.
Beck has a great cast. From the timid but talented Koyuki, to the brash and serious Ryusuke, to the dangerous business-like demeanor of Leon Sykes and Victor Slater, the characters will never let you down. While a lot of the characters develop and change drastically, some stay the same, like Ryusuke and Taira, but, hey, would you honestly want them to change?
Finding love. Finding bonds. Finding your passion in life. Finding yourself. Oh, and fucking sweet rock music. What's not to like?
How many other manga out there are like what I've described so far? Not many. Not many, indeed.
BECK is just a great experience overall. It is, hands down, my favorite manga. Beck will never wimp out on you. It will never dissapoint you. There are no "fight chapters" or anything like that.... things you typically find in a shonen manga. Every chapter brings something new, and is 100% story-oriented. You'll laugh. You'll cry. You'll be moved.
Want to get away from the super powers, rescue arcs, "who has the bigger blast" situations, and all of that jazz? BECK is for you. I garuntee you'll like it.
You can find all of the volumes on #lurk and you can find the newest chapters on my group's (Phase 3's) website, as linked in my sig.
If you haven't started BECK yet, start NOW!
Last edited by Luckas; April 14, 2008 at 11:52 AM.
An excellent review of one of my favourite Manga, which I'm intending to re-read from the start again now. I would say though that the art is something of a "grower", rather like One Piece, it put me off a little at first but then quickly became one of my favourite aspects of the series.
Thanks also to Phase 3 and to yourself for scanlations.
I started reading Beck after reading your review. And you're absolutely right, this manga is great and didn't disappoint me one bit. I'm just a little sad that it was finished. But the ending was great, so I have nothing to complain. Thank you for a great review.
this was an amazing manga i wish there was more
great review you are completely right
This Anime is awesome and special <3 ...
He has a good BGM's, Good Person's BTW is a good Slice of Life.
But Beck in manga suck's, is awful, the graphics are ... (No Comment xD) and not have sound xP
Art (and art analysis) is one of my weaker subjects, but I found Beck's artwork to be exceptionally well done. I was particularly impressed by how the characters visually developed over the years as they aged and grew into themselves.
It's also funny that you mention not having a soundtrack as a disadvantage. Personally, I think audible music would completely ruin Beck for me. One of the extraordinarily interesting aspects of this series is that it focuses on such a unique subject matter: the music industry. As a result, the bands' musical performances are an integral part of this manga. It's up to us, the reader, to imagine what things sound like, how they develop, etc... For example, I've always vaguely imagined Dying Breed, the artistic, tasteful, indie-ish group gone mainstream, as sounding something like Nirvana mixed with Pearl Jam, all combined with Radiohead's industry style. Powergate, the profanity-slinging hard rock type, has always reminded me of Godsmack fused with one of the many metal/we're-so-hard-and-badass groups that I find so ridiculous. And then there's Beck, the title band. I'm sure we all have our own unique interpretations of how they might sound.
Basically, music is a huge part of this series. And that's why it's so important that there not be a soundtrack. From the manga's descriptions, we get these ideas in our head of how things develop, what they sound like, etc... Putting actual music, probably J-Pop, and saying that this is what Beck or Dying Breed ACTUALLY sounds like would totally ruin this series for me. I'd also imagine it would lose a lot of its appeal towards many audience members. After all, you can use words and imagery to describe a type of music that everyone might like. But we all have different tastes and no one band could satisfy all the Beck readers.
Plus there's no way some anime studio could get bands good enough to match my imagination. Dying Breed is supposed to have international critical acclaim and is the Radiohead of this manga world. Even Beck, a rising indie band, gets ridiculously good. How on EARTH could an anime company produce original music of that caliber? And even if they could, wouldn't that ruin what we've created in our imagination?
Basically, this manga deals extensively with sound and audio--far more than any other manga I can think of. Other anime have dramatic non-diagetic music (not tied into the storyline), character voices, and fighting sounds, none of which are particularly key. With Beck, the sound IS the story. Because of this, I highly doubt it can really survive as a fully voiced anime complete with a soundtrack.
Last edited by Shinichiro; March 05, 2010 at 05:13 AM.
C'mon... I'm thinking of seeing Beck (anime), but music manga without music sucks... It sucked having to read 20th century boys without the music when he sang... (happily I found the mp3 with the music wich came with the volume)
I like to imagine, but I like even more to ear a beautifull song..
Thats why, while I loved Nana's anime, I didn't think of reading the manga... cause Nana's voice was what made the anime better (Nana not Hachi of course)
The drawings for me are equally bad, but that doesn't matters...
Uzu you should see the latter chapters to compare the designes :S!! cause the art grows better with time...
OK since alphabeta involved me for the joint reviews section, I train myself with the manga I have read over the week-end: Beck a music shonen which has everything to become a genre classic and many of us have loved.
For the summary look at Emery post above, the Manga is now ended and fully scanlated though. Maybe the stats can be changed by a mod.
Category Ratings: (1-10 scale)
I'm not an expert in art, but globally Harold's art is very appealing and easy to follow. What I especially like is that he doesn't hesitate to makes ugly characters. That changes from all the steoreotype characters we have now. The characters also display a large variety of expression, which is not that common.
And, and, there are the covers. To me, a manga which makes something special from its chapter cover/title has immediately a positive bonus. Beck covers are parodies of real CD, the game is to find which is what. Since I suck at this, I only recognized the most famous ones, but real rock fans will probably love it.
Beck is first of all a shonen, so you won't escape the shonen tropes. The average teenager who discovers a hidden talent is there, the power up when they change instruments are there, the very bad guys are there, the challenges which are impossible to win but are still won in the end are there, the ultimate friendship power is there...
But well, when you read chapters after chapters without being able to stop, it's a sign that despite all the tropes you have a good story.
The theme of the music band is not unique but still original enough to not have a déjà-vu feeling. Also it is something, we westerners, are really familiar with and not some obscure Japanese tradition. So we are in known territories and simply have to let us guide by the scenario.
Beck has a solid casts. Each member of the band has its qualities and flaws but they overcomes their doubts together. They are not redundant and the hero does not over-shine the others. But I must confess, I have a tiny preference for Saitou. This pervert 44 year old men is really something unique. And Beck wouldn't be Beck without him.
The main theme of Beck is 'Music can change your life'. It's naive but we don't mind. It makes us dream a little of a better world. And I guess any criticism of the marketing music is welcomed.
The international part of the manga was also interesting. The barrier of language is a central theme in the manga and nicely done. This was quite difficult to convey in the scanlations and I must said that the font idea from mangascreener was a great found. It's sad that the other teams didn't keep it.
The romance side though was quite disappointing. I know it's shonen, but this platonic attitude from beginning to end was a bit annoying.
Like I said, even if we are not in a fantasy action manga, all the traditional elements of the shonen are there. But the theme of the music band is quite refreshing.
Beck is really an entertaining manga that will be hard not to like. Plus, it is completed with a solid end so it would be a shame to not give it a try.
Some of the posts above recommend the anime adaptation.
I STRONGLY DISAGREE !!!
First the animation is not that great and worse it is not faithful wrt the manga. Most of the mature characters are made boyish (this is particulary true for Riysuke) and all the ugly characters that make one of the originality of the manga have been suppressed.
Second, despite all the talent of the musician, they simply can't reproduce the manga. Each time Koyushi sings, the audience is supposed to be in shock and the anime singer is at best average. The same for Shouta. He is supposed to give the group its energy. In the manga you see him jumping, shouting, harassing the fans, nothing like that is shown in the anime (To be honest, it's true that to fully appreciate the manga, a traduction of the numerous sfx would have been a plus).
And the English part are so terrible, I don't know why English in anime always sound so unnatural but here is no exception.
The only good part was the animation of one of my favorite scene of the manga : The bicycle race of Koyushi.
Last edited by k-dom; March 05, 2012 at 07:59 AM.