BECK Manga Review
Mongolian Chop Squad
BECK is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Harold Sakuishi. It was originally serialized in Monthly Shōnen Magazine with the 103 chapters. BECK was later adapted into a 26-episode anime television series, titled BECK: Mongolian Chop Squad, by Madhouse and aired on TV Tokyo from October 2004 to March 2005. A live-action film adaptation was also released in 2010.
I will be focusing on the manga release however since I feel that the completed work should be looked up first. The anime and the live action only really focus on certain glimpses in the BECK timeline.
The story is about a group of Japanese teenagers who form a rock band and their struggle to reaching fame. It focuses on Yukio “Koyuki” Tanaka, who was an average teenager with a boring life until he met guitarist Ryusuke Minami. Koyuki realizes that he has been missing out on all of this and it jumpstarts his desire to play guitar and western rock music.
Eventually going down the path of music, Koyuki refuses to abandon the passion that gave his life purpose. Beck tells the story of the love and trial that accompanies pursuing a professional career in music.
For those about to rock
BECK is one of my favorite mangas out there because it relates to me personally as a musician. Whoever was the technical advisor was for this manga got this on point. From trying to get to gigs or playing a proper gig, I’ve been there as well. Whenever I was down about my music, I would read BECK and it would inspire me to get back at it. Even the guitar I play now, inspired by BECK (I play a Gibson SG, if you read the manga, you’ll see)
The story itself is straightforward, a slice of life romance manga but where it shines is the technical detail. The types of guitars they play, the reference they make to musicians, even how a gig should work – it’s all precise. The characters have a good backstory and are well developed, not a lot of 2D characters here.
The only critique I would have is that the artwork is 50/50 for me. I like the serious tone that it gives out but when it does the humor, kinda awkward for me. When it does spotlight scenes, that artwork goes to another level. It especially does well in portraying the energy in a gig.
I love BECK, not because it is relevant to my life, it’s because it’s an excellent manga. I only covered the musical aspects of this but it’s a slice of life manga so the struggles and joys are portrayed well. From the romances between characters to the motivation of others, they were all done well and tastefully.
BECK is a complete all-around manga experience. Just a pure story-driven manga about a struggling rock band from chapter 1 to 103. I feel that everyone can find something to like about this manga as soon as they open the first page.