Anime Soundtrack Review
Not Beck the 90's hipster who's most famous for "I'm a loser baby", but Beck: Mongolian Chop Squad, the kick-ass drama that makes you want to pick up a guitar and have a life. Filled with the wonderful and inspirational music from the TV series, The Beck Soundtrack is just about everything you could hope for in an anime OST.
As others have pointed out, the only glaring omission is "Hit in the USA" is not on this album, but all the other great songs such as "Slip Out" and "I've Got a Feeling" are there and overall, it's a pretty good balance of the best of what the series has to offer.
If Beck has recently made your life a better place to be, then you'll need this soundtrack to complete your metamorphosis.
Reviewed by Brian Cirulnick, October 2007
Beck: Mongolian Chop Squad
Anime DVD Review
Tanaka Yukio, better known by his nickname Koyuki is a 14 year old who feels disconnected from life in general. He leads a pretty normal, lousy teenager life until, 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. Even girls start to like him. Maybe life isn't so crummy after all.
Being released by Funimation in July 2007, we predict that Beck will skyrocket to the top pick for every teen/tween (emo or not!), and will very likely become a regular part of Adult Swim. The music rocks. The story speaks volumes and the characters hit just the right notes.
Beck doesn't rely on giant mecha battles, super-powered ninja showdowns, speed-line swordplay, or any of the other anime cliches to keep the audience interested. Instead, it uses something rarely seen in anime or manga -- real character development and characters that you are actually interested in to hook the audience and keep them watching episode after episode.
Soap opera formula? Yes. Does it work? Absolutely. Watching Koyuki's social life and musical talent develop are pretty compelling, and probably will act as a powerful metaphor for your own sad existence. Keep trying grasshopper, things do get better.
Reviewed by Brian Cirulnick, June 2007
Beck: Mongolian Chop Squad
Beck is a dog. We're not saying this as an insult. It's absolutely true. Beck is a big old dog that's been through one too many violent scraps. This has left one too many scars. So many that his body looks like a patchwork quilt. But he isn't the focus of this manga despite the title of this book.
Beck's owner is rock-and-roller Ryusuke Minami. He's sixteen years old but he's already got a reputation (both good and bad) in both the music business and with girls. He and his sister just returned to Japan, and might have gotten too strong an influence from their stay in America. But they aren't the focus of this manga.
Ryusuke has gotten chummy with Izumi Ishiguro. She's a fourteen year old with a smashing body. She's a big fan of the hot group, Dying Breed. She heard that Ryusuke used to be in a band with their guitarist, Eddie. As the two got to know each other better, they found they had similar tastes in music. But she isn't the focus of the manga.
Izumi used to be classmates with Yukio Tanaka. He's fourteen years old. He's not doing too well in school. He considers his life incredibly dull. He himself is incredibly dull. He has no interests to speak of. His tastes in music don't rise too far above anime theme songs. If this keeps up, Yukio fears he won't have anything worth writing about in his autobiography. (He doesn't even know if he can write an autobiography.)
Beck: Mongolian Chop Squad is a manga by Harold Sakushi. It is the story of Yukio Tanaka, the boring fourteen year old. One day, he found himself involved with these other characters. One day, he found himself captivated by music. One day, he found his life turned upside-down. Now, boring isn't that big a problem with him. And, he's wondering if music (a subject he was never really interested in) is his calling. He's also wondering if he has to get into all these scraps. Does getting a life really have to hurt?
Reviewed by Lawrence Sufrin, October 2006
Below: Manga artwork that's a reference to a Sonic Youth album cover.
Below: A shot from the Beck anime series.