If anime were a kitchen, BECK – Mongolian Chop Squad would definitely be wine. You like it more and more the older you get. Or at least, that´s what Beck feels like to me, and maybe I´m just being pseudo-poetic when I say we appreciate wine with the time because we learn to appreciate the little things in life, though it probably has something to do with our taste buds, though that doesn´t make for much of an introduction. Anyways, Beck – Mongolian Chop Squad. It´s kind of amazing.
If I had to compare BECK to any other anime series, it´d be Nana, or Paradise Kiss, or maybe even Kids On The Slope, all up there in my top 25 anime of all time, Nana taking the first spot with grace and style – They´re all stylish stories of life itself under a thin layer of glitter and glamour, which makes them feel less like anime and more like a soap opera.
In this instance, if Paradise Kiss is glitter and Nana is glamour, BECK would be a long, melancholic stroll on the boulevard of growing-up, a boulevard we´re all forced to walk at some point, a boulevard that will change us, for better or worse, but it´ll definitely change us.
BECK tells the story of a simple town boy getting swept off his feet into the world of rock n´ roll and the shock of reality dawning upon in, a wake up slap from life itself telling you “You´re not an adult, you´re not a kid, but fuck it, you gotta stand up and make some choices.”
First choices. Hard choices. Choices a lot of people don´t think nearly hard enough about. Choices most people shrug off, expecting them to get a second chance, because we just left our childhood, and we always got second chances there.
BECK knows this, and is probably the closest thing to an accurate depiction of my current transition from childhood to adulthood that I have ever seen in an anime, period. Maybe, maybe Paradise Kiss competing against it – it´s not too emo, but it´s not all too chipper and happy-go-lucky as the K-ons and other generic feel good raunchy highschool comedies make it out to be, either. BECK holds a serious, natural tone all the way through.
Life is a first time, one-way ticket ride for everybody: Your parents, your teachers, the people you look up to. None of us really know what we´re doing, and rather than being the library, we´re just another book in the library called life – some will judge us by our covers, others will read a few chapters while maybe we´ll be the favourites of one or two people, all the way through.
Life is, generally, quite monotome. And even if it was just a budget thing, I think the dead colours with the explosively energetic rock music portrays that beautifully.
BECK is, as I´ve said, essentially a love letter to life itself. Everything Koyuki goes through feel otherwordly, like FLCL if FLCL cut down on the acid and sleepless nights. Koyuki represents the child, while Ryusuke and Maho represent the strange world that the child, Koyuki, has never known.
Koyuki was a simple guy until he met the strangers and fell in love with music, specifically guitar, and the transition from simple Koyuki to the turmoil of emotions angry teenager Koyuki is, at least, satisfying to see in an anime.
Life is weird. Life doesn´t always work out. Beck reminds us of this constantly, wheter it´s the complicated relationship between Koyuki and the otherwordly sexy, american-japanese Maho, the separations, the differences in paths, the rejections. Life is constantly kicking us around like a football, untill we set our foot down and say, “this is where I stand.” represented by the scene where Koyuki and Saku have to seperate and Koyuki vows to meet him again, or the final concert.
Childhood and adulthood are two differents worlds with different rules and require different kinds of thinking – Koyuki slowly becomes less and less interested in school, his school crushes and school bullies, and becomes more and more involved in the late-nights of music and dreams of the future, we feel grown up and serious, even though we´re just kids acting like adults.
But it´s okay – we´ll all get over it at some point, and we´ll drop things on the way, pick up others, meet new people, some will stay, some will go, but the memories last forever.
Then, some people will stop going with the tide and make a stand of their own a.k.a Koyuki´s decision to reform BECK.
Koyuki is an emotional character, Ryusuke is the guy at the party who gives up way to fast, Maho is the mystical being who doesn´t feel real.
In the end, with some headbutting, flailing, mic dropping and a lot of metaphorical punches and hugs, life will find a way – Just like BECK made the right decision to attend that one concert which got them an American tour.
Life, in the end,is a mix of decisions and coincidences – a wind we desperately try to fight against, untill we die.
Just like that, BECK is not a story of a rock band, but a story of life itself.
P.s: Im on finals and I´m really pretentious and this post wasn´t even that much about Beck and more about my views on life, but fuck it, I felt like writing it.