"Beck: Mongolian Chop Squad," an anime television series that ran on Japan's TV Tokyo from 2004 to 2005, tells the story of a teenage boy finding himself through music. The show originated from the award-winning manga (comic) "Beck." The televisions series includes 26 episodes available on DVD, and for those who love the music, the songs have been collected on a soundtrack CD.
Fourteen-year-old pop-music fan Koyuki needs direction in life. Coming home from school one day, he saves a dog named Beck from a group of mean kids. The dog belongs to Ryusuke, a guitarist who grew up in America. Ryusuke begins to mentor Koyuki, exposing him to new music, giving him a guitar and placing him in his new band, Beck: Mongolian Chop Squad. As the band struggles, Koyuki struggles with growing up, relationships and identity.
Naive Koyuki represents the "every boy" who goes from being bored to being an outstanding guitarist and singer in a rock band. Slacker Ryusuke plays a mean guitar, a Gibson Les Paul, and unlocks Koyuki's latent talent. Ryusuke's younger sister Mao sings and develops a romance with Koyuki. Music lover Izumi, Koyuki's old friend and crush, helps him understand the music scene.
While direct in its storytelling, "Beck: Mongolian Chop Squad" takes a leisurely slice-of-life approach in its pacing. Meant to represent real life, the story moves slowly as if in real time. This allows the viewer to see Koyuki as he goes about his day interacting with friends at school and in the Tokyo streets and clubs.
"Beck: Mongolian Chop Squad" features a strong rock soundtrack with Japanese bands Beat Crusaders and Sowelu performing the songs. In addition to the music, the series features many musical influences and homages. A dream sequence features rockers Kurt Cobain, John Lennon, Freddy Mercury, Jimi Hendrix, Sid Vicious and Bob Marley, and such diverse performers as The Beatles, R.E.M., the Hives, Oasis, the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Jewel are referenced.
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