Saturday, March 26, 2011

:anime: Free/Low-Cost Anime Pick of the Month:: BECK: Mongolian Chop Squad

BECK: Mongolian Chop Squad (or just "Mongolian Chop Squad")

Official Sites: Japanese, English
Additional Links: ANN Entry
Video [Free]: FUNimation Videos, Hulu, Anime News Network (Sub / Dub)

As can often be the case in the world and life, some things don't get the attention they deserve, in spite how good they are. Such is the case with this month's free/low-cost anime pick…

BECK: Mongolian Chop Squad has never been a top seller in the U.S. Most of those who have seen it can testify to how good it is, but I imagine that number isn't a mighty one. FUNimation did a fantastic job with its dubbing and singing and has supported the title for a long time, but with it being re-released under its subtitle only (either to try to breathe life into its sales, or to avoid any legal trouble with the real-life, unrelated band), questions of its future on the market comes to mind. Hopefully, the worst never comes to past, considering the effort they put into the release and just how good the show is, but either way, BECK is worth of garnering more attention, hence its spotlight here.

Perhaps not many people, including the casual viewer, would be hooked by the prospect of a story revolving around an aspiring rock band, much less one in the "foreign" or "anime" category.  However, the coming-of-age of its young, impressionable lead--the newbie of the group--as well as the growth of the bandmembers and those around them more than makes up for any hang-ups one might have about rock music, a show with focus on music or singing, or it being animated (all of which are handled adeptly). Its interesting characters and their development is BECK's greatest strength, and its honesty also gives it a great deal of weight. Good thing the in-show music and very well-selected background music, collected from an assortment of artists, are totally up to snuff, as well. If you are a fan of rock, or of music in general, you are certain to find a lot to like in BECK, and the number of references sprinkled about it.

Helming the anime is Osamu Kobayashi, who directed another Madhouse adaptation in Paradise Kiss, Kimagure Orange Road, and Mahou Tsukai ni Taisetsu na Koto: Natsu no Sora. He was also responsible for the much talked-about Ep. 10b of Panty&Stocking with Garterbelt and the controversial 4th episode of Gurren Lagann (both GAINAX productions). Present across much of his work is a distinctive, oft-experimental artistic flare, and though BECK is one of his more controlled efforts, it still possesses his signature animation style and arthouse/urban-ish design work. And like most of his work, BECK is memorable and quite good.

BECK: Mongolian Chop Squad (or just "Mongolian Chop Squad" now?) is firmly in the "mature audience" range (primarily for language and some adult content), so keep that in mind. It can be watched for free at FUNimation Videos, Hulu, and Anime News Network in its subbed form (all 26 eps.) or dubbed (first 4 only), so try giving it a shot. A quality title like it could use all the help and attention it can get…

1 comment:

  1. I remember watching it as it was coming out. It was a really refreshing series to enjoy it the midst of the typical lack luster anime that had been popping up around during the time.