ANIME NORMAL LIVES SERIES
Full list of the review series can be found on this page, 3rd post from bottom:
Beck is a slice-of-life/romance/motivational show about everyday teenagers aiming to become *random shounen lead pops up* THE BEST MUSIC BAND IN THE WORLD! Now before I start I have to clarify how slice-of-life is for me the dullest genre imaginable. What saves face to it is when they try to mix it with something else besides that. Romance is the easy way most of them head for. We can’t have a series about everyday people who can’t have love problems, right? And since this is an anime, we just can’t have a show without an indecisive lead or the world will come to an end. Ok, we might as well throw in some youths who want to accomplish something great and awesome that will inspire the audience to cheer for them. All that sound just fine and we can have something good if all go well.
… And guess what, they didn’t. It is a fine romcom of a show if this is all you ask for, which is at best a completely average anime for me. Teen flicks are not exactly the brightest or most well made shows you see. Reasons?
The production values are messy. There is a huge quality gap in several episodes and the result just makes you think they were running out of money half the time. It is also very confusing to see them looking cool in one scene and like stupid caricatures in another. Something which does not count as artistic choice but plain laziness. This is not the usual treatment we get from Studio Madhouse.
The songs are not as awesome as they are supposed to be. For a series about a band who claims to aim for the top and doing pretty well in terms of popularity as it goes on, the songs don’t exactly excuse it. They don’t sound as amazing as they are supposed to. In fact, most sound pretty average so you can only think they are popular only because people with no taste cheer for them.
Their English pronunciation plain sucks! They aim to be the best in America when they can’t even talk properly. Maho in particular is supposed to know it perfectly and she obviously can’t speak English. I know that the songs and the language are “supposed” to sound great and that the viewer is “supposed” to suspend his disbelief long enough to accept a series were the band is a lot better than it sounds. But come on, it’s not like we couldn’t get a far better soundtrack or proper English-speaking voice actors. This again feels lazy.
The romance part is completely useless. Seriously, it is there but it never seems to matter. EVER! This is the story of some teens who want to be the best in the world and not to score with some girl (who conveniently is in the same band). In fact, they can get all the romance they want from groupies as soon as they succeed. Instead of that we get this ridiculous romantic triangle of sorts which couldn’t be more juvenile than that.
The main lead is too indecisive. Seriously, Yukio is shown to be antisocial and reluctant most of the time and yet we are supposed to think he wants to show his worth and cheer for him as he struggles for acceptance. Sorry but I can’t suspend my disbelief that much. People who want to take over the world (at least the musical one) are supposed to be cocky sons of bitches and not these frail chicken.
The story is very simple and is even left incomplete. Well, there is no need to further analyze that; simple stories are easy to get over and incomplete ones are extremely annoying. Yes, you can still read the continuation in the manga but this is a review of the anime.
The anime is not very motivational. Seriously, it ain’t. If its goal is to make you cheer some simple guys who aim for the top, then the whole thing is done lazily. Just compare to the far greater response other music band anime had. Detroit Metal City, Suzumiya Haruhi, K-on, these tuned thousands to either start their own band or at least scream of joy every time they heard one of their songs. Beck didn’t have this effect because the songs weren’t that good and the protagonist was neither a death metal king of demons nor a cute loli. HE WAS A CHICKEN!
The anime is not realistic. In case you wonder “It’s anime, of course and it isn’t” I just have to mention this because most people I know who like it is exactly because they consider it realistic. The above anime I mentioned are to them too unreal but Beck is down to earth for having average everyday people. That is so sweet; too bad they are drawn lazily half the time, their songs are not that great, their English is terrible, the romance is out of place, the lead is a chicken, the story is incomplete, and I don’t dance like an idiot every time I hear them perform. And for Pete’s sake, WHAT DOES A MOTIVATIONAL SHOW HAVE TO DO WITH REALISM? They aim to take over the music world; does that sound like something everyday normal people would do? Normal people just want a job, money, sex, and/or lots of time wasted on their hobbies. Jeez, get your facts straight already…
VERDICT: MEEEEH. I have seen far better and I sure don’t feel like ruining my English in order to become famous.
And now for some excused scorings.
ART SECTION: 5/10
General Artwork 1/2 (seems good but it’s messy in too many places)
Character Figures 1/2 (generic)
Backgrounds 1/2 (basic)
Animation 1/2 (basic)
Visual Effects 1/2 (basic)
SOUND SECTION: 6/10
Voice Acting 2/3 (corny but fitting with the feeling of the series)
Music Themes 2/4 (average)
Sound Effects 2/3 (ok I guess)
STORY SECTION: 4/10
Premise 1/2 (typical)
Pacing 1/2 (slow)
Complexity 1/2 (not much)
Plausibility 1/2 (so-so)
Conclusion 0/2 (left incomplete)
CHARACTER SECTION: 6/10
Presence 1/2 (generic)
Personality 2/2 (rather cheesy but well founded)
Backdrop 1/2 (generic and simplistic but it’s there)
Development 1/2 (overblown but it’s there)
Catharsis 1/2 (overblown but it’s there)
VALUE SECTION: 6/10
Historical Value 2/3 (rather famous)
Rewatchability 1/3 (low because of too little plot)
Memorability 2/4 (kinda memorable for its presentation but that is all)
ENJOYMENT SECTION: 3/10
Dull and hardly motivational as it claims.