I really wasn't planning to review this puppy (seeing as it's 4 years-old already, and the whole thing's been out in the US for a while, AND considering the original Japanese language track is absolute crap and the only way you can make it through is to listen to the English.... I fucking KNOW. That's so fucked up), but after watching it all the way through I found that I really had a connection to it, and especially the main character within it, one Yukio Tanaka (aka Koyuki).
Let me just get the basic plot of Beck (Mongolian Chop Squad) out of the way: Beck is all about the start of the greatest rock band to ever kick Japan's ass like a drunk Billy Idol looking to prove to his slutty girlfriend that he's all man in the face of a midget who accidentally bumped into his thigh (thusly giving him a boner) in a crowded London night club. We start off with a weak 14 year-old Koyuki simply trying to make his way through middle school, avoid bullies, and tell his older classmate, Izumi, that he *blush* likes her. Through Izumi though, Koyuki is inducted into the Japanese underground indy rock scene, and most especially he's introduced to Ryusuke Minami — a laid back teenage rock god who swears that one day he will be on top of it all. Cheesy, yes, but let me continue. Seriously, don't interrupt me again like that boy, or I'll go all Ozzy on your ass. So Koyuki and Ryusuke meet and become somewhat friends, but then Ryusuke lends the kid his classic guitar given to him by his good friend Eddie Lee (a sort of reinvisioned, ginger Eddie Vedder), who plays guitar for the uber popular American band Dying Breed, but that's not important right now.
So, Koyuki gets the guitar, starts trying to learn it, and then accidentally gets it run over by a semi-truck. Ryusuke doesn't take the news of its destruction very well and Koyuki is run off. Over the course of this 26 episode series though Koyuki grows up (the show takes place over the course of several years), pulls himself together as both a man and a musician, eventually makes up with Ryusuke, and after proving that he's both hard working and almost an idiot savant with his Telecaster (and as a singer), Koyuki joins Ryusuke's new band Beck. Then it's an uphill and rocky road for Beck and Koyuki as they try to fulfill Ryusuke's dream of making the world of rock their bitch.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, blah, blah, blah... That's all well and good, but inconsequential to what I want to talk about here: That would be how Koyuki's life is hauntingly close to my own experiences at the same age, especially in connection with his relationship with Ryusuke's younger sister, Maho.
Maho is a cunt. She is a manipulative little whore. You can blame it all on her own inferiority complex, but whatever the reason she is a bitch and a half to Koyuki. Let me back up now and explain myself. Koyuki was at a pretty low part in his life when he first bumped into Maho (early in the series... like episode 3), but things were finally starting to look bright for him at that time too. He had just started hanging out with his childhood crush (Izumi) again, and it seemed that she liked him as well — but then in walked Maho.
Maho was the leather to Izumi's lace, and since Koyuki proved he had an affinity to being pushed around by neanderthal tormentors he seemed to latch onto Maho's quirky domineering personality frightfully quickly (I have flashbacks to my own early high school days just thinking about this...). For a while it looks like Maho is totally smitten with Koyuki, just as he seems to forget Izumi and only look at her. They grow really close over the course of a few months — going out on quasi-dates all the time, singing and playing in Koyuki's guitar teacher's band to help them compete in a neighborhood competition, and then sneaking into his school's pool at night to go skinny dipping — and share one absolutely perfect moment together (that doesn't involve over-charged teenage hormones). Quite honestly I was falling in love with Maho myself by the end of episode 5... But I must have had blinders on because I could not for the life of me see that Maho was the Japanese reincarnation of my old high school love interest, Just Kidding. Oh my GOD, the pain that was about to befall poor unwitting Koyuki...
So, Maho and Koyuki are hitting it off like Bill Clinton and chubby interns — it's almost corny it feels so right — but then just when Koyuki hits his stride with Beck, and gets pulled to the stage of a Dying Breed concert to sing with the mega-band in front of everyone he knows, and on camera for the guy who's filming the thing for a documentary on the band, Maho starts to completely diss him. Keep in mind that Koyuki hasn't changed. He's still way too nice and not conceited in the least, but Maho starts hanging out with a new class of friends that doesn't include him at all. She's all clingy with a young Japanese male super model too, rubbing this relationship in Koyuki's face whenever she can (but seemingly oblivious to his feelings at all). And this super model guy IS the world's biggest scrote — the exact opposite of Koyuki's polite and personable disposition. This model guy's the kind of douchebag who continuously pulls pranks (expensive and faggily embarrassing pranks) on the nice guys around them in order to make them look bad in front of the hot chicks... which model scrote does all the time to Koyuki in front of Maho. Koyuki never gets rage-a-holic or anything, but he always walks away quietly from these humiliations whenever he can... And Maho (although she chides super model douche like an uninterested teacher scolding a young sociopath for putting frog innards in a classmate's desk) NEVER STOPS hanging out with him. Even when super dick makes Maho CHOOSE between Koyuki and himself, she chooses the asshole. Oh, it only gets worse.
At one early point in the (at this point frustrating) story, Koyuki's been dissed by Maho for one of the first times in their otherwise shiny, happy relationship (and she REALLY gives him the cold shoulder for no reason what-so-ever), and he bumps into Izumi, who he hasn't seen for a while. She opens up and tells Koyuki that she's liked him for a while now, and that she thinks that she already lost to Maho. The two of them then go on an all-day date, remember just how much fun they used to have together, and then sneak into their old school pool that night to do some swimming (both people in bathing suits this time). Just as they're getting into the mood of the moment though, they're interrupted by Maho who just sings a verse of a sad song and then wanders away like an emo pussy. Koyuki stays with Izumi and doesn't chase Maho, but then Izumi feels like a heel, and stops talking to Koyuki so that he can make up with Maho (what Izumi thinks he wants)... Ugh, eventually Izumi and Maho meet up and Maho guilts Izumi into backing off. After all this, Maho STILL stays distant from Koyuki.
Then there's the point when Koyuki is picked on in class and selected (by the bullies) to compete in all the races in a school swim festival. Thanks to Mr. Saito (Koyuki's guitar/swimming instructor) he does amazingly well for all of his races, but come the last one he's almost out of steam. That's when Maho tells him that if he wins this last competition she'll do whatever he wants... He puts everything into it and wins, but because he's too damn nice (and really kind of sad at this point) he never pushes anything onto her — just like she KNEW he would. Honestly though, they'd known each other for a loooong time by this point, and she couldn't put out a LITTLE for the poor schmuck?! She just keeps stringing Koyuki along like a sad little puppy. It's depressing to see, and the memories it dredges up were almost killing me.
Oh, then there's the time Maho invites herself into Koyuki's room late one night and tells him she's sleeping over. Instead of putting out any (not even a make-out session for the sad sack) she immediately falls asleep on his bed, hogging all the sheets. And then, instead of sneaking out the window again the next morning she blatantly marches down to his kitchen and has his mom make her breakfast. Just so you understand: He doesn't get any action that night, but he gets chewed out by his mother for being careless and a superfreak the following morning. Oh my Buddha... It's like the third weekend in March my senior year all over. Later, Koyuki even finds out from one of Maho's friends that the douchey model guy knows firsthand that Maho grinds her teeth while she sleeps. And you just know that super douche model guy most definitely would have forced himself on Maho (if she didn't jump his bones first). Koyuki just can't catch a fucking break!
I haven't even mentioned yet the really cute rhythmic gymnast that Koyuki meets in high school who falls in love with him, has him teach her how to play the guitar, and looks out for him by saving his ass from a pounding by some new high school bullies... But when Maho finds out about Hiromi (the cute girl in question), she puts out just enough to make Koyuki stay away from her long enough for her to eventually give up on him and start banging Beck's drummer instead. I had to look away from the action on the screen so many times by this point. So frustrating.
Oh, and the last straw is after Koyuki "wins" Maho in the end (and you knew from the beginning that they'd make that the case, no matter how much you may root against it), I've read that in the real finale in the manga (the anime only covers like the first portion of the whole story) she ends up going abroad to study film anyway, leaving him all alone. She wouldn't let him get any other girls due to her manipulative and bitchy personality, and then she ditches him when all is said and done anyway. What a sap. God I just loathe what Just Kidding did to... I mean what Maho did to Koyuki. The only thing that makes it all okay in my mind is knowing that she'll eventually marry a douchebag and get treated the same way she treated me, I mean Koyuki for the rest of her natural life... Which'll be short because of the gun she'll put to her temple after he utterly destroys her her will to live through constantly demeaning her every chance he can.
I have SO got to meet this "Just Kidding" chick some day. I fucking idolize her. Anybody who can screw with the Rossman this bad has got to be a goddamn GODDESS. Beautiful. Absolutely beautiful.
I served as one of the Rossman friends with Just Kidding: I knew Just Kidding; Just Kidding was a friend of mine. Maho, you're no Just Kidding... You can't destroy a man HALF as well as Just Kidding.