Now in Japan
Friday, 13 January 2006 00:00
It's been a while since I last watched any Beck, but I'm glad to say it's like coming back to an old friend. Things are beginning to look up for the band, as they land an American recording contract, get a spot at one of Japan's hottest live-houses, and another potential love interest for Koyuki arrives on the scene. If only he could sort out exactly where he stands with Maho...
16 - Indies
Koyuki's working extra part-time jobs while he tries to save up for the Telecaster guitar he's been wanting - although with the poor reeption the band's demo CD has been getting with the record labels, there may not be much point in bothering. It seems the influence Eiji's manager Ran has in the industry is going to be a real barrier to Beck getting past the amateur scene. Speaking of the guitar, Koyuki's not the only person who wants to buy it, either. A chance visit by an American indie label producer to one of Beck's lives could be just the chance they needed, though...
17 - Three Days
It looks like Alvin, the Americian record producer, will be able to arrange for Beck to make their American debut - it's only a minor gig, but it's a foot on the ladder that they didn't look likely to get in Japan. Meanwhile, Koyuki's met a new girl - Hiromi Masuoka, a schoolmate who just happens to work in the shop next to his own part-time job, and his guitar-playing skills have impressed her no end. After she sees him playing live, it seems Maho may have another rival for Koyuki's affections...
18 - Leon Sykes
Beck are taking part in an audition show at the Marquee - a venue that every up-and-coming Japanese band would want to play at, if only it was a headline evening show. Things would also be going better if Koyuki wasn't so good at breaking guitar strings while playing. Meanwhile, Koyuki's been working on composing his own songs and takes a few sample to Ryuusuke for his advice. He's not overly impressed with the sound, but recognises that there's some talent there if only he takes the time to work on it.
Hiromi's an interesting addition to the cast - while initially she seemed to be a potential love interest for Koyuki, it looks like Saku's got the hots for her as well, so there are several ways her presence could cause problems. Meanwhile, the YoshitoxMaho saga continues. Yoshito is one of those characters you would love to just stab in the back, repeatedly - the way he sees Koyuki as a rival to be put down at any opportunity is an intensely annoying storyline that had me reaching for the volume control every time he appeared. The sooner that little conflict of interests is sorted out, the better.
On the plus side, I now we know where ther series subtitle, Mongolian Chop Squad, comes from - it's the band's American name, as dreamt up by Alvin. The cover of the American album is about to cause some problems for Ryuusuke, too, beginning with the flying visit he receives at the end of the episode.
Overall, not a bad bunch of episodes. The band side of things if progressing nicely as events begin to slot into place for them, but not so good is the relationship side of the story, which is becoming decidedly confused with the arrival of Yoshito and Hiromi. That's gravy to the main meat of the story, though (the music), and on that front Beck is still well worth watching.