One of the great things about manga is that it embraces almost every genre…and everything in between too. Harold Sakuishi’s manga Beck is a great slice-of-life/musical journey of a group of boys who somehow get together and try to become a band. It follows the highs and lows as they try to work together and find success.
The art is fantastic, since this is not a shounen (or at least not in the typical sense, it is about boys after all) manga, it is less action driven and more drama, all of which Sakuishi is a deft hand at. He has a great expressive style that makes a person feel that they are in the audience, getting pumped up by the music, enjoying the exuberance of the crowd as they start getting into it.
The story is really nice as well, it follows Yukio Tanaka who is a pretty unambitious, boring 14-year-old kid…until he meets Ryuske, a 16-year-old (who has a hot sister Yukio’s age). Through circumstances Yukio ends up learning to play the guitar thanks to Ryuske and from there they form a band…and get a whole load of trouble. Ryuske is kind of an ass, but you can’t really hate him (or you can, but you gotta live with him), but the other band-mates are awesome and you can’t wait for them to reach success.
I won’t tell you if they ever achieve success, ’cause it is all about the road to it, rather than actually getting it. But there is a great payoff and the storytelling and pacing is fantastic.
This is a relatively short series, so even if you don’t feel that it is your thing, you really owe it to yourself to check it out anyway.