Wednesday, December 28, 2005

My Impending Dementia Is Great News!

As mentioned, I picked up Beck volume 2 with a portion of my Xmas gift certificates on Boxing Day. Now, Boxing Day night I read Augusten Burroughs' Dry, top to bottom. I've got to tell you, it had been quite a while since I went all gonzo and "one-day"ed a decent sized book. Dry, however, was so engaging that I just wanted to read alittle more... a little more... just a bit more... until I found myself reading the short preview of his next book at the back of this one!

Funnily enough, Tam was sitting next to me reading A Million Little Pieces while I carved through Dry, making it kind of a funny "hitting bottom/ stories of recovery" double feature. Well, not that funny, I suppose. More on the level of "interesting coincidence".

Anyways, back to Beck. I've read Beck. Lot's of Beck. In fact, most of Beck, or at least all that was scanslated at the time I discovered it. And I loved it. It's definately my favorite manga. It has those (seemingly) unavoidable slapstick, Benny Hill-esque panty shot jokes, but the story is primarily the slowly-told story of a young man's introduction into the world of music. Tanaka is an immature boy with absolutely horrendous taste in music (think low-quality J-pop) when the story begins, but a chance encounter with a slightly older, much, much cooler boy turns him down a path that will alter the very direction his life takes.

And what is most refreshing about this manga, besides the stunning art (especially the reproduction of actual musical instruments), is that Tanaka is emphatically not a wunderkind. He is a terrible guitar player when he begins, and in fact doesn't even begin learning guitar unitl well into the second volume. His skills are improving, otherwise this wouldn't be the story of a young man joining a band, but rather the story of a young man who plays along badly to records alone in his room. The key is that the improvement is realistic. He doesn't use some long-forgotten guitar technique called "Eleven-Finger Dragon Revenge" to battle other musicians, and ultimately defeat them.

He just practices, practices, practices... until his fingers are bleeding and he feels the swell of pride that comes from the burgeoning callouses that guitar players must develop in order to play successfully. It is awesome.

So, the point is, while I was excited to see Tokyopop releasing Beck, I thought it would mostlybe rehash for me. Then I began reading volume 2. I didn't remember any of it. It's like reading a completely new, if vaguely familiar, manga. Now, this would be frightening to me, if it weren't so enjoyable to read these stories fresh. Only problem is, now they can't bring out the bloody volumes fast enough for me. March 2006, my ass!


Blogger kelvingreen said...

You know, while I would like to see that hypthetical Eleven Fingered God Of Guitarists manga, I get what you're saying about Beck. I may have to take a look at some English translations.

5:05 PM  
Blogger Jhunt said...

Beck is awesome. You should definately try to find a copy of volume 1. I just wish the release schedule was at the very least bimonthly. I understand there are like forty thousand manga titles currently being released in North America, but this is one of only about five that I'm interested in! What about my needs, Tokyopop!


10:44 AM  

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