BECK: The Movie. Too bad it doesn’t sound as dramatic as it’ll be.
I’ve been gone about a month and a half, through no one’s fault but my own. And in fact, this little tidbit is just about a week and a half old too. But what the heck, I adored the BECK anime series when it was still running, and so this warrants a post even as I’m working on the other ones I can’t seem to finish.
BECK: Monogolian Chop Squad ran in 2004, with the manga finishing just a year ago, and featured the packed-with-musical-influences-and-bad-Engrish (mis)adventures of an indies band trying to make it into the big leagues. (The band is originally called BECK, after a dog, but is named “Mongolian Chop Squad” for their American releases because of the trademark by the singer Beck.) Along the way, they obviously run into more than their fair share of troubles, including a rival band with a grudge that does get signed, band spats, and Koyuki running through the problems that plague the average teenager – or is falling in love with the younger sister of your tough band leader not quite an average problem?
You may be wondering what this has to do with Japanese pop – in fact, it has loads. BEAT CRUSADERS took charge of the musical direction, bringing along indies punk band Husking Bee‘s vocalist to provide the singing voice of main character Koyuki. A number of their songs (BEAT CRUSADERS’, that is) were also used in or covered in the series, as well as that of other indie bands. The ending theme, done in series by the supposed rock band-to-end-all-rock bands The Dying Breed, was actually provided by meister, the brainchild of Do As Infinity’s guitarist Owatari Ryo. (The B-side of the single, while never showing up in the series, features Bonnie Pink.) And pop vocalist Sowelu provided the singing voice of Minami Maho, the aforementioned younger sister. There are even two soundtracks – one of the songs as they are, supposedly performed by the bands and characters in the series; the other containing the original songs as done by their indie bands and more new songs. 5 years later, it’s still amongst my favorite anime, and still a source of some fun music.
5 years later, also, we get our tie in to the other half of this blog – actors and Japanese dramas. BECK is now getting turned into a live-action film (a considerably easier adaptation than, say, Yatterman, I’d think. With the exception of the patchwork dogs), starring Mizushima Hiro (Mei-chan no Shitsuji, Hanakimi, Zettai Kareshi) as band leader Minami Ryusuke “Ray”. They also dredged up an all-star cast – as far as manga adaptations go – for the rest of the band, including Sato Takeru (ROOKIES, Mei-chan no Shitsuji, Princess Princess D, BLOODY MONDAY) as vocalist/guitarist Tanaka Yukio “Koyuki”, Nakamura Aoi (Q.E.D., Shinigami no Ballad) as Koyuki’s eventual best friend and the band’s drummer Sakurai Yuji “Saku”, Kiritani Kenta (ROOKIES, Crows ZERO, but probably best known on this blog as the Post-It guy from Ryusei no Kizuna) as the ramen shop worker by day/tough-as-nails-with-an-afro rapper by night Chiba Tsunemi, and Mukai Osamu (Hachimitsu to CLOVER, Mei-chan no Shitsuji, also showed up in Nodame Cantabile, Osen, and Bambi~no!) as the smokingly attractive (look who casted correctly) bleached bassist Taira Yoshiyuki. It will be directed by Tsutsumi Yukihiko, also no stranger to manga/anime adaptations as he directed the Kindaichi Shounen no Jikenbo season starring Domoto Tsuyoshi and Tomosaka Rie, H2, Psychometer Eiji, and most recently 20th Century Boys. Oh, and for the Arashi fans, he directed PIKANCHI. Nope, no lack of star power here.
While the series focused on Koyuki’s story – there’s even a period where Ryusuke goes missing – the movie will focus on Ryusuke’s side. No word yet on who Minami Maho will be portrayed by, or if she’ll even be a part of the movie, as her role in the series does center on her part as Koyuki’s love interest.
Supposedly 30 original songs are being written for the actors to play after a month of intensive training – not unlike and perhaps even better than the movie adaptations of Nana, for which the vocalists (Nana starring Nakashima Mika and Reira starring Ito Yuna) were the key point.
Also, rather amusingly, this will be the third link between Mizushima Hiro and Sato Takeru, both of who were once Kamen Riders and worked together in Mei-chan no Shitsuji as siblings vying for the love of Eikura Nana’s Mei-chan role. And I suppose if you really wanted to push it, Sato will show up in the fourth episode of MR. BRAIN, Mizushima’s current drama. This aside, though, I’ve already got a movie to see in 2010. How about you?