It took a Japanese cartoon

to make me love music again. For anyone who has ever shown the slightest interest in anime, BECK (no relation to the musician) is a must see. I point to an English fansite because it might be more useful for folk who don't speak Japanese. Also, I got the fansubs through Anime-Empire, who appear to do an excellent job.

What I like about BECK: first of all, I know everyone in it. The gifted guitar hero. The shy geek with hidden talent. The goofy friends, the aggressive hot girl, meathead bullies, all of them. Hell, there are even shades of my dad in the insane guitar/swimming teacher Saitou-san. The characters are so real, for the most part, that you can't help but connect with them almost immediately.

Second, it's a story about rock and roll, written by and for people who obviously love the music. They love it in a way that we no longer do. Exploring this soundtrack and a number of other rock bands from Japan, I'm pretty convinced that the best rock no longer comes from America. In fact, we've probably been behind the UK for some time since the mid-90's saw the demise of Kurt Cobain. (Did he ever wonder how often his name would be written when he was gone? Probably not.) But bands like the pillows are better than just about anything on the radio these days, at least, those radio networks that play new music. Apparently, now many of them are robotic as well, which further eliminates the possibility of good NEW rock being played to radio listeners.

Third, it's a beautifully told story about life, one boy's in particular, but also the lives of everyone around him. There are no space battles, no giant robots, no killer cyber-brains, and none of the fake raunchy Capital D Drama that we pass off as storytelling in most of our television shows. For twenty-six twenty minute slices of time, I lived another life.

That is storytelling. Plus, I totally fell in love with the lead female character. Well, not really, but I wanted to.