Manga has its share of bildungsromans that follow the path of an unathletic kid who, by dint of practice, mentorship and unstoppable will, becomes a top basketball/tennis/baseball player. Beck belongs to this genre, with the interesting twist that its nerdy 14-year-old hero, Yukio Tanaka, is on a journey from zero to rock-'n'-roller. In the beginning, Yukio knows nothing about rock and is a fan of Okinawan pop music (which, it is implied, is very uncool). Yukio meets Ryosuke, a 16-year-old rocker who was brought up in the U.S., where he played guitar in a garage band. Yukio starts going to rock clubs, listening to rock music and hanging out with his beautiful classmate Izumi, Ryosuke and Ryosuke's sister, Maho. But not until the very end of this volume do readers get a hint that playing rock music is in Yukio's future. This appealing tale is marred slightly by the inclusion of a silly and clich d peeping-tom subplot, but Sakuishi's characterizations have a strong identification factor, aided by a sharp and funny translation. The book is aimed at older teens, and there is some profanity. The clean, easy-to-follow art resembles a slightly less manic version of Eichiro Oda's art in One Piece.