Main character is Koyuki, a nobody at school: average at just about everything. Somehow he meets Ryuuske, a Japanese boy who has lived in the US. Ryuuske plays in a rockband, and he personally knows Eddie, the guitarist of 'Dying Breed', a very popular US rockbrand.
Koyuki starts getting swimming lessons from Saito-san, a perverted middle-aged geezer who competed at the Olympics a long time ago. Saito-san ends up giving him guitar lessons as well. Slowly but surely, Koyuki gains skillz.
You can see where this is going: of course Ryuuske will form a new band (named 'BECK', after the dog), and of course Koyuki will join it and become a Rock-Star. However, it takes 26 episodes for him to get there -- he has to battle bullies, broken guitars, corrupt record producers and a rather troublesome relationship with Ryuuske's sister. The story is all over the place, and never gets really exciting, except for the last 4 episodes or so.
Visually, BECK won't wow you. Yes, there are some shots of fantastically animated guitar players, but overall the series seemed to be on a tight budget when it came to animation and character design. Some of the designs can even be called groteske...
The music is very nice. The opening theme is an amusing rock-song, but the ending theme is something that Oasis could have made if they were a lot more punk. The in-series music is pretty good as well. The lyrics though are not always grammatically correct -- I don't think any real American rock band would write lyrics like "I was fool / Couldn't let myself to go"...
Which brings us to the voice acting. There's a mixed bag there... There are quite a few American characters (and/or characters who are supposed to speak English fluently), but they all seem to have quite thick Japanese accents... I found this more amusing than jarring, but your milage may vary. Also, if you are sensitive to the word 'fuck', then you'd better steer clear -- almost every American in the series uses that word every five words...
- Music is pretty nice;
- Story is interesting at times.
- Story-elements come and go without ever being resolved;
- Engrish voice-acting;
- Designs are sometimes pretty ugly.
I'll give it a 7 for sheer entertainment value.