Lonely Rolling Bocchi
Episode 1 of Bocchi The Rock begins with our protagonist Hitori Goto narrating how her life’s been full of loneliness. At home, she watches an interview between a reporter and a bandsman.
The bandsman says he was once a friendless nobody in school. He’d turn his life around when he formed a band with strangers that became popular. He argues a band is a place where introverts can shine. Hitori gets inspired and asks her father if she can use his guitar. Hitori plans to learn the guitar and establish a stellar band at school. She practices during the night as her family watches.
Three years later, Hitori became a master guitar player after practicing six hours a day. Unfortunately, Hitori never played a single note for her middle school classmates at the annual culture festival. She couldn’t invite anyone to her band or make friends. It’s been a month into high school, and Hitori remains a shut-in inside her closet while playing her father’s guitar.
Before she causes her neighbors a stir with her music playing, she uploads a band cover video on the internet. Hitori’s shocked at how many views and positive comments she received on her previous video. She loves how her messages are full of introverts like herself. That is until she reaches a response from a user saying he formed a band and played the same song at the culture festival.
This entices Hitori to close her laptop. Hitori recounts memories from middle school where she brought CDs to class, bought and showed off band merchandise, and pitched song requests during lunch period. In the present, Hitori reopens her laptop to wipe away those thoughts. She reads the replies to the comment that bothered her. She spots someone wishing they knew somebody that played guitar in their school.
This gives Hitori a brilliant idea. The next day, she attends school with a bunch of band merchandise and her trusty guitar. She hopes someone will pay attention to her, but no one gives her the time of day. Hitori departs, wondering if she built herself up too much. Hitori hears some people laughing, and a girl named Kita spots Hitori with her guitar behind her back.
At the playground, Hitori notices someone and wonders if this is a gathering place for lonely people. Her theories get shut down when she realizes the man’s child and wife head toward him. Hitori receives a notification that she’s hit 30,000 subscribers on Oh! Tube. Suddenly, a girl heads toward Hitori and asks her if she’s a grand guitar player.
The girl introduces herself as the second-year-high school student Nijika Ijichi. Hitori informs Nijika of her high school status nervously. Nijika asks Hitori if she can become her band’s second guitar player for the day. Nijika grabs Hitori’s hand, startling her. The girls head into town, and Hitori can’t help but compare her low-rocker vibe appearance to Nijika’s.
Nijika informs Hitori that they’ll be playing at the Starry club since Nijika’s sister’s a manager there. Hitori responds to Nijika’s questions to the best of her abilities but can’t rid herself of her anxiety. She tries to calm her mental nerves by reminding herself of her dream of performing at the culture festival and her first solo show at Zepp Super Arena.
Nijika and Hitori arrive at Starry, and Nijika shows her around the place. Hitori’s surprised that the other band members evoke similar introverted and indoor mannerisms as her. Nijika introduces Hitori to her bass player Ryo Yamada, who exhibits a mature and pleasant demeanor. The three head into the music booth, and Nijika hands her the set list and score.
Hitori questions the whereabouts of the other band members, but Nijika says that she and Ryo are its only members. They’ll be tackling multiple instruments while Hitori focuses on guitar playing. Hitori’s hesitant and confident that she can make a decent impression on Ryo and Nijika. After their session, Nijika tells Hitori she’s terrible, causing Hitori to spiral out of control.
We get a brief cutaway to a fictional character called Guitar Man explaining how it’s significant for band players to be in sync with each other. He feels Hitori’s social anxiety holds her back. Her anxiety encourages her to rush ahead of others. As a solo player, she’s incredible, but in a group, she’s an amateur. Nijika tries to encourage Hitori to perform in the show tonight, but Hitori won’t budge.
Before Nijika and Ryo call it quits, Hitori tells them to wait. She explains how she’s always wanted to be in a band but couldn’t get enough people together. Ryo asks Hitori what type of songs she enjoys playing. Hitori informs her that she enjoys playing relevant band songs. Nijika realizes that Hitori sounds a lot like Oh! Tube content creator “guitarhero,” which is Hitori’s online alias.
Nijika discusses her fondness for guitarhero’s craft, while Ryo finds her overrated. Nijika tells Hitori she shouldn’t quit playing in the band after one failed attempt. Hitori realizes that real-life people did care about her and her music. She tells Ryo and Nijika the truth about her fear of crowds. Ryo presents her with a cardboard box she can play inside.
Nijika ponders how they should introduce her to the audience. Ryo grants Hitori the name Bocchi and reveals to her that their band will be called Kessoku Band. At the Starry concert, Kessoku Band introduces themselves to the crowd and promises to play popular songs. After their performance, Ryo, Hitori, and Nijika head backstage to discuss it.
Hitori exits her box and promises she’ll be brave enough to greet her classmates before their next performance. Nijika suggests holding a welcoming party tonight, but Hitori flees the room. The episode concludes with Hitori vowing to bring out her full guitar-hero powers and defeat her social anxiety.
The Episode Review
The first episode of Bocchi The Rock establishes Kessoku Band’s members wonderfully. It also concludes with our protagonist Hitori Goto vowing to accomplish multiple goals by the series’ conclusion. It appears Bocchi the Rock sets up a lot of worthwhile events to look forward to regarding Kessoku Band’s activities and journey to stardom.
I can see Hitori’s character feeling utterly relatable to many people who deal with social anxiety. Her mannerisms and fear of letting her new companions done will resonate with many folks who find themselves in a similar bind occasionally. It’ll be intriguing to see how Hitori overcomes her mental illness throughout the course of the show’s narrative. Let’s hope she grows at a steady and authentic pace.
The other characters have fine introductions but could have offered a bit more than what we received. The episode’s art quality and animation looked stunning. There were many scenarios where the animators utilized the camera angles to bring out Hitori’s lonesome and anxious personality. From walking in a hallway alone to her fateful encounter with Nijika in the park, the backgrounds looked semi-realistic.
This chapter establishes the show’s tone well. It feels like viewers are in for a comfy and relaxing ride with this anime. While that’s fine and dandy, I hope they include some intensity too. Seeing something like Kessoku Band going head-to-head against other popular bands would add a layer of depth and intensity to Bocchi the Rock. That said, I’m looking forward to seeing what lies ahead for Hitori and her friends.