Lonely Rolling Bocchi -| Review Score – 4/5
See You Tomorrow -| Review Score – 4.5/5
Be Right There -| Review Score – 4.5/5
Jumping Girl(s) -| Review Score – 4.5/5
Flightless Fish -| Review Score – 4.5/5
Eight Views -| Review Score – 4.5/5
To Your House -| Review Score – 4/5
Bocchi The Rock -| Review Score – 5/5
Enoshima Escar -| Review Score – 4.5/5
After Dark -| Review Score – 4/5
Duodecimal Sunset -| Review Score – 4.5/5
Morning Light Falls on You -| Review Score – 5/5
Anime that revolve around adorable girls doing music-related things isn’t a new concept. There have been many series that have tackled this idea before and from different angles. From the well-acclaimed K-On to the music idol series Love-Live! School Idol Project, there is a boatload of shows that offer unique experiences. Enter Bocchi The Rock, a newcomer series that’s gained a cult-like following since its conclusion.
This show’s first season consists of 12 episodes that have a runtime of about 23 minutes each. Keiichirou Saitou directed the project while Studio Cloverworks handles its animation. It was jammed into a season with various hits like Bleach, Mob Psycho 100, My Hero Academia, and the highly anticipated show, Chainsaw Man. Although Bocchi The Rock had big names against it, it managed to set the world ablaze with its well-written narrative, charming cast, and excellent animation and soundtrack.
This anime follows a socially anxious girl named Hitori Gotou, who loves devoting her time to playing the guitar. One day, Hitori meets an energetic drummer named Nijika Ijichi, who invites her to join her band called Kessoku Band. Hitori meets Ryou Yamada, who serves as the band’s bassist. Their first performance doesn’t go well. However, the girls aren’t going to let one terrible event ruin their strive for success.
Eventually, they recruit Ikuyo Kita, after she apologizes for fleeing the band. Furthermore, Nijika and Ryo give Hitori her band name Bocchi. Therefore, we follow Bocchi’s journey to overcome her anxiety, become an incredible rock star, and make her new friends’ dreams come true.
With how everything turned out, Bocchi The Rock delivers a solid narrative about music and social anxiety. Like many other anime works, this was based on a 4-Koma manga written and illustrated by Aki Hamaji. I was blown away by how much research she put into the storyline regarding the music industry. For someone who has no experience with the industry, this anime did an excellent job of shedding light on the issues bands face concerning ticket quotas, booking concerts, and advertising.
The girls had a lot of obstacles in their way, which helped them maintain solid tension. Hamaji made sure to have our girls work effortlessly for their accomplishments, whether small or large. I couldn’t help but smile at seeing our cast succeed in their performances and feel let down when they failed. Hamaji’s tackling of social phobias should not be overlooked either. Bocchi’s mannerisms were slightly over-exaggerated, though. However, Hamaji places her in nervous-inducing situations to make her qualms feel authentic.
One example includes Bocchi being anxious about communicating with customers at Starry Club. Another one could be when she’s feeling concerned about her family embarrassing her in front of Nijika and Kita. It’s these relatable situations that helped the narrative hit a core with many of its audience who identify as introverts. Lastly, this narrative features many motivational and impactful life lessons that everyone should hear. Some include writing for yourself to showing support to your friends when they’re in need.
Story praise aside, the characters are worth noting. With only 12 episodes to its name, Bocchi the Rock miraculously develops and characterizes every character introduced in it, except for a few. From Bocchi to Hiroi, everyone felt fleshed out and well-developed. Bocchi herself can come across as a mixed bag for some viewers. While she feels like the walking definition of social phobia, her attitude and antics may not sit well with certain folks. That aside, seeing Bocchi overcome her mental and physical hurdles filled me with glee.
Although I rooted for Bocchi to defeat her inner insecurities, I couldn’t help but laugh at her failures. However, it’s Bocchi’s humorous reactions and interactions with the others that had men excited to tune in every week. As mentioned earlier, the other characters receive a great amount of time to shine. Ryo, Nijika, and Kita have excellent chemistry with Bocchi and have distinct enough personalities and characteristics that helped them stand out.
As the series progresses, viewers receive more intel about their different goals. We get to see them overcome their own hurdles like Bocchi, making them feel fun to follow. Other side characters like Seika, Hiroi, and Bocchi’s family receive some phenomenal characterization that allows fans’ to grow attached to them too. Despite being a short series, Bocchi the Rock’s cast surprised me with their incredible growth and charisma.
Visually, this anime has to be one of the most experimental shows I’ve seen in a long time. It reminded me a lot of modern cartoons like The Amazing World of Gumball. I can tell Studio Cloverworks had a fun time animating this show with how crazy it can get. It blends many different visual styles from live-action segments to recreating commercials from hit games. Cloverworks captured Bocchi’s nervous mannerisms in many different ways that were downright imaginative and comical. I couldn’t help but laugh hysterically at her in each instance.
Imaginative character models aside, the show’s background elements and band performances were immaculate and authentic. There were times when I questioned if the characters were placed inside realistic locations. Cloverworks utilized camera angles and rotoscoping techniques a lot here. These elements helped our characters feel a part of the world they traversed and I never once found it to be uncanny.
Bocchi The Rock’s music selection is just as great. Every song was catchy and soothing. Considering this is a music-themed anime, it did an excellent job of giving viewers some variety with its music. While it doesn’t serve as tight of a focus as I’d wanted, the music never disappointed me and I enjoyed hearing music from our main cast and other bands in the show. The voice acting was equally enjoyable. Every voice actress and actor performed their role efficiently. Some, like Bocchi’s, went beyond the call of duty though.
Overall, Bocchi The Rock was a surprising masterclass of a work. While its protagonist may feel hit or miss, she serves as an excellent portrayal of social anxiety. The series’s music goes above and beyond its animation. It gave fans something to look forward to watching on the weekends. Despite the strong competition this season, Bocchi The Rock gave viewers a superb performance they’ll remember for years to come.
Verdict - 9/10