Bocchi the Rock!

Bocchi the Rock!

Bocchi the Rock! anime series cover art
Bocchi the Rock!

Let’s Head Down to Club Starry

Bocchi the Rock! (ぼっち・ざ・ろっく!) is a comedy anime about 4 girls who form a rock band. But, this band isn’t part of a school club like in K-ON! They’re a band that meets outside of school and plays at a rock club called Starry.

Unfortunately, I need to start this review off with a confession. I don’t think Bocchi the Rock! is as good as everyone else does. Is it good? Yes, of course. Is it the best anime of the year? No. It’s not even in my top 3 of the fall season.

There are a lot of things Bocchi the Rock! does well. It has good comedy, characters, visuals, and music. But, the one thing it seems people like about it the most is the thing I like the least — the character Bocchi.

Nijika, Kita, Ryou, and Bocchi from the anime series Bocchi the Rock!
Nijika, Kita, Ryou, and Bocchi

I’ll be talking about the characters more in the next section. But, let’s talk about why people like Bocchi first. She’s relatable, apparently. Bocchi has extreme social anxiety that causes her to do abnormal things. And this seems to be why people are drawn to her.

Look, I have just as much social anxiety as the next person who spends most of their time online. And yet, I didn’t find any of Bocchi’s depressed, introverted, internal monologues entertaining. I know I’m in the minority here. But, Bocchi the Rock! would have been better if it toned Bocchi down a bit.

For me, it’s the other characters that made the series good. Nijika and Kita are a lot of fun. Ryou’s pretty good sometimes. And then Bocchi is there for the other characters to react to. Don’t get me wrong, Bocchi plays an important role. However, I still don’t care about her.

Kessoku Band

The name of the band in this series is Kessoku Band, which as Nijika explains, is a play on words. A kessoku band (結束バンド / けっそくバンド) is a zip tie, as seen in their logo. And in one episode of the anime Slow Loop, Kessoku Band is playing on stage.

Nijika Ijichi and Ryou Yamada are the founding members of Kessoku Band. They’re childhood friends who decided they’d form a band of their own when they got older. Nijika is an outgoing girl who puts her large amount of energy into playing the drums. And Ryou is the kuudere bassist of the band.

Luckily for Kessoku Band, Nijika’s older sister, Seika, is the owner of Starry. The band still has to raise money by selling tickets to their concerts like everyone else. But, at least they have somewhere to perform.

Kita showing her guitar (bass) to her bandmates from the anime series Bocchi the Rock!
Kita showing her guitar (bass) to her bandmates

Ikuyo Kita was originally the band’s guitarist and vocalist. But, she ran away before their first performance as a trio. She only joins the band again later after Bocchi joins. Of the 4 main characters, Kita is my favorite. She’s the opposite of Bocchi in every possible way, and that’s what makes her good.

Hitori “Bocchi” Gotou is the titular protagonist of the series. She got her nickname because the word hitoribocchi (一人ぼっち / ひとりぼっち) roughly translates to loneliness. Bocchi plays guitar and is technically the most skilled of the Kessoku Band members. She taught herself to play and uploads videos online under the pseudonym Guitar Hero.

There’s even more wordplay associated with Bocchi than just her nickname. Even her given name is a play on words — well, once you include her younger sister. Hitori (一人 / ひとり) means one person and Futari (二人 / ふたり), her sister’s name, means two people.

K-ON! x Hitoribocchi

I made the K-ON! comparison earlier on in the review. But, as you might expect, Bocchi the Rock! isn’t much more than a cross between K-ON! and Hitoribocchi no Marumaru Seikatsu. I’m going to assume most people reading this are at least familiar with K-ON!

But, you might not be familiar with the original Bocchi. Her name is literally Hitori Bocchi. Now, I’m not going to say Hitoribocchi is as good as Bocchi the Rock! It’s not. But, if you’re looking for another comedy anime about a loner with social anxiety, check it out.

Anyway, when this series began airing, I didn’t expect it to be as popular as it turned out. Of all the anime that aired in 2022, Bocchi the Rock! was probably the one with the most memes made about it. And I feel like that’s a pretty good gauge of how it was received.

Bocchi recoiling from Kita's extrovert aura from the anime series Bocchi the Rock!
Bocchi recoiling from Kita’s extrovert aura

And it looks like Bocchi is becoming the next-generation K-ON! Whether you want to admit it or not, K-ON! is old. The second season came out in 2010. It’s 2023. Now, if someone wants to watch an anime about cute girls in a band, they’re going to watch Bocchi, not K-ON!

But, it gets even worse for K-ON! Bocchi the Rock! isn’t only coming for its spot as the band anime. It’s coming for its racist fans, too. Soon, K-ON! won’t have anything left. Well, other than Azunyan. Bocchi can never take Azunyan away.

I’d like to see Bocchi the Rock! get a second season as K-ON! did. It’s definitely popular enough to warrant one. However, it’s also adapted from a 4-panel manga. So, I’m not sure how much more material there is to cover right now. It might happen in a few years.

Conclusion

I know this rating is going to feel low to some, but I gave Bocchi the Rock! a 7/10. It’s a good anime. But, I don’t think it’s quite as special as a lot of other people do. I appreciate it for giving us Nijika and Kita fan art, though.

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