Anime Review Bocchi the Rock Series

Bocchi the Rock! ⬢ A Great Top-Tier Watch

Original Run: October 9, 2022 - Decembrer 25, 2022
Number of Episodes: 12
Genre: Comedy, Music, Slice of Life
Based on the Series Created By: Aki Hamaji
***Warning, the following may contain spoilers for Bocchi the Rock!. Reader discretion is advised.***

Series Synopsis

Hitori Gotou (voiced by Yoshino Aoyama) suffers from a crippling case of social anxiety. Even with the most mundane interactions, her brain turns to the most negative outcome. Due to this, Hitori wants to change, and she thinks she has found the way to do so – the guitar.

Day after day, for three years, she practiced until mastering the instrument. Despite her proficiency, Hitori makes zero progress with breaking out of her shell.

Now in high school, Hitori laments how she has failed to grow socially. If she can’t even say a mere “hello,” how does she have any chance of playing on stage with a band. During one of her daily spirals, Hitori has a chance encounter with Nijika Ijichi (voiced by Sayumi Suzushiro).

Seeing her carrying her guitar, Nijika drags a struggling-to-say-no-thanks Hitori to the small live venue Starry. There, Hitori meets bassist Ryou Yamada (voiced by Saku Mizuno), and the trio is performing that very night. Although the gig doesn’t go well, Nijika believes the group has potential. Thus, the three form Kessoku Band.  

After some time – and with the acquisition of lead singer and second guitarist Ikuyo Kita (voiced by Ikumi Hasegawa) – Kessoku Band’s sound begins to flourish. At the same time, the growth Hitori has long sought after starts to blossom.

Bocchi the Rock

Series Positives

Before discussing what this series is, it is essential we understand what it isn’t. More to the point, Bocchi the Rock is neither:

  • A Love Live-style idol anime, nor
  • A 2022 version of K-On

Not to say those series are bad, but rather, they are instant comparisons one might make if looking from the outside. Do not fall into that mindset. Or, at the very least, don’t let it prevent you from checking out what is easily among the best shows to come out of 2022.

Bocchi the Rock

If we had to compare Bocchi the Rock to anything, it would be the Zombie Land Saga series. After all, both franchises elevate their respective genres beyond what has become the norm. In other words:

What Zombie Land Saga did with idol anime, Bocchi the Rock did with music anime.

This show was outstanding and is defiantly worth remembering (maybe even hoping a sequel will grace our screens soon). It isn’t difficult to imagine that future music/band-themed series will want to emulate Bocchi the Rock’s style and energy.

Bocchi the Rock

Now, the studio that produced Bocchi the Rock, CloverWorks, is no stranger to breathtaking animation. As many of you will recall, this is the same studio that gave us the likes of:

  • Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai
  • The Promised Neverland
  • Horimiya

Therefore, one could assume Bocchi the Rock would, at a minimum, look good. While that would prove to be a safe bet, it doesn’t come close to reality. No, CloverWorks really outdid itself here. This series was stunning.

Not only that, Bocchi the Rock tried its hands with several different animation styles, and they all turned out amazing. Thus, despite following a story that wasn’t overly unique, the visuals were a part of what made watching this series addicting.

Bocchi the Rock

Additionally, Bocchi the Rock was a solid comedy that brilliantly blended slapstick, referential, situational, and dialogue-based humor. And though, at its core, this was a light-hearted series, it went much further than being silly for the sake of being silly. There was a tangible earnestness throughout this show.

That sense of having fun but still working hard defined the characters of Bocchi the Rock, especially the members of Kessoku Band: Hitori, Nijika, Ryou, and Ikyuo.

Working from last to first on from that listing, Ikyuo was the blandest of the four (only because that distinction has to go to someone). Of the group, she was the least musically inclined, meaning she had the least experience of the four. Be that as it may, Ikyuo wasn’t a blatant outlier; she was a crucial member of the band, particularly for Hitori’s sake. Since Nijika and Ryou were both older and went to a different school, they couldn’t be there to support Hitori on a daily basis. In many ways, Ikyuo was the necessary counterbalance against Hitori’s sometimes overwhelming gloom.

Bocchi the Rock

Then there was Ryou, a significant reason Bocchi the Rock could stand firm under Hitori’s utter lack of social skills. Ryou was this show’s wild card. Whereas Nijika and Ikyuo would support Hitori with kind words and cheer, Ryou would use circumstances to her advantage. Sure, you could see it as Ryou needlessly teasing someone incapable of saying no. However, it was Ryou who gave Hitori the confidence to write the music Hitori wanted to write.

Next in the line-up is Nijika, and she was the lifeblood of Kessoku Band. None of the other members would have likely pursued the music path without her energy and drive. Except, don’t go thinking she only spoke in motivational speeches. On the contrary, Nijika was often the straight-man for her friends’ wildly different personalities. Despite being the group’s cheerleader, Nijika had no problem throwing in her own jabs whenever anyone got a little carried away.

Bocchi the Rock

Finally, we have Hitori.

Given how Ikyuo, Ryou, and Nijika had to often go out of their way to accommodate her anxiety, Hitori wasn’t a burden to this show. In actuality, without her, there would have been no Bocchi the Rock (both in the figurative and literal sense).

Hitori was this show’s breakout character.

Bocchi the Rock

This series was clever in how it portrayed Hitori’s growth. Initially, she could barely string together a sentence when talking to anyone. By the show’s end, she wasn’t remotely close to overcoming her anxiety. Still, you could see that she could, at least, survive being in a room filled with other people.

Bocchi the Rock never directly called attention to this. It was much more organic and natural – as it should always be.

Plus, and this is unquestionably the most subjective point so far, the music in this show was pretty damn good, too.  

Bocchi the Rock

Series Negatives

If there was one negative thing about Bocchi the Rock, it would be the number of times the more extroverted members of Kessoku Band forgot how bad Hitori’s social anxiety was.

For a bit more context, we can discount Ryou in this sentiment. She likely always remembered what was going on with Hitori. Instead, Ryou found Hitori’s reaction hilarious, so why would she go out of her way to prevent her entertainment?

Regardless of how meanspirited that sounds, Ryou never sent Hitori spiraling.

Bocchi the Rock

For her part, we can say the same about Nijika, especially later in the show. While she might have been heavy-handed initially, Nijika eventually learned she needed to be slow with Hitori. Nijika saw that larger, bolder steps were often less efficient than smaller, more meaningful progress.

Ikyuo, on the other hand, never seemed to grasp that concept. Although Ikyuo was the one who gave Hitori the most direct support, she was also the cause of some of Hitori’s more challenging moments.

You would think that after a while, given how quickly Hitori could shut down, her friends would realize when they were going too far. Yes, it was good that they were helping Hitori push out of her comfort zone. But forcing big change at a moment’s notice was typically more problematic than it was worth.

Bocchi the Rock

Final Thoughts

When you crush it so hard that you single-handily defy a well-entrenched gene, you’ve done something right.

This show found a fantastic balance between humor, style, heart, and music. You could not ask for a more fun and memorable watch from beginning to end.

Therefore, Bocchi the Rock has earned a colossal recommendation.

But these are my thoughts; what are yours? Have you seen this show; how would you advise Bocchi the Rock? Leave a comment below because I would love to hear what you have to say.

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Also Read:
A link to the D4DJ First Mix review
A link to the Given review
A link to the Idolish 7 Season One review
A link to the K-On review
A link to the Listeners review
A link to the Zombie Land Saga Season 1 review

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