First Impression: Bocchi the Rock!

Hitori Goto lives up to her name: “soliloquy”. She’s the girl who never had the courage to join in all the fun and games in kindergarten, who ends up eating with the teacher during school picnics, doesn’t go to after school club, and only has messages from her parents on her phone. She is a died-in-the-wool introvert, and life is pretty grey and lonely, but at least it’s safe. But one day, she sees a fellow introvert being interviewed on television and learns the secret to social success: learn to play guitar and form a band! This becomes her obsession and three years later, she’s shredding her Dad’s Gibson Les Paul with the best of them, racking up 30,000 followers on YouTube and rocking the avatar “guitarhero” like it isn’t just a lame name her Dad suggested when he encouraged her to post her songs. Even so, Hitori is a month into high school now and still has not formed a band, played at a cultural festival, or even spoken to a classmate. So she concocts a cunning plan: she will take her guitar to school tomorrow, embody the persona of Cool Rocker Chick, and just wait for the excited classmates to flock to her desk. And…it actually kinda works! Not at school, but at the park later, when another rocker chick spots her telltale guitar case and begs her to stand in for her band’s missing guitarist for their club gig that evening. Social anxiety ensues! Can Hitori take her first baby step toward performing with and for actual real live people? Maybe with a little help from an oversized cardboard box and some indirect encouragement from new friends…

As an introvert who spent her first two significant pay cheques on acquiring a Gibson that was subsequently played in solitude, I have only one thing to say: I Approve. This episode does a brilliant job of inhabiting the introvert vibe. From Hitori’s self-talk, to the reactions of others around her; from the endearing support of her family who don’t want to push but do want to support, to her own inner battle to get herself to take that all-important first step out into the unknown (literally out of her bedroom closet, where she’s recorded her songs all these years)—this episode is on point. Yes, it’s uncomfortable at times to see her discomfort, but only briefly, because Hitori herself is so self-aware and has such a robust sense of humor that she is able to defuse her own distress. She’s a functional introvert who is ready to grow and start making social connections, and we get to see her taking charge and doing so. It’s not circumstances or other people who are pressuring or blackmailing her (as in another beloved introvert series, Hitoribocchi). Nope, our girl Bocchi the Rock has agency! On top of that uplifting quality, the animation is lively and fun, switching styles with ease to express the full range of melodrama Hitori is experiencing. The tone is also very playful with, for instance, fake credits rolling part way through when Hitori is melting into a puddle of overwhelmedness and decides to quit. The writing is tight, well-paced, and spirited, not to mention abounding in puns that translate quite well! We don’t have much of a sense of the other band members yet, since the episode concentrates on Hitori’s perspective, but with such good writing and solid voice acting, I’m sure they’ll each shine in due time. Now the question is, are we ever going to get some insert songs? I will definitely be sticking around to find out.


Bocchi the Rock! is streaming on Crunchyroll.

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