REVIEW: ‘Bocchi The Rock!,’ Episode 1 – “Lonely Rolling Bocchi”

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Bocchi The Rock! Episode 1

Bocchi The Rock is a slice-of-life anime produced by CloverWorks. Hitori Gotou has always been an introvert. Never able to speak up. She was always left behind by others. One day when she was in middle school, she discovered the guitar and decided she wanted to play in a band. In a band, she wouldn’t need to speak. So she figured that was where someone like her could shine. Three years later, she has become a strong guitarist, but she may have overlooked an essential element of being in a band. She still needs to talk to people if she is to form a band. But a fortunate meeting may just help her out in Bocchi The Rock Episode 1.

Delivering a comedic story focused on an introvert can be a tricky endeavor. While you want to have fun with the main character, you never want to have fun at the expense of the character’s struggles. The viewer should never feel like the show is punching down at the expense of someone’s social anxiety. Happily, Bocchi The Rock Episode 1 avoids this fault wonderfully.

The key way the show does this is by keeping any criticism of Hitori to herself. No one around her ever judges her for her fears and insecurities. On the contrary, they fairly understand once she has her happenstance meeting with a fellow student in desperate need of a guitarist to help them cover an imminent gig they have. This approach allows the show to deliver comical takes on how Hitori feels and sees herself, rather than having it feel like others are making light of her or, worse, bullying her. This is highlighted in the wonderful solution Hitori comes up with when the episode actually requires her to get up on stage for the first time.

Another way that Bocchi The Rock Episode 1 works some great comedic moments into its narrative through some wonderful fourth-wall-breaking. This moment is so cleverly implemented that I was caught off guard by what it was doing till the moment had fully played out. It was a fantastic trick that I hope the series will continue to do iterations of as it moves forward.

Something else that I really liked about Bocchi The Rock Episode 1 is how the show incorporates Hitori’s internet use into her narrative. While social media is often, and justly so, critiqued for all the harm it does, Hitori has managed to keep some amount of spirit up in her long struggle with her social anxiety thanks to her ability to upload her music to the net. It’s nice to have that reminder that, despite how much of a cesspool the web can be, it can do genuine good for many people who struggle with person-to-person interactions.

The visual design does a great job of projecting Hitori’s many miniature panic moments to the viewer. Much like the story itself, the visual gags that populate the story never feel like they are intended to belittle the character’s fears. The animation also does a great job delivering the motion and feeling of the artists when they play their music.

When all is said and done, Bocchi The Rock Episode 1 is a fun beginning to its story. If the rest of the series can maintain the upbeat humor while still respecting its protagonist, this could be another wonderful slice-of-life series to enjoy.

Bocchi The Rock Episode 1 is streaming now on Crunchyroll.


Bocchi The Rock! Episode 1
  • 8/10
    Rating - 8/10
8/10

TL;DR

When all is said and done, Bocchi The Rock Episode 1 is a fun beginning to its story. If the rest of the series can maintain the upbeat humor while still respecting its protagonist, this could be another wonderful slice-of-life series to enjoy.

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