This last season of anime has had some really heavy-hitting shows. Chainsaw Man. Mob Psycho 100’s grand finale. Bleach came back, for god’s sake! Anime fans have got a TON of shows to watch!
One that I’ve been neglecting recently has been BOCCHI THE ROCK! (it’s all-caps on Crunchyroll, so that’s how I’m writin’ it, sorry). Which was a mistake. Because god damn, dude, this show is spectacular! I’m super stoked to review this one!
But I’m impatient, so I decided to get some of that excitement out of my system early. Luckily for me, this show’s got not one, not two, but four great characters to rant about!
While the show primarily focuses on Bocchi, the story itself is built around the growth of Kessoku Band as a whole. As such, it needs to spend a large chunk of its focus not just on Bocchi, but on the rest of the band. Group chemistry is a must for a story like this.
Thankfully, Kessoku Band’s group chemistry is an absolute delight!
Simply put, the band consists of two extroverts and two introverts. Bocchi and Ryō are our introverts, Nijika and Kita are the extroverts. However, how each of these characters fill these archetypes is vastly different, which in it of itself creates two more archetypes for the band: the socially anxious members, Bocchi and Kita, and the socially outgoing members, Nijika and Ryō.
“But Kita is an extrovert!” I hear you saying. “How can she be socially anxious? She’s not nearly the same kind of disaster as Bocchi!”
Oh, you sweet fool, you know nothing!
Indeed, Kita is the most extroverted member of the group. But she’s also the one most eager to please other people. The idea of disappointing others or failing to meet expectations absolutely terrifies her. So much so that she lied about being able to play guitar, then ghosted the band because she knew she’d let them down.
This puts her on the same wavelength as Bocchi. While she isn’t nearly as outgoing as Kita, Bocchi is every bit as much of a people pleaser. As such, she’s constantly thrown outside of her comfort zone by the actions of her friends. Even when she’s so terrified that she gets swallowed up by her fantasies, she always tries her best.
Even if she just wants to quit at everything she tries that isn’t music.
Ryō is the first socially functional member of the group. Well… so long as you put ‘functional’ in brackets. It’s more that she simply doesn’t care what other people think of her. Ryō lives as Ryō wants. Which is mostly in her own little world.
Unfortunately, as all of us introverts are well aware, reality has a habit of intruding upon fantasy. In her case, that’s finances. As Ryō spends all of her money on music and instruments in order to become the ultimate musical know-it-all elitist, she doesn’t have any left for… anything else.
You know. Like food.
So she’ll try to mooch off of her friends as often as possible. Which is fairly easy with Bocchi and Kita; the latter is pretty much head-over-heels for her and the former is literally too scared to ever say no. If she were allowed to, she’d mooch off the pair forever. All while laughing at them for their social quirks.
Luckily, that’s where Nijika comes in. Being the leader of the band, she’s the most level-headed of the bunch. Which makes it her job to keep all the other idiots in line. A job that she fulfills with a bright smile and a cheerful attitude.
Like Ryō, Nijika doesn’t particularly care about how she’s perceived. She’s so socially outgoing that she basically drags Bocchi into the band at the start of the story. Unlike Ryō, however, she has enough basic human empathy and social understanding to support her friends, rather than point and laugh at them.
This manifests most strongly in her relationship with Bocchi. As the story goes on, Nijika (as well as Kita, as she’s also very extroverted and empathetic) end up getting more and more sucked into Bocchi’s social anxiety fantasies. This isn’t just a fun source of comedy. It’s a clear sign that the two have grown to understand Bocchi enough to know what’s going on in her head.
Even if Nijika is the only one who knows her well enough to read her mind.
Each of these four characters sends sparks flying whenever they interact with each other. They each click together as individuals, as well as a group. Bocchi and Ryō get along well because they’re both very introverted. Nijika and Kita get along for the exact opposite reason. Kita admires Ryō’s social apathy and does her best to get her to like her, unaware that she’s fueling her own social anxiety, which is a large part of why she and Bocchi get along. All the while, the kind and outgoing Nijika keeps the whole group together.
All four of their personalities are constantly pushing and pulling at each other in one way or another. This is great group chemistry 101! Whether you’ve only got two together or all four at once, they’re all a delight to have in the same room together. You could write them all into the most mundane of situations and it would still be entertaining!
Interestingly, their roles in the band align with their roles in the group. Nijika as the drummer sets the tempo that all the others follow. Ryō as the base player adds depth to the sound, supporting the guitarist and the vocalist. Kita as the vocalist puts the band’s voice out there, while playing guitar to support the main guitarist. Bocchi, as the guitarist, works well with the band, but shines the most during her solos, which she uses to help break up the pace and keep the others refreshed and focused.
None of these characters were haphazardly assigned an instrument and put into an arbitrary place in the band. Their personalities are designed to reflect their choice in instrument. You can literally hear each character’s role in the group whenever you listen to one of their songs!
See that? That’s how you write a story about a band!
It also helps that BOCCHI THE ROCK! is just a really good show in general. Like, my god, if this season didn’t have Chainsaw Man or Mob Psycho 100 in it, this would’ve been anime of the season! Hell, it’s a strong contender for anime of the year!
But that’s a conversation for Saturday. So I’ll see you all then.