Why were there so many good shows this season? How am I supposed to review all of these?! What, am I supposed to just pick a favorite cake and make all the others wait?!
Sorry, Chainsaw Man. I’ll get to you soon, I promise!
On the surface, BOCCHI THE ROCK! (yes, I’m sticking with that) seems like any other ‘cute girls do cute things’ anime. Like a dollar-store K-On. But look no further than the first episode and you’ll learn that it’s so much more than that. This is one of the most fun, grounded, and creative shows of the year!
Social recluse Hitori Gotoh has a dream: to be a rock star. Unfortunately, due to her severe social anxiety and introverted tendencies, she hasn’t been able to put a band together. One day, after bringing her guitar to school, she’s approached by the socially-outgoing Nijika, who invites our awkward heroine to join her band: Kessoku Band. Finally, it’s Bocchi’s time to shine! That is, if she can keep herself from running away long enough to get anywhere.
Any introvert with social phobias will instantly relate to Bocchi. Like, to a painful degree. Anyone with severe anxiety knows what its like to have their imaginations run away with them to the worst possible outcome. Sure, Bocchi’s anxiety is a bit more colorful and cartoonish than the real thing, but the pure terror and panic they embody is very much indicative of the real thing.
But terrified as she is, Bocchi always finds a way forward. Maybe it’s just me, but I find that incredibly endearing. Inspiring, even. Not even an episode into this show, Bocchi became one of my favorite slice-of-life protagonists!
That’s not to say the rest of Kessoku Band isn’t any good. Nijika, Ryo, and Kita are all delightful, with plenty of depth on their own. The group chemistry they have is an absolute delight!
So much so that I wrote an entire article on it. You should totally go read that. After you’re done here, of course.
The side cast is also full of delightful characters. Bocchi’s family are always hilarious – especially her brutally honest but adorable little sister. Bocchi’s drunken guitar older sister is a ton of fun, and Nijika’s sister is a delight in every scene. Every time I see just about any character in this show, I get a big dumb smile on my face!
Now, let’s talk animation. On the surface, this show is another cute girls anime. You know the kind, with the massive eyes and the colorful hair and the absolutely nothing else going for it.
But this is not one of those shows. Well, it is, but it’s got so much more going for it!
BOCCHI THE ROCK! (I imagine I’m shouting it at a metal concert every time I type it like that) is a masterwork of mixed animation. If they want a joke to land, the animators will get real creative! They go far and above simply going off-model for their gags – though those gags are still beautifully animated and really funny.
This show dips its toes into tons of different styles! From live action layered with added effects to rudimentary 3D, it’s got it all! Combined with the shows excellent comedic timing, as well as the stellar voice performances (Yoshino Aoyama as Bocchi is jaw-dropping), this show has some of the strongest slice-of-life comedy in the genre!
Then there’s the music. Being a show about a band, the music is pretty important. And sure, the OST is great. And it’s really cool how all of the songs Kessoku Band sing have full-length versions you can listen to. But it’s so much more than that.
Different sounds are used to further the narrative of this show. When Kessoku Band is struggling, whether they’re off-beat or out of tune, you can actually hear it in the track! Their very first performance as a full group is actually difficult to watch because they sound like they’re missing the tempo and rushing ahead!
This makes it all the more satisfying when the song actually comes together. When you listen to them perform and find no noticeable issues in what you’re listening to. That’s some next-level sound design! The only other show I can think of that did something similar was Your Lie in April!
It’s easy to just slap together a good song and let it play. But to add subtle details to make the song worse just to make the story more believable? That’s pretty badass.
I know it sounds weird for me to praise something for sounding bad intentionally, but just go with it.
I positively adored this show. It’s beautifully animated, it’s funny, and it sounds phenomenal! It’s definitely one of the best anime this season, nay; this year! If you haven’t checked it out yet, I’d highly recommend you do so.
Hopefully it doesn’t get completely swept away by the big hitters. Because I’d kill a man to get more Bocchi in my life.
Speaking of killing people, it’s finally time to talk about the big one.
See y’all next week for Chainsaw Man!