I’m not fully sure what the angle is to Bocchi the Rock! Evirus isn’t wrong* about the humor aspect, and the anime adaptation carries the cuts, however (slightly) blunted, and the laughs. Yoshino Aoyama does an admirable job with those reactions and fun noises that comes out of Bocchi. It’s a fun anime series that I look forward to enjoying every week.
But to me Bocchi the Rock occupies a particular set of contexts. Here is an anime based on a 4-koma comic from the same magazine that published K-ON, and it existed largely due to the post-K-ON boom of high school girl rock content. The animation takes direct cues from that, and the adaptation also directly pegs some key aspects on K-ON. My spine shivers hearing Ikumi Hasegawa do her version of Mio’s power vocals. When will she cover Don’t say “lazy”?
There is yet another layer to this context where many rock and roll creators are folks with far-from-perfect psyches, each dealing with their phobias, insecurities, and other maladjustments. Sometimes I think good musicians all struggle with some inner problems, darkness or whatever you want to call it. Well, nothing remarkable there I guess, that seems entirely human. Whatever that drives Bocchi to join a rock band is what it is, but these reasons and motivations do run the gamut and having a range of them in the same group is one way to create a remarkable sound or experience. It can make for good art.
At the same time, the way rock bands make art is through dealing with those issues while at it, and this is all assuming the band doesn’t break apart sooner rather than later, of course. Making music can be both creative and/or destructive. Just like any other art.
How do you create great music? What goes on in the minds of successful rock-and-rollers? Isn’t Bocchi the Rock a story that sort of plays on these stereotypes? Yeah. And if the opening to Chainsaw Man was inspirational, Bocchi is a whole TV show of it because that’s in its bones.
Bocchi the Rock is not glamorous, and maybe this is the one big thing that sets it back from its aspirational target, its idol. If anything the sheen of CloverWork’s excellent visuals cut against its faux glam. Regardless, in being the opposite of glamorous, Bocchi the Rock will hit those who gets hit that much harder.
This style or philosophical take on rock and roll is the kind in which art is the window into the mind of the unsettled, the disturbed, the distressed. It’s not glamorous at all. Bocchi’s little band is actually as rock as it gets.
*Turns out there is something shared between Bocchi The Rock and Hitori Bocchi no Marumaru Seikatsu so Evirus is still wrong.