Konomi KoharaMinami TanakaHiyori KonoTakako Tanaka
Hitori Bocchi no Marumaru Seikatsu
Episode 1 also reviewed here: Anime 1st episodes 2019: H
Medium: TV, series
Year: 2019
Director: Takebumi Anzai
Writer: Jukki Hanada
Original creator: Katsuwo
Actor: Akari Kito, Chisaki Morishita, Hiyori Kono, Honoka Kuroki, Kana Ichinose, Konomi Kohara, Live Mukai, Minami Takahashi, Minami Tanaka, Misaki Watada, Rika Nagae, Takako Tanaka, Yuko Kurose
Keywords: anime
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Format: 12 episodes
Url: https://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/anime.php?id=20806
Website category: Anime 2019
Review date: 31 August 2022
Hitori Bocchi
You'll cringe a bit, but it's lovely if you can get past the premise. Bocchi has extreme social anxiety. She still wants friends, mind you. She idolises them. She'll explode in sparkles and flowers if she thinks she's taken a step towards normality. However, she's also a loon who's convinced herself of all sorts of dumb paranoid insecurities and might faint or even vomit at too much stimulation.
She has one friend, a girl called Kai. Unfortunately, they're going to different middle schools and Kai's decided on an extreme action to try to cure Bocchi's issues. Kai declares that she'll stop being friends with Bocchi and never speak to her again, unless Bocchi manages to befriend all her new classmates.
There are 29 children in Bocchi's class. That's like being asked to climb 29 Everests. Fortunately, though, a lot of them are: (a) almost as loony, and (b) liable to become fond of this short, funny, incredibly dense disaster on legs.
This is a surprisingly great framework for a comedy. Some shows stumble when forcing in ever more supporting characters, but here that's the premise. That's Bocchi's goal. She'll build up her core group of goofballs, but there's a deadline on the horizon. Middle school only lasts for three years, which isn't long if you're Bocchi. After she's graduated, it'll be too late to befriend this class.
Furthermore, the supporting cast are funny. Nako's tall, blunt and scares her teacher. Aru maintains a bouncy, perfect facade over the fact that she's a total loser. (When she's on form, she can be as cringe-making as Bocchi.) Sotoka came to Japan to be a ninja. (Amazingly, she also has the ability to make Gratuitous English adorable, whereas normally in anime it makes you want to stick broken glass in your ears.) That's not everyone, but they'll become Bocchi's primary support network. I loved the bit where they all applaud in ep.9 after Bocchi's blundered her way through a Roger Irrelevant speech of non-sequiturs. (It's Bocchi, so yeah. You might want to applaud her too.)
I love the body language, by the way. Bocchi has cat hands and turtle posture. There's something utterly Bocchi about a moment as simple as the bit in the title sequence where she looks around, then runs.
Incidentally, the character names are blatant Japanese puns.
The show's great. It's a melting pot of loonies, who together are all charming (and sometimes a bit painful). Even their teacher visits weird mental places. Sotoka is even more bizarre than Bocchi, whom she'll decide is her Master of Ninjutsu and follow for hyper-enthusiastic daily training. The rich girl in ep.11 is also a space case. Of course, though, it's Bocchi who's the show's disaster comedy fallback. Ask her to hold a conversation and, if she has time, she'll prepare a script. She improves over the season, but she never cures the vomiting and fainting.
It's far nicer and more charming than I'd expected from ep.1. Give it a whirl.