Bocchi the Rock, vol. 1 | Review
Bocchi the Rock!, vol. 1
Story & art by Aki Hamazi
Yen Press, 10/17/23
Age rating: Teen
Introvert Hitomi Gotoh wants to be popular among her peers. However, with crippling social anxiety, talking to others makes her fall apart.
Hm, where have I heard this story before?
But instead of a classmate helping her with that goal, Ko—er, Hitomi uses her guitar skills to do the talking for her. She uploads her music online as “Guitarhero,” which gains her internet fame. This way, her classmates will come to her and become her friends, right?
However, nobody knows that Hitomi and Guitarhero are the same person. So as she’s about to throw in the towel, Hitomi receives an opportunity to fill in for a band, named Kessoku Band. But with being the most anxious introvert, can Hitomi perform in front of a live audience?
She can, in a cardboard box! Seriously!
And this is one of the many reasons why Bocchi the Rock, and its anime adaptation which came out late 2022, is so endearing!
And yes, it is the musical version of Komi Can’t Communicate, but that’s where the similarities end. Hitomi (nicknamed Bocchi by her new bandmates/friends) does try her best to speak up and become noticeable, with comedic timing and results that are beyond laughable. There is a lot of character development, especially when it comes to Hitomi and her bandmates, Ryou, Nijika, and late arrival to the story Kita. Nijika, the drummer, is the optimist and leader of the group, who not only recognizes Hitomi’s gift (and alter-ego) immediately but brings her into the group. Ryou, the bassist, is the strong, silent, food-obsessed type who always seems to have great advice when it’s least expected, but forgets to pay for her food. There’s always one. Kita, the guitarist, is the motivator of the group who is on her own redemption arc and has history with Ryou. All four girls have something to prove and are ready to do just that…
That is if Hitomi doesn’t crumble first.
As a fan of the anime series, I was so excited to get a copy of Bocchi the Rock that I bought it on the first day at New York Comic Con. The layout is great for first-time readers of the manga. It’s stylized as a yonkoma, a four-panel manga that reads from top to bottom. The art is adorable, especially when highlighting Hitomi’s moods. There is a level of self-deprecating humor on Hitomi’s part that makes her teenage angst relatable. In each scenario, the reader will find themselves going, “yep, been there.”
While it’s rated Teen, I think younger and older readers will appreciate Bocchi the Rock. It’s a relatable story of teen girls trying to make themselves known in the rock world while dealing with real world obstacles. Hitomi does get to shine in her own way, but in the end, it’s a great story of friendship and being comfortable with who you are.
And in times like these, the world could use more stories like this.
About Renee Scott
Renee Scott is a young adult librarian based in NYC, as well as a dedicated otaku and gamer. She is a lifelong fan of comics, anime, and manga. She can be found on Twitter at @libraryladynyc, and on her review blog, The Library Lady of NYC Reviews.
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