Everybody has their problems.
Yeah, three episodes in and I’m already struggling with this one. Bocchi isn’t exactly a character I can rally behind. In week one her rampant insecurity worked well enough but in episode three it is just this side of obnoxious as she fears her friends will ditch her after one day absent. The lack of trust she places in the others in actually her single biggest hurdle in terms of actually being friends and I have to wonder why either of them are putting up with it to be honest. That string of texts she sends them is just this side of psychotic.
Throw in the teacher who is just a complete failure of an educator who runs in fear from her own student, and one who has done nothing to warrant such a reaction, and all and all this episode delivers everything that could go wrong with the set up and little to off-set it that might be charming. I wouldn’t even waste the time screen-capping the teacher because she’s just such a useless character and one who adds nothing to what is fast becoming a fairly uninteresting viewing experience.
In terms of what the episode does, we don’t really learn anything new about anyone or introduce a new character this week. Rather we have Bocchi trying to strengthen ties with her two existing friends by wanting to walk home with them, and that segues to her inviting them over which leads into her being sick and away from school. It is simple set up situation and milk it for laughs, but the laughs are fairly short in supply and I’m just not sure what to make of the section where she dresses in a bear costume.
While this isn’t yet a deal breaker, at three episodes in I’d have to say this isn’t an anime I’m going to go out of my way to recommend. It just doesn’t have anything more than its premise and it is already becoming stale so early in the season. Stretching the episodes to full length was probably part of the issue and this one would probably remain more charming as a short.
It’s hard to know, outside of the overly long run time of each episode, where Hitoribocchi goes wrong. Or rather, whether it is getting anything actually wrong or if the sum of its parts just can’t collectively be all that entertaining. Bocchi continues to be a problematic protagonist having melt downs just trying to cross the road because she can’t greet the crossing guard but she also continues to try to make friends. That basic premise isn’t overly wrong, but this is neither exaggerated enough to be over the top and amusing, nor dealt with seriously enough to be actually dramatic.
The end result is something that feels like a slice of life with occasional punch lines, but mostly just lacks weight both in narrative and character development.
Of course, the exchange student who came to Japan to meet ninjas doesn’t help us take this anymore seriously. Part of me wonders if the real punch line here is that everyone in the class is actually completely dysfunctional individually. It seems weird that no one had noticed that this blonde girl was so ninja obsessed prior to this episode given she isn’t exactly going out of her way to hide it.
The second half of this episode which consists of ‘ninja training’ falls pretty flat no matter how you want to look at it and I definitely found myself checking the clock to see how much more needed to be endured before the end.
Part of me is curious about whether Bocchi will complete the task of befriending everyone, though at the rate she’s going that seems almost impossible. Otherwise though there is little to keep someone watching this series. If you are after school comedy there are better offers. If you are after slice of life or friendship stories there’s definitely better. Hitoribocchi just hasn’t put anything on the table yet that makes it something that needs to be watched.
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100 Word Anime:
- Hitoribocchi Episodes 1 + 2
- Hitoribocchi Episodes 3 + 4
- Hitoribocchi Episodes 5 + 6
- Hitoribocchi Episode 7
- Hitoribocchi Episode 8
- Hitoribocchi Episode 9
- Images from: Hitoribocchi no Marumaru Seikatsu. Dir. T Anzai. C2C. 2019.