Not For Me But Not All That Bad
You know that feeling you get when you watch something and you know it is fine there’s nothing technically wrong with what it is delivering, but you just aren’t in to it? That’s the feeling I had for the majority of Hitoribocchi’s run. While I was initially intrigued by the set up because I was also an incredibly shy person going to school and Bocchi’s obvious social anxiety was something I related to I quickly found any connection I had with her dissipating and none of the rest of the cast really grabbed my interest.
I think part of the problem for me at least was that the anime played each of these characters and their various social issues for laughs and while I found their quirks interesting, I didn’t find them funny. Even exaggerated to such a degree I mostly found these characters in need of support rather than chuckles and largely couldn’t get into what was being played out.
Bocchi’s social anxiety is actually pretty well presented with her legs shaking and cramping, her voice freezing or stuttering, and when push comes to shove her stomach giving out and causing her to throw up in social settings. However what is less well presented is her manner of dealing with these things. Her list making of ideas that go from idiotic to useless is supposed to be charming I assume but mostly it just made me want to shake her.
Also, so many characters either not acknowledging her severe anxiety or responding to her antics just seemed weird. While I get that she isn’t friends with every one in the class by the end of the season, Bocchi’s behaviour is erratic at best and you would think there would be more of a reaction to it. Then again, when you see the crowd shots of the rest of the class there are clearly a whole bunch of oddballs in one room (I really wanted to know more about the girl who wears the eye mask every lesson) so maybe Bocchi’s behaviour isn’t that out there compared to theirs.
When you throw in a couple of characters I genuinely despised, such as the useless excuse of a teacher who is terrified of a student who has never done anything outwardly hostile, then any desire I had to try to connect with the anime as it continued quickly faded away. By around the mid-season mark I was more or less over this one but continued with it to see how they concluded Bocchi’s friend quest.
Now, despite the negativity of those previous paragraphs, it should be noted that lots of people found Hitoribocchi a truly charming watch and really loved the support cast, particularly Aru. Which really means overall enjoyment hinges on whether or not you find these characters cute and charming and like to laugh along with their antics or whether you find the entire thing really tragic and find the comedy elements intrusive.
Even for me, I found Nako, the first friend Bocchi makes, to be the most stable element in Hitoribocchi. While she isn’t as exuberant or interesting as some of the other cast members, she routinely gets the best moments as she interacts with Bocchi, consoles her, supports her, and occasionally messes with her just to see the reaction. Between Bocchi and Nako there did seem to be a genuine friendship building over the course of the series and when the anime focused on that relationship I found it to be at its strongest.
However, the self-declared world’s greatest vice-president Aru is another story. I literally found every scene that focused on her and her poor luck to be the least interesting moments and they were only slightly less frustrating than the stammering teacher. The exchange student who wants to be a ninja ended up somewhere between Aru and Nako as some moments with her were pretty adorable and others were just silly (though whether you find that charming or eye-roll worthy is a personal opinion).
Realistically the character designs are cute and appealing as many of these cute girl shows are with each character having a distinct enough design. The colour scheme was also pretty nice with some bright backgrounds and accessories.
There’s nothing wrong with this anime. Those who like cute girl slice of life stories will probably eat it up. For me though, this one was more of a mis-fire and I kind of regretted picking it up by the end of the season.
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- Hitoribocchi Series Review
- Hitoribocchi Episodes 1 + 2
- Hitoribocchi Episodes 3 + 4
- Hitoribocchi Episodes 5 + 6
- Hitoribocchi Episode 7
- Hitoribocchi Episode 8
- Hitoribocchi Episode 9
- Hitoribocchi Episode 10
- Hitoribocchi Episode 11
- Hitoribocchi Episode 12
- Images from: Hitoribocchi no Marumaru Seikatsu. Dir. T Anzai. C2C. 2019.