Hitoribocchi no Marumaruseikatsu – Ep. 1 (First Impressions)

I think I have found my spirit animal.

More often than not, I have a soft spot for shy or anxious characters in an anime. I was and still kind of am a shy and anxious person so characters who are like that I tend to relate with very easily. So naturally when something like Hitoribocchi no Marumaru Seikatsu comes along and it’s all about a girl overcoming her social anxiety, I’m immediately sold.

There is one other reason Hitoribocchi caught my attention. It’s an anime based on a manga by Katsuwo, the same mangaka who created Mitsuboshi Colors. I haven’t mentioned it before (because I suck at getting around to writing series reviews…) but I really enjoyed Colors and even consider it one of my favorite anime of 2018. It’s a series that captures childhood — the restlessness, the wild imagination, and the desire to just do whatever so long as it’s fun. If Hitoribocchi can give that same kind of treatment to its respective subject then I had no doubt in my mind that it’ll be a great time.

And sure enough, I’m currently having a blast with this show.

Even though I like Colors, it is, objectively speaking, twelve episodes of little girls being little girls. It’s a series that is justified in its aimlessness but that does make it an acquired taste even by slice of life/CGDCT standards. Comparatively, Hitoribocchi appears to have more of a legitimate plot going on. Betrayed by parting ways with her one friend from elementary school, Bocchi (Chisaki Morishita) is tasked to befriend everyone in class, an obviously daunting task that’s easier said than done. While I’m sure this show will settle into a very episodic structure, it’s nice that there indeed an overarching goal in mind and some sense of progress will likely be felt as Bocchi grows in confidence and makes new friends.

As I had hoped, this series is doing a great job at depicting Bocchi’s struggles to socialize without shutting down. Throughout the premiere alone, you see this poor girl overthink, panic, struggle to hold a conversation, and profusely apologizing on the assumption that she’s bothering people. On occasion, she goes to some extreme lengths such as posting a note saying school is “cancelled” in an effort to avoid people or writing predetermined lines of dialogue on her hand so that she’s better prepared to hold a conversation. Save for the most ridiculous of moments, it’s all stuff that I’ve personally ran into and thanks to way Bocchi is drawn and expresses herself, it all comes across as funny and even adorable.

So far, Bocchi has befriended the classmate sitting in front of her, Nako (Minami Tanaka). It was great seeing these two gradually become friends. Nako seems to have a tough and even unapproachable exterior at first but she warms up to Bocchi after feeling bad for brushing off the latter by accident. My favorite scene between the two is actually when the two don’t talk at all and instead communicate through text messages. As funny as it is seeing Bocchi bump into stuff while on her phone, there’s a truth to how someone like her would feel more comfortable communicating through texting as opposed to talking in person. And while Nako rightfully questions if that’s a good thing, Bocchi ends up being able to a hold a verbal conversation more easily thanks to the familiarity gained from Nako’s messages. By the time the episode is over, you really get the impression that Bocchi has made her first friend at school.

I will concede that Hitoribocchi no Marumaru Seikatsu isn’t breaking any ground here. Shy anime characters are dime a dozen these days. Be that as it may, Hitoribocchi executes that niche quite well. Bocchi and her quest to befriend her entire class is relatable and delightful and l honestly am looking forward to seeing that journey progress in future episodes.

OP: “Hitoribocchi no Monologue” by Bocchi Hitori (Chisaki Morishita), Nako Sunao (Minami Tanaka), Aru Honshou (Akari Kito), Sotoka Rakita (Yuuko Kurose)

Thanks for reading!

Watch Hitoribocchi no Marumaruseikatsu on Crunchyroll

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