BOCCHI THE ROCK! – Ep. 4

With Kessoku Band fully formed, the girls begin to make some plans, particularly for their next live performance at Starry. Bocchi and Ryo are tasked with the creation of the band’s first original song, Ryo handling instrumentals and Bocchi writing the lyrics. These two were actually given the jobs by Nijika in Episode 2. I forgot to bring it up. Evidently, Bocchi forgot as well and now that she remembers, her anxiety kicks in again.

Writing lyrics alone would be daunting but the task proves challenging for Bocchi in another way. Rather than write what comes the most naturally for her (i.e. somber, depressing stuff), Bocchi tries to write something more “band-like” or more widely appealing. Since Kita will be the one to sing the song, Bocchi reckons that the song should be something that Kita, as well as the rest of the band and their potential audience, would enjoy. Obviously, Bocchi is just making things harder for herself. We can also safely assume that her bandmates are cool with whatever lyrics she comes up with so long as it’s good and she’s proud of it herself. In fact, that’s very much what happens at the end of the episode. While the situation is a bit frustrating, I wouldn’t call it contrived. For Bocchi to gain confidence in herself, she’s going to have to gain it the hard way.

While brainstorming on lyrics, Bocchi attempts to act more extroverted and later more like Kita specifically. It’s a humorous moment, what with Bocchi’s exaggerated imagination, her pretty spot-on impression of Kita, and her family seeing some of this and thinking there’s something wrong with her. For a little bit, I actually thought this was going to encompass the whole episode. Bocchi decides she can’t use her imagination and instead follows Kita around to get a better sense of what she would want to sing. This could then culminate in a fun moment where Kita tells Bocchi to dial things down as well as a more heartfelt one where she convinces Bocchi to be more herself and write whatever lyrics that will come to mind.

Ultimately, Kita doesn’t play too big of a role in the songwriting process. Instead, Bocchi asks Ryo to look over what she’s managed to write. Although this is different from what I had initially expected, it does make sense. Ryo is the other musician attached to the project and as Bocchi figures, she is less likely than Nijika and Kita to sugarcoat her feedback. This interaction also proves to be a good opportunity to reveal more about Ryo, namely how she was in another band before joining Kessoku and left due to creative differences.

BOCCHI does a good job incorporating Ryo’s backstory into her present scene with Bocchi. Ryo apparently left her previous band because they wanted to branch out of their niche and become more mainstream, which Ryo felt resulted in a loss of identity. She therefore doesn’t want Bocchi, and by extension Kessoku, to follow the same path and so, she encourages Bocchi to write what comes to mind. Even if Bocchi does write a downer, it’ll at least be 100% her M.O. And as Ryo points out, it would be funny if Kita sings those lyrics and that would give Kessoku even more of an identity. 

In the middle of the songwriting process, Bocchi accompanies her bandmates in sightseeing and taking group photos to promote the band. It’s some good CGDCT fluff. I haven’t said it before but I’m really liking the chemistry between the four main characters. Bocchi is anxious and awkward around her friends. Kita is radiating with energy but even she has a weird side in how she simps for Ryo. Ryo is Ryo. Nijika is the straight man who is put off by everyone else’s quirks but she still goes along with it because they’re her friends. It’s a really solid dynamic.

I would say the photoshoot gives Bocchi a reprieve from all the songwriting but she does end up having a mental breakdown at one point. This begins when everyone checks out Kita’s Instagram Isstagram account and Bocchi is reminded once again of her lack of social presence, causing her to freak out. She especially loses it when her friends suggest she make her own account, afraid that it’ll turn her into an “attention whore” desperate for posts. That may sound weird given that Bocchi is already online as guitarhero but I reckon Bocchi’s comfortable as guitarhero because it’s a private persona and she doesn’t out of passion rather than attention. Rather than anonymously post stuff for people to stumble upon, Bocchi would be more public and more aware of whatever traffic comes her way. When I put it like that, I see where she’s coming from. Bocchi’s entire thought process is relatable and funny but what really gets me is the presentation. It has Bocchi acting like a tsuchinoko, glitching out as if she’s in the Matrix, and becoming Godzilla when she imagines herself begging for likes. The scene barrages you with visual gags and each one elicit a laugh

As funny as Bocchi’s breakdown is, I think the ending of this episode might actually be funnier. Following the photoshoot, Bocchi asks for a copy of one of the group photos. At the end, you see Bocchi printing it out to hang it up on her wall. At first, it’s really cute and touching…but then the “camera” pans out and reveals that Bocchi printed a ton of copies and plastered her entire bedroom walls with them, all while Bocchi inner monologues about how she wants to spend more time with her friends. Bocchi begins to maniacally laugh but before things get too yandere, the episode actually cuts her off and starts the ED, making the scene end on a funny note. Whereas the breakdown scene is an overload of gags, this scene is great because of its editing. It goes out in just the right ways, walking a fine line between creepy and humorous and accentuating that Bocchi means well even if her execution is extremely weird. That all said, I do wonder if the wallpaper is here to stay for the remainder of the show. I’d love to see the rest of Kessoku Band react to this.


Watch BOCCHI THE ROCK! on Crunchyroll.

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