BOCCHI THE ROCK! – Ep. 12 (Series Finale)

Much like how I began the BOCCHI coverage, I may be ending it in an awkward time. For those who don’t know, there’ll be a live event for the show next month on April 23. I’m speculating here but if BOCCHI does get a second season, this event would be the perfect opportunity for such an announcement. As such, I feel a bit hesitant calling this episode the series finale. Doing so could very well age like milk in less than a month. I also just don’t want this show to end. But regardless of what the future holds for this show, this episode is a very good place to end on.

The first half of the episode is dedicated to Kessoku Band’s concert at the Culture Festival. I’ll admit that last episode’s cliffhanger ending drove me a bit nuts but honestly, I’m glad that the concert was saved for here. Going that route probably gave the staff more freedom in executing it. Plus, it’s a great event to have for your finale. For this concert, we are treated with two original songs, “Never Forget” and “If I Became a Constellation”. At this point, I can say with complete confidence that BOCCHI’s music team killed it with the insert songs. Every single one by Kessoku Band has simply been a delight. I’m randomly curious if either of the two songs was the third song played off screen in Episode 8 but to be fair, it really doesn’t matter.

“Never Forget” is a really appropriate song to have in this episode. Given what ultimately happens, the concert is definitely something Bocchi won’t be forgetting anytime soon, certainly for the next two years of her high school career. Joking aside, the song is about cherishing the memories one will have of their time in school. It’s bittersweet and it’s fitting given Kessoku Band’s desire to make the most out of the Culture Festival and the general sense of finality in this episode. The visuals also play along with the song; the “camera” occasionally cuts away from Kessoku Band’s performance to shots of empty rooms in the school. Kessoku Band is at the presumed high point of the Culture Festival but the event is also coming to an end and it’ll soon become a memory that the girls will hopefully hold dear to their hearts.

As for “If I Become a Constellation”, the song appears to be a metaphor for camaraderie. Much like how stars can be linked to form a constellation, people can connect with one another with the bonds they share. Me personally, I would’ve gone with a zip tie. In all seriousness, this is a very apt comparison when you consider Bocchi’s character. She wouldn’t gotten as far as she has without her friends supporting her. About the only line that confuses me is at the beginning of the song, which Crunchyroll translates to “Lucky, luck you. Must be nice to have everyone love you”. I’m guessing the speaker is referring to someone who popular. The only reason this stands out to me is because the only one in Bocchi’s life who matches the description is Kita. Is Bocchi referring to Kita when she wrote this line? What’s with these past couple of episodes and this one ship? Would you believe me if I said this isn’t the only fuel in this episode?

Despite her anxiety, Bocchi has actually performed better than any of her bandmates in live performances. When push comes to shove, she really gets in the zone and delivers the best guitar playing she can muster. It’s nerve-wrecking then when one of the strings on Bocchi’s guitar comes undone during “If I Become a Constellation”. For once, Bocchi panics during a concert and the pressure is hitting her again. To make matters worse, this occurs right before a guitar solo that Ryo planned just for Bocchi. Fortunately, Kita comes to the rescue by improvising a solo to buy Bocchi enough time to come up with a solution, which ends up being a bottleneck slide using one of Kikuri’s sake containers. It looks Kita really did take those extra lessons for Bocchi. I don’t know how realistic it is for Kita to have gotten so good at the guitar in a short amount of time that she can now wing it but this moment works well in displaying the camaraderie within Kessoku Band, something which “If I Become a Constellation” alludes to.

I really question Kita’s decision at the end of the concert, where she hands the mic over to Bocchi. It’s a nice gesture but surely she knows that Bocchi wouldn’t want to talk to a large crowd of people when she’s only now comfortable talking to her handful of friends. Then again, Kita submitted Kessoku Band’s application form without Bocchi’s consent so I guess she doesn’t always think these things through. Evidently, Bocchi is in the same boat as she makes the decision to initiate a crowd surf in lieu of a speech. This goes about as gloriously bad as you think.

After hurting herself, Bocchi recovers in the school infirmary with Kita by her side. This is actually not the first time Kita has accompanied Bocchi at the infirmary. I swear there’s no particular reason as to why I bring this up. There’s a really interesting moment where Bocchi compliments Kita for her guitar playing and Kita responds that she’s only good as a secondary guitarist. Kita has always been honest about her skills but even so, it’s surprising to hear her admit this. She’s gotten good with the guitar, good enough that she can improvise a solo if need be. And yet, she still think that her guitar playing can draw people in. She instead views her bandmates’ playing, presumably Bocchi’s in particular, as more of a draw than hers. This isn’t to say Kita is discontent, however. If anything, Kita is happy that she’s become good enough to play alongside her band and not hold them back. Now that I think about it, “If I Become a Constellation” can refer to Kita’s friendship(?) with Bocchi. If it wasn’t for Bocchi, Kita wouldn’t have returned to Kessoku Band and she wouldn’t have found the motivation to get good at the guitar. It’s thanks to Bocchi that Kita is able to shine.

To be honest, I never really gave much thought to Kita referring to Bocchi by her last name throughout the show. I mean, it is a little odd that she never uses the nickname like Nijika and Ryo does but I figured she doesn’t mean anything by it apart from being polite. That said, it is a really sweet moment when she decides to use Bocchi’s first name going forward. After the lengths she’s gone for Bocchi, it makes sense that she’d now address her friend more informally.

The remainder of this episode has Bocchi buying a new guitar for herself. As to how Bocchi can afford it, her father reveals that he’s aware of her “guitarhero” videos and has secretly monetized them, earning Bocchi a whopping 300,000 yen (currently around $2,300 USD). Funnily enough, Bocchi briefly considers using the money to instead pay for quotas and save herself the trouble of working at Starry. What makes her reconsider is her fear of Seika, which I find a little sad considering how fond and supportive Seika actually is of Bocchi.

With her friends, Bocchi heads over to a shop in search of a new guitar. There isn’t a whole lot to say about this trip. It’s one final bout of cute girls doing cute things before the curtain closes. Actually, I say cute when this final act might actually have some of the strangest imagery this show has to offer. First, you have Nijika blurt out that she’ll buy a guitar and a bass to avoid feeling left out and somehow, Ryo and Kita pictures a buff, rainbowy version using the instruments as drumsticks. Then, you have Kita helping Bocchi buy her new guitar by turning her into a puppet and acting as her ventriloquist. This show’s creativity never ceases to amaze me.

Maybe this is a stretch but there’s something symbolic about Bocchi buying a new guitar being the last major event in the show. Bocchi retires her old guitar and takes on a new one. It just feels like an end of an era and the start of a new one. If not that, the very last scene certainly gives off that impression with Bocchi heading off for another day of work. It’s a very fitting image to have as the show ends and leaves the door open for a sequel.

Of course, this begs the question of whether or not we’ll get a sequel. With anime, you just never know. I do think that this show has a very strong chance, however. From my understanding, the show has been doing well both critically and commercially and it has enough material from the manga to adapt for a second season. Again, we might find out soon with that live event happening next month.

Regardless of whether or not a sequel happens, I’m extremely happy with the 12 episodes we got. In my first episode review, I said one of the reasons I chose to cover BOCCHI THE ROCK! was a gut feeling that I might regret it if I don’t. Now, I don’t think I was ever wrong in thinking that. Covering this was some of the most fun I’ve ever had with the episode review format. Be it the characters, the comedy, the music, or anything else, this show was a complete joy from beginning to end. I dare say it’ll go down as one of my favorite anime of all time.

Watch BOCCHI THE ROCK! on Crunchyroll and VRV (via Crunchyroll)

Read my BOCCHI THE ROCK! reviews

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