BOCCHI THE ROCK! isn’t over just yet. There’s an OVA for me to watch and review. Curiously, this episode is animated by a different studio, Connect. The main twelve episodes were animated by CloverWorks. I’m not entirely sure what the exact reason is for the change in studio. Maybe CloverWorks is secretly working on a second season. Either that or it’s some other show which is probably a more realistic guess but I can dream, goddamn it. Whatever the case may be, the show still looks pretty good.
Basically, SICK HACK has been scheduled to perform for a school culture festival at a different prefecture as a favor to Hiyori and Koharu Minagi (Rin Kusumi and Natsumi Hioka respectively), two stepsisters who helped Eliza when she first came to Japan. The show previously hinted at these girls’ appearance in Episode 10 when Eliza showed Kesssoku Band keychains that happen to use their likeness. Things suddenly go south when Kikuri suffers a massive hangover so SICK HACK asks Kessoku Band to travel to the school and perform in their stead.
The concert has a mix of both covers and original materials. I was really surprised that Kessoku Band made the bold decision of starting things off with “Wonderwall” by Oasis but it was worth it for the scene where Kita flips all the naysayers off and Ryo tries to bonk them with her bass while Nijika tries to calm them down and Bocchi is too flustered to do anything. Despite the bizarre start, Kessoku Band is able to turn things around by performing a cover of “Free Bird” by Lynyrd Skynyrd. I’m not surprised that Bocchi can play that song’s guitar solo. If anyone can pull it off, it’d be her.
After that, we’re finally treated with a new original song, “Hitoribocchi Tokyo”. For whatever reason, Crunchyroll neglected to provide a translation of the lyrics in the subtitles so I had to look up a fan translation. From what I can tell, the speaker of the song talks about moving to Tokyo to pursue their dreams. Despite the new setting, the speaker doesn’t feel alone because there are other people in a similar situation as them and these people could potentially become their friends. In the context of the show, the song refers to Bocchi’s time in Shimokitazawa and her meeting her bandmates. Perhaps this song fits more in the earlier episodes though I suppose it’s a little cheeky to have this while Kessoku Band performs in a completely new location where they get to meet and connect with potential new fans.
One detail that you might miss in the concert scene is the presence of Bocchi’s two fans in the background. I mean, I’m pretty sure that’s them. They do look a bit different from some reason. Like with the first culture festival, I don’t know how these two women caught wind of this event. I’ll even admit that it’s starting to get a bit weird. Still, I love that they traveled to some other town just to see her perform.
Oddly enough, most of this episode doesn’t actually revolve around Kessoku Band. Rather, this episode spends a lot of time following the new girls, Hiyori and Koharu, as they help their classes with planning and running venues for the culture festival with their friend Koi Yoshinaga (Tomomi Mineuchi). The episode also throws in a third storyline where a little girl named Futaba Fukumoto (Natsumi Murakami) is anxious about sharing her writing piece at an upcoming school assembly. At some point, Hiyori invites Futaba to go fishing. Apparently, these two know each other and all four new characters like to go fishing. I’m not entirely sure. It feels like these characters all have nine episodes worth of history together and I missed all of that.
As odd as it is to spend 99% of the episode on new characters, I can’t really complain about it for two reasons. The first is that BOCCHI has randomly focused on other characters before. There was that scene in Episode 8 when those two salarymen talk at a bar and Bocchi overhears their conversation. Mind you, that was about 2 minutes or so, not 23 minutes and 57 seconds. At this point, I’m practically watching a different. But I digress; maybe Connect felt super bold with this episode.
The second reason is that these storylines aren’t half-bad. The culture festival plot is just fluff but it’s nevertheless charming. There’s a fun dynamic between the three high schoolers where Hiyori and Koi more or less serve as the straight men while Koharu is off doing silly stuff. I like how Hiyori and Koi runs the typical café while Koharu creates an exhibit filled with replicas of aquatic parasites (and to her chagrin, it performs way worse than Hiyori and Koi’s). By far, the strongest plot of the two is the one with Futaba. Much like how Bocchi finds strength through her friends, Futaba musters the courage to do the recital after seeing the similarly timid Hiyori try new things during their fishing session. It ties into BOCCHI‘s main story thematically and it’s a nice little plot in its own right. There’s some good humor here as well such. In particular, Futaba doesn’t explicitly share her dilemma with Hiyori so every time she thanks her, the latter has no clue what’s going on with the younger girl. Also funny is how the two characters’ connection causes some jealousy in one of Futaba’s friends, Aiko Ninomiya (Honoka Inoue). I think someone is giving Kita’s Ryo obsession a run for its money.
I have on issue with this episode, though I can’t decide if it’s a huge point of criticism or a nitpick, and it’s the amount of info dumping. These characters talk a lot about fishing. Be it the equipment, the technique, the fish themselves, or how to eat the fish (and great, now I’m hungry), the show talks a ton about the overall topic. Honestly, I think BOCCHI has taught me more about fishing than it has about music.
With that, I truly am done with BOCCHI THE ROCK!. Now I’m back to dreaming of a second season…
Watch BOCCHI THE ROCK! on Crunchyroll and VRV (via Crunchyroll)