New to Anime? Try Bocchi the Rock!

Stepping into the anime world can be overwhelming as there are hundreds upon hundreds of shows and genres to explore. It’s difficult to choose, especially if you have friends in your circle who have watched anime for quite some time and you might feel left out. Anime has become very popular over recent years. Some mainstream titles have become household names like Pokémon, My Hero Academia, and Naruto. It might be easier to watch these common shows without going out and finding something that might align with your preferences. So, what kind of starter anime is good to choose first?

One of my favorite types of anime is slice-of-life. They’re the perfect starter animes because they typically aren’t too long. They have about 12 to 24 episodes in one season and have relatively simple plotlines to follow, making them a good “weekend watch” to kick back and relax. Collider.com says: “Slice-of-life anime immerses viewers in relatable and heartwarming stories depicting ordinary characters navigating daily life’s ups and downs.” These characters experience realistic situations with friendships and challenges. They’re usually comedic and sometimes involve crushes and romance.

John Papagni, a senior in communication student, said, “I think slice-of-life anime can be really calming at times and very relatable. While Shonen anime has a lot of action and cool fights, sometimes you just want to relate to the story. Such as having to pay bills, going to school, studying for a subject that you aren’t good at, having that one annoying kid in class, trying to muster the courage to tell your crush you like them, the list can go on.”

A recent slice-of-life anime I came across this year was Bocchi the Rock! It quickly became an unexpected favorite of mine. Currently sitting at an 8.82 out of 10 rating on MyAnimeList.net, Bocchi the Rock! follows Hitori aka “Bocchi”, meaning lonely, an extremely socially awkward teen girl who spends her days playing guitar. She’s always dreamed about being in a band but doesn’t have any friends, until one day she meets Nijika, a drummer, and Ryou, a bassist, who asks her to join Kessoku Band due to losing their guitarist, Kita. As the show goes on, Hitori and her newfound bandmates/friends bond over their love of music and start their musical journey improving as musicians along the way.

Because this is also a music anime, the characters sing and play the Japanese rock songs they’ve written. For some slice-of-life/music animes like Love Live! School Idol Project, they don’t play the songs the characters sing, cutting it out entirely or only showing select performances. Bocchi the Rock! on the other hand, shows the performances due to how important it is to the group’s story.

If you’re not interested in the music side of Bocchi the Rock!, then you might love the animation. Although the show is drawn in the typical style most animes are drawn in today, whenever Hitori overthinks or goes into anxiety spirals, the animation goes haywire.

It can change on a whim into anything varying from paper puppets, basic 3D objects, psychedelic art sequences, and things that’ll make you wonder if you’re watching the right show or not. Hitori can also turn into real-life objects, scribbles, a plushie, a ghost, or dust at any given moment.

Breanna Guinta, a senior in English, explained, “I love slice-of-life animes. There is one slice of life anime that I consider my comfort anime— Remake Our Life! It helped me realize that you should do the things you love, regardless of what others think. You want to lead a life that makes you happy. That anime is actually the reason why I am an English major. When life gets you down, watch a slice-of-life anime to feel better.”

Slice-of-life animes come in all shapes and sizes. Bocchi the Rock! is a good option but if it’s not your cup of tea, there’s a whole world more out there to try. Have fun watching!