Hitori Bocchi’s Lifestyle Episode 1
Genre: Slice of Life, Comedy
Hitori Bocchi’s Lifestyle (or Hitoribocchi no Marumaru Seikatsu) tackles the familiar story of someone starting at a new school – in this case, the titular Bocchi is beginning middle school. But this story is slightly different from other typical entries as the protagonist suffers from that most awkward of afflictions – social anxiety.
Initially, that was what drew me to this series and my interest in how this anime would tackle the issue. Unfortunately, I was left feeling a little underwhelmed. As someone who suffers from social anxiety herself, I was hoping to relate to Bocchi’s case and cheer her on as she works on getting past it. But Bocchi’s anxiety issues, though somewhat realistic to real life common worries, are often played off more for comedic purposes. There is some attempt in places to tackle Bocchi’s anxiety from a more serious view, but it never really seems to quite hit the mark emotionally.
Bocchi’s motivation is to make friends with all the students in her new class – not because she wants to, but rather because her best friend at her old school made her promise to do so. This episode centers on her attempts to communicate with the girl who sits in front of her in class, Nako, through a series of failures and eventual success. Her new friend is confused by Bocchi’s eccentric actions but warms to her in the end – nicely highlighting how much of our protagonist’s worries are just in her mind. Nako comes off as rude and abrasive at first from her reactions to Bocchi but later reveals herself to be warm-hearted and more perceptive than it would first appear.
There is some suggestion that other characters in the class will become the subject of forthcoming episodes but if this is the case it will potentially fall into a ‘classmate of the week’ framework, which could get old very fast. Her classmates all look colorful and eccentric in their own ways and so it will be interesting to see how Bocchi gets closer to them.
The animation style is bright and colorful, though tending more towards the cuter, moe spectrum of character design. This fits the slice of life comedy the show excels at but doesn’t really bring anything new to the table.
Hitori Bocchi’s Lifestyle is great for viewers who love a slice of life anime, as it’s fairly easy watching, and for those people who like comedic ‘cute girls do cute things’ show. If you were hoping for a little sensitivity around the issue of social anxiety or a more serious look at it, then this likely will not be the anime for you. Though it’s great to see a series attempting to demystify the stigma about anxiety, this one falls short.
Hitori Bocchi's Lifestyle Episode 1
A cute slice-of-life comedy but lacking any real substance.