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Hitoribocchi no Marumaru Seikatsu anime cover

Score: 7.61/10

Hitoribocchi no Marumaru Seikatsu

Alt Title : Hitoribocchi no ○○ Seikatsu, Hitori Bocchi's ○○ Lifestyle

JP Title : ひとりぼっちの○○生活

Year : 2019

Genre : Comedy, School, Shounen, Slice of Life

Season : Spring 2019

Status : Complete

Rating : PG-13 - Teens 13 or older

Episodes : 12/12

Duration : 24 min. per ep.

Studios : C2C

Synopsis

Many of us know what it is like to transition to a new school with few to no friends in a new environment, going through the arduous process of getting to know people again. Bocchi Hitori knows this struggle all too well, having just graduated from elementary school and thrown into middle school. Unfortunately, she suffers from extreme social anxiety: she faints when overwhelmed, vomits when nervous, and draws up ridiculously convoluted plans to avoid social contact. It does not help that her only friend from elementary school, Kai Yawara, will not be attending the same middle school as Bocchi. However, wanting to help her, Kai severs ties with Bocchi and promises to reconcile with her when she befriends all of her classmates in her new middle school class. Even though Bocchi has no faith in herself, she is determined to be friends with Kai again. Summoning all of her courage, Bocchi takes on the daunting challenge of making friends with her entire class, starting with the delinquent-looking girl sitting in front of her... [Written by MAL Rewrite]

I know many people that suffer from social anxiety, and my immediate concern going into Hitori Bocchi no Marumaru Seikatsu was whether the show was going to mine its heroine’s psychological anguish for mean-spirited comedy. Thankfully, there doesn’t seem to be a mean bone in this show’s body, and from minute one it was clear that we are meant to empathize with Bocchi Hitori and find comfort in seeing her overcome the impossibly intimidating minefield of everyday conversation. The writing is sharp enough that there were several reactions and mini-crises that Bocchi exhibits that bore uncanny similarities to how my students and loved ones have expressed their own anxieties.

This could have easily made for the kind of cringe comedy that would hit too close to home for me, but Hitoribocchi’s unceasingly bright and optimistic tone won me over in the end. The specific gag that got me on board was when Bocchi’s desperate attempt to literally shut down her class and force her classmates to relocate ended up making them more social and excited. It’s a cute and funny gag that explores how Bocchi’s anxieties lead her to either shrink down too small or take things further than might be socially acceptable, but she’s never framed as foolish or weak for it. She’s just a kid who really hates talking to strangers, but little by little Bocchi gets better at it, which makes all of her missteps and false starts bearable to watch.

Her friendship with Nako was also a treat, because it felt realistic to that kind of dynamic. Nako is very blunt, and she makes no bones about when Bocchi is being too extra, but she’s never fake either. She might call Bocchi “Barf” to her face, on account of Bocchi throwing up in her mouth after being asked to introduce herself to the class, but it’s never intended to be hurtful. When Nako walks home with Bocchi in the rain and teaches her how to use emojis and text like a pro, there’s no doubt that it’s because of a genuinely growing affection between the two.

If I had one minor nitpick to mention, it’d be in regard to the show’s character designs. I’m specifically put off by how the characters’ eyes are drawn—the iris and pupils both contain numerous multi-colored shadows and reflections, and the result was distracting in a way that’s hard to define. To me, it always seemed like characters were on the verge of rolling their eyes back into their sockets, or like each eye was constantly looking upward at a slightly different angle. I’m sure I’ll grow accustomed to it with time, but I’m rarely distracted by such design features, so I thought it might be worth mentioning. It isn’t enough to keep me from recommending the show, and if you were put off by the idea of a comedy revolving around a girl with social anxiety, I’d still encourage you to give Hitoribocchi a chance. I suspect it might be one of my go to slice-of-life comedies for the spring season. You can also free Hitoribocchi no Marumaru Seikatsu anime watch online and free anime download.

When I first saw Hitoribocchi in the seasonal list I was excited. Being a big fan of CGDCT, and very much enjoying those CGDCT that focus on real, relatable problems, I was excited to see what Hitoribocchi had to offer. While the issue of low self-esteem and social anxiety is not new to CGDCT, I personally like to see what each take on it is, and to gleem whatever there can be from the situations that the characters get into. There is a lot of potential in the idea, as the wholesome friendly tone of CGDCT allow for these more serious topics to be covered without going too far down into the negativity spiral, and rather give hope, and show how one can be helped. Sadly, Hitoribocchi did not live up to this, and rather than use those factors to it's benefit, it ended up using them to its determent. Most CGDCT shows are to an extent a comedy. While iyashikei CGDCT aren't so much, the general bread and butter CGDCT usually will have some level of comedy in them. And while some will pare down the comedy to focus on other aspects, others decide to go full into the comedy and let it be the main focus along with the cute girls themselves. For Hitoribocchi most of the focus is placed on the comedy. Most of the scenes are comedic scenes in nature and are designed to make the audience laugh. However this did not work as well for me due to the issues that lay in Hitoribocchi's premise, and their game plan. While I was hoping to be able to relate to Hitori and feel for her situation, the show's focus on comedy nipped that hope in the bud. Rather than get a character who felt down to earth, even if moeified, Hitori feels like a personification of r9k or r/meirl. She acts like a meme in the idea that she can't do literally anything without tripping over herself. And while to an extent that is understandable, the things that she does to avoid these situations that she doesn't want to be in are so comedically stupid that it's very hard to take her seriously. Her whole character is so overdone that it ends up being frustrating rather than enderaing. It feels not only played up for laughs, but existing purely for laughs. And while shows like Comic Girls can also play up the main character's issues for laughs, they make sure to put lots of care into her issues and don't have them exist just for jokes. This happens with more than just the main character too. While the show does try for more heartfelt moments with some of them, many of them are very gimmicky, and feel out of range when they try to hit more emotional moments despite most of their character being designed for comedy. Overall it feels like its trying to hit both the more emotional elements while also being a complete comedy but ultimately the two work against each other rather than with each other. Furthermore the background of the show also messes with the general wholesomeness that I usually find in CGDCT. Even in the most comedic CGDCT there is a fiorm friendship that exists between the cast, one that hammers home the friendliness and fun that exists all throughout. And while Hitoribocchi has its moments that show this, it also has other moments where that feels completely absent. The biggest issue leading to this is the set up. Hitori starts making friends in order to live up to a promise she had with an old firend of hers to make friends with everyone in the class. In many cases there is less care put into the friend that Hitori is making and only into having a friend in name. And while I do believe the friendships do grow with time, there are certainly moments that just aren't enjoyable when it feels like the friendship that is there is a shallow vechine for Hitori to live up to her promise. Add to this the constant tired jokes that cylce throughout the show, and the friendship ends up feeling like an afterthought. All things said I do think Hitoribocchi has it's moments. And there are characters in it that are cute and likeable. But frankly I don't like the comedy style at all, and the show is so heavily focused on comedy despite its premise. And while there are moments where it tries to live up to its premise, ultimately the show's focus on comedy hinders those moments and the overall fun feeling of the show. If you like the style of comedy bertter than I do then it's likely that you'll enjoy it more than I did. But I feel like if you're coming in here after reading the premise and hoping for a nice blend between social anxiety and cute fun, then you're likely in the wrong place. Personally even for comedy I feel like there are better comedic CGDCT that have more fun premise and that use it better. Ultimately I don't think the show is very good, and fails at the different types of CGDCT it tries to be.

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