Bocchi the Rock is taking the Fall 2022 season by storm with its surprising twist of inventive and aesthetic humor, comical cast and rockin’ insert songs. For me, as a musician, its most refreshing aspect is its music. Although I do think they could push the boundary into the rock/progressive genre farther, Kessoku Band brings a harder J-Rock edge than its anime predecessors with an angst and understandable spirit that is extremely charming. Bocchi does, in fact, bring the rock.
I was really impressed by their second and most recent insert song Ano Banndo (That Band). Firstly, because Bocchi absolutely slays in her opening solo, stopping the band’s morale from reaching its breaking point. More importantly, this song, penned by Bocchi, is an amazing representation of herself as a character and what she hopes to portray with her music. After reading the translated lyrics and watching the performance again, I was floored.
Bocchi originally turned down the job of writing the band’s lyrics in an earlier episode. As an introvert, she cannot write anything relatable to what is popular today– songs about living life to the fullest and reaching for youth (a notion the show pokes fun at in their OP seishun complex). Kessoku Band encourages her, “You seem like you have the most to say.”
Bocchi does. And she knocks all the J-Rock anthems preaching to you to enjoy your “springtime of youth” with Ano Banndo.
That band’s songs sound to me
Like shrill laughter all around
That band’s songs sound to me
Like the piercing clang of a railroad crossing
Don’t push me forward
There’s a train coming
I close my eyes
there’s a halo in the darkness
I cover my ears
There’s a steady beating pulsing within
Deep in my chest
My heart makes my body sway
I don’t want to hear anything else
Nothing but the sounds I’m making
Bocchi gives a direct response to what she thinks of recent J-Rock music. It’s mocking her– someone too troubled and anxious to live up to the lyrics of its songs. They are pushing her forward, but Bocchi does not see friendship and memories up ahead like the radio always says; she is going to get hit by a train. Attempting to conform with the music feels as if she’s going to die at the railway crossing she is being forced to confront. What a powerful image coming from a comedy anime. Not everyone is the same, and mainstream music is often hard to relate to at times because it does not understand that. In one verse, Bocchi's thesis statement rings out for not only her small audience, but for everyone listening at home. That band’s songs sound like they’re laughing at me, that band’s song make me want to disappear… it is meant to be interpreted with a disgust unfitting for this cute, four-girl rock group. It thrives in its visual contradiction. I love it.
But Bocchi doesn’t just sit in her sorrow. She picked up the guitar in middle school to try to make a change and, even though it was for naught, she still tried. She is not someone who gives up when she wants to accomplish something. Bocchi brings hope in the chorus, crying out that she doesn't need that band's music. There is enough music inside her to sustain her. “I don’t want to hear anything else, nothing but the sounds I am making.” She is confident enough in her personal sound that she doesn’t need to listen to the “shrill laughter” of the seishun rock anthem. This message rings out while Bocchi herself bends over her guitar, her savior, completely lost in the music she passionately created with the friends she found because of it. This show is so impactful and heartfelt at times, I’m surprised when I remember it’s a comedy.
Bocchi brings the rock, but it’s more than that. She brings her rock– she plays for a demographic often forgotten by the mainstream, people who struggle to take the first step Bocchi did three years ago when she stole her father’s guitar. I did enjoy Guitar, Loneliness and the Blue Planet, but Ano Banndo made a Kessoku Band fan out of me. I am so excited to see where this show will take me next and am so proud of Bocchi for everything she has created musically so far. Knock’em dead, girl.