Hitoribocchi no Marumaruseikatsu is a school life comedy. There are a lot of techniques that this genre uses, but one of the more fun ones is to take a simple concept and build an entire episode around it. For this episode of Hitoribocchi, that concept is “strength”. Not in the shonen sense of the word, but in Bocchi’s own weird interpretation.
Of Grimaces & Grins
Strength, for Bocchi, seems to consist of making a lot of weird faces. I really think that this show’s expressions have been undersold, some of this stuff is just genuinely hilarious.
The first half of the episode is mostly about Bocchi’s attempts to be ‘strong’, and to get closer to Kurai. That being who she got this whole idea from in the first place. There’s also a lengthy scene that takes place at a shrine on New Year’s Day, where Bocchi manages to make not one but two new friends. The girls who she was cooking pancakes with last episode.
The first half of the episode is good, but the second really shines. The second half of the episode revolves around Sotoka, Bocchi’s ninja-obsessed foreigner friend. Sotoka has an issue. The issue being that Bocchi, her “master”, calls her Sotoka-san instead of Sotoka-chan. For those not familiar with the Japanese language; the issue is that -san is generally used for acquaintances or in formal settings. -chan is much more informal, and usually used between close friends. Sotoka feels that for how close they are, Bocchi should use -chan.
This runs into a problem though. In the show’s tradition of characters very much making their own problems, Sotoka and Bocchi’s “master / student” relationship, as silly as it is, affects their ability to be friends. At least it does in the mind of Sotoka.
Passing The Shuriken
Fans of the show can guess how this situation sorts itself out. Hitoribocchi no Marumaruseikatsu likes to end episodes with two characters coming to understand each other better, and that happens again here. Bocchi makes another origami shuriken, and gives it to Sotoka, declaring that she’s taught her all she can. Sotoka accepts, and the two grow closer.
Hitoribocchi no Marumaruseikatsu is not the sort of show that preoccupies itself by trying to break new ground. But episodes like this one–funny, short, and sweet, continue to prove their worth to the medium.