Hitoribocchi No Marumaruseikatsu might just be the single show that got me through the Spring season. Chalk it up to personal taste, but nothing’s stuck with me quite like Hitoribocchi this season. That’s all about to end, of course, as its twelfth episode is Hitoribocchi’s last. Let’s be clear here though, the school life genre of which Hitoribocchi is a part does not tend to do “out with a bang” big-top endings. (Even foundational genre text Azumanga Daioh has a fairly low-key finale). 

Apples & Pears

This means that for the most part, a good chunk of episode 12 is just another Hitoribocchi episode. Our “A” story is actually of two distinct parts this time around. The conceit of the first is very simple; Bocchi gets a smartphone.

from the "Hitoribocchi" finale

A pretty nice one, too! This first segment consists mostly of Bocchi fooling around with her new gadget in the ways you might expect a pretty young kid to do. She even hilariously gets one over on Nako by pretending to take her picture but actually recording her. Something I’m sure that millennial and Gen-Z youth are well-acquainted with. This is to say nothing of the face that Sotoka makes when Bocchi asks her to pose for a picture.

from the "Hitoribocchi" finale

The chief difference between this segment and prior Hitoribocchi episodes is the animation quality. Here a bit higher than the already-impressive visuals in the rest of the show. As well as the, for lack of a better term, batting average. It really is laugh-a-minute for a bit here. The sheer amount of Good Faces also deserves a mention. There are quite a lot.

from the "Hitoribocchi" finale

Down With The Sickness

The second segment here is marginally more ‘serious’ (as much as this show ever gets anyway). It revolves around the ever-pugnacious Kurai. Namely, the fact that she’s sick. How do Bocchi and friends find out she’s sick? Well, she smiles at them. 

from the "Hitoribocchi" finale

Bocchi, of course, takes this as a sign that Kurai has warmed up to them and wants to be friends now. While talking to her–which the show turns into a joke about standard “learning English” phrasebook conversation–she promptly collapses.

from the "Hitoribocchi" finale

She ends up in the nurse’s room (and turns out to be fine). Bocchi however insists on trying to follow her home to make sure she’s okay. Hilariously, this leads to a sequence where Kurai lends Bocchi a DVD, based on an earlier promise she made while fever-addled. 

The case Kurai gives her turns out to be empty.

from the "Hitoribocchi" finale

Thus ending the first half of the episode.


Graduation Day

The episode’s second half is where things get sappy. Which, if you’ve been following this column so far, you know that that’s not a bad thing. Bocchi’s school as a ceremony where graduating students are given pin ribbons by the first-years. Something that’s reasonably common the world over, making for another cleverly universal school experience in the show’s repertoire. 

Bocchi–in her classic fashion–overthinks the process of actually applying the pin. This leading to the show’s final pull-face joke as Nako becomes paranoid that Bocchi might accidentally stab her somehow.

from the "Hitoribocchi" finale

Bocchi also briefly befriends the graduating upperclassman she has to give the ribbon, and then cries at the end of the ceremony when she leaves. 

The Pancakes of Happiness

from the "Hitoribocchi" finale

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All this leads up to a pretty great final scene. Bocchi decides that since she’s leaving her first year, she needs to go home with all of her friends. Aside from Kurai, who remains as tsundere as ever, they all agree. We get a lovely visual of the girls hanging out at a pancake cafe`. There’s a sequence where Kai and her friends happen to walk by, and Kai sticks a “Do Your Best Fairy” on the window of the cafe`. 

Thus ends Hitoribocchi no Marumaruseikatsu. There’s a brief post-credits scene to put a bow on things and tease the idea of a second season (it’s certainly possible), but that’s really pretty much it! Hitoribocchi never needed to end on some kind of bombastic note of course, but it’s good that the series knows where its strengths lie. School life comedies may come and go like the tide, but this series really is special in its sheer, pure, warmth. 

Even if we never get another season, and even if the manga ends tomorrow, the final episode is ample evidence that anything else aside, Bocchi’s going to be just fine.

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Jane Y. Auman
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