Bocchi the Rock! Vol. 1

Yen Pr. Oct. 2023. 136p. Tr $15. ISBN 9781975378004.
Gr 9 Up–High schooler Hitori Gotoh has dreams of having many friends and being in a famous rock band, but her crippling social anxiety is making both of those goals extremely difficult for her to accomplish. One day, a chance eavesdropping lands Hitori a gig as a guitarist in a band that has suddenly found themselves without one, though she discovers playing with a group is much more challenging than playing alone and uploading videos to the internet. Nicknamed Bocchi, she must learn to be part of a whole and overcome some of her anxieties in order to realize her dreams. This manga is written in yonkoma form: four vertical panels read top to bottom then right to left, which is usually used for slice-of-life manga rather than long-form storytelling. The repetitive layout may become tiresome for some readers, but hopefully Bocchi’s sweet story of personal growth will outshine the lack of panel diversity. There are a few instances of fan-service, and the characters work at a club where alcohol is served and discussed.
VERDICT Purchase where Komi Can’t Communicate or Idol Dreams circulate well.

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