Two wildly different reactions to two wildly different anime.
This is basically soccer by way of Squid Game. Obviously not as deadly, but that’s the general vibe this show is going for. To be completely frank, it wasn’t my vibe. At all. To me, it just came across as really dumb, but in a cringy try-hard way as opposed to an entertaining one.
Granted, I’m absolutely not the target audience for this anime. I don’t care for soccer, I only occasionally watch sports anime at all, and obviously I don’t fit into the shounen demographic, so perhaps this just wasn’t meant to be. When I do watch sports anime, I generally prefer them to be more realistic and down-to-earth (think Run with the Wind or Yuri on Ice), and Blue Lock is just so incredibly not that that I found myself laughing where I’m pretty sure I wasn’t supposed to be. It has all the Intense Seriousness of something like Attack on Titan but… you know, with teenagers and soccer. So yeah, definitely not my jam, sorry. (Also… so did those teens all basically get kidnapped, or do they just have really understanding parents?)
Bocchi the Rock
Hell. Yes. This is why I watch anime – to be extremely surprised every now and again when I go in with next to no expectations and come out having had such a positive experience with a premiere that seemed to lack any kind of major hype. If you like anime about music – and I mean actually about music, not just about a bunch of school club members who sit around talking about stuff that may occasionally involve music – this is definitely something you’ll want to try out.
I also found myself immediately charmed by the main character’s extremely relatable social anxiety, which was treated lightheartedly yet realistically, as well as by her entire family (yup, this also isn’t one of those shows where the story treats the band members like their families don’t really exist). Oh, and in case all that wasn’t enough, the music aspect itself seems fairly authentic, in that Girl Who Plays Alone In Her Room And Is Moderately Successful Online doesn’t turn out to be some musical genius who’s instantly able to play well as part of a live band. I personally haven’t played any musical instrument seriously since middle school, but I can still absolutely appreciate the attention to detail that something like Bocchi the Rock offers. My returning fave Spy x Family aside, this is, so far, my top anime of the season, and by a considerable margin at that.
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5 thoughts on “Anime Taste Testing: Blue Lock and Bocchi the Rock”
Blue Lock I didn’t even try (not a fan of soccer; I didn’t know about the twist, and now that I know about it, I’m… still not interested). Surprisingly, I’ve been enjoying Ao Ashi for the last two seasons; the only soccer anime I ever finished. So I really wasn’t in the mood to try another one after such a rare success (I’ll watch season 2 of Ao Ashi; there’s a good chance there’ll be one).
As for Bocchi the Rock; I had a similar experience. Actually about music, relatable social anxiety, present family. Yeah, this is great. One of the things that came totally out of nowhere is that we have a band without a singer (so far, I imagine). Instrumental bands are rare. Also liked the scene where her inner mologue says “she’s probably wondering if she’s made a mistaking talking to me,” and then you get the other inner monologe wondering just that. Normally, she’d just be wrong, and people are really nice and patient for healing sanitation. It also turns out not to be really a big deal (as it probably would in real life). I’m definitely looking forward to more.
I thought about trying Ao Ashi but never quite got around to it – maybe someday.
Definitely! I found the protag’s inner voice so relatable and realistic – I could definitely imagine having that same kind of self-conversation, even if I’ve never been in that exact situation. What a great start.
I’m annoyed by most sports anime because their training is usually really dumb. I mean, France, Brazil, and Italy don’t imprison teenaged soccer players and they dominate the World Cup, so why does this Japanese guy think reenacting Ilsa, She-Wolf of the SS is the road to footie power? Speaking of which, locking up boys in a competitive hyper-masculine environment sounds like it’ll end in a British public school situation where the dominant guys sexually abuse the weaker kids.
I had much the same thoughts. Like you’re just going to bus a bunch of reluctant teens to some remote/secret training location, where they’ll apparently remain for several weeks without any outside contact, and all their parents are totally okay with this? Or is this more of a straight-up kidnapping situation? Nope, I don’t see any possible way this plan could go wrong…