“Bocchi the Rock” and Band Structure as Metaphor: Why this anime proverbial slaps

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  • Had to use the pun. Sorry.

    But anyways, someone said I should post this as a separate thread but also make this longer since I figured to also expand a bit on it. As a person who played in their fair share of dives and shitty rock bands, I have gained some insight into at least how a band should function and that analysis is down below for those who have no idea what a rock band entails.

    But like, anyhow, if you haven’t started watching it, you like should. It’s great and it does something really great and uses each girl as a kind of metaphor. Anyhow this has spoilers for the episode 8 so, discretion etc. But also for the musicially uninclined, a lesson on rock music and how bands work!

    To dive into this. What’s really cool about the show is how each girl’s position is basically related to kind of who they are as an individual. Or aspire to be.

    [Bocchi the Rock!] >!Nijika is the steady throughline throughout. She keeps everyone stable and acts as a team mom. Positive and up-tempo she tries to keep the whole band centered and to keep up with her pace. Ryou is a calm and steady bassline. A bassist is worth as much as they can keep a steady rhythm and she does that. Kita is brash and in your face and a bright and shiny aura and if you ever met a lead singer, that’s basically them. But Bocchi is the interesting one. Lead guitarists are usually the excitement, the energy and what people hear throughout. But that’s kind of how Bocchi projects herself when in her safe space, but mostly in terms of being creative. A great guitarist is one who can improv. Who can experiment. Who can be creative and change and transform and that’s Bocchi’s arc for the most part. It’s reflective of her play and style and it kind of ties up into why this newest episode was interesting because it ties into one central conceit.!<

    [Bocchi the Rock!] >!Why they weren’t in sync was their anxiety and that they weren’t being a cohesive group. Because rock bands have to work as together to be successful.!<

    [Bocchi the Rock!] >!Since, well, they are at the end of the day a single apparatus functioning at the same time to hit that harmony again, like a symbiotic unit.!<

    To break that down further, let’s just focus on how bands like…work.

    [Bocchi the Rock!] >!Bass and Drums keeping the rhythm of the band with the drums setting the pace, tempo and cues and the bass maintaining flow, support and key and keeping everything at that pace (think of it like a co-op video game where you have supports, healers etc. drums and bass play that role). You don’t want to outkick your coverage or to pull too far from your support in the same way you don’t want to outrush your drums. You especially as a drummer don’t want to speed up too much or get off-tempo because you are the floor. You are the support. You fuck up, the band fucks up.!<

    [Bocchi the Rock!] >!And your best friend is the bass because you keep everything level with each other. It’s why Nijika and Ryou always look to each other. You both have to stay in sync to keep the shinier stars (lead guitar and singer) where they need to be.!<

    [Bocchi the Rock!] >!It’s why they keep mentioning that Bocchi keeps her head down too much, she’s the face. The parts that shine usually are vocals and guitar. Rarely unless they’re someone SPECIAL (like a Flea or Neil Peart) do the bass or drums outshine the others. But the real stars are the guitar and vocals.!<

    [Bocchi the Rock!] >!So if the things keeping them on their rhythm like an active metronome are off, it throws them off and makes them choppy. Kita’s voice is jumping around because the drums are jumping around. She can’t keep up, especially as someone with limited guitar experience doing both singing and rhythm. Like she NEEDS the bass to be in sync with her or she’s fucked, especially since she’s doing bass-style support, but specifically for Bocchi.!<

    [Bocchi the Rock!] >!Guitar players are given more leeway to freelance a little like Bocchi did (that solo and the second song, i.e just kinda do her own thing), but it isn’t that common and she too needs to keep up with the tempo and pace given by everyone around her, especially the bass who’s there to support her and to keep her on level and on beat.!<

    [Bocchi the Rock!] >!They mention this with the street concert with drunken senpai. She’s an INCREDIBLE bassist because even drunk she’s able to just improv for Bocchi and keep her on level with zero relationship between them prior. And THEN maintain it. That’s practically impossible for a lot of bassists and guitarists who just met. Like she just intrinsically knows how to give her a bassline (the leveling) without a second thought.!<

    [Bocchi the Rock!] >!So yeah, basically because everyone got nervous, they played nervous and out of sync. Which is usually shown through rushing. A band doesn’t need to be talented, but they need to be a unit. Like a sports team kinda. Heh. Japan isn’t more talented than Germany, but they played more like a team and so they won. Or when Saudi Arabia beat Argentina. Stuff like that. A cohesive unit beats pure talent every day.!<

    [Bocchi the Rock!] >!But anyways back to the other girls. Like all of Kita’s issues weren’t even pitch or tone, just rushing herself. Same with Bocchi. Technically they were fine, but Kita was running over her words. Like she didn’t crack or miss pitch but she was running over herself to keepi up with the other two and letting her nerves get to her, but she also was also rushing while trying to match Bocchi. Bocchi was just plain rushing herself but she tends to just be technically sound no matter what. Her issue is that she freelances like hell, but it works out like in situations like this because she needs to be a hero sometimes. Like she’s not used to a band and listening to other people’s tempo, and also maintaining that, but she’s improving at that all the same. Kinda like a metaphor or something.!<

    So yeah, uhh, gold star to the anime for getting those little details down pat.

    So if you want a soccer metaphor.

    Drums are the midfield, bass are the back line/keeper, guitarists are the wingers and lead singers are the forwards/strikers.

    And that’s kinda the heart of these comparisons. A band works like a human body. Heart, brains, face, gut. And each girl reflects that and it’s just really interesting to me how to use band politic as metaphor.

    Plus, it’s adding to the gays and guitars genre and that’s just a mood.

    So uh yeah thanks for hearing my ted talk. Hope you learned something?






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