In her classroom daydreams, Bocchi is already good to perform in a packed arena with thousands chanting her (real) name. But in reality, the idea of playing in the school festival is still too frightening. Nevertheless, its been an actual dream and goal of hers for so long, she enters a semi-fugue state where she fills out the form and is about to slip it into the box.
Unsure how she got to this point and shocked by what her unconscious self was about to do, she collapses in the hall, and wakes up in the nurse’s with Kita beside her bed (and quotes Shinji). At this point I thought the form had already been submitted, but it’s there on a nearby table, and after being intimidated by videos of school concerts and worried about the “fervor gap” between her and the other band members, Bocchi tosses the form in the trash.
At STARRY, she puts herself in a trash can, but when she talks with Seika and PA-san, they tell her to err on the side of striking while the high school iron is hot (even though Seika didn’t care about high school and PA dropped out). Nijika and Ryou, who performed separately in middle school also think she should go for it, even though Ryou knows that the big crowd will be a challenge.
Despite some encouraging words in favor of doing the festival, Bocchi sleeps on it (or doesn’t sleep on it) and decides she just can’t do it. Unfortunately for her, Kita informs her the next day that she found the form in the trash, thought it was an accident, and turned it in. Bocchi goes full Picasso, and back at STARRY eschews the trash can for a coffin.
The one who ends up causing her to rise again is Kikuri, who has come to give both Bocchi and the rest of the band free tix for her gig that night. Once it comes to light to Seika that both Kikuri and Ryou still owe Bocchi money, and makes them pay her back, the four girls and Kikuri head to Shinjuku FOLT, Kikuri’s “home base”.
While the crowds at the train station and some of the folks in the club initially scare Bocchi into turning tail, she’s also comforted by the atmosphere of the club—not STARRY, but still dark and a little cramped in a good way—and when she meets Kikuri’s bandmates in SICK HACK, she learns they’re three very different people who somehow strike a kind of balance.
That balance becomes even more apparent once SICK HACK starts playing. Bocchi forgets she’s in a packed house with over two hundred strangers and simply gets lost in the precise, inviting psychedelic rock. In addition to the bassist Kikuri is also lead vocals, and Bocchi is pulled in by her charisma.
It might be the first time she’s watched a “grown-up” pro band live, and it’s a seminal experience. It also cements her belief that being a rocker is the finest profession a human can have. It, quite simply, rules. I only wish we had gotten to watch the full show, and the monochrome crowd looks a little muddy, but this isn’t Kikuri the Rock!, so I get it.
At the end of the show, Bocchi chats with Kikuri some more in the green room, and Kikuri, who we know by now is a lot more emotionally intelligent than she looks, knows something’s off. Bocchi loved the show, but it discouraged her a bit, because she lacks Kikuri’s effortless charisma.
That’s when Kikuri tells Bocchi that she used to be just like her in high school—a gloomy, nervous misfit in the corner. She used to daydream about her future, thought it was lame, and joined a band to “pull a 180” in her life, but before her first show she was so anxious she had to drink—a perhaps unwise habit she’s kept at ever since.
It’s important that Bocchi hear this from Kikuri—particularly that doing anything the first time is scary for everyone. But Kikuri has now watched her perform in public twice and did fine without booze. Bocchi is cheered up and encouraged enough that she invites Kikuri to the festival, indirectly endorsing the fact that Kessoku Band will indeed be performing.
Kita, Nijika and Ryou are excited, but there’s a lot to do: their fifteen minute slot means they’ll have to practice for three songs, and they’re ditching the usual seishun theme of school concerts by going with three originals, including a Bocchi solo in the middle so she can shine.
After dinner, Kita confesses to Bocchi that she knew she tossed the form out on purpose, but submitted it anyway, because she wanted the school to see how awesome Bocchi was. She feels terrible about what she did and apologizes profusely, but Bocchi thanks her. She was stuck on the fence, but Kita and Kikuri were there to give her the little push she needed, and now she’s looking forward to the festival.
I’m not going to pay any mind to the last-second cliffhanger where we fast-forward to the festival and Bocchi has freakin’ gone missing, because I simply cannot believe that their festival concert won’t happen! But it was great to see Kikuri shine, demonstrate what a good person she is, and yes, punch a wall in excitement! Rock and Roll!