Bocchi is an extremely shy girl and has trouble communicating with others. The problem is only exacerbated by her being surrounded by new classmates on her first day of middle school. The poor girl only had one close friend in her life, and she decided to go to a different middle school. She tells Bocchi that she’d “never talk to her again if she didn’t make friends with her entire class,” citing it was for her own good. The painfully shy girl is then forced to make friends with the other girls in her class. We find, as is often the case, odd people attract odd people. Bocchi slowly gathers a group of close friends, each odd in their own right, who support her mission to friend every single member in her class.
6. Nako Sunao
The first person Bocchi befriends is the girl that sits in front of her, Nako. The tall girl with blonde hair gives off an imposing vibe. She is often viewed as a delinquent because of her size and blond hair. The label couldn’t be further from the truth as she is always respectful of the people in her life. The first thing she says to Bocchi is “What is it, Barf?” making fun of the fact that our heroine blew chunks during her classroom introduction. Yet for Bocchi, the simple act of someone talking to her made her extremely happy. One of Nako’s favorite moves is to tap the gullible Bocchi on the opposite shoulder and make her think there is someone there. Nako, on the other hand, just doesn’t know what to make of Bocchi. The two become closer when they walk home sharing an umbrella and Nako insists if they are to be friends that Bocchi uses her first name when addressing her. Nako is extremely low-maintenance as opposed to Bocchi who you’d consider very, very high maintenance. The awkwardness for Nako is not of her own doing but the perception of others based on her looks.
5. Teruyo Oshie
Teruyou Oshie-sensei is Bocchi and Nako’s teacher. She is a young and attractive 20-something that likes to consider herself a good advisor for her students. The students seem to respect her despite consistently calling her Teru-chan instead of Sensei. She does have one problem: She is scared to death of Nako, who as we just mentioned looks like a delinquent. Teruyou has stopped in her tracks while teaching because Nako has coughed or sneezed thinking the harmless student was displeased. She even confuses who is responsible to whom; for example, when Nako was in charge of dismissal Teruyou-sensei stood and bowed to her. We understand that she is a young teacher but the amount of confusion and awkwardness she generates because of one student is enough to put her on this list.
4. Kako Kurai
The studious Kako is a quiet girl with a “just leave me alone” aura. She is always seen reading or studying. The reason she is so focused is that she has the goal to become stronger and more independent. She also has a simple policy, not to make any friends. She believes that to live on your own means that she should go without a support system like friends. Kako is also big into order and rules. She is constantly correcting students for how they dress and any other encroachment on school rules. She isn’t unkind; she takes time in the morning to clean everyone’s desks since they spend most of their time there. The big problem for Kako is she is inflexible. We endure some of our most awkward moments when we’re too rigid to adapt.
3. Sotoka Rakita
That cute foreign-born blonde has everything it would take to be a classroom idol, except she’s weird. She is obsessed with ninjas. The key reason she’s studying in Japan is that she wanted to meet a ninja. Sotca was even carefully observing Bocchi, suspecting that she was a ninja because of her ability to sneak around and avoid people. Bocchi's ninja skills were acquired because of her shyness. She convinces herself that Bocchi is a ninja master and dubs herself an apprentice. She goes so far as to refer her to Bocchi as a master. The preoccupation she has with ninjas extends to constantly making origami throwing stars out of paper. She also seems to be a bit dense, not quite getting obvious social cues and jumping to extreme conclusions. She may be oblivious to it but in most situations, she definitely seems awkward.
2. Aru Honshou
Aru is the ideal student representative. If you ask anybody in her class, they will tell you she is confident, mature, and responsible. The truth is actually the complete opposite. Aru is a disaster. She is what they call her in the series: unfortunate. She always seems to find a way to screw up and then find very creative ways to mask her screwups. The most memorable of these situations is when she rushed out of her house to school and didn’t realize it until she was halfway there that she was wearing her elementary school uniform complete with red backpack. She tried to convince several of her classmates that she was actually her younger sister, who doesn’t exist. She even convinced Bocchi that Meiru Honshou was real. She is the kind of girl who accidentally puts on a sweater with the hanger still attached. She has a great comedic relationship with Nako as they play off each other. She is, however, a smart and well-adjusted girl whose luck is very unfortunate. The constant comedic screwups make for some amazingly awkward moments.
1. Bocchi Hitori
Shyness is considered fear or discomfort caused by the presence of others, most notably in new situations. The fear is described as the feeling of self-consciousness inhibiting a person’s ability to do or say what they want. Bocchi is the embodiment of this insecurity. She often spends the night psyching herself up just to have the strength to say hello to someone new. The bigger problem is that her shyness manifests itself in muscle cramps that stop her in her tracks and nausea that sometimes erupts at the worst times. She had to take the day off of school at one point and was constantly worried that because she wasn’t at school her small circle of friends would move on. We know that shyness at this level is a real thing and we shouldn’t make fun, but Bocchi is so cute we don’t ever want her to change.
We all have our moments of embarrassment and, in most cases, we can laugh them off. The awkwardness we each feel at suddenly becoming the center of attention isn’t the end of the world. Hitoribocchi no Marumaru Seikatsu is about understanding that we aren’t alone in our weirdness. We all screw up, some more than others, some in more high-profile ways than others, and we need to learn to not take it so seriously and laugh at ourselves now and then.