Bocchi the Rock’s Kessoku Band Review

Album Title:Kessoku Band
Anime Title:Bocchi the Rock!
Artist:Ikumi Hasegawa, Saku Mizuno, Sayumi Suzushiro, Yoshino Aoyama
Catalog Number:SVWC-70613~4
Release Type:Vocal
Release Date:December 28, 2022
Purchase at:CDJapan, Spotify, Apple Music

Kessoku Band Album Review

Bocchi the Rock’s Kessoku Band’s self-titled debut album jams. That’s not exactly my expectation going into yet another entry in the crowded field of schoolgirls doing music, but I feel all the better for having experienced this gem of an album. From the get-go, the clarity of vocalist Ikumi Hasegawa’s performance lulls me in with her lively energy in the opening track, “Seishun Complex”, building a foundation that would leave me enthralled. 

In fact, the quality in nearly all the songs on Kessoku Band is captivating. Part of the credit goes to the album’s musicians. There’s the likes of drummer Osamu Hidai from school food punishment, guitarist Ritsuo Mitsui, credited on several of Naruto Shippuuden’s OPs, and bassist Yuichi Takama, who never seems too far from collaborating with LiSA. But a large part of my appreciation is reserved for the composers who’ve put their own flourishes while keeping the album reasonably cohesive.

And that cohesiveness takes the form of the energy that propels me onward. Take “Hitoribocchi Tokyo’s” intro, where the percussion’s steady rhythm drives towards an emphatic guitar riff. Ikumi Hasegawa’s vocals, again, are effortlessly nestled atop the instrumentation from verse to a wondrous chorus. The resultant energy that emerges is pleasing. The same can be said for “Distortion”, my favorite of Bocchi the Rock’s ED themes. The song does all the hard rock tropes right until after the bridge where its rousing surprise brings the song to a satisfying close. 

At this point, my praise for Ikumi Hasegawa’s vocals is going to get repetitive, a testament to her consistency. Do I laud her ability to navigate the chorus in  “Guitar, Loneliness and Blue Planet” where she imparts an impeccable sense of urgency? Or how about the way she nails the emotive verses before letting loose in the chorus of “That Band”? Do I rave about her charming, poignant delivery in “Little Sea” that left me with an indelible warmth? Or maybe talk about how endearing I found the chorus in “If I could be a constellation”, a song only marred by the lack of a bottle slide solo? In short, I cannot emphasize enough how wonderful Kessoku Band’s offerings are and Ikumi Hasegawa’s performances go a long way in building that feeling of enchantment across the album.

That said, the other vocalists don’t quite make me go “kita! ikuyo!” because their performances are merely adequate. Saku Mizuno’s performance in “Karakara” offers a more casual pop-rock affair during the verses, followed by a kick into a higher gear during the chorus. But with its repetitiveness, the song is hardly a standout. Sayumi Suzushiro’s delivery in “What is wrong with” is better because of the initial burst of energy in the intro and the verses. Unfortunately, the chorus falters; I found it too pedestrian in its melody and delivery. A shame because Sayumi Suzushiro’s has the ability to navigate the lyrics adroitly. When you compare this to the other tracks on the album, this song feels serviceably bland.

Finally, Kessoku Band closes out with a tribute to its source material. By that, I mean the ever-present reference to Asian Kung-Fu Generation throughout Bocchi the Rock. The last song, “Rockn’ Roll, Morning Light Falls on You” takes the arrangement of Asian Kung-Fu Generation’s big hit and has voice actress Yoshino Aoyama deliver a very Bocchi-like rendition. That is, a high-anxiety performance replete with nervous jolts, tentative passages, and gulps aplenty. This performance is hardly a pinnacle of listenable, but I found it to be charming on account of the context. And the fact that Aoyama presents Bocchi’s character so well has me cheering for Bocchi’s continued success. And when the second season does drop, here’s hoping for another consistently enjoyable album from the Kessoku Band for me to treasure.

Rating: Very Good

Kessoku Band Preview Tracks


Anime Instrumentality's Founder and Editor-in-Chief. As you can probably guess, I'm a big anime music junkie with a special love for composers who've put out some beautiful melodies to accompany some of my favorite anime series. I tend to gravitate towards music in the classical style with Joe Hisaishi and Yoko Kanno being a few of my favorite composers, but I've come to appreciate jazz and rock as anime music has widened my tastes.

2 thoughts on “Bocchi the Rock’s Kessoku Band Review

  • March 6, 2023 at 8:10 am

    Forum-goer from Nihon Review here; glad to see that you’re still posting on this blog!
    There’s a bit of magic in reading longer form stuff from people who’ve stuck around across the decades that just doesn’t happen much anymore; really thankful that I get a window to your mind in 2023. I hope you don’t mind me using my pleasant surprise as fuel for an enthusiastic comment, nor my obvious ignorance of all things musical.

    This is the first (in my subjective memory of course) real release in the “schoolgirls doing music” thing that I feel is meant to be enjoyed in its complete form (as opposed to disparate Character CDs/soundtracks/collections), over and over, and always nuggets of creative details to find with each repetition. Honestly I’ve been totally enamored. In my first listen after completing the show, I honed in on the thoughtful writing behind the lyrics of Never Forget. Second round had me looping through Karakara, the Little Sea and What is wrong with just to enjoy how they bounce between very different sounds. Third round onwards I’m just choosing an instrument to focus on; it never sounds like any particular part is just phoned in.

    In trying to wrap my head around why this schoolgirl music thing hasn’t worked for me before, my memory stretches back to ‘God Knows’/’Lost My Music’, then moves on to the K-On songs, then vaguely recalls the various insert songs in the idol shows over the years. They’re all tracks that I recall within 2 seconds of them playing and inspire me to remember a visceral moment that it played a part to within their respective shows. But when plugging them into a playlist, did I ever get anything more out of the second listen that I didn’t from the first? Was there ever a reason to penetrate beyond surface level?

    Maybe all of this is just another way of praising the producers for pulling in different big-name musicians for each song – actual performers who have established followings and brands. I actually went back to listen to a whole lot of The Peggies’ songs after first hearing the third ED. Really, I’m just glad I get to punch out a few paragraphs about some of the many reasons why I love this show so much. 2023 is disappointing already anime-wise, but not too unbearable when there isn’t a single reason in the world why Bocchi S2 won’t happen.

    • March 7, 2023 at 11:41 pm

      Pleased to see an NHRV reader drop by. I know it’s been awhile, but I’m hoping to be able to preserve the longer-form tradition 😀

      As far as the album goes, I’m in total agreement. There’s something about this album that piques my interest where each subsequent listen brings something new to the table. This puts it in rarefied air; very few albums reach this level of quality. In the anime realm, Mawaru Penguindrum’s vocal album HHH is one of the few that’s on par, but that’s obviously not one in the schoolgirl band genre.

      Anyway, thanks again for dropping by! 2023 has been slower, which is why I’m taking advantage of it to go for older shows that I’ve missed. Parenthood does that to you sometimes. But thankfully, I was able to catch Bochi the Rock as it aired, found this album as a result, and was inspired enough to come out of semi-retirement!


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