Hitori Bocchi suffers from extreme social anxiety, she's not good at talking to people, takes pretty extreme actions, is surprisingly adept at avoiding people, her legs cramp when she overexerts herself, gets full of herself when alone, will vomit when exposed to extreme tension and often comes up with plans. Now she is entering middle school and her only friend, Yawara Kai, is attending a different school. This leaves Bocchi alone, surrounded by new classmates with whom she must make friends before Kai will talk to her again.
If you like moe slice-of-life, then you will love Hitoribocchi no OO Seikatsu.
The story is as straightforward as the synopsis. The manga follows Hitori Bocchi's efforts to befriend her entire class, and her daily antics with the friends she makes. It's a feel-good manga that's only purpose is to make you laugh and drive up insulin sales, and it succeeds in both.
Like most slice-of-life, the characters are where Hitoribocchi no OO Seikatsu really shines. A moderately sized cast with big personalities and hilarious quirks. Every one of them is very likable and has great chemistry with the others. Hitori is an MC that
you cannot help but root for. A remarkably innocent, naive and ditzy girl, prone to vomiting or fainting, who is just trying her best to make friends despite her extreme social anxiety.
Hitoribocchi is a hidden gem. Every single page is adorable and laugh-out-loud funny. The jokes are well-written, the comedic timing is perfect, and the punchlines are strong. The dialogue is great and the character reactions are even better. It's fairly unpredictable as well, so there's always a surprise factor.
A simple moe art style, but a good one that fits the tone of the manga. The character expressions are flawless, and Katsuwo couldn't have made a better decision of what's shown in each panel.
Hitoribocchi no OO Seikatsu is a joy to read. If you're looking for a sweet, light-hearted, funny manga to brighten your mood, you won't find much better than this.
There have been only two manga I have read that focus on a character with apparent social anxiety. Watamote, which is often known as an extremely cynical view on the condition.
And Hitoribocchi, which is more or less the anti-Watamote.
I came into both of these manga at separate times, but both manga were read during times where my own social anxiety were at its peak. Where Watamote is good for people who suffer under the disorder to laugh at themselves in a more mean-spirited way, Hitoribocchi is perfect for those who want a more lighthearted laugh.
The characters are all extremely likeable, to the point
where you'll be continually rooting for the titular Hitori in her quest to make friends with her classmates and break out of her anxiety. The side characters are charming, from the girl who goes out of her way to make herself look cool but in reality is a giant dork, to the girl who believes that Hitori is a ninja master and appoints herself as her student.
The art style is a more simplified version of the moe blob style, fitting into the simple slice of life vibe the manga gives off.
The comedy gives things for both those who experience anxiety and for those who don't. Although they have plenty of jokes surrounding anxiety that people like me can look at and laugh while saying 'oh yeah, I've done that before!' (such as the scene where Hitori tries to leave her house but two of her neighbours are chatting outside near her front gate, causing her to become too nervous to go) there are plenty of other regular gags throughout the story. The before mentioned girl who tries to look cool is often the butt monkey in many chapters; one of the brick jokes surrounding her got me to fully laugh out loud.
It's a sweet, light hearted manga about a girl who wants to make friends so she can be with her one old friend once more, and it delivers this nicely. The characters are lovely, the jokes - though not typically not made for pee your pants laughing - can get a chuckle out of you, and it gives material that whether you're like Hitori, or the most extroverted person out there, is enjoyable to read.