Note: Review copy supplied by Manga Entertainment
Title: Bofuri: I Don’t Want to Get Hurt, so I’ll Max Out My Defence
Anime Studio: Silver Link
Genre: Comedy / Adventure
Maple doesn’t want to experience pain in the VRMMO game she started playing, so she puts all her skill points into defence until she can’t even move. Somehow it works better than anyone expected. Now she’s got followers?? LIMITED EDITION Includes: 6x art cards 1x 120-page art book 1x 24×14-inch gaming playmat 1x Sticker
So, Bofuri: I Don’t Want to Get Hurt, so I’ll Max Out My Defence, aka Itai no wa Iya nano de Bōgyoryoku ni Kyokufuri Shitai to Omoimasu started out life as an LN series by Yuumikan. Its Light Novel origins should have been obvious from the overly long title, right? The series was first released in 2016 and is still ongoing now. This particular anime adaption started airing in 2020 and was created by Silver Link.
I’m sure most people have heard of something by Silver Link, whether it be Fate/kaleid, Dusk Maiden of Amnesia, or even Armed Gils Machiavellism. For me, they’re a studio that is perfectly capable of producing something interesting, but that has occasionally missed the mark for me. Bofuri, however, was different.
From a technical standpoint, the show is actually pretty nice. The character and creature designs feel like they absolutely fit in an MMORPG, and the same can be said for the scenery. It all moves fluidly too, and the battle scenes, in particular, have just the right amount of flash to look great without feeling the studio is trying too hard. Both the Japanese and English voice cast do an excellent job with the script, with Kaede Hondo and Megan Shipman proving themselves excellent leads as our main protagonist, Maple. The OST too was decent if not the most memorable you’ll have heard.
All of the aesthetic positives are joined by the show having a wonderful amount of charm too. Maple is undoubtedly the star of the show, and her general attitude towards NewWorld Online – born from her inexperience with gaming – is very endearing. She wants to have fun and is essentially just trying to find her own way to do that in the virtual world. Okay, so she ends up accidentally becoming an overpowered, final boss level player, essentially breaking the game in the process, but you know what? It’s actually really fun!
Overpowered characters can be dull to watch. What prevents Maple from becoming this is that she is not only fun-loving throughout, she’s not using her power to be an arsehole. She really does just want to have fun, and using her skills with her friends makes her happy. On top of that, there are other, experienced players, that are capable of finding more success overall. Maple is easily the most ridiculously powerful player there, but through pure skill, others do prevent her from being the most successful.
Or, in the case of Sally, help Maple. Sally is Mape’s IRL friend, and she is a veteran of online gaming. As such, while she lacks Maple’s crazy transformations, she does possess a good mind for the game and uses that to keep up with her friend. As a tandem, they balance each other’s play style and that makes them the most important parts of the Maple Tree Guild that is formed later in the series.
Now, that brings me to the one downside of the series. So much focus is placed on Maple and Sally that the other guild members don’t get so much of a look-in. That’s a shame because they’re all equally as well designed, and what we do see makes them very likeable. Without much in the way of character development though, they essentially leave Maple and Sally to carry the plot in terms of growth. Similarly, we know that there are some super powerful players in the big two guilds, the Flame Emperors and the Order of the Holy Sword. Mii and Payne, the masters of said guilds, are great examples who, while unable to outright defeat Maple, prove to be formidable foes when they come up against her. The problem is, we learn very little about them in comparison to our main two protagonists.
I will say, though, that these shortcomings could well be rectified in the second season, which is due to release in 2022. They also aren’t enough to derail the show, largely thanks to the series being so enjoyable overall. It also all comes with the nice addition of Maple’s enemies being competitive, but not unfriendly. These aren’t dangerous foes that are out for literal blood, they’re gamers that want to be the best but have no issues with getting along with others. Honestly, if online gaming were more like this, rather than being full of angry people throwing out homophobic, racist and sexist slurs, it would be a lot more fun overall.
It could also be argued that the storyline isn’t particularly deep. There isn’t a massive life-threatening villain to beat or any sort of subtle social commentary. It really doesn’t need these things though. Bofuri knows that it’s supposed to be silly fun, and sets out to be exactly that. That isn’t a fault, it’s a definite advantage.
Bofuri is full of wholesome entertainment. It has an endearing lead, genuine laughs, and looks great to boot! It’s an easy watch, and an easy series to recommend. This gets a 4.5 out of 5 from me.