I’ve finally caught up and managed to finish my entire watchlist of the winter anime season of 2020 and there was a plentiful amount to be watching. BOFURI: I Don’t Want to Get Hurt, so I’ll Max Out My Defense is one of the many I cranked out this season and it definitely stood out among the crowd. It wasn’t psychologically thrilling like ID: INVADED or focused on exploring the bond that makes us consider another person in your life as family. No.. instead BOFURI chooses a more simple route… let’s talk about that.
“BOFURI: I Don’t Want to Get Hurt, so I’ll Max Out My Defense” is all you really need to hear to understand the premise of the anime. I don’t understand why mangas and animes continue to use their story synopsis as a title, but at least it gets straight to the point.
The story follows Kaede Honjou who begins playing a VRMMO known as ‘New World Online‘ after her close friend Risa Shiramine invites her to play. Due to Risa needing to focus on her studies prior to playing, Kaede hops into the game to check things out. Upon entering and creating her character she is given a menu option to assign stat points… as the title suggests, she puts them all into defense. Kaede finishes her character creation after choosing the name ‘Maple’ as her in-game name thus beginning her journey into ‘New World Online‘!
Now that you know the beginnings of the anime, let me run you through what goes down throughout the season. So… Maple wanders off being a cute ditz then manages to somehow become a titan among men! That’s all you need to know! The anime is about a girl relatively new to gaming; due to a lack of previous gaming experience, she unknowingly becomes essentially a demonic raid boss that literal armies of players are incapable of bringing down. You could put her up against every single Dark Souls boss and she’d manage to kill all of them without giving it a second thought… Maple even becomes a “machine god” later in the anime giving her the power to turn into a mech… the absurdity that goes on in the anime goes against every balanced MMORPG system, but my goodness is it entertaining to watch. Seeing the never-ending progression of Maple becoming more and more overpowered is a wholesome experience. It aids the anime that she isn’t an edgy guy like Kirito, but instead, she’s just a moe anime girl doing cute things and somehow along the way becomes a god. Not a complex story, but a fun and creative concept for an anime.
‘Maple’ aka Kaede Honjou
The main protagonist of the anime and truly terrifying raid boss encounter to boot! Don’t let her cute outer appearance fool you because this ‘monster’ can and will one-shot you if you’re not careful! All joking aside though! Maple is a cute ditz with very little gaming experience under her belt. Through her wholesome character traits, she just so happens to stumble upon becoming the most overpowered tank known to man and anime! As frosting on the cake, the game devs have no idea how to deal with her becoming so powerful.
‘Sally’ aka Risa Shiramine
Risa Shiramine is Maple’s IRL friend who chose the in-game name of ‘Sally’. She is a much more experienced gamer with lots of professional play under her belt and it shines through. Sally is a monster on the battlefield and acts as Maple’s carry in damage early on in the show. Eventually, Sally ends up acting more of a scout/rogue capable of using her agility, damage, and pure skill to take down most of her foes. Sally embodies an experienced player following a more typical and reasonable build that is well thought out rather than Maple’s pure defense build that just so happens to become immensely busted.
The ‘Maple Tree’ Guild
To avoid covering all of Maple’s guild members who all act as supporting characters, I’ll put them all into the ‘Maple Tree’ guild. The guild name comes from Maple and Sally deciding to create a guild and to do that they have to choose a guild house. This guild house just so happens to be inside of a large maple tree, thus resulting in the guild name being called ‘Maple Tree’. Once the guild is created, the two head out to recruit members, all of whom are players Maple has met and befriended during her time playing the game. These players consist of Kanade (Center), an intelligent caster fluent at solving puzzles. Kasumi (Far-right), an agile samurai. Chrome (Guy in red armor), a fellow shield user. Iz (Far-left), a crafter of armor, weapons, and clothing alike. Finally, Mai (Cute loli in black+green armor) and Yui (Cute loli in white+pink armor), adorable sisters who chose to max out their attack making them the complete counter-part of Maple. All together creates the guild ‘Maple Tree’!
Art, Animation, and Sound
In terms of art and animation, Silver Link doesn’t fail to deliver on a quality looking anime. With such an experienced studio in charge of developing BOFURI, it’s no surprise that everything looks good. One thing that stands out is the character designs. Each one of the characters in ‘Maple Tree’ stands out and just by looking at their appearance you can immediately take an accurate guess at what role they play. What is immensely important is that through their art and animation they’re able to captivate the sense of wholesome cuteness into the show while simultaneously making a beautiful world and delivering some flashy fight scenes along with it.
The sound design is also notably solid. It isn’t gonna blow your mind or anything, but the overall sound quality of skills being used and mobs being slain is solid. On the other hand, at times the soundtrack gets repetitive or feels outdated, the soundtrack feels like it was pulled out of a retro synth-wave cop show at times. Aside from that, the voice acting is well done, there aren’t many animes where voice acting is exactly “terrible” but from my perspective, each character was cast well.
The last thing in this section I really enjoy touching base on is whether the OP/ED themes are any good. “Kyuukoku Unbalance” is the OP theme for BOFURI and does its job. I like basing OP/ED off of whether it’d be something I’d find myself wanting to listen to when not watching the anime, and “Kyuukoku Unbalance” isn’t one of them. It isn’t a poor OP, just not one that stands out among the rest. Now the ED theme “Play the World” is catchier than the OP. It isn’t my cup of tea for listening to in my free time, but I wouldn’t immediately jump for the remote to skip it.
I’ll get right to it. This anime is cute, wholesome, and overall an enjoyable watch. It doesn’t take itself seriously at all. In terms of game mechanics, the system is flawed beyond imagination, but due to these flawed systems, it results in Maple becoming the cute monstrous raid boss that I kept coming back to watch every week. If you get the chance to give BOFURI a watch I’d recommend it if you’re just looking for something cute to enjoy. It may also help that I love MMORPG’s… so the setting alone makes me slightly biased, but it doesn’t change the fact that it’s just some good wholesome entertainment!
BOFURI: I Don't Want to Get Hurt, so I'll Max Out My Defense
BOFURI: I Don't Want to Get Hurt, so I'll Max Out My Defense Review
If you’re looking to pass the time with a wholesome anime that isn’t taken seriously, you’ll feel right at home with BOFURI. With a memorable cast and visually pleasing world to go along with a silly story concept, it’s a recipe for some quality entertainment.
Wholesome + Moe
The soundtrack is repetitive and lackluster at times