Are you tired of other MMORPG classes being defensive about how they’re always in the spotlight? Perhaps you would want to see a rather boring role turn into something “spectankular”? If so, the anime Bofuri deserves a spot on your to-watch list.Bofuri, also known as Itai no wa Iya nano de Bōgyoryoku ni Kyokufuri Shitai to Omoimasu in Japan, is based on the light novel series of the same name. Written in 2016 by a user named Yuumikan on a novel publishing site, the anime started airing on the 8th of January, 2020, up till March 25, 2020 and was produced and directed by Silver Link, the studio that made other notable anime such as Kokoro Connect, Watamote, and My Next Life as a Villainess. This anime also has a 2nd season in the works, while its manga has 16 chapters as of May 9, 2020.
The story of the anime revolves around the airheaded protagonist, Kaede Honjo (voiced by Kaede Hondo), and her adventures in the Virtual Reality Massive Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game (VRMMORPG), “New World Online” (NWO). Prompted by her best friend Risa Shirimane (voiced by Noguchi Ruriko) to try out the game ahead of her, Kaede proceeds to create her character with the unique mindset of avoiding pain as much as possible. And so her character, Maple, was born. Where aside from choosing a short sword and a great shield as her weapons, specializing in defense, she then decides to put all her status points into increasing her defense. And she later begins to unintentionally exploit the game’s features in ways that not even the game developers anticipated. Obtaining different skills and equipment which all served to allow her to become practically invincible in-game, resulting in her becoming one of the top players of NWO.
Bofuri is sort of a breath of fresh air to the genre of game and “isekai” anime. It seems to subtly criticize the many tropes and stereotypes associated with the genre. And as a result, it can even be interpreted as being satirical in a sense. For instance, Bofuri is one of the few game-isekai anime wherein the main character is a girl, which in itself is quite uncommon. Maple herself is also not too knowledgeable of the game she’s in at least from the beginning. She isn’t even what you would call an avid gamer. This is in contrast to Log Horizon’s Shiroe, or Sword Art Online’s Kirito, both being male characters of their anime, and are veterans of their respective games even from the very beginning of their stories. Speaking of stories, the plot of Bofuri is also unique in comparison to its contemporaries. It isn’t all too gritty or even serious if you compare it to that presented in other anime of the same genre. The main plot, being more akin to what you would find in a Slice of Life anime, explores the fun adventures and interactions that occur in NWO. It’s much like what you can find in a real-life MMORPGs, with conflict primarily occurring due to in-game competition between players rather than actual personal rivalries or sheer bloodlust. Unlike in most game-isekai anime, death in Bofuri’s setting also does not have any major penalties as well. Where Bofuri’s contemporaries have consequences such as dying in real life, temporary game ban, or even losing a part of yourself or your belongings.
As we analyzed Bofuri further, one of its major aspects appeared to be how it subtly satirizes its genre, being especially evident in the way Maple becomes one of NWO’s top players. This can be seen in the way she unconsciously exploits the in-game mechanics, becoming exponentially stronger with each episode. The plot seems to make use of the “very convenient timing” trope as a method for Maple to gain her many overpowered skills and quirks to great effect, with all of them serving to make her stronger and allowing her to simply force her way through any situation and come out on top. This of course results in Maple being described as invulnerable and more like a natural disaster by other players. It is in the sheer strength and luck of Maple that we can see the way Bofuri attempts to satirize its genre, and it does so through the exaggeration of certain stereotypes. The same use of overpowering and luck in such a manner can also be seen in the anime One-Punch-Man. Where Maple can be seen as a sort of antithesis to One-Punch-Man’s Saitama. Where if Saitama could defeat almost any enemy in one punch, Maple could very well be the only one who could defend against the Caped Baldy’s attack and possibly fight back.
Beyond the plot and Maple herself, however, not a lot can be said about the other aspects of the anime. Although having some interesting side characters, the anime never really went into much depth on them as of writing this article. Bofuri concentrated on Maple herself for most of the series while not revealing that much on the personalities or stories of the other characters. But even so, these characters do have the potential for development and could be interesting to follow. The soundtrack and animation of Bofuri aren’t what you would call groundbreaking or revolutionary, but they also aren’t lacking in terms of quality and effort. A lot of the scenes were quite beautiful and are a testament to the skill and experience of the Silver Link.
Overall, Bofuri is indeed worth watching especially if you are tired of the generic game-isekai anime. It might start like any other anime of the same genre, but it is sure to take you on some surprising twists and turns as you follow the story. It takes the stereotypes of its genre and completely blows them out of proportion with hilarious results. We’d like to give more examples, but it might just ruin your experience if we tell you more about it. It may not be the most iconic or revolutionary anime of its season or genre, but don’t let that hold you back from laughing maniacally as Maple utterly annihilates all those that end up challenging the rise of the little shield hero.