BOFURI: I Don't Want to Get Hurt, so I'll Max Out My Defense. Season 2
by Christopher Farris,
How would you rate episode 10 of
BOFURI: I Don't Want to Get Hurt, so I'll Max Out My Defense. Season 2 (TV 2) ?
Community score: 4.3
The big shake-up is the premise the game masters foist on the characters in the opening to this one: Scattering the players away from their guilds and teams like the kids in Digimon Adventure getting split up in the middle of a given arc. It makes for an immediately distinguishing gimmick after so many episodes of our heroes just comfortably playing along. Sure, BOFURI is never going to be a high-stakes story, everything here is very much still Just A Game. But this nevertheless instills a different tone into engaging with that game, the sort of entertaining tension you might get from notching the difficulty up to a level you hadn't attempted before.
The real reason for splitting everyone up that way, however, becomes clear with the second half of this episode's gimmick. Maple Tree and the other guilds being separated from each other means they aren't going to be able to take on event-level monsters on their own, so they have to team up with whoever's available ntoder to survive. This is illustrated immediately in the first team-up we see between eternal sparring rivals Sally and Frederica. Previous events had been built around inter-Guild combat, but the characters call that out as very much not a factor this go-around.
One has to wonder how much the admins of NewWorld Online were taking Maple's all-loving teamwork approach into account in designing this event's mechanics, banking on the point that teaming up with other players can be just as fun as battling them. This helps keep the ideas of BOFURI at least conceptually centered on Maple, even as the series has moved on to be more of an ensemble piece. Never fear, we still get an interstitial scene this week of her rocket jumping into fireworks signals before punching Maple-shaped holes in the ground below like some MMO Wile E. Coyote. The show knows all the reasons we're here.
So the fun in all that is mainly going to come from seeing the interactions and dynamics of new character combos. Sally and Frederica fighting alongside each other for a change is obviously a fun switch-up. It's even more so thanks to this finally being a point in this season where they really put some sauce on their battle animation. This episode can't look like that all the way through, but given that and everything else going on, you can maybe suspect how they wound up needing to take the following week off, if the production's schedule has actually been so tenuous all the way through.
The other team-ups vary between neat mechanical mash-ups and potential personality pairings. The Iz/Marcus duo probably delivers the most on all fronts, since it's amusing to see his mopey personality get dunked on. Plus I just like how two ostensible support classes pull off beating a boss simply by crafting an entire fortress to fight it. On the other side of things, you get Kuromu teaming up with Misery, which has some sweet moments but isn't all that remarkable, or Kasumi with Shin, somewhat hampered by the fact that I really don't recall much about the latter beyond his familiar being a bird in a cowboy hat, which is rad. Though it does include a bit of making fun of Kasumi's temporary power-up age-down in a way that doesn't feel inherently creepy, so that's something.
It's a showcase episode that even turns its inability to cram in everyone doing something into part of its point. Partway through, May and Yui fret that they aren't able to contribute to an ongoing fight, with Kanade reassuring them that "We all have things we're good at and things we're bad at. You just have to wait until the time comes for you to show what you can do." Different combination situations are going to create new opportunities for players apart from simply trying to survive in PvP. In pursuing this approach to putting players together in the event, the admins of the game have created a uniquely fun setup that allows everyone to have points where they can participate and enjoy themselves. Certainly, they inadvertently bit off more than they could chew, as Maple manages to bring together the Flame Emperor and Holy Sword guilds under the roof of her base, but they still had the right idea.
It does make for an amusing meta-escalation compared to the event that capped off BOFURI's first season. There, Maple Tree only took third place in the competition but still "won" spiritually by having everyone come to their place for a party afterward. Now, the event hasn't even ended, but they're all partied up in Maple's base already anyway. Maple and Sally even get to introduce their respective side-girls Mii and Frederica to each other, looking to potentially expand their marriage into a foursome. That's what these team-ups are all about, after all, bringing people together. And turning their co-op capabilities into an arms race between them and the game's developers.
BOFURI: I Don't Want to Get Hurt, so I'll Max Out My Defense. Season 2 is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
Chris is a freewheeling Fresno-based freelancer with a love for anime and a shelf full of too many Transformers. He can be found spending way too much time on his Twitter, and irregularly updating his blog.
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