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BOFURI: I Don't Want to Get Hurt, so I'll Max Out My Defense. Season 2
Episodes 1-3

by Christopher Farris,

How would you rate episode 1 of
BOFURI: I Don't Want to Get Hurt, so I'll Max Out My Defense. Season 2 (TV 2) ?
Community score: 4.2

How would you rate episode 2 of
BOFURI: I Don't Want to Get Hurt, so I'll Max Out My Defense. Season 2 (TV 2) ?
Community score: 4.3

How would you rate episode 3 of
BOFURI: I Don't Want to Get Hurt, so I'll Max Out My Defense. Season 2 (TV 2) ?
Community score: 4.1

© 2023 Yuumikan・Koin/KADOKAWA/Bofuri 2 Production Committee
It seems nothing can stop Maple for long. Like a giant flying turtle, she and BOFURI: I Don't Want to Get Hurt, so I'll Max Out My Defense. have carved a slow and steady path to at last arrive for a second season. BOFURI is one of those shows that could get along just by effectively supplying more of the same: spending chill times with Maple and her growing group of game pals as they play around, socialize, and unravel the spaghetti code of this MMO in increasingly-absurd ways. And to its credit, that's basically what these first three episodes of BOFURI S2 have done, though not without some new wrinkles, as well as a few cracks already.

I experienced a culture shock while watching the freshman season for BOFURI once I realized there would be nothing approaching an overarching plot. Watching this lovably lunk-headed tank and her comrades faff about in the virtual world was the show. It eventually settled into its iyashikei sensibilities. The second season jumps right into that, as fluffy as ever (possibly even fluffier, given we get to see a virtual cat café in the premiere episode). The montage scenes of characters just frolicking around are still a fixture, though they have composed a new song to play over them for this season. Even the twinges of tension from the other guilds' presence last season have virtually evaporated after Maple went and added them all to her friends list.

In exchange for that, we get BOFURI S2's most pronounced new features: exploring how playing games with people can help you get to know and grow closer to them. That's most apparent with Mii in these first few episodes. Last season, her impostor syndrome caused her to drop her valiant-leader façade and break into adorable temper tantrums behind the scenes as a running gag, a gap-moe riff on the idea of game role-players and their 'real' personalities. But this season puts Mii directly in touch with Maple, where both our sweet shield heroine and we discover that the hot-blooded Flame Empress is chafing under her need to project confidence at all times. It lets Maple demonstrate her helper impulses on a more personal level beyond simple guild olive-branching. She allows Mii to vent and relax without compromising her leadership role.

On a similar note, the second episode of this season plays with the idea that people you've known for a long time have their personalities come out in unexpected ways during gameplay together. Sure, it's only a little funny that the new horror-themed level turns out to be 2Spooky4Sally (especially given that we know she delights in being a terrifying player-killer in her alone time). This situation is enhanced when we see Maple casually bring up parts of their real-life past that reinforce their shared history and the understanding of our favorite gamer GFs' intimacy. Yes, much of this segment technically amounts to watching the characters screw around in a haunted house. But like any good slice-of-life show, BOFURI knows the trick is to have us come out of each stretch of screwing around feeling like we learn something new about these people and what they know about each other.

That haunted house hangout also leads directly into the third episode's plot about Sally helping Maple against a challenging enemy. And that is tied into BOFURI S2's the currently very loose overall plot: NewWorld Online's latest admin who seems to have made it her mission to nerf Maple for good. That ought to be a compelling collection of threads to follow. Unfortunately, the arrival of these points in episode three also coincides with the reveal that even the mighty Maple isn't impervious to the increasingly apparent production strain of the anime industry. Practically a third of this episode abruptly switches to CGI character models and animation.

This isn't the worst CGI animation I've seen in anime, but it's hardly amazing. Mostly it's just jarring and raises the question of why it was handled in such a noticeable manner. I could generously speculate that the team at SILVER LINK had ambitions to cleverly portray Sally's new Web User skill. There are signs of that in the odd 360-degree tracking shots attempted as Maple and Sally enter the fateful CGI room. But mainly, given the issues already experienced by other shows this season, I presume it was primarily a choice of time and resources. It all makes me miss the way so many of the fight scenes from the first season could turn into surprise sakuga-fests and I cross my fingers that this is the sign of the team consciously conserving their resources for later, instead of running out already. They did delay the premiere and spend a whole extra year on this season's production, after all.

Those are worries for the future, though, and BOFURI is all about living your (virtual) life in the moment. For now, I'm happy to have Maple and the Git-Gud Gang back, and I think these first three episodes demonstrate not just what was overall good about the first season but what became its best focal points by the end. This is a story of warm fun and friendship within virtual spaces, something that BOFURI never could have predicted but became even more critical right as that first season finished airing in March 2020. It's the kind of comfort food we could all use anytime, a hot, buttery stack of pancakes with a hearty helping of maple syrup.


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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