Title: IItai no wa Iya nano de Bougyoryoku ni Kyokufuri Shitai to Omoimasu / I Hate Being In Pain So I Think I’ll Make A Full Defensive Build / BOFURI
Length: ? x 24 minute episodes
Genre: Comedy, action
Year of release: 2020
Due to formatting shenanigans, and my naturally fast typing speed, I usually find it easier typing out most titles rather than copying & pasting them from databases and fiddling about with fonts and colours and all that nonsense. This ongoing trend of titles that resemble something more akin to sentences, puking the entire plot synopsis in one fell swoop, is therefore bad for my sanity. If you made it towards the end of the epic that is BOFURI’s full title, congratulations, and, without further ado, enter BOFURI: yet another entry in the ‘cute girls do fantasy things’ genre, this time spiced up with extra video game flair. There. That was somehow longer and more painful than Dante’s Inferno.
Like many high concept shows these days, once you get off the exposition-required ground, there’s not much to the story but logical conclusions. In this case, Kaede (avatar name: Maple) is a noob in this brand spanking new VR fantasy adventure game, and because of the realism of VR gaming including pain, she decides to max defence with no regard at all to other skills. The show occasionally, but not consistently, remembers that this has drawbacks such as restricting her walking speed to an absolute crawl, and means that her offensive powers are convoluted ‘hidden’ skills that she gradually unlocks.
It is comical, though, watching somebody taking such a lifelike approach to this cutting-edge video game tech. Kaede brings nothing but enthusiasm to the fight, and watching her train her skills in this episode sure is amusing as she realises that endurance leads to levelling and simply lets rabbits gnaw at her feet for hours while sleeping. We aren’t quite at party forming yet, but she takes time to meet a couple of new but fairly forgettable faces in a fellow ‘tank’, Kuromu, and a craftswomen, Iz, whose main addition to the show is amusement at Kaede’s completely ungamer-like style.
For this episode’s grand climax to sell us on the kinds of content we might expect going forward, Kaede goes into a high level dungeon and ends up rather creatively fighting tooth and nail (literally) against a boss-tier dragon. There’s something moderately pleasant about how silly and lighthearted the whole affair is, as she cartoonishly dashes around the dragon taking chunks out of it with her teeth. I’d love to play alongside Kaede!
But, back in reality, we’ve got to address the fact that there’s not much else left to do. She even has her top tier armour, already, so there’s not many pressing feats left to achieve. Party form for a few episodes and then do a couple of quests, and after that I predict Shield Hero: Moe Edition running out of steam. It’s an enjoyable premiere, but not one bestowing much depth. For fans of cute-girls shows looking for an innocuous time, you could do worse, but I don’t see a revolution.