After several weeks of training, Maple Tree began their toughest event yet – the Guild Competition. A Capture The Flag game mode is spiced up with all participating guilds involved at once, which naturally puts smaller guilds at a disadvantage due to the need for simultaneous offence and defence. For once, Maple can’t just do everything with her ridiculous power levels, and that means the show gets a chance to move its mood from pleasant to tense, and it does so with great skill.
Last episode, we saw Sally moving out at night. An assassin, she evades her prey before striking quickly, and in some instances she even stole the enemy’s objective before they could react. Watching Sally play NWO is such a joy, because she’s gone through a solid amount of development to reach the point that she’s at, showing cunning, skill and dedication paying off all at once.
But you have to rely on your friends from time-to-time, and this results in the first major difficulty for Maple Tree. When Maple runs (or flies) to save Sally (in a really sweet moment for anybody that is also shipping these two hard), a top assassin-like player infiltrates Maple Tree and has to fight Yui and Mai.
I’ve gone to great lengths to commend BOFURI for the work it’s put into Sally. At the beginning of last episode, she continued to show how important she can be as a character without stealing the main character’s spotlight, with really great intuition to ‘fake’ skills. Watching her is always a treat. Mai and Yui are the polar opposite of what I have commended; while fun in concept, their inseparability means that they’re ultimately indistinguishable from one another, and being consistently tied to their gimmicks or support roles means they’ve shown no character more than some occasionally cute antics. While their fight showed some neat teamwork, it paled in comparison to the depth of Sally’s, and even faltered compared to Kasumi and Kuromu who have a chance to prove themselves.
With Sally shattered from a 1v100 last stand, the plan is changed. Maple herself is a mobile fortress, and with the power of Mai and Yui and her flying turtle, goes from base-to-base, tearing enemies apart. She’s a monster, and can walk through the Flame Emperor Guild’s traps without penalty before coming face-to-face with her greatest challenge yet – the Flame Emperor herself, Mii. It’s time for a showdown.