I’ve previously discussed BOFURI‘s propensity for indulging the age-old MMO tradition of showing off the stuff you got. It’s baked into the act of playing these games with your friends, and more broadly, the human experience in general. What meaningful difference is there, really, between Maple gathering her guild together to demonstrate her latest unholy magical power-up, and my buddy getting the rest of the gang together so he can show off his big new barbecue? We are creatures compelled to communicate the appeal of our collections, as we seek validation from our peers that yes, that is a really nice grill.
This week’s episode of BOFURI spins out of that spirit to be a half-hour power showcase less aimed at any cast members in its story, and more at us in the audience. All of the Maple Tree guildies have cool new pocket monster partners, and it’s time to see what they can do. As with so much of the tone of this second season already, the simplicity of this agenda is almost impressively earnest. Rather than trying to impress the audience with any shows of the author’s talents for hypothetical stat math, it’s just down to the simple pleasures. What if there was a slime you could use as decoys? What if you had a water fairy that could help you set traps in a forest? What if you rode around on a big bear that cut people up really well?
It’s all fun to watch in the way this season has consistently been so far. Though honestly, those monstrous demonstrations do feel a little basic or even bland compared to what we know BOFURI can get up to in its other stretches. Like, yes, it’s conceptually amusing to see infinite Kanades getting mauled by infinite wolves, but that’s a brisk occurrence that’s over without too much real stylistic indulgence. Similarly, it is neat to find out that the Hammer Sisters are wholly capable of fighting separately from each other instead of as a duo all the time, but we don’t actually get much out of seeing Mai doing such solo action before Yui rolls up after all.
It’s all likely a case of priorities for the people on this show. This is another episode of BOFURI where the production shows off extra TLC to small asides. Maple’s funny little tentacle gesticulations early on are a good example of that. The shield heroine, the main character that she is, benefits the most from fun little flourishes. Left to her own devices, it feels like Maple at her most lovably lunkheaded since the very beginning of BOFURI, as we get to watch her stumble around trying to catch monsters who are now wisely avoiding her, or unwarily poking at poisoned flowers. Even in a critical competition where she’s warned her teammates to take scoring and leveling seriously, Maple gonna Maple.
This episode has other appreciative engagements beyond Maple’s expected antics; they’re just centered on other characters the series clearly favors who aren’t actually part of the Maple Tree guild. Yes, we get some more action courtesy of everyone’s new favorite for focus, Mii, as she and Payne also play up their pets’ powers in an impromptu duel. I know the people behind the BOFURI anime are biased for Mii, as she gets a rad temporary transformation power-up from her phoenix pal. Payne’s dragon also seems cool enough, but it’s clearly not evoking the same level of joy.
Just in case we thought things were getting too straightforward, we do also get to enjoy a classic upending of everything by Maple. Yes, her invocation of Interior Crocodile Alligator is funny on its face, in the same way as the other “so random” setups she stumbles into which deflates others’ engagement with the more traditionally “cool” parts of the game. But it works because it sells that central tenet of BOFURI: Video games, above all, are supposed to be fun. This is why, even as turning into a giant laser-firing puffball piloting a crocodile via the power of vore is absolutely not how the game was “meant” to be played, Maple still winds up occupying to sole standing position at the center of where a big, climactic showdown was previously happening. She’s unironically enjoying herself simply occupying the mechanics of this virtual universe, which is why we, like Sally, never get tired of watching her.
BOFURI: I Don’t Want to Get Hurt, so I’ll Max Out My Defense. Season 2 is currently streaming on
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.