BOFURI: I Don’t Want to Get Hurt, So I’ll Max Out My Defense – Episode 1

By: Vrai Kaiser January 8, 20200 Comments
Kaede in her rare drop armor

What’s it about? At her friend Risa’s insistence, Kaede bought the popular new VRMMO game New World Online. Since she’s never played an MMO and her main goal is not to get hurt, she put every skill point she has into defense.

Do you want to watch a girl have a nice time playing an MMO? She’s not trapped or anything, she’s just having fun making friends and enjoying a new hobby. There might be a little bit of danger that she’ll get too into it and forget to study for her test. Also, apparently the design of this MMO supports Min/Maxing like nobody’s business.

Honestly, given the popularity of both MMO-style and iyashikei anime in the past few years, it’s surprising that there hasn’t been a show combining them before now. Maybe they were having pity on the critics of the world, because the resulting combination is surprisingly difficult to talk about.

Kaede running from a bee monster

It’s emphatically fine. Kaede is a bland but not grating protagonist who manages to be uninformed about the game but also able to string together strategies in the moment so that she doesn’t feel frustratingly obtuse or in constant need of saving.

There are a few fanservicey outfits in the opening and closing credits, but it’s not uniform across the numerous female characters. And, despite one flat joke, the male character who briefly mentors Kaede (and is apparently a high-level player) seems all right and doesn’t butt in to steal her spotlight.

The colors are nice.

Did I mention it’s fine?

Kaede standing in front of Iz's workshop. subtitle: Let me add you as a friend since we know each other now.

The opening theme has a lot of flashy battles with heroes, villains, and Kaede rushing in to save the day, but I am genuinely uncertain as to whether that’s coming or if it’s just a dramatization. Still, given how many MMO-inspired isekai with overpowered protagonists basically have no stakes given the hero can stomp any opponent flat with their natural gifts in two seconds, it’s almost refreshing to have a show that doesn’t even pretend there are life-or-death consequences at play. It certainly holds up better than a lot of its peers—no slavery apologism or pedophiles in sight.

It boils the experience down to the simplest choice: are you the kind of person who gets enjoyment out of Let’s Plays, and would you like to have that secondhand adventure in anime form? This will probably be perfectly serviceable entertainment.

At best, it leaves a lot of room to explore the social elements of MMOs that can lead to tight-knit, healing bonds even across long distances. It’s a bit soon to say, but if nothing else this is a fine twenty-minute chill-out.

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