One of the anime series of last season that really caught my eye was BOFURI: I Don’t Want to Get Hurt, so I’ll Max Out My Defense. For the most part it’s got the trappings of your basic isekai series; overpowered protagonist in fantasy world goes about kicking everybody’s ass. However, it had a few points about it that genuinely caught my interest.
First off, the main character, Maple, is not trapped in the fantasy world. She’s a novice game player who gets hooked on an immersive MMORPG and unintentionally breaks the game specifically because she doesn’t play it how most people would.
Secondly, there is the character dynamic with her best friend, Sally. Maple is introduced to the game through Sally who suggests they try it out together. Unfortunately, Sally is unable to play, leaving Maple to explore on her own and break the game. Sally eventually joins, but not before Maple has already made a name for herself by acquiring unique skills and equipment that cause her to be extremely overpowered.
Thirdly, there was the title of the series itself. I Don’t Want to Get Hurt, so I’ll Max Out My Defense. Right there we are presented with a part of Maple’s psychological profile that might be interesting to explore. She has an aversion to pain.
It was these elements that built up the series as a potential treasure trove of character exploration and development that I was looking forward to. But instead, sadly, the series ended up being basically a story of cute girls having fun, with little to nothing really all that relatable about it.
There was a brief instant in one episode when we are shown Sally’s reaction to the revelation that Maple can take damage from armor piercing attacks. There is a moment where the series seems to imply that Sally could be Maple’s worst enemy due to her intimate knowledge of Maple’s abilities. That and the fact that Sally and Maple know each other in real life. But the moment is fleeting and goes nowhere.
Overall, the series was enjoyable for what it was. But in the end, I couldn’t hide my disappointment as to what it could have been. I suppose I have no one else to blame but myself for reading too deeply into the story’s premise and expecting what was never promised in the first place. BOFURI: I Don’t Want to Get Hurt, so I’ll Max Out My Defense is an enjoyable, lighthearted series, but it could have been so much more.