If you’re around my age, you’ve probably got anxiety about constantly needing to outrun the encroaching icy grip of death. But you’ve also probably spent years hearing incessant requests from gamers for a proper MMORPG based on Nintendo‘s Pokémon franchise. It’s a fitting fantasy in terms of genre gameplay since exploring worlds and encountering critters in real-time with your friends makes for some engaging online activity. And so, the next thing on BOFURI‘s docket for fantasy-game fulfillment is depicting a version of such a dream project.
NewWorld Online was already shown as a game with a relatively robust content roadmap, what with the constantly added new levels we’ve been watching Maple’s moppets move through. But seeing full-on new features implemented adds to the feeling of progress and expansion and also ties into that idea I brought up last week about how the game’s developers are growing through all this. The idea of tameable monsters is obliquely referenced as partially inspired by the turtle and fox familiars that Maple and Sally acquired early last season. Syrup has already proven to be a powerful piece of Maple’s arsenal, so just making it so everyone playing the game can score that sort of assistance, then arranging all future encounters with that in mind, is a pretty smart way to balance things. It is a game design that’s fun and functional, which makes apparent why so many players might be sticking with NWO, apart from it being an effective place to hang out BS-ing with their friends.
In practice, that means this episode of BOFURI takes on the fondly familiar structure of watching several characters tackle individualized missions across its run-time. If you’ve stuck with the show this long, you’re likely to be okay with that in a “Cute Gamers Doing Cute Quest Lines” sort of way. Still, the unifying concept of everyone trying to obtain their starter Pokémon helps it feel more thematically tied together, and most of the execution here is stand-out besides. I also enjoy the way the setup for a couple of these threads captures the spirit of MMO quest progression, with Maple taking a sidebar to gather materials for Iz, nominally to add buffs to help Mai and Yui in their pocket monster pursuits, which they wind up handling on their own anyway.
A notable point about this episode is that several scenes of it were glimpsed in the trailer we got before BOFURI S2 launched, indicating that it was one the crew had fully finished before things went to broadcast. That’s apparent in the execution. I still don’t know that things are up to the stellar sakuga levels of some of Sally’s fights from S1, but there are so many little touches and flourishes that make this one stick out, even as all we’re doing is following different characters as they tackle boss-battle runs. I’m already a big fan of Kasumi’s new power-up, so her fight with White Snake stands out the most. It’s not just how it showcases her sweet new huge-hands transformation; Even the bits where she’s ‘just’ zipping around using her sword have a great sense of weight and momentum to the movement. That same sort of effect comes through similarly in the twins’ efforts against a terrible tentacle tree. However, their stretches can feel a little more repetitive, if only because of how simple their hammer-based move sets tend to be in this show.
The Maple Tree guildies are always down to help each other out, but sometimes you want to pull something off yourself on your own terms. Seeing Mai and Yui bump into Kasumi during their regular Dark Souls respawns provides that feeling of mutuality as we watch them engage with the challenges, never getting too frustrated and being rewarded for their efforts by acquiring their cute little Palismans.
Maple’s third of the episode drives up the disparity in the divided activities. Being Maple, she manages to never actually be defeated during her escapades, though she is swallowed multiple times, since we know by now that parts of BOFURI are, well
It’s all the name of otherwise good-natured silliness, though. Maple’s action against this octopus isn’t as high-octane as Kasumi’s combat with the snake, but there are still cutely animated little flourishes. It’s fun seeing Maple swimming back through the air after getting flung out or the expressive touches on her eating animations when she turns the tasty tables on her enemy. There are some CGI shortcuts taken on those tako tentacles, but it overall holds up well. Also, on that tentacular note, I know I just accused the show of indulging in fetishism, but I will give props to BOFURI for being about as un-creepy as possible with its deployment of that kind of creature feature despite their use in two out of three of this week’s storylines. So there’s some restraint, though we’ll see how things play out now that Maple’s got her own set of tentacles moving forward. At least Sally seems reasonably into them, so I think I can count on BOFURI to keep being fun.
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.