Bofuri: I Don’t Want to Get Hurt, So I’ll Max Out My Defense, Vol. 10

By Yuumikan and KOIN. Released in Japan as “Itai no wa Iya nano de Bōgyoryoku ni Kyokufuri Shitai to Omoimasu” by Kadokawa Books. Released in North America by Yen On. Translated by Andrew Cunningham.

Good news! This is a far stronger volume of Bofuri than the previous two were, and I think I can see why: the last book I really enjoyed was also pretty much just Maple and Sally, with the others barely appearing. I definitely enjoy the rest of the guild, there’s nothing wrong with them. But something about the main duo of the series causes the author to up their game. Now, don’t get me wrong, there’s no major character development for Maple here or anything, she’s pretty much the same. (Sally… well, I’ll get to Sally.) But it’s simply fun and relaxing watching these two besties steamroll through the dungeons on earlier floors that they missed just to be able to see a really great view, or have a picnic, or learn about new ludicrous techniques. Well, only Maple gets that last one, as she manages to turn dark angel (scary) and also make her weird Atrocity ball do a Katamari Damacy (scarier).

Everyone’s still on the 7th level, and there’s no sign we’re seeing the 8th right away. So Maple and Sally decide to go sightseeing, going back to the earlier levels and taking in things they didn’t get to the last time around. They also meet new characters while they’re at it, because you can’t JUST have Maple and Sally and no one else, alas. Appropriately, of the two pairs they meet, one feels very Maple (Velvet, a brawler pretending to be an ojou, and Hinata, her introverted backup) and the other feels very Sally (Wilbert, an insanely powerful archer, and Lily, his maid backup… except when Lily is the powerful warrior and Wilbert is the butler backup). These two pairs make Sally worried, as she knows that they’ll be doing PvP before long, and she is concerned that she and Maple don’t have the synergy of the other two pairs… despite the entire book being evidence to the contrary.

The first anime had finished when this was being written, and I’m not sure if the author noticed the Maple/Sally yuri fans and decided to play it up a bit, or if this was always the case. Regardless, there’s a lot more yuri subtext than usual here, almost all of it on Risa/Sally’s end. Risa is a gamer girl who has struggled with the fact that her best friend has never really been able to keep up with her in any of them. Now they have this game, which plays to Kaede’s eccentric strengths, and it’s like heaven. She notes that she wants to keep playing with Maple like this forever (romantic, but hopefully not a death flag – I can’t see Bofuri ever getting dark), but she also wants to FIGHT Maple directly, even as she knows that Maple really isn’t into that sort of gameplay. It’s a combination of competitive tension and romantic tension, and it makes me wonder if the final book in the series will be Maple and Sally duking it out.

That said, pretty sure Maple will win. It’s her series. This was a terrific volume, though, and next time the rest of the cast should be back as well.

Bofuri: I Don’t Want to Get Hurt, So I’ll Max Out My Defense, Vol. 9

By Yuumikan and KOIN. Released in Japan as “Itai no wa Iya nano de Bōgyoryoku ni Kyokufuri Shitai to Omoimasu” by Kadokawa Books. Released in North America by Yen On. Translated by Andrew Cunningham.

Bad news, folks: I think Bofuri may be starting to bore me. This is a combination of several factors, really. The anime decided to speedrun its second season, and as such this volume consists of stuff that I already watched for the first time in a few volumes. This volume is also almost entirely a “kill monsters” book, which means there’s very little for me to talk about and glom on to, and of course no character development. Hell, the nature of this book makes some characters worse – Mii appears throughout, but she’s always surrounded by people from other guilds, so she’s always in super serious mode. But super serious is not why I want to read Mii. Add all this up and we’re left with a volume that I found majorly underwhelming, not helped by a pile of pointless short stories from various retail giveaways added at the end. Honestly, the most interesting character now might be Iz, who’s become the star of Kaboom!.

The second part of this event has started, and Maple Tree rapidly set up a base (complete with ludicrous deathtraps) and go to find some monsters and dungeons to clear out. As the event goes on, though, they get split up, and each seems to hook up with members of the other two guilds we know, Mi’s group and Payne’s group. This leads to some different dynamics as the groups are forced to work together, though honestly, everyone in the groups is nice, so it’s not that much of a struggle. Eventually they decide to just do this level as a massive 16-person superunit, and, as the mods note, that’s terrible news – for the monsters. Still, the difficulty level gets higher and higher as the event goes on, with even Maple starting to have trouble killing these guys off. can Maple Tree all survive to the end and get their medals?

I mean, yes. This is not a “struggling underdog” sort of series, this is Maple. The most interesting part of her journey here might be the signal everyone sets up in case they’re separated, which turns out to be Maple literally blowing herself up over and over to create the equivalent of a flare. As I said before, Iz has become more and more relaxed and willing to “go crazy” with each book, and here we see her basically applying “when all you have is a hammer” only with bombs. Which work nicely. She also helps the twins essentially play lethal croquet, which was also amusing. If I recall, fans of the books complained the anime changed a part of this book which separated the twins briefly. Which might have been true, except neither twin did anything while separated. I think the author thinks of them as one character, too.

So the event is over, and we presumably start a new arc next time. I’m hoping that it will grab my attention more. Perhaps Maple and Sally on a date… erm, exploring together?

Bofuri: I Don’t Want to Get Hurt, So I’ll Max Out My Defense, Vol. 8

By Yuumikan and KOIN. Released in Japan as “Itai no wa Iya nano de Bōgyoryoku ni Kyokufuri Shitai to Omoimasu” by Kadokawa Books. Released in North America by Yen On. Translated by Andrew Cunningham.

I think the author knows why we’re here by now. The reader is here to see if Maple will do something crazy (yes), if she’ll get new abilities that are bizarre and yet very adaptable (yes), and if she’ll finally make out with Sally (no, though the two do go on a date where they ride a horse together). But we do have a lot of other members of Maple Tree, and at times the guild does sort of feel like “Maple, Sally, and the rest”. This book, more than any other before it, looks to fix that. Some get more attention than others (sorry, Chrome, there’s really not much we can do with your type), but for the most part everyone gets a spotlight that helps to show off one thing: they deserve to be in Maple Tree because they, too, are an eccentric powerhouse. The guild has a reputation for weirdos, and it is 100% leaning into that.

There’s a new floor, and a new goal: everyone’s getting their own companion monster. This means that Maple and Sally are sitting this one out for the most part, as they got theirs way back at the start of the series – in fact, the mods likely put this in the game to fix that. So everyone goes off to quests. Mai and Yui go hunting bears, which is difficult giving they’re living in a glass house… erm, cannon. (Sorry, Radiohead got into my head there for some reason.) Kanade finds an NPC he’s never seen before, which leads him to battle a slime with unique abilities. Kasumi takes on a night unkillable snake. Chrome goes on a long game of “this hint leads to this next hint” etc till he battles undead pirate ghosts. And Iz gets Maple and Mii to help her gather enough materials to make something to get the favor of crafting spirits. The reward for all of this is an event where they can kill monsters and/or players to advance, and Maple Tree are absolutely terrifying.

So yes, the anime has passed the books again, so in case you wondered: this is the one with the tentacles. That said, I think it’s Maple’s toxic monster swamp, as well as her hilarious actions near the end of the book, that are the highlight, and I hope we see it animated well when the series returns from COVID hiatus. Elsewhere, I enjoyed seeing Iz showing off that she’s not just support gal by effectively napalming an entire forest. Kanade… look, I know Anime News Network made this joke already, but there’s no getting around it: Kanade now has his own clone to bang. The smug smirks they each have at the end of the scene only adds to that impression. And I also liked seeing how the pets worked with the Twins, who are both Maple-ettes only with offense – a mild buff becomes a huge, huge advantage. They can now splatter most anything.

So yeah, another fun volume. If you’re wondering if the anime cut a lot from here, well, a fair amount. Anime-onlies who think the series is rushing should definitely read the books. The rest of us will enjoy Maple’s quest for octopus.