At last, arriving at its finale only a few weeks late, the ultimate result for BOFURI‘s second season could hardly be called surprising. This was never a show based on shocking plot twists or even major upsets apart from seeing what shenanigans Maple would get up to take out the latest overpowered threat thrown her way. Heck, even my investment in the base conflict at play here is minimal, given that I don’t know I’d ever have reason to be concerned about a group of, you know, the best players in the world having any particular trouble succeeding at an in-game event. But BOFURI‘s biggest surprise was always how entertaining it could make its particular brand of overpowered player action, and that carries it through to the end.
As it has been for a while, the series is just in full-on showcase mode for its finish. But it rounds back from its previous indulgences to, appropriately, primarily focus on the players of the Maple Tree Guild working together to bring down the biggest, baddest boss the NewWorld Online developers have delivered here at the event’s end. The main selling point of that grouping is thus in seeing everyone coordinating and contributing to the fight at once, an exponential level larger than the 2-4 character collections we’ve been playing with previously. This is BOFURI‘s action in full-on raid territory, one last chance to show off everyone’s new pets and powers.
To some degree, the visual elements of the anime are more focused on quantity than quality, like last week. There are very few slick sakuga deployments, and in fact, things look a bit rough at points as BOFURI gets over the finish line. The giant “Code Alpha,” the Anti-Maple at the center of this final battle, is at moments rendered in CGI that doesn’t look the worst but still sticks out when it has to be used. But because so many of the other elements of the action are short, flashy bursts of other characters’ powers being activated, it still comes together as an effectively attention-holding fireworks show. Having everyone go at once lets the raw variety of RPG powers on display impress, like both Sally and Kanade utilizing multiplication stacks on Maple’s kaiju form or the twins’ buffed-up bear strikes. Because most of these are based on abilities the anime has shown off, often multiple times before, we have the context to appreciate these players using them in a well-planned, perfectly executed multi-person raid.
That’s fun enough as far as watching fictionalized e-sports goes, and the show tries to level some moments of suspense in the proceedings. Maple’s classic tricks like Cover Move and Devour being instrumental to the last stage of the fight lends things a nice full-circle effect, and the anime never gets too reverent towards its gaming indulgences. The bit about the randos from other guilds (including that green-haired bishounen who’s been futilely mugging for attention all season) utterly failing at a contributing attack honestly falls as flat as their in-game efforts. But then BOFURI can deploy some humor that works in a perfectly dry, deadpan way. Mainly, there’s something inherently funny about seeing the majestic flying mounts that are Payne’s dragon and Mii’s phoenix soaring alongside Maple’s big goofy turtle. That delightful dissonance represents the true appeal of gathering guilds together for in-game teamwork.
That’s the meaningful note that BOFURI arrives at for its last hurrah here, ending on more of a reinforcement of the first season’s point than any major new revelations of its own. There’s value in seeing how helping others doesn’t hurt you, and that extends even to the NWO devs themselves reflecting on how satisfied the players’ enjoyment made them in their work. The lessons of Maple are even enough to turn around the attitude of that stuffy secretary who wasn’t as relevant as we thought she might be at the beginning of this season. However, she also alludes to bringing in others on the back end for future stories. Similarly, the very end of this finale wraps by teasing a variety of new characters who still haven’t gotten the “It’s more fun to work together” memo, setting themselves up as new rivals for Maple Tree just waiting to be befriended. But I’ll be honest, that was garnish on that credits-rolling sequence delivering one last Maple/Sally date scene in a season that’s been thoroughly underserved on that front.
For all the other things it was trying to show off, this second season of BOFURI could feel like it was in a holding pattern at times, taking its characters on an extended ability-increasing victory lap until the story figured it could get to this stage where more pointed escalations could be on the horizon. Whether they’ll get a third season to do anything with those, and if they’ll be able to leave it in the oven long enough to bake properly that time, if they do, will remain to be seen. Until then, like a well-worn MMO, you log onto after work just to kill some time with your friends, BOFURI‘s second season was soundly fun enough.
BOFURI: I Don’t Want to Get Hurt, so I’ll Max Out My Defense. Season 2 is currently streaming on
Chris is keeping busy keeping up with the new anime season, and is excited to have you along. You can also find him writing about other stuff over on his blog, as well as spamming fanart retweets on his Twitter, for however much longer that lasts.
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