Disclaimer: There might be spoilers ahead.
Kawaii Shield Hero
Let me start off by saying that this anime was funny. Not because of its amazing story or writing but more because of its absurdity. Now, when I say absurdity I don’t mean it in a bad way. Its more of a good kind of absurd. The kind that makes you say ‘omg that’s so stupid’ while pointing and laughing. There is nothing to suggest that we can expect any deep or meaningful story from this anime and we shouldn’t. Itai no wa Iya nano de Bougyoryoku ni Kyokufuri Shitai to Omoimasu is not here to stir up any emotions or challenge us mentally. It’s simply here to make us laugh.
What happens when you take a clueless and hesitant girl and make her play an SAO-like MMORPG without any supervision or guidance. Well, this. This is what happens. This anime seems to have been especially made to horrify and annoy people that actually play these kinds of games. I myself have spent many hours -possibly more than I care to admit- attempting to grind my way to the top. If you’ve ever played a game -not even talking about an MMORPG- you know what I am talking about. Now, here comes along miss oblivious, aka Maple, saying a big F you to all sense of reason by putting all her points on defence. What a stupid idea. But I guess it’s her first time playing, so it’s fine. Weird but fine. The offensive part comes after she actually makes the whole ‘0 attack MAX defence’ setup work by going on a cute forest animal/monster killing spree. A slow and painful killing spree. Not for her of course. Don’t worry, apparently she has the pain threshold, as well as the mobility, of a brick wall, so she’s fine. It’s Mr. Bunny that has to suffer. RIP bunny-san. Maple, the evil protagonist, then decides that after levelling up a dozen times, her attire and equipment are too plebeian and she is in dire need of a more cool fantasy getup. At least in this aspect she is thinking like a gamer, the wooden door-of-a-shield and the potato-sack armour were a bit unbecoming. So, what does she do, she just asks the first random well-dressed dude where she could buy cool armour like his. Despite being surprised, the other player, Kuromu, takes her to a shop. The shopkeeper, another player, informs the rookie that things cost money and since she wants shiny cool things she must have shiny coins. Who would have thought. Nonetheless, the two experienced gamers help Maple by pointing her to the direction of a nearby dungeon, as well as giving her a few potions. Of course, they failed to understand that the girl in question is not only a rookie but also a complete lunatic that thinks nothing of going alone in a dungeon. I know what you are going to say ‘but she doesn’t know better’. Come on. It’s a dungeon. Anyway, Maple starts going through the monsters in the dungeon, when I say ‘going through’ I mean crush to death, until she miraculously reaches the boss’s door. She obviously goes through with no considerable preparation or hesitation. The boss of the dungeon is the Hydra, a considerably more scary adversary than Mr. Bunny-san and the marshmallow-like slimes. The main weapon of the hydra is poison that, despite Maple’s previously acquired resistance, melts her shield and actually damages her. Finally, some actual damage has been dealt to the brick wall. The kawaii shield hero however, does some quick thinking in her moment of crisis and decides to raise her poison resistance by taking the attacks face first. A truly bold and brilliant strategy. Utilizing the -apparently- gazillion healing potions Kuromu gave her, she manages to do just that. The Hydra, that is obviously pissed of by now, grabs her. A bad move on its part, since now, the turtle-reflexed brick wall girl, was in attack range. What attack, you may ask. That’s a good question and the answer is biting. She bit and ate the Hydra alive until it died. RIP Hydra-san. I wonder how the Hydra felt at that moment. A lone shield bearing girl sloths into its chamber uninvited, drinks a cartload of potions and then proceeds to nibble it to death. I know who the monster of this episode was and it sure as hell wasn’t the Hydra. Don’t worry though, to reward her gastronomic rampage, the game gifted Maple a full set of black armour. She also gained further levels, buffs, as well as a poison based attack.
I am sorry for the colourful play-by-play description of the first episode but I though it was appropriate considering that BOFURI’s comedy stems from its absurdity. The entire premise behind the story is absurd and it’s clear that this is what they were aiming for when they were making it. If you tried to do the same thing in the real world, you probably wouldn’t get really far in the game. Well, you wouldn’t do that in the first place but never mind. Despite the way I characterized the heroine above, I don’t really mind her at all. Her obliviousness is what makes the story possible, as well as what makes it funny. We are able to watch an inexperienced girl tackle a complicated game by thinking outside the box, causing all sorts of unexpected results in the process. Don’t get me wrong though, this anime is not amazing or groundbreaking. It simply took the whole fantasy/video game genre of anime and made fun of it. I don’t really expect this anime to offer anything other then some laughs and neither should you.