Satomi AraiNoriaki SugiyamaSatomi SatouNanaka Suwa
BOFURI: I Don't Want to Get Hurt, so I'll Max Out My Defense. Season 2
Also known as: Itai no wa Iya nano de Bougyoryoku ni Kyokufuri Shitai to Omoimasu. Season 2
Medium: TV, series
Year: 2023
Director: Shin Oonuma
Writer: Fumihiko Shimo
Original creator: Yuumikan
Actor: Ai Kakuma, Kaede Hondo, Miyuri Shimabukuro, Nanaka Suwa, Noriaki Sugiyama, Ruriko Noguchi, Saori Hayami, Satomi Arai, Satomi Satou
Keywords: anime, fantasy
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Format: 12 episodes
Website category: Anime 2023
Review date: 8 June 2023
They've lost it. The show's still good-natured and likeable, but there's no point in watching these episodes. After finishing Season 2, I also deleted my copies of Season 1, even though I'd enjoyed it at the time.
Theoretically, it's the same. Maple and her friends have light-hearted fun in an VRMMO where nothing's at stake because it's just a game. Everyone's lovely. There's not even any rivalry. There aren't any player-vs-player challenges this year, with the nearest we get being a glimpse of new enemies after the final episode's end credits. (That's a lead-in to a Season 3 that I bet never happens.) All we're watching is players vs. the game, which is usually a foregone conclusion because our heroes are all super-powerful by now.
Even when it's not, though (e.g. the tougher monsters in ep.5), you still don't care. They don't, after all. It's only a game and our heroes can keep trying again and again until they succeed. In fairness, watching a friend play computer games can be more entertaining than you'd think, but most of this season is more like watching a friend play a very easy game in God mode. There's no excitement. It's just slice-of-life.
There also isn't even a character journey. Season 1 took Maple on a journey from "idiot newbie" to "all-devouring god", so there's nowhere left for her to go. She doesn't do many crazy things. She gains a tentacle ability and has a comedy approach to letting off fireworks (which made me laugh), but otherwise she's a static blob of niceness. She hardly even seems defence-orientated any more (which is theoretically her gimmick), since by now she has enough firepower to crush end-of-level bosses without even breaking a sweat. Theoretically we could still have had visual gags like seeing her stroll through lava like Superman, but no. Also, her enemies are all friends now. Her friends don't change at all. The only progression on display is "look, my game character gained a new power", which doesn't mean as much any more.
What will you get from these episodes? Well, it's still soothing and relaxing. Mii-san's double personality made me laugh in ep.1. I liked the "fireworks" in ep.10. And... well, that's almost all.
The show also does that thing you'll see in lots of anime of having animals continually saying their name in Japanese. Bears go around saying "bear". Turtles say "turtle". Theoretically, this is more excusable here since these are magical monsters in a computer game, but it still annoyed me. The worst of these is a snake that says "snake", even though the Japanese word for snake contains no sibilants. At least you can say "snake" in a snake-like way in English. In Japanese, gyaaaah. (Ep.5 clubs you over the head with this, because that's where the game moderators introduce monster taming.)
Even the original light novels' fans objected to Season 2. They thought it galloped through the source material (the first four episodes adapt three novels!) and made changes they didn't like (ep.10). Personally, though, I think it's rubbish because it's empty. The characters go nowhere and aren't even stressed, let alone in danger. There's no reason to care about their fights, not even the 100m Cthulhu-a-like in the season finale. The show's still charming and its cast are still endearing, but that's not enough on its own to carry twelve episodes.