We all have that dreaded list of anime that we just never get around to watching…that’s right: the dreaded BACKLOG. But, don’t worry, The Great British Backlog is here to support you through tough times and help you finally tackle that ever-growing to-watch list!
For our first chapter, Funimation UK’s Fray and Mitch dive into one of their recent backlog entries: BOFURI: I Don’t Want to Get Hurt, So I’ll Max Out My Defense!
The series follows Kaede as she creates her own character, Maple, and jumps into her very first MMO video game, but she exclusively puts her points into defense as she’s afraid of getting hurt.
Fray: Mitchy! I know this is a title that both you and I were hoping to watch as it aired, but the time came and went and it remained unwatched. UNTIL NOW! (For those reading this worried about spoilers, we will only be discussing the first few episodes)
Mitch: Better late than never, and it feels like a good time to get into an anime about an MMO!
Fray: As we’re both big fans of the increasingly popular MMO, Final Fantasy XIV, it was certainly great to jump into an anime that tackled the genre, and in such a fun way too.
Mitch: Maple is a Tank, and I’m a Tank in FFXIV, so it’s exciting to see that role reflected in another medium. She didn’t inspire me to become a Tank (as I already was one) but I do have a friend who was inspired to play Tank after watching BOFURI!
Fray: Tanking is a big responsibility, I mean, I play healing roles which is a big responsibility too, but let’s face it mate—I’d probably lead the party to their deaths if I was a Tank! The show does make it look like a whole lot of fun though, I can see why your friend was inspired.
Mitch: Yeah, I do wish we could replicate her whole “I’m just going to maximise my defense and not get hurt!” abilities as that would make it less stressful, but it certainly makes for a fun comedy.
Fray: The comedy is spot-on, a lot of the laughs came at such unexpected moments. I was laughing from shock when Maple accidentally killed the poor Bunny with her shield and later when she decided to start eating the boss. Maple is one of a kind!
Mitch: Agreed, when she got distracted and turned around and accidentally killed the bunny, I was totally shocked. It WAS a cute bunny, until she killed it. She even used the dragon’s breath as seasoning, which I can’t tell is clever or just very very cruel!
Fray: I think Maple has this incredible childlike innocence to her and she’s having such a good time exploring this new world that she actually thinks very little about her actions.
Mitch: Yes! She’s having so much fun, and it reminds me of when I started playing MMOs for the first time and it was just a thrill to SEE everything and be part of this living, breathing world which is really a video game. Maple might have stayed up late and couldn’t finish her homework, but I stay up late now and can’t even finish my actual work! (Don’t tell my boss that.)
Fray: Your secret is absolutely safe with me. I never do that. Ever.
But you’re right, they manage to capture the fact that it’s overwhelming at the start, but quickly becomes an important part of your life and a wonderful way to make new friends.
Mitch: I think it showcases that really well when she meets another player who guides her to the local forest to kill low-level enemies in the first episode. I actually got a bit anxious at this point as I thought she would purposefully mislead Maple, but she was true to her word. Sometimes people like to play jokes on new players, but Maple is too lovely for that and I’m happy that it’s not only us who think that!
Fray: I had that same thought too and was relieved when it was just wholesome advice. BOFURI is one of those shows that just fill you with so much positivity and you can’t help but smile at the situations Maple finds herself in.
Mitch: I’ve been playing games all my life so I don’t really remember that initial “wow, games are so cool” moment that Maple finds herself having when she logs in for the first time. It really is heart-warming to see, and with the way technology is today, it’s something that feels very real. I still have those moments today though, mind you, I just wish I could remember that initial “wow!” moment now.
Fray: You’re right! It does a fantastic job of conveying that emotion, even if you can’t remember your own. I think it also does well in showing that it’s okay to play games in a different way, experimenting with things and not following the crowd can be really exciting and lead to unique possibilities.
Mitch: Yes—games are all about having fun, and BOFURI encapsulates that perfectly! The other thing it encapsulates perfectly is being a new player who wants all that good-looking gear, but you’re stuck with something that looks like a set of mish-mashed pots and pans until you’ve put the work in. Starting as a low-level MMO player is never easy, no sir.
Fray: I really envied how easy it was for Kaede to get her character wearing that cool-looking gear so early on! That never happens!
Mitch: It’s that anime protagonist luck, mate. We’re just background characters in Kaede’s story.
Fray: But, I want to be the protagonist…
Mitch: Tough, you can be in Maple’s supporting party.
Fray: Well, I mean, that wouldn’t be so bad!
Mitch: Luckily for us, the Tank position is already taken, eh? Can blend right in. I feel like if you were in Maple’s party though you’d be sorted for life, honestly, background character or not!
Fray: That’s the dream. Quicker queue times when you’re going into dungeons too! I don’t know about you, but I watched an episode in English and then Japanese, but I decided to stick with the English dub for my journey with Maple! Both were brilliant though.
Mitch: I watched it in English and really enjoyed it. Megan Shipman’s Maple is a delight! There really is a great supporting cast including Jad Saxton’s Sally and Caitlin Glass’ Iz, two characters I became big fans of.
Fray: They’re all brilliant. I really love the relationships that are formed through this season, it highlights how special MMOs really are.
Mitch: Yeah, it really does, voice directors Natalie Hoover and Kristen McGuire really captured that feel of camaraderie that’s so important to MMOs. Did you know Kristen also voices in the show as Yui?
Fray: I did not know that, but Kristen did a great job. I just want to say that directors Mirai Minato and Shin Oonuma really did good work on this show. As we have both said numerous times now, they manage to convey that very special MMO feeling. I promise I will stop saying that now.
Mitch: Narrator: he did not stop saying it. Between the two directors they’ve worked on a lot of shows I’ve enjoyed, and although I’ve yet to watch it, in recent times people might recognise their work on Our Last Crusade or the Rise of the New World. Fun fact: the two often work together!
Fray: I know Our Last Crusade or the Rise of the New World is another title in our backlog, so who knows it might be one we cover in the future. After watching BOFURI, it’s one I’m definitely interested in.
Mitch: Me too! It really is on my backlog, haha. But goodness knows that backlog is forever growing… I only disappoint myself in being behind. Forgive me, my fellow anime connoisseurs.
Fray: I feel your pain, but we will do our best to knock it down a little. One thing I do know for sure though is the wait for BOFURI Season 2 is going to be tough!
Fray: Yep! Season 2 will be something I watch and wait for every week. Anyway, thank you for joining me on this wonderful journey, Mitchy! I look forward to our next marathon and thank you to everyone who is coming along on this journey with us.
Mitch: Thank you all for joining us! Until next time!
Watch BOFURI: I Don’t Want to Get Hurt, So I’ll Max Out My Defense on Funimation!
Join us for The Great British Backlog Chapter 2: Fray & Mitch Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai where we take on, you guessed it, Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai!