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.
One of the more enjoyable things about the Bofuri series is that it’s NOT ‘we’re trapped in a game’, there are no real consequences, and everyone is free to do whatever. This is important, because it undercuts dramatic character development and potential angsty trauma. In addition to Maple, we’ve also been following the twins Mai and Yui, who are trying to do with Strength what Maple does with Defense. They’ve been pretty good at it, but are starting to hit a bit of a wall. This calls for deep thought. Should they try to experiment with non-strength things? Should they finally break free of the twin thing and actually take different skills, each one becoming their own person? Should they… grow up? Or should they, perhaps, find a way to use eight giant hammers at the same time? The answer is yes, they should octo-wield. This is a dumb game, they don’t seem to have any real life issues associated with it, and octo-wielding is hella cool.
Frederica is on the cover, but barely gets any page time, alas. The bulk of this book is taken up by a new event, which can best be described as “kill as many monsters as you possibly can”. There’s no PvP element to it, so folks are free to team up, and we see a few fun pairings. My favorite is Maple, Mii, and Velvet, aka Two Chuunis and a Dojikko. There’s also plenty of Maple and Sally, as we get to see them tackle a rarely used dungeon that basically thrown the monsters from all the previous floors at once. And eventually everyone has to team up to take down the giant final boss and his orb of power. the orb is far trickier than the boss, as the boss can be flattened by the Hammer Sisters, while the orb is made of sterner stuff. Amidst all this, is there time for… a different game?
The other highlight of the book is seeing Risa try, once again, to get over her fear of horror. It’s clear that the game is going to throw “6th level monsters” at them in the future, and Sally hates that she’ll always be useless when that happens (though she does OK in one fight by simply wrapping a blindfold around her head and firing off magic randomly, which I can’t wait to see animated). Her solution is to buy a really scary horror VR game and play it with Kaede, who has no issues with horror and is always down for a new game. Needless to say, it goes pretty much exactly as you’d expect. Risa being terrified of ghosts is just funny, especially with Kaede’s blase attitude towards them. We also once again get a tiny bit of “Risa REALLY likes Kaede” here, but blink and you’ll miss it. At least, unlike other authors, we don’t get a constant stream of “I’m straight, though”.
This should give Bofuri fans a good time, even though there’s no plot or character development. There won’t be, really. And that’s fine.