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.
If the first volume of Bofuri was showing us how a casual gamer can accidentally become one of the biggest monsters in it, and the second volume was dedicated to showing us how hardcore gamers are also capable of the exact same thing, then the third volume shows us that anyone, even you, can get a completely broken character. Of course, it also shows us there’s a right way and a wrong way to go about doing this. Simply trying to do exactly what Maple did isn’t cutting it – the admins have cut off doing that again. What’s more, trying to protect yourself against Maple by acquiring poison immunity assumes that this is all she has in her bag of tricks. Hardly – every 40 pages or so in this book, Maple gets a new, ludicrous ability. But thinking outside the box, as the other folks in Maple’s new guild realize, is the best way to go beyond and become like Maple.
Maple and Sally now decide to form a guild, called Maple Tree. Added to it are Kasumi, Kanade, Chrome and Iz, though they’re still looking for a couple more members to round things out. As the book goes on, each of the members of the guild, influenced by Maple and Sally, decide to go off on their own little side quests to try to get new skills as exciting and overpowered as hers. Meanwhile, this leaves Maple on her own. The third special event is designed to be for everyone BUT high defense sorts, so she’s not having much fun that way. Even recruiting newbie twins to the guild, who have maxed out in strength, doesn’t solve her wanderlust. What does? Well, fighting new battles so that she can become an Angelic Being. Or a Godzilla-like monster. Or even a mecha.
Reading these books is simply relaxing. They take place in an “idealized” game world, so there is no trolling, or sexual harassment. There’s just fun. It’s also been interesting, after having first experienced the anime, to see how it handled adapting this book. Some events are compressed – Kanade, Chrome and Iz’s fights were effectively compressed into a montage. Some stuff is changed – we meet Mai and Yui a bit later in the books than we do in the anime, and when Frederica shows up to fight Sally, there is not a beach party going on. The anime also makes things more… anime-esque, if you will. I would not call the light novel Maple deadpan per se, but she’s definitely a lot more mellow than her animated counterpart. The twins also seem a bit less hero-worshippey of Maple. These are things that don’t work as well in text, but when added to an anime give voice actors and animators a bit more to work with. It makes both enjoyable.
Next time we should get the team battles that formed the climax of the first anime season. Till then, enjoy this volume of Bofuri, which reminds you that you too can be ridiculous if only you try hard enough.