Reviewed by Alicia Glass
Another in a long line of newer isekai (alternate fantasy world) anime, BOFURI introduces VRMMO gamer Kaede Honjo as her online character Maple, in the game New World Online. As the long title rather cheekily suggests, Maple doesn’t fancy getting hurt in any way, shape, or form, and so maxes out her defense as much as possible, with cascading consequences!
In any online RPG, hell in pretty much any video, PC, or even live-action game these days, there is the danger of twinks. That is, folk who for one reason or another, load out their character to be as overpowered as possible, complete with cheat codes and whatever other hacks they can get away with, epic legendary weapons they obviously didn’t obtain the ‘right’ way, a completely unearned sense of superiority over all the newbies to the game, and a determination to make playing the game hell for whomever they encounter, usually through seriously mismatched PVP or player-versus-player duels and the like. And while it seem like Maple is a twink in the purest sense, this is a slapstick anime full of heart that finds sweet Maple and her maxed-out defense getting better and even more overpowered, making friends and a Guild and sharing her astounding skills, much to the dismay of the NWO usagi plush-like gamer Gods!
So, Maple begins as a shield-user with maxed-out defense stats, which makes sense to me given her predilections, though most gamer-girls don’t usually start out with such a crippling loadout. Maple continues to put every single subsequent status point she earns into defense, resulting in very slow movement speed and no magic at all. But honestly Maple doesn’t need it, and both of those things are addressed when she begins making friends and allies in the game – all the people in her party need to worry about are ricochets offa her shield!
The very first episode sees Maple off on her own, to tackle a damn Poison Dragon, and not only does she beat it in the most creative way possible and earn Poison Immunity, the manner in which she beat the Dragon has her gain alllllll of its abilities and a unique set of armor to boot! Soon will be a Battle Royale game for all the players and Maple is making friends and allies in the interim – along with the swashbuckling Sally, the character of Kaede’s real-world friend Risa Shiramine, is Kuromu the fellow shielder and Iz the crafter, and May and Yui the dark-and-light hammer wielding twins, who all form the basis of the Guild they end up building around Maple and her God-like defense skills, aptly dubbed, Maple Tree.
The list of skills and abilities Maple acquires through her stubborn defense gets quite staggering, especially for the first season of the anime – beating the ice bird boss Silverwing gets her and Sally monster eggs, that hatch into a pet turtle Maple inevitably dubs Syrup, who can freaking fly and get large to defend or attack the bad guys after Maple make him a Mobile Fortress; the skill Loving Sacrifice that allows Maple to share her amazing defense with her guild members, and also alters her appearance to look like a blonde Raphaelite angel, complete with astonishing wings; on the flip side of RPG gaming Maple earns the Machine God skill which basically makes her into an entire interchangeable Mecha, complete with guns and anti-tank-like missiles; the form of the skill Atrocity, which basically turns Maple into a Alien xenomorph-like horror creature, the polar opposite of Loving Sacrifice but just as powerful, if not more so.
How many different video game genres – horror, sci-fi-, fantasy-adventure, TPS, RPG and more – can they stuff into Maple’s bag of staggering defense? BOFURI is currently airing Season 2 on Crunchyroll now!
The 8 Episode Series Tries To Encompass A Lot Leaving Fans In A Cliffhanger.
The 2010 “Avatar: The Last Airbender” movie by M. Night Shyamalan faced criticism for its deviations from the beloved animated series. The film struggled with pacing, casting, and a lackluster script, disappointing fans who cherished the source material. In contrast, the 2024 Netflix series has generated positive buzz for its commitment to diverse casting, adherence to the original storyline, and improved character development. The series seems poised to capture the essence of the animated show, offering a fresh and faithful adaptation that resonates with both new and existing fans.
Even though the Netflix series comes closer to the core ideals of the animated series, I feel it lacks heart. Many scenes barely scratch the surface of the relationships between the characters and the push-and-pull relationship between Aang and Zuko. I will admit the CG versions of Momo and Appa are just so gosh darn cute.
The 8 episode series tries to encompass a lot leaving fans in a cliffhanger. It’s worth a watch and I am hanging on for the next season to be announced.
Masterchef Is Back! For Halo Season 2
A quick recap – Halo is set in a war-torn 26th century, where humanity led by the United Nations Space Command or UNSC and their supersoldiers known as Spartans, fights against the onslaught of the alien conglomerate known as the Covenant. The full dust-up of Halo Season 1, can be found here. Onward into the introduction of Halo Season 2!
It’s been six months since the forced separation of Spartan Masterchief John (Pablo Schreiber) and Cortana (Jen Taylor), and the Silver Team has been sent on a mission to evacuate residents of the planet Sanctuary before the Covenant glasses the whole thing. This comes with its own set of challenges, given the resistance of the planet’s inhabitants, and it doesn’t help that Masterchef starts seeing things right in the middle of trying to save some marines. Or is he? Those energy swords the squad of Elites were carrying looked worryingly real.
Back on Reach, the Silver Team is entirely dismayed to learn they have a brand new Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI) representative come in as the new boss, to finally replace the traitorous Halsey, James Ackerson (Joseph Morgan). And of course, Ackerson manages to immediately get under Masterchief’s skin, by not only expressing far too much interest in John’s relationship with Cortana but also apparently disbelieving of John’s report of his encounters on Sanctuary. That just means Masterchief has to go around, if not entirely over, Ackerson’s head.
Elsewhere, Soren (Bokeem Woodbine) is trolling the slave markets in his boredom, only to stumble across a soon-to-be indentured servant who claims he knows the whereabouts of the UNSC’s most hunted human, Catherine Halsey (Natascha McElhone). That should bring a huge bounty, but really, Soren should’ve known better by now.
Halo Season 2 premieres Thursday, February 8th, 2024, and will continue to air every Thursday, only on Paramount+!
Reborn as a Vending Machine I Now Wander the Dungeon’: I look forward to your next use!
If the title of this delightful little isekai anime entry didn’t give it all away, our nameless protagonist is a vending machine fanatic who, after being killed by a vending machine, gets reincarnated in another fantasy-style world as one!
Japan has a tendency to give birth to all sorts of crazed fads that can last for decades, and no one does better when it comes to the vending machine industry, too. These days there are vending machines that will serve you sushi you can actually eat, hot pizza in the box, wagyu steaks, freshly popped popcorn, and a whole mind-boggling array of tasty treats, and other non-edible but still useful items! Umbrellas! Condoms! Oxygen masks, sterile bandages, shoes, and emergency clothing! Actually, far more things that we use on an everyday basis, could be considered as technically a vending machine, and the anime explores that beautifully. Into the world of vending machine fanaticism, we dive!
So our poor protagonist never gave a name, and inevitably when he’s discovered by his first official friend the starving hunter Lammis, she dubs him “Boxxo”. Like many isekai that seem to take inspiration from video games and RPGs, Boxxo discovers he ways he can communicate, level up his existence, and even evince magic-like powers and attack and defend against monsters and enemies. Though in the beginning, and as an underlying theme throughout the show, Boxxo is primarily concerned with providing unique never-before-tasted-in-this-world food and drink to the amazed folk, human and otherwise.
Boxxo’s prices are entirely reasonable and hey, he can even choose to give out his wares for free on occasion, so his popularity immediately skyrockets. Lammis with her awkward charm and prodigious strength blessing, introduces Boxxo to other friends of Clearflow Lake Village and associates along the way – Director Bear, an actual bear-monster who’s the head of the Hunters Association; Lammis’ friend Hulemy, the insane genius magic item engineer; the Bearcats Suco, Pell, Short and Mikenne, cheerful hunters with astronomic appetites; even suspicious Kerioyl, leader of the Menagerie of Fools party.
The show approaches the practicality and versatility of the true vending machine with amusement, but also with the love true fans display for things they’re passionate about. Certainly, things like a brothel needing a condom vending machine exist in our world, but to toss them into a potentially more innocent other-world isekai is a welcome and often hilarious treat. The show celebrates the cheerful idiocy and devotion of the fans to their chosen fandom, in this case, yes vending machines, but also the spirit of the lonely otaku finally finding their Tribe!
Pay your coins to watch ‘Reborn as a Vending Machine’ on Crunchyroll now!