「防御特化と第四回イベント.」 (Bougyo Tokka to Daiyonkai Event.)
“Defense and Fourth Event”
In this ninth episode of Bofuri, the fourth event is underway as the guilds are pitted against each other in an orb-capturing competition. While higher-ranking guilds such as the Order of the Holy Sword and the Flame Emperors are currently the top favorites for winning the event, Maple Tree is shaping up to be a strong contender to pull the rug out from the both of them.
One prevalent weakness in the series is how much of the action and in-game interactions are sped through. In preparation for the event, we get a fast-forwarded version of Maple Tree’s leveling up and item-gathering. It is late in the game to say this, but whenever that one insert song shows up, it’s code for “You can tune out at this part”. This episode’s usage of it is particularly rough because it would have been great to have some scenes designated for moments where the guild is getting the hang of the game or learning to use their powers to gather items or solve puzzles. Feels like a missed opportunity whenever you get scenes that are regulated to Montage Jail.
Sally’s strengths are another point of contention when her strengths come less from skill point allocation and more from inherent skill. Where she feels broken not because she was beefed up by the game’s leveling system, but because she’s friends with Maple and has been designated the main character whenever a sword fight is needed. When characters like Frederica are fooled into thinking they know Sally’s exact skillset when the one mysterious skill she showed her was one that she inherently knew without needing to learn it in-game, it feels like there wasn’t much of a way to gauge how Sally was able to become good at playing the game by her own accord without just nailing it for the first time.
Instead, one of the more interesting characters that popped up in this episode was the Flame Emperor’s guild master Mii. There is a prominent build-up towards Mii being an expert in the game as she’s been hyped up as the intimidating, fearless leader of an enigmatic, successful guild. Because she happened to have the support of equally strong players and lacking rivals that hadn’t challenged her up, her reputation had been infallible.
But once she has a difficult time trying to catch Sally, she breaks down and worries about her leadership skills. Mii’s cracking facade is some of the most interesting adversity we’ve seen on the show because she doesn’t have as much plot armor to keep her from failure. The fact that she’s allowed to experience failure as a respectable player makes her far more human as a character because it shows us someone who, at the end of the day, is just playing a video game to unwind and make friends like everyone else. Going into the next episode, it’ll be interesting to see how Mii develops, if she ends up gaining the confidence to lead her team, or if she’ll open up to a member of Maple Tree to gain some support from our main characters.