Title: Bofuri Vol. 1 Manga
Release Date: May 4, 2021
Publisher: Yen Press
After reading, the first volume light novel of Bofuri: I Don’t Want to Get Hurt, So I’ll Max Out My Defense, I was looking forward to the manga adaption. Bofuri Vol. 1 manga sets up the adventure of Kaede and her friend Risa but stops shortly after, leaving readers on the ropes for what their unique character builds will bring them in the future.
Bofuri Vol. 1 introduces Kaede, a girl who doesn’t really play video games but decides to join her best friend Risa in a new VRMMO. Incidentally, Risa isn’t doing too well in school, so she’ll need to raise her grades before she can. This leaves Kaede on her own to figure out how these games are even played. Unfortunately, without knowing how games are typically played, she ends up breaking all the rules by putting all of her stats into defense and completely breaking the skill system.
This is a running theme in this first volume as Kaede, now named Maple, takes unexpected advantage of this unique skill system that seems to work in her favor consistently. She becomes this unbeatable tank, and nothing seems to be able to stop her except for maybe a quest that requires DEX or a dungeon that’s far away because she’s slow.
The hilarity that ensues following the realization is what makes the manga such a fun read. It takes these tropes and often strange ways gamers approach these games and turn it on its head. I can say there was never a time that I put all my stat points into defense ever, but the fact that she does and turns into a powerhouse is so ironically clever. It’s only made better by her absolutely captivating attitude.
When comparing the light novel and the manga, I will say the manga does some unique things to convey the narrative through panels. It takes only the most important scenes and properly displays the adventure. Also, I really liked how they handled the forum sections, which is one of my favorite parts of the light novel.
The illustrations are also awesome from Jirou Orimoto. There’s a shift, though, towards the end as we see more of Risa, now named Sally. A more significant and bold art style highlights the juxtaposition of her knowledge of gaming techniques and approach to the world. On the other hand, Maple’s world is a bit more fluffy and soft. I’m not sure if the illustrator intended on this, but it really sold how different these two characters are.
Bofuri Vol. 1 introduces the adventures of Maple and Sally, but it only scratches the surface. The manga is clearly taking its time, but this allows the writers to properly piece together scenes from the light novel for an enjoyable experience. In that regard, I think I enjoyed it more for the effort of translating such a nuanced narrative into something easy to follow. There are also enough subtle differences between the various mediums to make it a fun read for those enjoying the light novel.
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