It’s become increasingly common for light novels to try to catch readers attention with an absurd, lengthy title, and such is the case with Bofuri: I Don’t Want to Get Hurt, So I’ll Max Out My Defense (Bofuri). Bofuri Volume 1 collects the first 10 chapters of the original web novel and a bonus chapter, is by author Yuumikan with illustrations by Koin. Volume 1 is published in English by Yen Press with translation by Andrew Cunningham.
Bofuri Volume 1 follows Kaede Honjou, a high schooler without much interest in video games, let alone virtual reality ones. When her friend Risa Shiromine convinces her to buy NewWorld Online, the newest VRMMO, she begrudgingly hops into the game and becomes completely obsessed with it. Using the in-game name Maple, she puts all of her skill points into defense, unintentionally becoming one of the game’s most powerful players.
It’s clear that Yuumikan wrote Bofuri Volume 1 for fans of video games. The volume is an absolute joy to read because readers know just how foolish Maple’s build in game is. Through sheer luck and ignorance, however, she succeeds time and time again. Maple is such an endearing, wholesome protagonist that it is neigh impossible not to root for her. Despite the fact that she is making all the wrong choices, her success still feels earned and it is incredibly easy to root for her.
Bofuri Volume 1 shines brightest whenever Maple finds herself in combat. Seeing as how she has next to no combat prowess, she has to find creative ways to take down her enemies. This leads to a number of fantastic fight scenes that are both thrilling and funny.
While Maple starts out incredibly underpowered, she ends up gaining far more strength through a combination of unconventional methods and luck. Just when a reader might begin to get bored with an overpowered protagonist, however, Yuumikan introduces new elements to the story that keep things interesting.
At multiple points throughout the volume, Yuumikan chooses to tell the story through excerpts from an online messaging board. This is a fantastic storytelling device that makes the world of Bofuri and the fictional NewWorld Online feel real and lived in. Plus, it’s a nice change in pace from the normal chapter style.
Though infrequent, the illustrations scattered throughout the book by Koin are amazing. They give readers a slight look into each chapter and usually show off just how adorable Maple and her friends are.
Where Bofuri Volume 1 begins to falter is with the introduction of protagonists other than Maple. When her friend Rise starts playing (known in-game as Sally), things start to feel a bit more generic and uninteresting. Sure, it would be impossible to get a full-fledged series through Maple’s defensive antics alone, but Sally just feels generic and uninteresting. While seeing Sally and Maple work together can be enjoyable, the moments where the volume puts a full spotlight on Sally just aren’t as good as everything with Maple.
Bofuri: I Don’t Want to Get Hurt, So I’ll Max Out My Defense Volume 1 surprised me. I went into the light novel expecting a generic story with a slight twist but ended up falling in love with Maple and her defensive journey. Though the introduction of characters such as Sally hold it back from flawlessness, a good hook, a loveable protagonist, and great writing make Bofuri Volume 1 easy to recommend to fans of fantasy and isekai stories.
Bofuri: I Don’t Want to Get Hurt, So I’ll Max Out My Defense is available now wherever books are sold.
Bofuri: I Don't Want to Get Hurt, So I'll Max Out My Defense’ Volume 1 (Light Novel)
Bofuri Volume 1 surprised me. I went into the light novel expecting a generic story with a slight twist but ended up falling in love with Maple and her defensive journey. Though the introduction of characters such as Sally hold it back from flawlessness, a good hook, a loveable protagonist, and great writing make Bofuri Volume 1 easy to recommend to fans of fantasy and isekai stories.