Why Bofuri is so fun (the Anti Darwin’s game)

Bofuri fails to be what many would consider a good show. In fact, it does have a lot of elements that I, myself, along with many others criticize in other fantasy (game) shows like this for being. The unexplainable game mechanics that make the game broken like any of Maple’s skill, replaceable, boring and boring side characters that have no place in the overpowered main character, and static characters without much motives are just some to point out.

ENGLISH SUB] BOFURI : Itai no wa Iya nano de Bōgyoryoku ni ...

But for me Bofuri was one of the most enjoyable shows of this season. It was also one of the more popular shows this season.

So what makes Bofuri more enjoyable than the likes of Darwin’s Game — another game centered show that aired this season?

BOFURI Episode 7 Review. Kali ini saya akan membahas apa saja yang ...

The biggest difference between the two shows is how seriously it takes itself. Bofuri, from the start, establishes itself as a light hearted game. Something less significant than a test score from school. The main character, Kaede (Maple) receives the game from her friend Lisa (Sally) and plays the game with her pajamas on. We see a couple of times, throughout the show, that they log off from the game and even continue their daily lives. We see scenes of them at school or calling before and after playing their game. The game for both of the characters is like what games are for (most of) the audience: a fun, time passing activity.

Katou | Darwin's Game Wikia | Fandom

However, unlike Bofuri, Darwin’s game establishes itself as a SAO-like death game. Immediately, we see characters die with gruesome visuals of blood, with our main character running away for his life. The show constantly invites the viewers to feel tension at the chance of death being apparent at any time. It tries to create an intense mood to get the audience to get engaged in the show through its music, colors, and sound that accompanies this premise. 

The problem is, this doesn’t work. 

I’m not saying that tension is bad. Tension is needed for any psychological or action shows like Darwin’s game to be great. I mean, how many times did Death Note or Fate Zero make you get on the edge of your seat at its most exciting moments? But Darwin’s game, although it tries it’s best to be an exciting, tense show, it utterly fails to be one. And the worst part is that the show itself fails to recognize this. 

Watch Darwin's Game Episode 8 Online

There are a few ways that the show fails to stay exciting. First, the game constantly adds new rules to the game. This strays the audience from a set mark they can base the stakes off of. Because the rules are constantly changing, the audience can just think that any problem or former stakes will be changed in the future so there is no need to get invested. Second, the characters are established as undefeatable from very early on. Although this isn’t too big of a problem if done well, the show fails to capitalize on the “die at any moment’ concept. Even if anyone were to die, because they don’t take time to make anyone other than Kaname, Shuka or Rein even remotely interesting, it really doesn’t matter at this point. The game itself strays too far from reality. The show doesn’t explain how the city is cleared out when cities are being destroyed and people are being killed and yet no one seems to question it because everyone was napping. These are just a few problems.

Darwin's Game - QooApp

But the thing is, these aspects that fail to make Darwin’s game exciting are also mostly in Bofuri as well. For example, the admins constantly are nerfing Maple’s skills or making specific rules for each event. Like Kaname’s group, Maple’s group (or just maple) are also overpowered beyond belief. Both to a point where it gets ridiculous.

But this brings us back to my point about how seriously these two shows take themselves. Darwin’s game is using these aspects to create a tense atmosphere. Obviously, these elements stop it from being so. However, because Bofuri recognizes how ridiculous the show is, it plays off these overpowered skills as a joke. We see other characters constantly commenting on how ridiculous. This is to the point where the opponent kind of gives up after seeing Maple’s skills. Because of this, the show isn’t about how Maple uses her skills to defeat everyone (well slightly) but more of a character focused story on how Maple isn’t normal. From the start, the show shows clearly that her actions are not normal with her maxing out vitality points only. You can even see this from the title itself which directly translates to “I Don’t Want to Get Hurt, so I’ll Max Out My Defense.” A hilarious title that reflects the hilarity of the show. 

Why You NEED to Watch BOFURI: I Don't Want to Get Hurt, so I'll ...

Of course, this light hearted-ness of Maple’s skills are matched perfectly with the cute character design. From the whole colors, characters, and the feel of the episodes, you can tell that unlike these serious death games, Bofuri is a cute girls show at its core. Being a “cute girls doing cute things” show, it succeeds in doing so in everyways. All the characters are adorable and fun to watch. 

So in conclusion, what I’m trying to say is, Maple is cute. 

On having to watch anime (and watching weekly)

Consuming anime feels a little different when you have to watch and discuss them.

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In the past, I’ve always watched anime by myself, binge watching every show I can find. And throughout my life, I’ve never been a person who enjoys watching anime weekly. From a young age, anime — or any type of medium — was something I did by myself. While most of my friends at school would always play games together, I would usually be watching shows at home. Because of the abundance of shows that were available to me, I’ve never even thought about watching shows weekly. And even if I did, the 2~3 series I completed between weekly episodes made me forget all about what happened. So in the end I rewatched the whole thing when it ended. 

But a huge reason why I was able to binge shows like this was because I didn’t participate in discussions.

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I think the only reason why one would be watching seasonal anime is to discuss the shows. Unlike older shows that are kinda everywhere, airing shows gives everyone a focus. Something that everyone is watching. I mean, no one is talking about shows like Nichijou or the Monogatari series in blog posts or discussion threads; it’s all Bofuri or Eizouken. 

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This is a huge reason why I think I was able to watch a huge amount of older shows. Because I didn’t understand the concept of different seasons or air dates and cared (known) about discussion threads and such, I just went off on my own way, watching anything and everything.

However, in the last two years or so, I find myself watching seasonal anime. And I feel like I have to watch them.

One of the reasons why I’m more inclined to do so now is that I just don’t have that many shows (or at least good shows) I can watch left. The rate that I used to consume shows outpaced the rate in which shows came out greatly. Recently, the only binge watching that I do is watching really bizzare old shows that aren’t very fun or rewatching my favorite shows. The latter is of course fun, but there’s a limit to how many times you can watch a show over and over again. So the only option left for me became watching seasonally.

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And to fill in the time between episodes, I started discussing shows. 

At the start it was just reading through reddit threads, joining and ghosting on discord servers, or talking to friends that actually watch seasonal anime. But little by little, I started participating more and more. Eventually creating this blog (although I don’t post very often.)

But a new problem came up from this. Now that I participate so deeply — whether it’s discord servers, forums, or this blog — I can’t help but feel that I have to watch anime to avoid missing out. It’s not like I am active enough on my blog nor have been blogging for a long time to say that the blog is a restriction for me, but with people pinging me or texting me about shows, I feel like I have to watch these shows.

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It’s a weird feeling. It’s not like I can’t decline them and say I’m gonna watch till the show is over. But once you taste that conversation with others, it’s like a trap you can’t escape. Every show must be talked about or else seasonal anime feels empty.

But as I am watching shows weekly, it became very hard to find shows that I thought were mindblowing. Of course, there’s the fact that watching weekly makes you forget stuff or the excitement for shows die down after a few weeks and all, but the discussions I had with others may have swayed me to think negatively about shows. Because I was watching these shows weekly solely for discussion purposes, I found myself stretching out the 20 minutes that I had for that week, and nitpicking every single detail that otherwise would not have bothered me at all. So ultimately, shows never became perfect like before. 

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It wasn’t until this season, when I watched Eizouken, that I felt another 10/10 show would ever appear. That’s a huge reason why, after 3 episodes or so, I stopped watching Eizouken and actively avoided any sort of discussion on it. I’m probably taking this a little bit too extremely, but I’ve been avoiding reading blog posts or chatting to avoid this completely. I’m so weekly minded that any sort of temptation can and will tip me over to watch the show. 

This does make me feel really left out though. Everyone I know are talking about how good the show is and I’m just here kinda frustrated that I’m not watching the show. But as much as I want to watch the show, I want avoid anything that might ruin the experience even slightly.

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Although I do think that watching these shows weekly and discussing the shows with others may drain the fun a little, I think that these discussions will add fun to any show that I otherwise wouldn’t have cared too much about.

Take Arifureta for example. Arifureta, on the season that it aired, was like the show that I talked the most about. I’d watch every single episode the day it came out, and use the following week to just talk about that episode and speculation. And I must say, making fun of the show is extremely enjoyable. Like I love talking about how bad Arifureta is. Of course, laughing at Arifureta myself was also fun, just because of how horrible the show is itself, but laughing at the show together with others made it so much more fun. The nitpicking that I said was a problem before was like what made Arifureta Good. 

To me, this discussion changed my viewing habits slightly from enjoying the show itself to enjoying all the context and discussion around it as well. I think that this may be the reason why I don’t really find show mindblowing nowadays, but find every show, on average, generally better thanks to the discussion I have on the more mediocre shows.

I’m not saying that me having to watch anime because of the discussion I am a part of is a bad thing. They both have their goods and bads. But I sometimes do wish I could go back to the crazy days when there were so many shows left for me to watch that I just consumed everything in front of me.

I’m curious if anyone else had discussions impact viewing experiences. Do you like nitpicking shows or watching for the purpose of reviewing? Do you feel forced to watch shows when running a blog?

How Music in Slice of Life can transform「calming」into「relaxing」

Music affects our viewer experience, often much more than we end up realizing. When reading media reviews, especially ones concerning anime, I often see a lack of focus on the sound section. Now, of course I definitely think that part of this is on the fault of the anime industry, due to many series having lackluster soundtracks. But I think that the anime community in general has a lack of awareness for how important music is to a medium.

Animations consist of three different key elements, art, sound, and story. Now, I’d indefinitely mark sound in the last of the three, and music is only one of the three elements of sound, sound effects, voice acting, and music. But just because it’s not as vital as the story or art, you shouldn’t underestimate the massive effects that it can have on your experience with a show.

In this post, I’ll mainly be talking about the effect music has on slice of life shows, but the influence it has on viewers is universal to all genres. An excellent example would be Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex. Yoko Kanno is a serious legend, with masterful control of music. So much of her compositions in Stand Alone Complex are catchy and get me so hyped up whenever I hear them, enough for me to go back and download the soundtrack after completing the series. Of course, there are instances in which you can overuse your music, which I’d argue is somewhat of a case in the TV series Suits, where the same 10 songs are probably used the entire time. That said, the music in that show is also crazy good, which helps me not get tired of the soundtrack.

If you’re a slice of life fan, you may have heard of Hidamari Sketch. It wasn’t too successful, and that goes especially for the western community, where there’s only a little over 25,000 members listing it as completed in Myanimelist. The show is a bit of an oddball, where it implements many usage of Shaft’s signature material despite being an Iyashikei show. It’s directed by Akiyuki Shinbo, which was what dragged me into the show in the first place. There’s lots of creative imagery and clever usage of real life images to make up for small budget but also to establish character. There’s lots of other things to like about Hidamari Sketch, like the charming cast and excellent voice acting. But to me, what elevates this show from a good one to an excellent one, and what truly allows me to relax when watching it is the soundtrack.

The soundtrack of Hidamari Sketch is incredible, there’s so many songs that just ease up my shoulders as soon as I hear the music start. The best is probably “Shinmiri” , a song which whenever I hear it come on, I just begin sinking into my couch helplessly. The songs in Hidamari Sketch aren’t just catchy, they’re healing. Hypnotic, almost. As I said earlier, music influenes viewer experience in any genre. But in my personal opinion, I think the music of an iyashikei show is what truly helps it to become a real gentle, relaxing experience.

If you want another excellent example, I’d give you Aria, which I already made a post about why the setting of the show makes it kick even more ass. But Aria’s soundtrack is what allows the show to do what it does best, make you comfy and relaxed. The series’ opening, which plays in the beginning of the show allows it to reestablish its calming tone every episode. That opening song, “Undine”, played by Makino Yui, is one of the most relaxing vocal songs that I’ve heard in my life. Not only does it perfectly match the magical, mysterious yet inviting tone of Aria, but it’s just so god damn soothing.

I think I’ve said enough about why music is so important to anime, and the slice of life genre in particular. Do you have any opinions on genres that music is vital to, or want to share an excellent soundtrack of a show you love? Leave a comment!

Kyokou Suiri Episode 8~10: The up, the down, and the repeat

Maybe the expositions are catching up to me a little. Frankly, as much as I do enjoy this show, episodes 9 and 10 weren’t very enjoyable. But let’s take a step back to an episode that was enjoyable.

Episode 8 was still great. Most of the story was addressing what happened in the time skip (which to me seems like would be more interesting than anything in this Nanse arc) between Rikka (Kuro’s cousin), Kuro, and Kotoko. Kotoko was unbelievably cute like usual, both when explaining the flashback and in the flashback as well.  

My favourite scene this episode, and maybe the funniest moment of the whole show, was when Kuro thought of Rikka then Kotoko as his wife. Watching Kuro being disgusted at the thought of Kotoko, along with her obsessive behaviour was absolutely hilarious. 

The whole scene after the flashback, when Kotoko talked to Saki, was also fun to watch. Watching Kotoko making it as though her relationship with Rikka was great was also funny. Although it was again fairly repetitive, episode 8 was great in the same ways the whole has been on its highs.

But what I started to see in episodes 9 and 10 was that it was starting to drag a lot. I keep repeating on how I was perfectly fine with the exposition style of this anime because of how much I love the dynamics between the characters. But these two episodes, this was completely thrown out of the window. First, Kuro was fighting the Nanse the whole time. The fight did not serve any sort of excitement what-so-ever due to the lackluster fight sequence (I was able to handle it last time because of his “lack of knowledge in martial arts but watching something like this for 40 minutes is different from 2 minutes.) We cut to him fighting sometimes and I think it’s supposed to reflect how much progress that they made towards making Nanase weaker but this doesn’t do too much. Saki is sitting on the front of the car and occasionally adds reactions time to time. She makes the whole situation slightly more natural but that’s about it. Kotoko does most of the talking in these two episodes as she is sitting down with her laptop. Naturally, with this setting, the show wasn’t able to capitalize on the character interactions that made the show fun (other than Saki saying “really?” “this kid is a genius” etc.) Unsurprisingly, this isn’t too fun to watch. 

Unlike past episodes, where we would see little bits of personality while they were speaking – either through monologue, body language or little cutscenes – which made the character interactions so enjoyable. But in these two episodes, none of this felt like it was there.  Of course, there is the fact that the characters were all separated, and with all this lacking her monologue doesn’t get any interesting, 

Although it was reassuring to see that they used at least somewhat more unique ideas that’s not just “fake reports”, the way that the stories were explained was a problem. When Kotoko was explaining the story, the background was set around a Net like atmosphere which, although at first interesting, gets boring when it repeats for 2 episodes. 

Because of this extremely lackluster setting and the abundance of exposition, the two episodes felt like a picture book. So like what I would do when reading any boring book, I skipped through after I had a grasp of the story. The whole experience for me was just clicking the right arrow multiple times to skip through while watching the show.

I really hope that the show doesn’t have 2 more episodes of theories before ending…

The Unfortunate Circumstances of Studio Shaft’s Hidden Gem

On the 11th of January 2014 to May 24th, you may know that one of the most successful rom com animes aired, titled ‘Nisekoi’. You may also know that Nisekoi is immensely popular, and is stacked with various qualities which include an already successful manga source material, popular voice actors on the anime, and incredible visuals that even people who dislike the show cannot argue about.

But what you definitely don’t know, is that during the time of Nisekoi’s airing, studio Shaft took on another project. On the 13th of April of the same year, Mekakucity Actors had been broadcast for 12 episodes, and it was… something. The reviews on the show are mixed, and it’s very easy to see why. And you’ll find that those reasons are because the show ended up being too oriented towards people who already knew Kagerou Daze, and also because the art directing is experimental at best and questionable at worst. Mekakucity is an adaptation of a story that was told by music artist じん, who told that story through his music. The story is undoubtedly convoluted and hella confusing, but you have my word that it is definitely interesting and fun once you get invested into it. 

The problem with Mekakucity Actors is that it was never given a full chance. The anime released as a small fan appeal project, with not even enough effort to try and appeal to non-kagerou daze fans. And what’s most disappointing about that is the fact that, at least for my money, Mekakucity Actors manages to still be pretty damn entertaining. There’s  quite an amount of storytelling attempts that are made throughout the 12 episode course, and it tries and implements Kagerou Daze’s music element. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, but to me, simply getting to watch studio Shaft’s signature trippy animation in a new light was damn fun.

If you’re still not convinced that this show really lacks the budget that it could have had, then watch this, and if you still believe the show’s budget did it justice, then I have nothing to say.

Kyokou Suiri Episode 6~7: Magical Girl Iwanaga Kotoko

Episode 6 and 7 were both delights. While watching episode 5, I said that I’d probably enjoy watching the three of the characters talk with white background for a few hours. And these episodes (especially episode 6) were the closest that we ever got to that. Both of the episodes continue to have the fun conversations with the three core characters (whom I continue to repeat how interesting of a character dynamic that they have) and the little cut in for explanations are still enjoyable.

The focus of both episodes continued to be within the Nanase Case. In episode 6, the team went to the crime scene where the death happened with the help of ghosts there and in episode 7, the team researched the death of a police guy. Individually the episodes were both fun. 

Episode 6 was mainly a repetition of everything that we know except we got to see how Kotoko solves cases. Talking to ghost things wasn’t anything out of expectations and was something that I was expecting her to do. We saw Saki shaking in fear and Kotoko casually cheering up the depressed ghost. This is just what the show has been throughout 6 episodes. But of course, we got to see Magical Girl Kotoko so that whole scene was completely worth it. What was new was the slight glimpse of the past that we got to see with a more clear description of Kuro’s abilities. I think both were interesting additions, but nothing much is to be said about the two other than how smile provoking the conversation between Kotoko and Kuro was. 

Episode 7 was really fun to watch especially visually. In Kotoko’s room, we got to see her eyes and legs disassembled. The most interesting thing about this that happened without much mention was how Kotoko acts extremely casually without her legs or legs around Kuro, but puts them back on when Saki came in her room. This causality that was seen with Kuro putting his hands on Kotoko’s legs and now this, really makes me want to know what happened between the time skip.

I’m a little bit conflicted about the police guy dying. I mean I’d be surprised if anyone was shocked too much by him dying. He served almost no purpose in the story other than the occasional dialogue with Saki and he was extremely boring anyways. So in that sense, I am a little bit happy that they moved the story forward by killing him. But, I am a little bit disappointed that his sole purpose was to die. I guess that impact was why they gave him empty screen time without too much importance. I kind of just feel like I wasted my time watching that dialogue.

Other than that, the episode’s content was much in line with how the show has been for a while. Obviously, the police guy dying made the rumours worse making the ghost more powerful than before. The whole arc has been a lot of generic that I would have liked it to be, but hopefully the resolution is interesting enough. Kuro does provide an interesting option in episode 7 about attempting hundreds of solutions which does sound interesting. 

My problem with both of the episodes is that I am finding all of this pretty repetitive. We’ve been looking at this Nanase Case for 4ish episodes up until now, but no new information to the case has really been given. Most of the exposition is just a repeat of everything that has been said in the previous episode with the slightest alteration due to an event. In the end, even that alteration ends up being the same explanation of the same information. Hopefully this gets resolved soon…

Why Spoilers are Good for Anime(and any other story-telling medium)

There’s always some conversation going on in any community that involves story-telling about whether spoilers are good or not. And for the most part, people always argue in favor of no spoilers. Now, while I can totally understand people’s appreciation for the shock value in shows, I’m going to be arguing for why being spoiled beforehand actually makes for a better viewing experience.

Out of my two main reasons, the first is that it allows you to gain more appreciation for the story telling. In any show, there’s always foreshadowing of a plot twist that normally isn’t enough for you to realize it beforehand, but enough for you to be satisfied later on. When you’ve been hit with the plot twist, you’ll perhaps recall some of the past foreshadowing that’s been shown, but there’s no way that you’ll remember all of it. However, if you already know about the plot twist beforehand, then you’ll be able to notice everything. Character dialogue, small visual keys, everything that has been made to foreshadow a plot twist, you’ll notice. Now of course, this can be said about rewatches, but not everyone has time to rewatch every good show.

The second reason is that it’s a different viewing experience. Sure, you’re not going to be able to have that shock value the typical viewer gets. But on the other hand, you’ll be experiencing the show through a different lens. Instead of going from point A to point B, and wondering what point B is, you already know what point B is. Instead of wondering what point B is, you are now wondering how in the hell you go from point A to point B. How does this character go from being such a wimp to being a hard, badass? How does this guy turn his life around from being a poor man to a millionaire?

So, next time you get spoiled, don’t feel so bad. Maybe you’ll get something from being spoiled.