I found this gem of an anime on Funimation last week. It’s about a girl named Maple, and she wants to max out her defense so that she never takes damage in a virtual reality multiplayer game.
Funny enough, I wasn’t sure I was going to like it. I felt within the first three episodes that it was Sword Art Online-lite. I found myself comparing and contrasting the first few episodes.
For a moment, I thought Maple’s character looked like Yuuki from SAO, but Maple has her own appeal and is a likable character in her own right.
Maple is airheaded but somehow stumbles into the most overpowered build she could make in a game. Her motivations for being a tank in-game revolve around her not wanting to take damage. As a result, she accidentally sets herself up to become one of the top 3 players in New World Online.
At one point, the game developers nerf skills because Maple’s unconventional gameplay made her invincible.
Maple only joined NWO because her friend, Sally, who we meet a bit later in the anime, encouraged her to try the MMO out. When she arrives in-game, she builds her character to complement Maple’s Tank and thrives as a Swashbuckler.
What is the tone of this anime?
It’s a happy-go-lucky story for the most part, and at no point do you feel like Maple, Sally, or the guild they form, are in any real danger.
I was a bit frustrated by this anime because Sally was the more superior gamer between her and Maple. Even when you meet some of the other players surrounding them, they’re very good at what they do. One is a puzzle master, one is a great crafter, and one is an excellent swordsman. But they choose Maple to be the guild leader when Sally has better game acumen.
If this were another type of anime, I’m sure Sally would turn on Maple at some point, but it’s not that kind of situation. Maybe if it were an SAO environment, that would happen. However, Maple’s guild is very supportive. But sometimes, the remarks they make hint that if she weren’t so powerful, they would act differently.
Maple has a lot of plot armor. I won’t spoil any more information, but she does.
The action was terrific. I enjoyed watching Maples’ progression from noob to literal beast. I found myself waiting for higher stakes in the game, and it came, just not to the extent that I thought it would. You’ll have to decide if the climax is satisfactory for yourself.
What’s the moral of the story?
By the end of episode 12, I concluded that sometimes it’s better if you don’t have people telling you what to do. It’s better to do what you feel is best to make yourself happy and successful.
If Maple had Sally (or whoever) telling her how to play New World Online when she first started, she might not have maxed out her defense. As a result not, she wouldn’t have ended up getting all the skills that she acquired by the end of the anime. Sometimes it’s best if you don’t have people giving you their opinion on what to do with your life. For that, I give this anime five stars.
It came out this year, in 2020, and I read that there will be season two. I hope so because it’s only 12 episodes, and the creators have barely scratched the surface of Maple’s possibilities.
SAO vs. NWO
I will say this reminds me of Sword Art Online if they never got stuck in the game. I know these anime are two different works of art, but I can’t help myself. So here is a quick comparison. If you dropped Maple and her group in SAO, Maple might not have become as OP if she was in the world of repercussions. I doubt she would have attempted most of the bosses that she defeated alone if she thought she would die. This is only my opinion.
Anyway, if you get a chance and you’re looking for something to watch, I’d suggest BOFURI: I Don’t Want to Get Hurt, so I’ll Max Out My Defense. Comment below in the comments section to let me know if you watch it and if you like the suggestion