Games can be a lot of things! Frustrating, Thought-Provoking, Challenging… but there’s one aspect of gaming that a certain anime seems to have nailed despite so many forgetting about it! Fun! Stay Toon’d!
Hey, Riley! Ready to-?
Hm? What’s up?
Gah! For the love of- will you idiots quit goofin’ off and help me out, here?! Press W! Check your flanks! Shoot someone! Do SOMETHING! CHRIST!
Eeeeh… having fun, sis?
Why, yes I am, sis! Gee, I’m having a JOLLY ol’ time! Can’tcha tell?
Ehehe… I wonder.
Okay, that’s it! I’m done! You clowns can all drop ranks together, for all I care. I’m not gonna be a part of it. Friggin’ morons, all of ’em.
Careful not to break you controller, sis! Again.
What do you want, Rila?
Oh yeah! It’s time to do that episode! And this one should cheer you up a little!
I sure as hell hope so.
It’s one you haven’t seen yet!
Hm? Oh. Bofuri, right? It’s the only one I picked for the theme that I haven’t seen yet.
Bingo! So let’s get started.
Oh, we’re just jumping right in. Hey guys. ‘Sup?
This episode’s going to be a blast!
Hope you’re all ready to Toon In.
And you’re watching Bulletoon!
12 Episodes Later…
I… that… WHAT?
Ah. You don’t sound like you cared for it. Ehehe… whoops.
I… I friggin’ loved that. Like… a lot, actually.
But… my every instinct is telling my I shouldn’t have.
I can’t really explain it. The show is a nigh-structureless jumble. A series of things just… happening. Yet… I really friggin’ dug it.
Huh. That is pretty strange! You’re usually super opinionated!
I know! I’m at a loss, man! I mean… look. We all know I’m a sucker for storytelling mechanics. But this show doesn’t have… ANY of that. It’s one long string of Deus ex Machina after literal Deus ex Machina. Like… the Robot Queen transformation thing was about as unsubtle as you can get.
Ahaha! But I loved that part! It was so goofy and fun! And that’s part of the appeal, right? Getting to see exactly what crazy new thing Maple does in order to come out on top almost completely by accident!
But that’s the thing, though! I mean… look. I’m not gonna belabor you guys with the entire spiel, but we’ve all heard about the monomyth.
Sure! It’s a concept Joseph Campbell made famous in his book, Hero with a Thousand Faces. It’s basically a breakdown of the whole heroic narrative.
Yeah. Technically that’s a limiting description since it can just as easily apply to villains and villain protagonists, but that’s beside the point. The monomyth – or Hero’s Journey, as pretty much everyone calls it – is, like… our most tried and true method of telling stories. But all Campbell really did was identify it and give it a name. It’s been around since the concept of storytelling, itself. We’ve used it so much it’s literally instinctual. Seriously. If you ask anyone to tell you a story – and I don’t mean for a children’s book, or anything – then the odds are pretty high they’ll spit something out that fits into this mold. Even if accidentally and with absolutely zero formal training in the art.
It’s true. The structure is in a lot of places. You’ve got Lord of the Rings, fora classic literature example.
If you wanted to look at film, then Star Wars was literally created and built around the concept, itself.
And for anime, take your pick! My sister’s favorite anime, Kill la Kill follows it pretty closely. But it especially shows up a lot in Shounen. Dragon Ball is a really good example, there. And Bleach. Naruto, Black Clover, even My Hero Academia, kinda.
It’s also the reason why I always defend JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure Part 1 as hard as I do. People may not like it, for any number of reasons, and I get it, but I just love that it’s pretty much your quintessential Hero’s Journey, even if the pacing is kinda weird. You can stick every single beat on that chart and it’ll fit. Then… there’s Bofuri and… I mean… you can’t! You just can’t!
Ahaha! I think it broke her! I get it, though! The Hero’s Journey is a whole cycle. It’s really specific and while you can probably do without one or two points on it, Bofuri is this weird anomaly! Because after it checks off the first few boxes, it just – whoops! – throws the whole clipboard out the window!
Yet I couldn’t stop grinning like an idiot, the whole time! What the hell, man!?
I think I know what happened!
You were having fun!
I mean… yeah, but… why?
Because that’s all the show was ever about, silly! Look at it like this. When are you enjoying yourself the most when you play a game?
Um… when I… pound the other team into the dirt?
A game that’s not Overwatch.
Oh. Uh… when I figure out a puzzle or some exploit and goof off with a buddy. Or you, if the game’s easy enough.
Ahaha. So rude. Anyway! Yeah! I think that’s what the series was always designed to be. It was never going to be a compelling drama or a super exciting thrill ride.
Well… yeah. That, it definitely ain’t.
But you enjoyed it anyway! Sure you have fun picking apart stories and stuff. But I think this was a series that appealed to that gamer in you! That one that’s not always breaking her controllers and cursing at people who can’t hear her.
Oi. You wanna fight?
I don’t really care about the structure and stuff all that much. So I think I picked this up before you. But to me, Bofuri is a show that celebrates all the joys of gaming! Think about it. Sure, Maple gets involved in the competitive side of the game. But most of the best moments come from her just exploring the game, trying things out, and stumbling into wacky new scenarios! All the zany power-ups she keeps getting aren’t her trying to gain power to beat everyone else. They’re just her reward for enjoying the game and having fun with it.
Huh. Y’know, I can kinda see that. Whenever I play a big, open world game, I always love just seeing what kind of trouble I can get up to. What kinds of exploits I can find. All that stuff. It’s nothing but the pure joy of discovery, be it by trial and error or just pure chance. And it’s a blast! Huh. But I guess, from a story perspective, it’s a great way to use the power of Deus ex Machina for good. In this case, it’s actually kind of constructive and helps solidify the point. Games should be fun.
And it’s not like the show’s totally without the typical stuff. Different people have fun in different ways. And that means different characters in the show are good for different types of stories. Sally is way more competitive than Maple. And whenever Sally is the one being focused on, you kinda notice that the show starts to lean a little more towards that structure thing you like much.
Holy crap, I knew there was a reason I loved that character!
Man, it’s been a while, though.
Since I honestly sat down and watched a show that was just… fun. As its own experience. I didn’t realize how much I missed that.
Oh! Yeah? Well, I might know some others I can show you!
All right. I’m game.
Wait, no, that’s not what I-
Yes! Let the puns flow through you!
Oh, kill me…
Anyway, that’s it! So what about you guys? Did you have as much fun with Bofuri as we did?
Let us know, down below. Don’t forget to subscribe and give that like button a zap while you’re down there!
I’m Rila, signing off!
I’m Riley, bowin’ out.
Thanks for watching!
Keep up the Awesome! And-
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