Now before you make comment on this being yet another Isekai based from light novels. Several years ago we over here were stuck with a bunch of awful romance novels starring a bland girl being lusted after by some fanciful being, and they got a bunch of movie adaptations and even the best of the stuff to come out of that doesn’t hold up and is considered terrible. Second all the anime I’m currently watching isn’t finished yet (and I will review Welcome to Demon School Iruma Kun when it’s finished) so I had to look through the anime recently posted on Netflix to find one I could finish for this week.
Based on the Light novel series by Yū Kamiya, No Game No Life stars team [ ] refer to as blank in dialog consisting of the step siblings Sora and Shiro, two gamers who have as [ ] have never lost a game even when the opposition is cheating. They get challenged to a chess game by a mysterious Being and win. The Being then offers them a new better world and they accept. The Being now revealed to be the top god of that world Tet explains that in this world games are everything, mainly because after all the other gods killed each other, Tet surviving by not taking part in that war, set new rules such as outlawing murder and stuff. So Games are used to decide everything.
The world and all its races are governed by these Pledges.
- All murder, war, and robbery are forbidden in this world.
- All conflict in this world will be resolved through games.
- In games, each player will bet something that they agree is of equal value.
- As long as it doesn’t violate pledge three, anything may be bet, and any game may be played.
- The challenged party has the right to decide the rules of the game.
- Any bets made in accordance with the pledges must be upheld.
- Conflicts between groups will be conducted by designated representatives with absolute authority.
- Being caught cheating during a game is grounds for an instant loss.
- In the name of god, the previous rules may never be changed.
- Let’s all have fun and play together!
So naturally when the duo arrive Mankind is almost gone having lost almost everything because all the other races have been using magic and other abilities to cheat. Humanity ( called Imanity but that’s a stupid name so not using that here) can’t call them out on that for lack of said abilities (who knew Man was doing better when everyone was trying to kill each other)
And so Sora and Shiro have to use their expert gaming skills to save Mankind so they can challenge god again all the while slowly create a growing harem (not said but Sora is the only recurring male character in the show, minus an old beast-man and possible Tet)
Ignoring the harem aspect (which is in a lot of light novel series, doesn’t make them bad, still love Konosuba, oooh season 2 of that is coming soon) right away my eye was drawn to the fact this show doesn’t use black lines. Instead the outline of characters is surprisingly colourful. This appears to be emulating the coloured art in the light novel series which is commendable of Madhouse (the company that produced the anime) as it gives the show a unique appearance allowing it to stand out instantly at first glance (something I wish all the CGI movies coming out these days would learn).
As for the characters, I can’t say I like Sora (not for having a growing harem, it’s not out of jealousy) but he comes off as rather dull, oh sure he’s at his best when just doing crazy stuff but when it comes to his master plans – he’s already figured it out well in advance which gets boring that 5th time. I don’t know maybe he got better in the light novels set after the series ended. Shiro on the other hand is a far more interesting character (though she too often thought of everything far in advance) there’s more to her with glimpses of stuff behind her seeming emotionless nature.
The rest of the cast seem mainly to show off the skills of these two or react to them, which is a lot more interesting than the win every time duo. All this ironically makes the Game part of No Game No Life the worst part while the Life part far more enjoyable. It’s much more interesting to see people from a strange world react to a couple of weirdos who admit they are from another planet than showing off how impossibly good they are. Their personality quirks are enjoyable to watch rather than being hit on the head again about how good they are.
I do have a favourite character in Jibril an angel-like being that is basically a weapon of war. Seeing a cute face with a warm personality talk about slaughter in such a casual way is a sign of them not just being humans in personality but a different race that finds different things on a different standard, as another civilization or species should.
The series ends on a bit of a cliff-hanger which given this series was released in 2014 is probably not going to be resolved unless it was in the movie that came out in 2017, so if you really enjoy it you’re going to have to like many of these kinds of series start picking up the light novels, probably going to have to check out that movie eventually, oddly they posted that on Netflix before the anime series.
Watch a trailer here: No Game No Life