Anime afterthoughts: No Game No Life

Anime name: No Game No Life

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MAL link: https://myanimelist.net/anime/19815/No_Game_No_Life

Before you start reading, I would just like to apologise for taking so long to write this one. I wasn’t planning to keep putting off writing for No Game No Life, especially since it’s one of my favourite anime of all time. However, many things in life happened between me starting this draft and actually planning what to write, actually writing etc. I was planning to finish my re-watch of No Game No Life before I continue to write this post, but at this rate I won’t even have this out before the movie hits. So, here it is, the extremely overdue afterthoughts. Enjoy.

P.S.:Those waiting for my Koe no Katachi afterthoughts have to wait longer, I’m sorry. I have a long list of things still in draft status, and this post just happened to be near completion. I’ll get it out soon™. I promise.

-Plyasm


Introduction


No Game No Life was a special kind of anime for me, especially for how I started watching it. As far as I can remember, I went and watched No Game No Life out of pure curiosity. There were several reasons why I got curious about it. The first would be the many recommendations and praises I saw online. “No Game No Life is great, you should go watch it.” “Why doesn’t No Game No Life get a season 2? Madhouse really is allergic to the number 1!” were some of the type of things I would see on the internet. The songs of appraisal as well as the heavy recommendations both intrigued me, but that was not all. Another reason why I was curious about No Game No Life was due to the interesting clips of it being posted onto YouTube. These clips interested me greatly. The final reason was its synopsis:

No Game No Life is a surreal comedy that follows Sora and Shiro, shut-in NEET siblings and the online gamer duo behind the legendary username “Kuuhaku.” They view the real world as just another lousy game; however, a strange e-mail challenging them to a chess match changes everything—the brother and sister are plunged into an otherworldly realm where they meet Tet, the God of Games.

The mysterious god welcomes Sora and Shiro to Disboard, a world where all forms of conflict—from petty squabbles to the fate of whole countries—are settled not through war, but by way of high-stake games. This system works thanks to a fundamental rule wherein each party must wager something they deem to be of equal value to the other party’s wager. In this strange land where the very idea of humanity is reduced to child’s play, the indifferent genius gamer duo of Sora and Shiro have finally found a real reason to keep playing games: to unite the sixteen races of Disboard, defeat Tet, and become the gods of this new, gaming-is-everything world.

This synopsis tells us that the MCs were bored with the real world, so when they were teleported from their world into a new world where everything was decided by games, they decided to play along and try to beat the god of this new world. Now, by itself this synopsis already sounds really interesting, but there’s more to it than what it looks like. I, for one, am extremely interested in these type of plot where people participate in unusual types of games. I have no idea why I am, but I’m guessing it’s because of the amount of strategy and planning required by characters to make the content interesting. As such, all these reasons combined raised my interest for No Game No Life to a considerably high level such that I watched it sometime last year, soon after I started watching Anime as a whole. 


Thoughts


 After watching the first episode of No Game No Life, I couldn’t stop and binge watched the entire series within one day. I was so caught up inside No Game No Life that after watching finish the series, I searched for a season 2. However, none was to be found, as many would already know, and I was stuck with only season 1. This did not stop my “No Game No Life fever” however and I re-watched all 12 episodes all over again. After that, I was finally satisfied for the time being. It might have been enough of No Game No Life as an anime for me, but I was not done with the series. After some searching on the internet, I managed to find fan translations for the light novel. And after reading the light novel, it just further confirmed my love for No Game No Life. Not only did it make me watch the anime 2 times immediately, it also made me read the light novels for once. So, what exactly made No Game No Life so attractive, and so good? I will explain in more detail.


1. Awesome story and world setting


Yuu Kamiya did a great job with this one. No Game No Life’s plot in and of itself is already an excellent one, not to mention the extraordinary world that he has crafted for the No Game No Life universe. In the world of No Game No Life, everything is decided by the Ten Commandments :

  1. All murder, war, and robbery is forbidden in this world.
  2. All conflict in this world will be resolved through games.’
  3. In games, each player will bet something that they agree is of equal value.
  4. As long as it doesn’t violate pledge three, anything may be bet, and any game may be played.
  5. The challenged party has the right to decide the rules of the game.
  6. Any bets made in accordance with the pledges must be upheld.
  7. Conflicts between groups will be conducted by designated representatives with absolute authority.
  8. Being caught cheating during a game is grounds for an instant loss.
  9. In the name of god, the previous rules may never be changed.
  10. Let’s all have fun and play together!

At first glance, these rules may seem to be overly complicated and do not accomplish much. However, the story as well as games being played inside No Game No Life takes full advantage of these rules and their enforcing effect. The games end up being hyper intense and extremely interesting all the way until the end. These Ten Commandments have been intricately thought up by the author and it shines through the games. Not only that, the world being presented to us is very interesting. One where there are 16 master races, and the weakest one being Imanity, and they were the weakest due to their inability to sense or use magic. The story centers around how our two MCs manage to overcome their weakness and leads Imanity to victory. With all these explained, it is not hard to see how great the concept of No Game No Life is, one where every conflict is decided by games, and each game being as interesting as others, thanks to the hard work of the author. Not only is the concept of No Game No Life great, it is also very refreshing compared to the other anime available. Usually, we would have protagonist/s trapped inside a fantasy world and therefore must survive. However, in No Game No Life’s case, it is of the MCs’ own volition to go to this new world and explore it. This not only tweaks concepts around, but also gives a twist on the usage of magic in this world, since it can only be used to cheat inside games rather than as a means of physical domination. In No Game No Life, it is not physical prowess and skills that dominate, but rather mental strength. As such, it is one of the most awesome plot and world setting that I have seen, since I have always been interested in strategies myself.


2. Beautiful animation, art style and designs


The world of No Game No Life was created so well in terms of style, design and colouring. We really have to hand it to Madhouse for this awesome rendering of the world of No Game No Life. Not only is the world bright and colourful, it is just amazing to look at and gives you the feeling of “wow…”. Here are some scenes to demonstrate my point:

art
Look how bright and colourful this is!
background
Beautiful background of the world

As you can see from the above, No Game No Life has a very fancy designed world with great colours and just very awe-inspiring overall. Just by looking at the backgrounds in some of the scenes already made me amazed. However, that wasn’t the only good thing about the art. The animation was extremely well done too, with several parts making me wonder just how long did artists spend drawing those, because it was just so elaborate and detailed. This was just a treat for my eyes. It doesn’t just end at world and scene settings though. The character designs for the characters that appear throughout the show is fantastic too. Sora and Shiro, our main protagonists, had extremely interesting designs that stand out from your normal anime protagonists, and so is everyone they fight. Nobody looks dull at all, and that probably also has to do with the ridiculousness of No Game No Life’s world. Some of the characters might fit your typical anime stereotypes but visually they do not look like someone you would feel bored looking at. All these combined to make the art and animation in No Game No Life some of the best I’ve seen.


3. Amazing characters(slight spoilers)


Ahh… the characters. THE ABSOLUTELY FANTABULOUS CHARACTERS.(I made that word up, don’t use it in your writing.) Where should I even begin with this. Let’s start with the main characters first then. Sora and Shiro. Apart, they are just worthless NEETs who cannot properly communicate to anyone and is scared of everything, but together, they form Kuuhaku/Nameless, which is the ultimate duo that dominates opponents. With Sora’s power to psychologically dominate opponents and Shiro’s insane calculations making her the king at statistical things, they form an invincible team. They may be the embodiment of nerd, but they do it with such style and charisma that I cannot help but love these characters. They have a very interesting background as well as their history together. Therefore, with these two as the main characters, there is never a dull moment in No Game No Life, and actual duels and fights are made insanely engaging and you just want to find out what does the duo want to accomplish next. They were extremely well made characters, and they basically overshadow the other side characters, but it doesn’t make those side characters dull at all.

In fact, these side characters each with their own backgrounds and stories, as well as aims and convictions, form extremely interesting interactions with our main characters, and this is actually one of the selling points of this anime too, just to see how their personalities clash and bounce off each other, make for great plot and character developments, and it feels completely natural, not forced.

Characters are what drives an anime most of the time, and No Game No Life definitely nailed it with the most interesting main characters and equally great side characters that are not faded out and only coming back when the plot needs it.


4. Great sound & music


This is it. The soundtrack and music of No Game No Life. No one can argue about this point, because the soundtrack and music is just that good. The opening, This Game, is fantastic, full of energy, and does a great job at representing and showing off that No Game No Life is about. The ending Oracion on the other hand, is sang by the voice actress of Shiro, and does a great job at stressing the very close bond between Sora and Shiro and makes a great ending as you just sit there listening to this song while thinking about what those two have managed to accomplish yet again. These two however, are not the only thing that will make your ears enjoy.

The soundtrack, oh man, it’s so good, and so brainwashing at the same time. It just makes you absolutely love what is happening in front of you and gets you hyped where it wants you to. The overall energetic soundtrack does well to compliment the not so serious tones of No Game No Life while still conveying feelings of excitement that our main characters and us the audience are feeling. The sound effects too, is absolutely perfect, and I can’t find a single misused sound effect, instead only seeing great usage of it to heighten our enjoyment of the anime. And last but not least, there is the one sound track that will absolutely shake, your, world. All of you is all of me, a.k.a The king’s plan. This well composed soundtrack will make you excited, feel good, and just want to go out and accomplish things. I’m not exaggerating, but listening to this soundtrack actually makes me about 10 times more productive than I originally am. It’s just that good. *eargasm intensifies*

Sound track aside, the voice acting is great too. There’s not much to say about this, except that the VAs chosen for their roles were all perfect, and they all did their job well. Sora’s speech still makes me knees weak till this day and I can really feel the emotions the voice actors put into the characters, and they were probably enjoying it too.


5. References/Easter eggs(spoilers)


Well then, if you are still reading this, I shall just put yet another spoiler warning right here. THIS SECTION WILL CONTAIN MANY SPOILERS.

If Himouto! Umaru-chan is a treasure cove of references to video games, anime, manga, light novel and pop culture, then No Game No Life could be described as a single shiny golden chest filled to the brim with quality and amazing references. There are so many great and plain quality references to other things, such as multiple JoJo references.

but i refuse
But I refuse!

The JoJo’s reference above is just one of the many quality ones. However, that is actually not the main point why I had to make an entire section of references alone. The main point, in fact, lies with the absolutely amazing reference to Phoenix Wright. You can watch the full video here, but what I can say is that the reference was fantastic, they did everything right, and best part of all, they even took the time to remix the all famous pursuit-cornered music from phoenix wright and have Sora play it on his phone himself when he made the grand entrance Phoenix Wright style. As a Phoenix Wright fan, this absolutely had my inner fanboy screaming out in delight. I just cannot adore No Game No Life enough for doing these, and if I was more well versed in anime at that time, I would probably have been able to get more references , like the amazing Jibril reference to Yuno from Mirai Nikki in this scene:

jibril yuno
Yuki~

And that’s why the references are so amazing. It’s funny, at appropriate times, fits well with the happy-go-lucky attitude of the No Game No Life world, and makes people very very happy. For those wanting to find out what other quality references there are, there is a reddit post about this particular topic, link here:

https://www.reddit.com/r/NoGameNoLife/comments/42k1q4/parodyreference_list/

After all these sweet talk for No Game No Life, you would think that I am an absolute fan and that I would not complain about No Game No Life or say out its flaws in any way, would you not? Well, I will have to tell you that you are WRONG!(except for the part about being an absolute fan) In fact, I will reveal the biggest negative for No Game No Life:


NO sequels!


Yes, I’m not joking. This is the biggest negative for No Game No Life! It’s been 3 years since the first season was aired, and yet there is no Season 2 in sight. There is no sign of continuation either, even though the light novel has produced more than enough source content for there to be one. This absolute disaster has caused many fans great displeasure(myself included) and we are all demanding a season 2, but Madhouse being Madhouse probably just laughs this off and continues on their way not being able to count to 2.

However, not to fret my friends, there is hope! There has been many positive news recently that signals the possibility of a season 2 for No Game No Life. Code geass for example, suddenly received a season 3 despite everyone thinking the ending of season 2 to be pretty conclusive, and Overlord, another anime by Madhouse that was said to probably never get a season 2(more on specific post), recently got a season 2 after the latest movie showing. Not only that, there is a movie coming up soon for No Game No Life that is based on of volume 6, and it isn’t a far shot to say the possibility of an announcement for season 2 after that. As such, keep hoping on, my friends!

For those of you that will complain since I don’t exactly diss No Game No Life at all, I only have one explanation: I am not a critic. I am simply a fan of the series and in terms of anime history, if you bothered to check my MAL profile you would see that I am an absolute newbie. As such, even though I sat here racking my brain for bad things I can think and say about No Game No Life, nothing is coming up. Maybe if I watched much more anime next time I would be able to do it, but not now. And even if I do find flaws and bad things about No Game No Life next time, it wouldn’t change my feelings towards it and the entertainment that it has brought me.


Conclusion


In conclusion, this anime was a masterpiece in my eyes and fully deserved the 10 that I gave for it. I will continue to read newly translated volumes of the light novel and look out for a season 2, and in the meantime, patiently await the movie that is coming this summer. Even if other people may tell you otherwise, I am here and I will shout it out with all my might, that No Game No Life is one of the best anime and that you should definitely give it a watch if you didn’t. Aschente!

aschente_by_mashiroshiro-d7qxl5v
Picture credit to Mashiroshiro from DeviantArt

Value Counters


Entertainment Value: 100/100

What can I say, this is pretty much the most fun I’ve had watching an anime. Every second was just great, and I finished the 12 episodes before I know it. Time really flies past when you are having fun.

Respect Value: 95/100

Sora and Shiro have actual motives, but so do all the side characters. They have all done one thing or another to deserve my respect in this series, and I really think of them as actual characters.

Feels Value: 0/100

This anime isn’t about feels. Move on.

Nostalgia/Rewatch Value: 100/100

I’m sad to say that I have not been able to complete my re-watch of this anime on the time of writing, but I can safely say that from what I have enjoyed so far, this will definitely make a great re-watch to anyone that enjoyed the anime. I just can’t get enough of the awesomeness in this anime.

Recommendation Value: 101/100

Oops, I’m going to recommend this anime so far it broke the counter! Sorry!

Not really though, because this anime is almost a must watch for anyone, even newcomers to anime. It’s great fun, and makes you understand just why people love anime so much.

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