An urban legend states that those exceptionally gifted at gaming will be sent a special game invitation, and the winners of the challenge will be whisked away to another world. When Sora and Shiro, two hikikomori NEETs who happen to be both siblings and notorious gamers, receive this invitation, they defeat it with ease. And like the legends tell, they're transported to another world where conflicts, peoples' lives and even country borders are decided by competitions and games. Always up for a challenge, the pair quickly take on the obstacles that come their way, whether it be restoring lowly humanity's good name compared with the other races or helping influence who will become the next king.
POLARIZING OPINIONS There are only two opinions when it comes to No Game No Life, and they are as polarizing as they get. Ask someone what he thinks of this anime and the reply will be either IT’S THE MOST AWESOME THING EVER or IT’S ANOTHER TRASHY FAN SERVICE CRAP; ANIME IS DEAD. So which of these two replies is the correct one? Surprise, both of them are! No Game No Life is one of the most awesome fan service trash of all times. BEST OF ITS KIND There have been a lot of shows with a very similar premise to it, where introvert otakus are taken to a magical realm and are treated as saviors simply because they are introvert otakus. There is Dog Days, Ixion Saga DT, Mondaiji, Outbreak Company, Gate, and many others. Well, this show happens to be by far the most enjoyable amongst them. It tries a lot more to flesh out its setting, make the challenges more exciting, make the characters funnier, have lots of references to various pop culture titles, and taking fan service to the extremes. NICHE AUDIENCES And that’s why there are polarizing opinions about it. It is a show for niche audiences, distilled escapism, made by otakus, for otakus, pandering anime fans and gamers as much as it can by giving them what they seek in guilty pleasures. But by doing that, it makes itself very self-indulgent, which in turn makes it seem autistic, deviant, and stupid in the eyes of anyone who is not that much into anime or videogames, and is more interested in plot or characterization. If you are not one of them, you are not going to enjoy it because it was never meant to be a show for you, or all ages, or all tastes. PRETTY COLORS It can still appeal to a lot of people on a superficial level though, since, as far as presentation goes, even if you don’t care about the fetishes and the references, the colors are still very pretty. I mean, holly shit, the fantasy world in this anime is full of details and coloring filters that make you think you are tripping balls out of too much LSD. The character designs are fairly typical but even there thanks to lively motions, extreme facial expressions, and heavy doses of cosplay fetishes of any kind, they instantly become attractive, even if their charisma is on a purely carnal level. That is why I place it around the same level as the Monogatari franchise, since it combines artsy visuals, heavy doses of fan service, and witty dialogues. At the same time it is not as good as the Monogatari franchise because it was adapted only partially, and we are never shown much character introspection. COOL EXCUSES And at least when it comes to sexual stimulation they bothered to have excuses for the girls losing clothes, or wearing cosplay accessories. It doesn’t happen in a lazy way where a guy bumps on them as they undress, or they wear sexy clothes for no reason. It’s all part of the games. It even has a sense of progression, since you really feel like events are moving the story forward. Meaning, there is actually plot amongst all the “plot”; something which is very rare in such anime, where the story is moving in circles, or is not going anywhere at all. And it’s even a cool type of plot, where you are playing games, and conquer entire nations in the name of fame, glory, power, and excuses to do erotic stuff just for fun. It’s an otaku’s wet dream, taking over the world and hoarding sexy girls because you are good at games. SELF-INDULGENCE And this is where things become too self-indulgent for their own good. There are lots of games, and each one has its own rules, but nobody is really following said rules because he can rewrite them any way he likes. Essentially, all the games are “make belief” where you can do anything you like by using your imagination. That essentially makes the show pretentious for trying to present the two protagonists as super intelligent and charismatic, winning in a challenge with wits and cunningness, when in reality it is just random bullshit. Those who like the way challenges play out in the show is not because they make sense but because they are completely chaotic, unpredictable, and thus exciting. PRETENTIOUSNESS There are also parts where the protagonists try to pass off as some sort of discriminated children in our world, because nobody understands them, and that in this fantasy land they can finally make good use of what they are really good at. Being idealized forms of otakus and gamers, they end up becoming undefeatable when it comes to challenges, while still immature and goofy when it comes to social skills and mundane everyday activities. They are even revering in their status of being anti-social, childish, and even virgins, since they like things as they are and have no reason to change if they have fun the way they are. Whoever questions them, gets completely trashed in a challenge and is then lectured about the error of his ways. Of course the pearls of wisdom he receives are nothing but illusions of grandeur. Nothing they say can be taken seriously. LIGHT NOVEL TRASH These pseudo-deep themes end up being the show’s worst aspect because they are embracing escapism in the typical light novel way; and yes, No Game No Life is based on a light novel. That is why it is full of deviance and promotes incest and pedophilia. And don’t tell me they are just a joke because the aren’t; the author himself made hentai out of the two protagonists. This stops being fun and turns to cringe-worthy because it is promoting the worst aspects of otaku mentality. And to let you know, if it was a hentai, I would love it more than Bible Black because it wouldn’t be making a joke out of its fetishes. But it isn’t and thus I don’t like it much. It’s fun but not mature. Entertaining but not smart. Erotic but also deviant. Idealistic but also hypocritical. And above all, aimed at otakus and not viewers looking for something meaningful, or at least high budget animated porn.
So I'm going to be testing a certain criteria format so this score might change afterwards, but meanwhile I'll take a look at No Game No Life to test it. **This review contains no spoilers of what happens on the anime, but it does include the mention of things it did right and things it did wrong, if you don't want any part of that, and would rather experience it by yourself and not know what was good or bad, don't read this, or really, any review.** So I entered to No Game No Life with no idea on what to expect, and believe me, I think that added to the effect it had. It was unexpected and best of all, it knew what it was doing, something a lot of anime seem to not get across. But it's not without flaws, so let's start with the story, shall we? Story The story is really basic, it's not something overly complicated, but it doesn't really need to be. Now I believe that the story can be so basic that a bad synopsis will prevent someone from watching this anime. Honestly, when I read a synopsis and told it to someone, I immediately went like "Man, if someone told me this anime was this, I probably wouldn't be interested". But really, the story isn't really the selling point of No Game No Life, and it could definitely be better. On the outside, it's just another anime where the main characters are teleported into a new world they don't know much about, in this case, they get right into it and get told the 10 rules that CAN'T be broken. Basically, EVERYTHING IS DECIDED BY GAMES. The thing is, the characters are basically the best players in pretty much every game in the real world, so this is pretty much a better scenario for them. They're pretty OP. Pls nerf. (The character above is Kirito from Sword Art Online, not NGNL, just clarifying) Now I'm not into really giving a lot of information that could be considered spoilers (which there won't be), but it's a nice addition that they DON'T really want to leave the world, unlike most of the anime like this. Including on things a lot of anime do, doing analogies with chess is basically overdone now, but in this scenario, it kind of fits, because it's part of the premise, so it's excused. However, it's also bad that, while the ending was not bad, it really wasn't an "ending", it ended on a "Welp, go read the novel or wait for another season if we ever decide to make one", but at least it was entertaining to watch. Animation Now here's something I like to talk about, the animation, or well, the style. It was just, so different, and it fits. That's what I liked, it fits, and it does so well. It's really good to see something new and not just settle with the same thing, it's a small but effective progress towards new styles. I mean it's basically just a filter almost, but I like it. Now if you don't like seeing every color in the rainbow even though it fits, be sure to prepare yourself for NOT liking this, probably. I'm just weak to this kind of stuff, really, and sound. Sound TALKING ABOUT SOUND, the voices and sounds were good, you might've noticed the voice actor is the same one who does Kirito, you know, just the usual voice actor for wrecking nowadays, Yoshitsugu Matsuoka, but he pulls if off SO well with Sora. Now the OP is good, including the visuals, and the ending sounded nice and calm, it was decent, and I liked it when they did that small change for one episode, I like it when they do that. Now the OST was decently good, it really went with the anime, but, I think that it would get tiring at a time on its own, but don't get me wrong, I still liked it and it was memorable enough for me given when they were played. I really liked the ones that were references, since I didn't expect that. Characters Now the characters, OH THE CHARACTERS, I'll get this done with, Sora is the big guy here, Shiro barely gets any development, or really, any time at all, and therefore she is barely any interesting, she is less interesting than the character the series doesn't take seriously, Stephanie. Every other character, but Jibril maybe, were generic or not TOO interesting, I mean even Jibril was a bit generic, but as far as design goes, they were all good, and maybe Tet's was a bit over done with color, but as far as seeing them motionless, almost everyone is fine. One of the bad things was some characters were depreciated with a plethora of pantyshots, and their purpose in the series was a little bit TOO obvious, and at the same time, got contradicted from time to time. But the purpose was pretty straightforward for each, as the [ ] make it out to be. Now, the characters were enjoyable to watch to say the least. Another bad thing to add in here is that, the backstory of the main characters was kind of lame, I didn't get into it, and we barely got anything anyway. If there's a second season, I expect this to be at least better, if it even IS present. Other Now for some small talk about other details I like to take into consideration, first of all, the pacing was really amazing, it knew when and how to pull stuff. However, saying the pacing was good doesn't mean everything in it was good stuff, it just means it progressed at the right timing, there's stuff in there I would rather NOT watch, you know, put something else in there. As far as development, only very few characters actually developed, and the story, who cares how it develops right, because the world is decent, but I don't see the world being any part of what's going on, just the basic stuff and everything else DOESN'T MATTER! ASCHENTE! CHECKAHMATOH! Oh hey panties. DON'T WORRY, YOU DIDN'T EVEN HAVE A CHANCE! One interesting thing was that the anime was self-aware of what it was doing and how, as I've mentioned. It knows it isn't a really really serious anime, it knows that it can pull off some things really smoothly, considering you aren't really supposed to be super serious about it, and the jokes get you because they know where to put them. You're sometimes going, the eff?, and wonder how crazy that was. They are really smart with this, even if the anime isn't taking itself very intelligently. The references are really good and great, and although the ecchi is prevalent in this anime for the creators, for me it's a little bit too much, not even because Shiro is 11, it's just a thing that anime shouldn't be doing a lot, and it can get reeaaally into it, which is a shame because it's what really prevents me from ever recommending this anime. Even if I wanted to watch ecchi this wouldn't be my first choice probably, in this scenario, the reason I wouldn't watch would be because of Shiro probably, but I probably wouldn't want to watch something like that anyway, but if I chose this, it would be because it's entertaining while doing it. I have to point out, even if I don't like it being here a lot, they were really smart when adding it at some points, again, they knew what they were doing, and if I was completely japanese I guess I would get it at some time? But it's smarter than some shows I've seen doing it, so that gets my kudos. I probably need to say that, some cases the main characters are really unbelievabale and pull things out like a bread taco was normal. They have a tendency to win, and always win, but that's not why you're watching, you're watching to see if they REALLY are going to win all of them, and since you're expecting them to win, not only do you want to see how, you want to see how the opponent will cheat because we all know they will have to, probably. (Also you want to see what games are they playing next, and how it will develop) Just another image for your enjoyment. Also the style of the eyes is interesting, for example Tet's overdone design has eyes of the shape of diamond and spades, basically to fill every symbol of poker. Now if this wasn't so ecchi-filled, this would be up my list of rewatchability honestly, something I would see other people react to. It would be one of those who you can watch with friends actually, any gender, but since it's filled with ecchi it goes all out the window and might feel awkward with not the right friends. Now I don't think I'm missing anything but how much I enjoyed it, and I definitely did, it was one of the most entertaining to watch of that season, and one of the only ones I was looking forward to, of course my list was limited, and some of them I stalled, but this is definitely on the top spots of the list, if it isn't the top. Ugh, just why, ecchi, 11. WHY DO YOU HAVE TO RUIN THINGS LIKE THIS SOMETIMES! I CAN'T RECOMMEND YOU, CAN'T YOU GET IT?! ANYWAY... in short, I enjoyed a lot. I enjoyed IT a lot. Maybe a few lines were not that good, but overall they were interesting. Maybe the only thing not fun to watch was how they developed the world and story together, that wasn't as good, and you know, ECCHIII! I'll just drop that. The characters were fun overall and everything I said aside. So by my critera and my criteria alone, I've considered everything for and from the 4 main aspects to enjoyment, including development and value, to give this anime series a rating out of 10 result. The rating mentioned for No Game No Life overall is 7.98. I think this could be considered a high rating given all I took into account. Also would you look at that, that is what I rated it in stars, huh. For more specifics, the individual ratings are: Story: 6.6 ; Animation: 9.6 ; Sound: 8.3 ; Characters: 7.6 ; Other: 7.7 ; Enjoyment: 8.1 Other includes things that don't fit into the other sections, it doesn't make it any less important just because it's named like that. As far as recommending this to you or your friends, if you don't like ecchi, you're going to be just as creeped out if it was gore. it's not too porny but it's there and there's a lot sometimes, so to you, there you go, to your friends, watch it first and decide with caution. WELP, AND THAT WAS NO GAME NO LIFE, THANKS FOR READING, that was something, be sure to have your game on if you want some life (Conclusion with rating bound to edition because I forgot what witty line I was going to write there but I managed). "You're not allowed to quit while you're ahead." - Shiro.
I am so in love with this anime. There are serious moments, and strong emotional bonds between characters that you grow extremely attached to, but there are also segments that are just hilarious and full of guilty pleasures. This has become my favorite anime thus far. It's a mix of Death Note, Ouran High School Host Club, and Sword Art Online. Watch it. The main characters, Sora and Shiro, are master strategists and genius' who will never fail. Ever. Their ability to mentally break down every move and find the best possible next one is gorgeous at times, intimidating at others, but their journey to their victories is always harrowing and hilarious all at once. I swear up and down and sideways and all the directions that do and every will exist that this anime is the best out there. Proceed with precaution, and remember; Blank never loses.
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