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Gamers for life. Review of No Game No Life

No Game No Life


Hey Baltimore, it’s not too late to come get your tickets for watching your hometown Orioles to beat the pants off those Red Sox. You have until June 9th to come get your tickets to the show and the Orioles grandeur. And of course, for this weekend, after you grab your tickets, there’s always anime. This week, we’re covering No Game, No Life.

Shiro and Sora
Sentai Filmworks

In the last few years, there’s been a good influx of anime having live people stuck in a video game. Well, to clear the air, No Game No Life is nothing like that. First impressions of the anime are colourful – literally, there’s a lot of hue mixed into everything. Start with hikkomoris, Sora and Shiro, that are only gaming geniuses. The two siblings trump all challengers from any online game under the name, “[ ]” (Blank). Story kicks off with them receiving a mysterious email. After winning a game of chess, the sender of the email sends them a bit of a reward. By reward, it means sucking them into the world of Elkia where games are used to solve just about everything. And of course, the sender of the email is an all-powerful god in the form of a kid that’s obsessed with games name Tet, and he finds these two siblings entertaining. After literally crashing into the planet, Shiro and Sora are given the rules of the world and left to do whatever it is they want.

This isn’t a story about people caught in the world, trying to return to their own. In fact, that exact line of thinking is something that Shiro pokes fun at. It was an interesting hitch to find protagonists that actually like their situation and have the story told from the perspective opposite of what is normally given (i.e. not wanting to return home). Neither Sora nor Shiro come across as good guys and they almost play this kind of anti-hero role in the way they relate to people. They operate as one person, lording their almighty ability to always win over people. However, separate, they tremble and are reduced to mumbling, quivering masses. Something to expect to be played on later. Both main characters seem to play on stereotypes as Shiro is a kind of self-righteous megalomaniac trapped in a teenage virgin’s body while Sora is this expressionless girl who can’t stop repeating her age while having a crush on her brother and being a covert sadist.

The plot to this story is rather hilarious as it’s not openly stated. Each episode seems to set up a goal with the ultimate goal being to challenge Tet again. In the first five episodes, Tet is actually watching over them, not in a protective way, but in an excited judgment. The little god admits he’s never lost a game before and he seems to have a conversation with the previous gods while they seemed to be locked in chess pieces. But rather than saying that this anime is about Blank beating god, it seems it’s about them becoming god since Tet even states that the Title of One True God is up for grabs.

While exciting and a bit over the top, the anime isn’t without its drawbacks as it can be rather predictable. Looking at the characters and the stakes, anyone can practically guess what will happen next. There’s also no sense of immediately present. Since Blank is so good at games and the world’s rules are based on games, it doesn’t really feel like anything is at stake even though there’s supposedly a lot riding on the protagonist shoulders.

Since the series is relatively new, it will be interesting to see what they do with it from here. Hopefully it doesn’t overshoot and fall short or conversely overextend. So while it’s on, take the chance to check it out. And as always: keep laughing, reading, watching, and being the amazing otakus you guys are.

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