Review #18- No Game No Life

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Welcome everyone, to the next RishRaff anime review! Today we will be covering the fairly popular, and rather interesting, anime named No Game No Life. For the first time in a while, all three reviewers will be providing their insight about the anime. Beware of minor SPOILERS as you go about reading the review.

Now, without further ado, let us begin the review!

Summary: Genius gamer siblings (plus being NEET & hikikomori) Sora and Shiro are known as the undefeatable “__” (blank). Their talents and skills are so good they are considered as urban legend. One day, a young boy named Teto appears before them, claiming to be the “God” of another dimension where Sora and Shiro are summoned to, in which no violence is allowed and everything is decided by a game. Of the 16 different races residing in this world, “Humanity” is the weakest. After having the vast majority of their lands captured by the other races and being driven to the brink of extinction, Sora and Shiro challenge these one-of-a-kind battles of the intellectual powers in order to save Humanity. -Anime News Network

Plot: 7/10

No Game No Life was initially a very interesting premise, set in a world where everything is decided by games, and ruled by the god of games, Tet. This strange world would be very enticing, but the plot falters quite a bit. Most of the momentum in the plot is lost due to the show sacrificing plot, alongside other elements, to get as much fan service out of the show as possible. Some of these sacrifices are more obvious than others, such as stalling out scenes with excess fan service that could have been used instead for character development, or to speed the plot along. The show is completely driven additionally by Shiro and Sora’s goal, which when it is unresolved at the end of the series in a cliffhanger, leaves the viewer unsatisfied. The games are absolutely fascinating though, taking typically mundane games such as chess or poker, and spicing them up a bit. The show has a lot of potential for plot that it never got around to, with for example many species mentioned but never introduced, rousing more curiosity for a viewer that goes unresolved. The show essentially tries to do too much with the limited time it has.

Characters: 5/10

The characters almost exclusively drive the plot, especially the brother sister duo protagonists. Shiro and Sora are highly overpowered though, winning every game and even mastering a language overnight, and their driving the plot makes it feels predictable at times. While many characters initially appear cliche, they are quick to show strong personalities to separate themselves out. For example, Shiro is highly logical in attention to detail in the games, but she does show more emotional sides, especially towards her brother, that helps her seem more frail and human, instead of like a machine. The many positives of the characters is quickly lost in the fan service however. A number of the characters can feel to exist solely for catering towards a particular fan taste. The relationships of the characters is also expressed quite a bit, though they tend to develop excessively fast. Another flaw is that character qualities tend to be revealed all at once, leaving little room for development of the character’s personality. To further drive in this point, none of the characters really grow as people, and remain static in how they act throughout the series.

Animation: 10/10

If there is anything to watch the show for, it is the beautiful animation. It is rather colorful, which helps spark to life many of the games that would otherwise feel dull to watch. The show also makes effective use of the scenery in helping to set the mood a majority of scenes. Plenty of effort clearly went into No Game No Life’s animation, and it shines through.

Soundtrack: 10/10

The show relies on primarily an electronica influence in its soundtrack, but makes use of it quite well. The anime soundtrack does well matching the music to the scenes, and effectively bolsters the tension that might have felt like it was missing otherwise.

Themes: 7/10

No Game No Life primarily takes a comedic approach to its storytelling, so this can make the themes feel rather lacking. This is compounded by the excess fan service, which like many aspect of the show, it takes away from. The primary theme the show focuses on is self sufficiency. The show shows an almost idealized self sufficiency where Shiro and Sora need other people to help them, but it is because they are part of a plan, not because they rely on them. A great example of this Stephanie, who more often than not ends up being bait. The siblings are almost always in control of what is happening, only truly relying on one another. The anime also warns of the over reliance on others, as exhibited by separation anxiety the siblings get. The show also makes a big deal out of brains over brawn, with the main characters cleverness frequently winning out over otherwise stronger opponents (stronger in a variety of ways).

Final Score: 7.8/10

Final Score: C

B-Ro’s Take

No Game No Life was a really good anime that had too much fan service for its own good. I loved the idea of this anime but the fan service was really just too much from it. The characters were well built with personalities that matched their species, but many of them were forced into fan service heavy situations that really just took away from their characters. Also the characters did not grow very much throughout the series if at all. The plot was pretty cool, but again the forced fan service really did a number on it. The plot also is lacking in its ending because it just ends with nothing being resolved. I do have to say that the animation was amazing and might be one of my favorite anime as far as animation goes. Sadly No Game No Life was an anime with a lot of potential that fell a bit short of what it could have been. Out of 10 I would give this anime a 7. With that said I would still highly recommend this anime because it is very enjoyable. – B-Ro

LowKev’s Take

Ahhh, I love it when a show manages to defy expectations, and this was most certainly the case with No Game No Life. I’m not sure why, but I initially wasn’t too excited to watch this show. Perhaps what I understood of the concept at the time didn’t seem too appealing to me. Man was I wrong… First off, this animation style is breathtaking! Take my advice on this one: watch this show in the dark. Not because it’s scary (normally I’d be saying this for the Silent Hill games or Another), but because it enables you to better see all of the details and intricacies in the visual department. Aided by these visuals, the world building here is amazing. It definitely becomes a setting you would want to visit. As for the characters, however, it took a while for me to really like them. I always liked Shiro’s quirks, but Sora took some getting used to (as well as the concept of Blank). I always found him interesting, but definitely harder to root for compared to similar characters such as Yukihira Soma with his must always win attitude (this also applies to Shiro to an extent, but I found myself feeling this way more with Sora). I also spent a lot of time just feeling bad for Stephanie, and she also annoyed me a little at times. However, as the characters developed and more joined in, I found myself really liking all of them. Sora, for example, really grew on me as I learned more about him, especially when I would see how well Sora and Shiro play off of each other and care for each other. It’s really heartwarming. The plot was much more complex than I had anticipated (in a mostly good way), getting really political at times in terms of the workings of this world. The rules of the world are quite interesting, and though Blank’s endgame goal isn’t really a noble cause on the surface (basically, if you’re okay with the most minor of SPOILERS, they want to beat that world’s god in a game), in the context of that world, it makes a lot of sense, and there’s actually much more to it. What might have impressed me the most about this show would be the games themselves. They’re thrilling, mind blowing, and oozing with creativity. My jaw dropped multiple times during these scenes. I cannot overstate how amazing they are!! Yeah, you can argue that Blank is pretty overpowered at times, but they still do struggle in very interesting ways. I didn’t expect so much adult humor, but found most of it hilarious. There are also countless references to other media (including multiple Miyazaki nods) that I really enjoyed. And, of course, I loved the opening and closing songs, and the soundtrack was amazing. They definitely went for a largely electronic angle with the soundtrack, and I feel that it fits the world quite well (though some of the tracks weren’t always my cup of tea, but I acknowledge it all as well made). I also heard some more orchestral music and acoustic guitars mixed in as well to shake things up. I was blown away by this series, and will definitely be rewatching it. The cliffhanger ending that may never be resolved in anime form was kind of a downer, but the rest of the show was absolutely stellar.

Final Comments: The series offers plenty of potential, with outstanding animation and a deeply interesting premise. However, No Game No Life loses too much due to excess fan service taking much from what should be strong elements in the show.

Thank you for taking the time to read the review. Do you agree or disagree with much of our analysis? Feel free to leave a comment, and give us a follow! Thank you again, and hope you’ll read our next review! The next review will be Your Lie In April.

 

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2 thoughts on “Review #18- No Game No Life

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