Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Anime Review: No Game No Life

Rating: 8/10
no game no life

I’ll be using NGNL as abbreviation.

“The Blank” is the most feared name in gaming world. Admired even by their rivals, they have gained fame as a formidable force. But in reality, they are nothing but shut-in siblings who hate the real world. Sora and his 11 year old sister Shiro spend their day playing games without breaks. One such day, they receive an e-mail from a player who challenges them to a game of chess. Taking his request lightly at first but then playing together against him leads to their victory. Before they could even celebrate their hard earned victory, they get an unexpected offer from the unknown opponent – To leave their world and transfer to a new realm where everything is decided by games. They do not believe him but accept his offer, only to be sucked in to a new colorful world, where they meet their unknown challenger. Tet, the kid who challenged them, happens to be the god of this world, a world where their is no killing or war, where everything is decided by games governed by the “Ten Covenants”.

I’ll begin by saying that NGNL is anything but boring. So if you came here after reading some negative reviews then let me assure you, NGNL is a great anime despite having some minor drawbacks.
The story is not new, people enter gaming world where they have to use their gaming skills and intellect in order to win. Still, NGNL stands out with its well written plot and intense psychological atmosphere. Now add some nice comedy and shitloads of fanservice to it and voila! You get a show that will keep your eyes glued to the screen.
Though 12 episodes long, NGNL covers a good part of its source light novel. The story begins with the introduction of gamer duo Sora and Shiro who have overwhelming gaming skills. Shiro is smart and gifted while Sora is a master planner. Together they form “The Blank”. After Tet transfers them to their dream world called the “Disboard”, they immediately start to use their gaming skills and exploit the rules to win everything they want. This new world is similar to that of any RPG game. The story continues with them making real friends and gaining popularity in this new world, for sake of keeping it spoiler free, all I can say is that their new world provides them with a stage to show their skills and lead a lot of people.

There is a vast variety of characters in NGNL. Starting with the mains, Sora and Shiro: Sora resembles milder and more funnier version of Tokouchi from One outs. He has unparalleled intelligence and uses his extreme planning and manipulation skills to predict his opponent’s future move. In the original world, he lives a life of a shut-in, but on Disboard, his spirit gets free leading him to show his god-tier skills. Though, Sora is a master planner and manipulator, he is still zero when it comes to girls and crowds. 
Shiro, Sora’s younger sister and the other half of the blank is similar to Sora in many ways. It is even accepted by Sora that Shiro is better than him in every game except moe.  She has inhuman gaming reflexes and a mind that can perform impossible calculations. Despite being only 11, she is a prodigy but has rely on her brother for normal stuff. Sora and Shiro cannot live without each other, and this does give rise to some major issues that I will discuss later.
Other important character is Stephanie Dola or Steph, who is the granddaughter of the late king of the Kingdom of Elchea, one of the 16 races on Disboard. She lost a game against Sora and now is his "forced lover". Although Sora uses her more like a diversion or expandable piece. She is short tampered and simple minded. One can easily picture her as a big boobed foolish girl found in a lot of ecchi anime.
There are various other characters in NGNL that are introduced with the course of series and some of them are really interesting.

NGNL has a very “candy” art. It is very colorful and vibrant with well detailed surroundings. The Art surely gets a 10 but still there are people out there who might not like it. The music is also good with a very catchy opening song.

What I really like about NGNL is that it is a very well balanced anime. It has intense humor, suspense, drama and also some action. There is not a single moment that is wasted so the story progresses with a very good pace. The characters fit into the story well. I wouldn't hesitate to admit that even I want myself to be teleported to Disboard.

NGNL is good, but it has some flaws but most of them can be put up for a debate as not everyone hates them. The first one being, yes you guessed it right; fanservice. Although I am neutral towards fanservice, in fact I like clever fanservice similar to Prison School but in NGNL, it doesn’t make any sense. Why are their panty flashes of a supposedly 11 year old. I know it has become common trend to include such stuff to gather audience who worship Pedo bear, but sadly I am not one of them.
The other major flaw which almost spoiled the character development was the relationship between Sora and Shiro. To simply put it, Sora is a Siscon and Shiro has no problem with it. Their incestuous behavior made me sick considering that both of them are siblings and have a 7 year gap between them. Why does Shiro get jealous if Sora gets a girlfriend for himself. Hell, my sister would probably go crazy from the shock if I ever got one.

Other than that, I think No game no Life is a very good series with a very high entertainment factor. I admit it openly it made me enjoy every moment despite having some stuff I really hate. My inner gamer self (who coincidently is also a chess lover) was brought back to life again after a very long time. I thank No game No life for giving me enough motivation to play Counter Strike one again after a very long time. Leaving me aside, NGNL combines the elements of excellent art with superb story telling, it embarks the beginning of a series that is going to be turned into a historic anime (If it gets any more seasons).

Who would watch No Game No Life?
Psychological, supernatural, ecchi fans will love No game no Life. People who like the darker side of the anime world might not find it up to their standards.

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