Category Archives: No Game, No Life

No Game, no Life – 5 – 12 (END)

“DID YOU JUST TAKE 7 EPISODES AND PUT THEM IN ONE BLOG POST?” ~ EVERYBODY (THEY SCREAM EVEN WHEN THEY CITE THEMSELVES AND MAKE IMPLICIT DECLARTAIONS!!!)

Ok, enough screaming. So how was no game, no life? /a/ hates it, right? That probably means it’s shit – /a/ has great taste after all! Haha, ok, but seriously, how was it?

Interesting. Crazy. Sometime a little nonsensical. But the best way to sum up the experience is with the following word: Entertaining.. To those that know me, they know I am willing to put up with extraneous bullshit if it’s in the best interest of entertainment. Does this mean that NGNL has a lot of bullshit standing in its way? Honestly, not really – there are a few asspulls here and there but they’re so largely entertaining and pulled off with such spectacular bravado that I hardly even care that they’re asspulls – don’t forget, after all, that this is a work of fiction!

The show takes us from Sora and Shiro’s rise to power amongst the Imanity, taking advantage of the late king’s information he left for them and even conquering the 14th ranked race, the beastmen. The beastmen are notable for being the only race other than the Imanity unable to use magic – however, they have keen senses and supernatural strength / speed, still giving them an edge over our heroes on paper. Could you imagine what Sora would make of these people on an even playing field? In any event, Sora and Shiro enlist the aid of a flugel (Who remains powerful and terrifying even after her defeat) and defeat the beastmen at their own game, never letting themselves be taken advantage of. It was all extremely cool.

If there was any part I rolled my eyes at, it would be the part where Shiro was filling out a formula on the ground leaving the answer blank before “pretending” to be shot. The “whole pretending to be shot” bit was brilliant – the fact that she felt the need to waste massive amounts of time just to give us an implicit answer was really silly.

NGNL ends on a promise for more and an unsure implication (Am I dense? What does being a shrine maiden have to do with summoning the old deus?) Hopefully sometime next year we’ll see a continuation. I fear for Sora only because his gambits tend to be costly and heavily ride on the fact that he won’t lose. Bravado is not something in short supply – but pride goes before the fall.

No Game, No Life – 4

Well, now this is certain an interesting development.

Blank have pushed Clammy to the edge of her wits and have defeated her, becoming the kings of the Inamity. I’m a little unsure where the “We must win without attacking” mentality came from, but knowing Sora it was only to show that despite having a few “on paper” handicaps, the Inamity can deliver crushing defeats to those superior to them. Sora likely wanted to break her spirit, something to which I think he did very well.

This battle ended up being one almost entirely of charisma rather than a battle of wits; it seemed as though the tides of victory were sure to turn in favor of the one who could better motivate their troops into serving for them. Sora brings up a rather good (but somewhat obvious) point – rule by fear has never worked in all of history, so why in the blazes does Clammy think that it is going to work for her here? Quite obviously, it does not pan out for her and Sora proves that the best personal motivation is a great cause that one believes in. Clammy goes down in flames. While I hope this isn’t a trend, I was ok with the battle being one of rhetoric rather than the acuteness of mind.

Sora delivers a riveting speech that made Melissa and I shiver; very, very powerful stuff. Their accomplishments become even greater when you remember all that they’ve done thus far is in the shadow of a chess victory against god himself. Now that is a fine feather in your cap.

God himself does make an appearance and informs them that should they rule above all other races, they will have the opportunity to challenge him for his godship. It seems very sportsmanlike but I no doubt felt a slight tinge of malice – but only so much as one feels for their rival. I’m intensely interested in finding out what kind of person he truly is and how he became the god of this world – perhaps he created it? All questions we don’t have the answer to just yet, but no doubt will be revealed in time.

Given the amount of time this series has to flesh things out, I’m intensely curious to find out how the races are going to go down and how the show will do it without the use of montages. Perhaps it will use montages, but it doesn’t matter so much as the narrative isn’t sacrificed for a shonen-esque battle system. Please, ensure that the show continues its strong pacing.

No Game, No Life – 3

No Game, No Life returns this week to prove two things:

  • Retard chess is Sora’s specialty
  • I have No Life for watching so many shows.

So, Sora’s got his sights on being king in this land, huh? So far he’s done pretty well for himself – he’s duped the princess of the Imanity, secured himself wealth and a castle, and essentially made everyone (the princess included) his bitch. Not bad, Sora, not bad. I’m a bit more interested to see how Sora and his sister would fare against the cheater girl we saw in the first (and last) episode – thankfully, this week’s episode answers that question, uh, halfway.

I realize this is the kind of show that would be really popular with a non-hardcore anime crowd – Edgy protag, interesting and fast paced plot, “epic lel mindgames XD 11!!!” and that’s kinda annoying because they ruin everything they touch (Titan, SAL, etc.) That said, I frankly don’t give a shit because I love this show anyway. How can you not? Sure, some people get turned off by what they believe to be complete asspulls (Hello /a/), that’s fine – but unless it’s horrendous, extremely predictable, cliche, pedantic, or boring, I am totally ok with asspulls. By not being any of those things I just listed, that means it’s managed to keep itself interesting. Nothing is more annoying to me than something that is completely predictable. Trust me, I am not advocating “lel epic nevar sa it comming!! XDDD” like at the end of Bioshock Infinte, heavens no, in fact, that’s actually worse.

In any event, enough tangents and on to the actual episode. Sora has paved a rather nasty path for himself by claiming that he will take the Inamity, despite their current standing and handicapped abilities, to the top of the ranking. I was pretty impressed that he crashed the coronation of the new queen but I always get a bit nervous when he goes for such showboating – he’s really setting himself up for a possibly bad situation. I was also surprised that the girl herself seems to be of the Inamity, I could have sworn she was an elf. Not so; she was only receiving help from one to help her cheat.

I can’t tell you nice it is to have a protag who isn’t a trusting idiot – I was worried he would take her word for her offer and accept. He called her out on her bullshit and stuck to his guns, which was pretty impressive. The battle has had many twists and turns thus far – who will emerge the champion? Don’t answer that dumb rhetorical question, please.

No Game, No Life – 2

I get probably way more excited than I should when I see that the RSS feed has downloaded a new episode of No game, No life. After the strong showing in the first episode, I just can’t wait to see more devious mind games and high stakes craziness, and this week hasn’t let me down. In this episode, the show attempted to establish the “norm” and our main goals; to become “king” and defeat the other races by bringing humanity from last to the top.

Why are we at the bottom anyway? Apparently, humanity can’t use or even detect magic and this severely hampers their ability. Sora isn’t exactly intimidated by this (which is exactly what I was hoping for) and seems to think he’s got what it takes to take them all down in his wake. It’s funny to see them take such interest in the real world when it was all they couldn’t stand previously. It could be argued that the “real world” here bears so little in common with ours that it’s technically a higher staked game. It could also be argued that you’re thinking way too hard about chinese cartoons.

I have to say that Sora is absolutely awesome. He’s so psychologically intimidating and intense that even I got uncomfortable from the other side of the screen watching him posture his way to victory each time. Sure, we’ve seen some great psychological masters in anime, but I feel the distinction with Sora is that he seems to use it only when necessary; when it comes down to game time, like a switch, he activates it and does whatever he must at any cost to win. This, ladies and gentlemen, is the fighter’s mentality, and it’s crucial to victory at higher levels of play.

Interesting to note that when losing, one is forced to uphold the stakes that they bet at the beginning of play. That’s right; you do not have the choice to decline or be duplicitous, if you lose, you lose. The finality of that definitely worries me as Sora has a habit of betting his life every goddamn time. Hubris is not a great feather to put in your cap in a work of fiction.

Now that Sora’s aspired to be king, things are going to get even more interesting. I would have been happy with just watching him outwit everybody and get nothing done, but this is even better, of course.

No Game No Life – 1

This show wasn’t originally on my watch list…Until about two days ago. Madhouse had kinda left a bad taste in my mouth from Mahou Sensou where it became apparent to me that this wasn’t the studio that produced Claymore or Trigun. I was a bit too knee-jerky and critical in my evaluation of them because this show delivers on an interesting albeit nothing special premise…and it delivers well.

Creating an anime starring a NEET? Nothing really new there. But there is more to a show than simply it’s premise; No Game, No Life wastes no times in executing and throwing our protagonists into unfamiliar territory and thrusting a new world upon them. Being the “best” at games, known collectively as Blank, they would do well in a world filled with their forte. Enter Sora and Shiro, our protagonists. Sora laments that the world is dull, harsh, and uninteresting. One thing leads to another and they are thrust into a world run entirely by games.

Naturally, being Blank, they do quite well for themselves. They do so by gambling the only thing they have; their lives. In doing so they successfully aquire clothing, money, and four night’s stays. Let me add that the nights at the inn were obtained by some very aggressive posturing that I would not expect from a NEET, but it was one of the most entertaining things in the entire episode. Holy shit. Love your style, Sora.

Sora also reveals that he cheated to win poker against the woman who’s money he took. Hey, but isn’t cheating against the rules? Sora postulates that as long as he is not caught, it’s as though he didn’t cheat. This will likely bite him in the ass later in the show.

What happens next? Inevitably, Sora’s overconfidence will likely get him in a hairy situation, likely by betting something costly like his life or even worse, his sister’s. We shall see. I look forward to what comes next.