Review: No Game No Life

Who Would Like this Anime?

Who wouldn’t? Let’s say, if you liked “Modaiji-tachi” and kinda “The World Only God Knows” then you’re likely to enjoy this one, too. There’s no drama, really. Just a bit of hysteria when the protagonist and his imouto are apart. Else, we’ve got lots and lots of comedy, games, and rom-com-ish stuff. Oh, and fantasy. Can’t forget the fantasy.

For: People who’re into comedies, quirky protagonists, games, and Japanese popculture.

I’ve watched this release, and Eveyuu’s editing is superb. I couldn’t have done it better even if I tried, I’m outdone hands down. Occasionally, I had a hard time keeping up with the subs which made me wonder whether the sentence structure’s overly complicated or not, but on a second look that proved wrong, maybe I was just slow in the head. There’s a couple of typos too. Anyways, get the 720p version instead. I only 20GB extra bloat because I realized I love it and wanted those 5% extra sharpness. The visual gain’s not worth the heightened demand in space.

Premise

The gaming-crazy neet sibling protagonists, who never ever lost a game, get sucked into a gaming world where everything’s settled by 1) simple games and 2) the world’s ten big rules. Furthermore, that world’s version of humanity’s cornered with only one city of their own left. Time to strike back.

Visuals

The grade of detail and animations are really good. Nothing ever looks boring and everything feels quite fluent. Then again, it’s blurry as shit and has an amount of haze/chroma ‘n shit that’ll haunt you in your dreams. Overall, the source video is way too low-res. This makes me a sad, sad panda. But I kinda like how they use red outlining instead of black.

Conclusion

I want to start off by introducing the author. Some of you might not know this, but he’s actually an ex-mangaka who had to stop undertaking his passion due to health reasons. The upside is, he’s drawing his own illustrations and they’re pretty damn good. Well, he overdoes it with the rainbow-colored hair if you ask me, but whatever. He dreamt of making this kind of world reality, if only by pen, and so he did. I think it’s a pretty nice story. And I also think you can tell how passionate he is about his work. Maybe he played a big part in the anime’s production, too.

So how are our protagonist and his sister? They’re socially disabled neets. At least they are once you put a wall between them. As long as they’re together, they’re badass. Now having a neet as the protagonist is kinda hard to swallow, but thanks to this twist, you basically have an overpowered protagonist with a huge weakness nonetheless. We don’t have one of those overly smooth protagonists about whom I often wonder if they even have a personality of their own. Yeah, they sometimes come with a fetish, they’re often brave, nice to people, yadayada. But this one has a mind of his own and it makes things more interesting. And he’s not a wimp either, which I would, quite frankly, hate. Then again, he is. But only when he’s getting hysteric due to his sister being apart from him.

And then there’s said sister who wants him to bang her. But he doesn’t wanna be a pedo. And so she kinda supports him getting his cherry popped by others. It’s complicated. Alas, the other harem members fall kinda behind, we got a tsundere light, and we got something like Rika from Haganai. Even worse is that their difference in appearance is rather subtle, but it’s not as bad as in the light novel where you can hardly tell the harem apart. Still, they’re not dragging the series down, they just don’t boost it either. We also got an extended harem with a tsundere normal and a deredere… Oh well, could be worse. While we’re speaking of stereotypes, you may guess who’s got the smallest boobs. Curiously, I don’t even have a best girl in this. I neither like nor dislike any of the characters. I’m not sure whether this is good or bad.

Let’s get to the comedy. It’s good. Really good. The timing, impact, everything’s good. It’s a bunch of standard stuff and stuff you don’t see coming. They’re not the most clever punchlines and puns you’ve ever seen, but they come fast and won’t let you think about it. Honestly, I can’t remember when I last saw something that made me laugh so hard, maybe I’ve just seen too much crap lately. I like how characters’ speeches overlap at times, which is more difficult to pull off in a working fashion than you might think. And there’s quite a bunch of references you might or might not get. For instance, JoJo, Dora, Evangelion. But this goes hand in hand with…

The pacing. If you haven’t watched this anime yet and are planning to, you better buckle your pants ’cause you might fall over them when it swipes you off your feet. The pacing’s hella fast, it’s not hasty or anything, it just keeps slapping plot, puns, and gags in your face like rapid fire, there’s no room to breath and no room to get bored. There’s nothing that feels like a filler at all. It’s one of the few recent anime that I actually conquered in one single swoop. I didn’t even check my phone once! In 2015/16!

How are the games? As the series itself states, everything in that world is decided by simple (!) games. And you can cheat, you just mustn’t get caught doing it. There’s always a twist to a game. For instance, they play that Japanese word chaining game, where you gotta say a word that starts with the syllable the other party’s word ended with, but they stuff they say will actually materialize. The way to victory can be pretty damn far-fetched at times, but it’s never complete nonsense if you judge it by its own rules. There’s also a bunch of really basic and straight-forward games used that settle things fast. And there are often explanations included why they’ve actually managed to win or why someone lost.

What I personally am pretty grateful for is that they put merely three volumes of the original series into the anime. This way, it doesn’t feel rushed and I can just buy volume four and continue where the anime left off. Oh, this time I can add that the voice acting is really good, even I can tell – and that’s gotta mean something. In my opinion, it shows that the staff had fun doing what they did. I also liked the animation loops the animation production company picked for every episode (you’ll know once you see it).

Now I’ve heard and read a lot of people who don’t like this series/show. And I don’t really get the reasoning but I’ll try. Assuming you don’t like the comedy in this, then how the heck did you ever get into anime? It’s got pretty basic puns, they’re well and fast executed, and it’s got references all over the place, I don’t think there are many anime – even if they’re comedy centered – who do better/much differently. So duh, anime comedy’s not for them. Is the protagonist not cool enough? Hmmm, he certainly isn’t your usual main character (see above), but his quirk aside he’s pretty confident and refreshing to watch. I’d rather have this kinda character than the ever-sighing ‘oh no, I’m so popular, such a bother’ type. What else? Don’t like how the games go? Well, I like how there’s always a certain twist to them. If people’d rather have the protagonist beat others at normal chess, normal poker, and normal othello then I guess… I… zzzZZzzzzz…

Oh sorry. So are there things I dislike about this show? Yes, three points are nagging me. One, the overall visual quality sucks. They should’ve raised it to native 1080p. It’s just so goddamn blurry; wasted potential. And what do they do instead? Flood the picture with visual effects. Well, at least it’s not boring to look at. Two, not related to the anime in specific but to the series in general, they conquer stuff just way too fast. If you’ve seen the anime, you know how much land they’ve gained by the end of it, and if the author keeps this pace up, the series’ end is nigh. If he doesn’t wanna keep it up, it’ll feel like they’re slowing down greatly. Hm. Three, a minor issue: compared to the rest of the show, the pacing during the shoot-out is too slow. It was the only part that was close to boring me.

Overall, this is one of the few series recently that’ll make it onto my external hdd. It lacks the big philosophical idea that anime masterpieces usually have and considering that I’d give Nyaruko a 9/10 as it’s got all I love, I’m having a hard time giving this a 9/10 since it’d mean I put them on the same level; and the visuals kinda drag this one down. Then again, I’ve seen so much crap lately, screw it. Have the 9. One of the few shows I’d definitely rewatch – and will. By the way, all screenshots were taken from the first four episodes, so no spoiling. Go watch it.

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