No Game No Life Episode 1 [First Impression]

Vantage’s Impression

Madhouse’s second and final offering this season is No Game No Life, a fantasy story featuring two siblings, Sora and Shiro, who end up being transported to an alternate world by a strange boy claiming to be God. In the world of Disboard, simple games decide everything – from the national borders of a country to who the rulers of that country are. Immediate parallels can be drawn with Mondaiji, another series featuring the use of games in order to resolve conflicts – although of course, there’s a lot more potential with what games can be used for in No Game No Life. The gift games in Mondaiji had a heavy emphasis on physical fights and the supernatural, while here the focus seems to be on actual gaming – and that’s reflected in the capabilities of Sora and Shiro themselves, who aren’t as blatantly overpowered as someone like Izayoi is. They’re just expert gamers without any superpowers (so far, at least) and murder, violence and warfare are forbidden in Disboard anyway – and so how well someone can fare in that world is directly related to their skill at gaming. Wait… that does make them blatantly overpowered. Damn.

No Game No Life 1 Img015Still, both Sora and Shiro are amazing, and that applies both in their original world and in Disboard. Firstly, Shiro is the cutest thing ever. Loli of the season? It’s easy to tell that Sora cares for her a lot – he easily moved to break her fall at the end of their skydive. And secondly, they’ve gotta be incredible to build up an urban legend as [             ] (Kuuhaku) all by themselves – during that first game we saw, when they beat a clan of 1,200 people, I actually thought that Sora and Shiro were part of a group of four players. To think that they were just controlling two characters at once! Of course, while skills like that are understandably admirable amongst the online gaming community, that isn’t really the case in the real world, where staying up for five days straight or controlling computer mice with your feet aren’t really accomplishments. And the real world (and Japan in particular) very much frowns upon both hikikomoris and NEETs. It’s certainly strange to see an 11-year old going through life as both, but that issue (and the fact that no parents are around) can be answered by the statement “because anime”.

No Game No Life 1 Img048Anyway, it’s like Disboard was made for them – it really wouldn’t be wrong to say that they were born in the wrong world with the sorts of skills they have. I’m actually really enjoying how the pair of them are taking all this, not least of all the idea that they’re certainly not going to try and find their way back – there’s nothing for them back in the real world. While I mentioned before that they’re expert gamers, and will thus do really well in this world, it seems like there will be a considerable amount of emphasis on cheating in games. Which is sort of surprising, given how fair the rest of the pledges seem to be. Tet forbids murder and violence, and yet the most successful individuals in Disboard will be those who are best at cheating? Sora seems to adhere to the doctrine that it’s only cheating if you get caught, and the pledge on cheating seems to agree with him – it even seems to say that cheating only results in a loss if you’re called out on it during the game itself, which means that you’re safe even if someone says something afterwards. Sora’s going to do well with this – it’s helped by the fact that he’s both arrogant and confident, but also has the skill to back it up.

No Game No Life 1 Img028Finally, I’m loving the scenery porn – as expected of Madhouse! The way they’ve done it really makes Disboard seem like the epitome of all magical fantasy worlds, and there are even lots of different races inhabiting it (Sora and Shiro are probably going to go up against some of them soon). Not everyone will be fond of all the vibrant colours, especially if you don’t like pink and purple, but to me it really adds to the fantasy aspect of their world. For now, the story’s probably going to focus on that gambling tournament designed to choose the next king, as well as the princess girl who looks like she’s miserably failed to win – you can bet that I’ll be along for the ride.

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Stay tuned for Midnight and Omoikane’s impressions!

Vantage

I love cute things.

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4 Responses

  1. Wanderer says:

    “The gift games in Mondaiji had a heavy emphasis on physical fights and the supernatural, while here the focus seems to be on actual gaming”

    To be fair to Mondaiji, Kurousagi makes it clear in the first episode that gift games can be (and plenty of them probably ARE (offscreen)) perfectly ordinary games as well. The group just tended to get into battles because that was what their skills made them best at.

    Anyway. This premiere was absolutely amazing. The show is beautiful, the siblings are awesome, Shiro is UNBELIEVABLY adorable and awesome (after staying awake for five days straight she was ambidextrously controlling two characters simultaneously with her feet!), so much so that I just want to hug her and take her home with me (in the Rena Ryuugu sense, no pedo).

    What I find interesting is that, rather than call an opponent out on cheating and net the instant win, the kids prefer to outright DEFEAT their opponents, if necessary by cheating BETTER. It adds to the risk, but also builds their reputation when they pull it off. It seems they have the spirit of gamblers.

    • Vantage says:

      Shiro is love.

      Admittedly Enju was a strong contender for loli of the season… unfortunately her reign only lasted a single day.

      Coming to think of it, I quite approve of this whole cheating aspect. Had the loophole not been there, the show would have probably followed Sora and Shiro as they just endlessly won using their skills. There’s going to be lots more manoeuvring (e.g. figuring out how other opponents cheat) as a result, which could make games a lot more interesting. And speaking of loopholes – that god definitely put that there on purpose. I wonder why…

  2. Pablo says:

    What a great first episode! I am not really into loli’s but that little sister is so CUTE!!! XD And I completely agree with you about the colors of the world and how it really makes the point that they are in a fantasy and dream-like world! I am really looking forward to how the games turn out because with that cheating loophole, i feel like the main characters will completely exploit it!

    • Vantage says:

      You know Shiro’s doing something right when she’s attracting people who aren’t usually into lolis :D

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