For a long time, I consider gaming as one my main hobbies next to watching Anime. When I find out that No Game No Life focuses on two hikkimori siblings who are also gamers, I decided to watch it.
The story of No Game No Life focuses on a sibling duo that refer themselves as “Blank“. Sora and his little sister, Shiro are master MMORPG gamers who can beat every possible game they touch. Despite beating every game, they are still unsatisfied with their life in the real world. One day, they accepted a challenge from a mysterious person for an online chess game and managed to win. Their victory allowed them to be reborn in a world called “Disboard” where disputes are resolved through games. After their arrival, they discovered that Imanity is reduced to a small city and in danger of being taken over by the Elves. Therefore, Sora and Shiro enlists the help from Stephanie and later others to go on a quest to take over the world in order to reach their goal: to have a rematch with Tet, the god of Disboard.
While this show is very light-hearted since it has a lot of references to video games and Otaku subculture, it manages to be interesting at the same time. I think this mostly has to do with the author putting a lot of effort to make the games feel detailed and believable. We see this a lot with Sora and sometimes Shiro explaining how they manage to corner their opponent and win. While the games are sometimes ridiculous, especially with Magical Chess and Materialization Shiritori, it managed to feel intelligent at the same time.
However, there were a few games that gave me mixed feelings. In particular, the Existence Reversi game felt somewhat confusing since it was told from Shiro’s point of view. While Sora’s strategy was elaborate for the fact that he wanted to cripple the Elves by having Feel give false information if he won, I felt that the game could have been better if they shown it from Sora’s point of view like in the light novel. If they done it that way, the viewer would have some idea of how he deceived Clammy before Shiro took control and won the game.
As for the characters, I find most of the cast enjoyable, particularly Sora, Shiro and Stephanie. Shiro and Sora were interesting as a main character not because they are unable to fit in with society due to their intellect, but mostly for their teamwork. They were able to combine their strengths in order to come up with a solution and overcome the difficulties they face along the way. I still think that Sora receives too much credit for their victories since Shiro plays a minor part until the second half of the show. Despite this, their teamwork allows them to come up with a winning strategy that makes the victories feel believable.
As for Stephanie, she is an odd character in a good way. Although she is a smart and has potential as seen with her back story, like her father, she is bad at coming up with good strategies to win. Because of this, she mostly serves as comic relief until the last episode where she gives the last blow to Izuna. It just proves that she is not completely useless. She just needs to learn a thing from Sora and Shiro to become a better gamer instead relying on luck.
Overall, No Game No Life is not a complete masterpiece and it probably won’t interest people who are expecting the games to be deep. Even so, the strategies the siblings took is what made this show interesting to watch. Although their strategies are sometimes extreme or ridiculous due to the nature of these games, it proves that they earned their victories. If you don’t mind the fanservice and some of the ridiculousness from these games, I think No Game No Life is worth taking a look at if you are interested in gaming.
Overall Rating: 9.0/10, A-, Very Good