Random Curiosity

No Game No Life – 02 »

No Game No Life – 01

「素人《ビギナー》」 (Shirouto “Biginaa”)
“Beginner”

A brother-sister pair who are really, really good at games are thrown into a world where everything is decided by games. They’re totally broken in both personality and skill, but damn they’re fun!

An Unintuitive World

For a certain kind of person, the real world is mind-boggling. Complexity without purpose, effort without meaning, the limitless possibilities that are only restrained by the nearly limitless shackles…I can see why, to a certain kind of person, real life seems like a confusing, contradictory, thoroughly unintuitive, and above all shitty game.

Personally, I’ve never thought that. In the complexity and confusion of real life – in the many shades of gray, and the other colors besides, rather than the “logical” person’s simple black and white – is where I find my enjoyment. I don’t want the simple game, because the simple game is too easy. Oh, they can be fun to play, but in games you either win or lose, and I have no interest in a zero-sum life. I’d rather create my own rules and define my own life, because then everything important is under my control, and I can be free.

Yet that’s what makes these main character fascinating to me, because they’re nothing like me. They’re experts who are so completely unsuited for regular life as to make them broken–but I’ll take broken (and interesting) characters any day of the week. They’re silly, they’re determined, they’re ruthless, and just plain old fun. It’s as I’ve always expected – broken is a lot more fun.

Two Birds of a Feather

We’re introduced to the legendary sibling hikikomori NEET gamers 「 」 (“Kuuhaku”, lit. “blank space”) as they’re wiping the floor with twelve hundred enemies in a game all at once. Sometimes realism is nice, but often realism in fiction is overrated, and Sora (Matsuoka Yoshitsugu) and Shiro (Kayano Ai) are so far beyond realistic that the plausibility of what they do doesn’t matter anymore. Playing with their feet!? Hah! That plus the completely lack of hesitation they had in throwing away their old lives makes them a treat to watch. I respect that kind of decisiveness, even when it’s born of madness.

As for the incest angle, I’m not convinced. They’re clearly close – not an eyelash was batted about them sleeping in the same bed, and they appear to have always spent all their time together – but I don’t think anything untoward even enters these two’s minds. Yes, Sora might have mentioned that Shiro was beautiful as she is once or twice, but that’s about the extent of it. They’re just two birds of a feather, a pair of those rare souls who get each other more than words can express. Sure, maybe they really are total brocons and siscons, I’m just not seeing it yet. Nothing perverted at least. Readers no ecchi!

Imagination Fuel

I mentioned on my Mahouka post that I prefer hard fantasy to soft fantasy. And that’s true – hard fantasy is my favorite, and it’s even what I write. But I love soft fantasy too, and I write it as well. (You’ll see what I mean one day. Soon, soon…) I love all fantasy! And while hard fantasy is great, soft fantasy has a wonder all its own, and that wonder can be summarized as: Damn the rules, this is fun!

I mean, look at this! Very little of that is remotely possible, but like Sora and Shiro themselves, once you go so far past possible you can focus on just having fun. It’s cool, and the soft colors the series uses lend to the fantasy air. I have to wonder whether I’ll get tired of the almost washed out colors and art style, but for now it’s selling the feeling by blurring the world around the edges, thereby encouraging us to not focus too hard on the details. I count that as a plus for now.

The God of Play & His Ten Rules

I find gods to be fascinating, and the idea that all the gods (and most of the mortals) would kill themselves off, leaving the only one who didn’t fight to rule… Hah, serves you right! That sounds exactly like something that gods – at least the gods of most mythologies, who are really just mortals writ large, and therefore a lot more flawed/fun – would do. And it leaves us with an interesting world, with ten rules. To quote the One True God (of Play) Tet (Kugimiya Rie):

  1. All murder, war, and robbery is forbidden in this world.
  2. All conflict in this world will be resolved through games.
  3. In games, each player will bet something that they agree is of equal value.
  4. As long as it doesn’t go against number three, what they bet and the rules of the game will not be questioned.
  5. The challenged party has the right to decide the rules of the game.
  6. Any bets made in accordance with the pledges must be upheld.
  7. Conflicts between groups will be conducted by designated representatives with absolute authority.
  8. Being caught cheating during a game is grounds for an instant loss.
  9. In the name of God, the previous rules may never be changed.
  10. Let’s all have fun and play together!

Remember those. They’ve already proven themselves to be important, and I’m sure they’ll continue to be so.

The Effortless Flow of Good Storytelling

Many of the series I’ve intro’d or seen this season, even the good ones, have had adaptation problems. Most stories are designed with one medium in mind, and in transferring them to another medium it doesn’t always work. The first episode of Mahouka did an admirable job, but with so much to fit into so little time, there were signs of strain. This is a pattern repeated endlessly over the anime medium.

But not here. I was pleased with how effortless the storytelling seemed here. It just flowed, with the first half bringing them into the world and then calmly moving on with what they’re doing next. It even had the confidence to end on a low note, with the siblings deciding they don’t want to go back to their own world, before bringing out the hook after the OP played. It felt natural, like this was made for the screen, which is a rare treat.

Calculating Imouto, Tricky Nii

I like that the siblings each have skills that make them work together so well as a team. Shiro is the smart, calculating one with the intellect and mental processing power to beat chess programs designed to beat grandmasters, and to do it twenty times in a row. For my money I prefer Sora though, who has the corkscrew mentality to understand the tricky ways of mortals–and beat them at their own game.

“8. Being caught cheating during a game is grounds for an instant loss.” That means it’s okay if you don’t get caught, right? Sora came to the same realization I did, and used it to good effect. I laughed when he cheated right back against the cheater, because like in the opening battle, it’s good to see cheaters get their comeuppance. Better still was when he went full badass and berated the Innkeeper into giving them a fair price for a room. To quote a very scary man, don’t bullshit a bullshitter. I’d hate to negotiate against him. How was this boy not a millionaire?!

Looking Ahead – Game Tanoshii!

Picking shows before the season starts can be a crapshoot, but I’m inordinately pleased with this pick up so far. Crazy main characters, a fantasy world, a trickster god, and a busty girl already seeking the main characters’ assistance? Magic 8-ball says I have picked wisely, so make sure to stay tuned for more. Aschente!

tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – Broken, maladjusted geniuses are sucked into a world of games, & they couldn’t be happier. A good start. What a fun time! #nogenora 01

Random thoughts:

  • Suddenly that cheater girl got all bouncy and happy. I liked that ^^
  • “Urban legends are a kind of wish, because in reality, the least interesting answer is usually the correct one.” Humans wish reality was more like fiction, which is why we create stories and legends and drama…and therein lies the reason why Sora & Shiro are like they are. Not that it isn’t working out well for them right now.
  • There’s a 95% chance I’ll say this all season, but I love Matsuoka Yoshitsugu as Sora. He’s at his best when he’s tsukkoming or being silly-awesome, and he has some of the best comedic timing and range of any seiyuu working today.
  • He protected his imouto, d’aaww!
  • This Stephanie Dora (Hikasa Yoko) girl…it’s not often you get to hear Hikasa Yoko go full “desuwa~”. Not bad though.
  • I was wondering how they were still using their cell phones, but solar chargers, makes sense. A bit convenient, but enough was going well here that I’ll let it slide. Plus it’s nice for now, but they’re totally screwed when something breaks, or when they want a new game…which oughta take about a day at the rate these two play em.
  • No points for guessing what happens next. It’s so obvious it’s not even worth pointing out. If you don’t know what I mean, just look at the OP. Too obvious…but I’m still looking forward to it!

Check out my blog about storytelling and the novel I’m writing at stiltsoutloud.com. The last four posts: Useful lies; Missing the point; You don’t get credit for the words you don’t write; and Right, not best.

Full-length images: 30.

 

OP Sequence

OP: 「This Game」 by 鈴木このみ (Konomi Suzuki)

Preview

April 9, 2014 at 6:09 pm
122 comments »
  • April 9, 2014 at 6:22 pmPtolemaios00

    Love it! Awesome first episode. The color palette is pretty fitting. Also, I hope this also speeds up the translation of the LN.

    Sora is perfectly evil. Shiro is too cute. Steph is…fanservice (she’s like the Kurousagi of this show, haha).

    • April 10, 2014 at 7:07 amhaseo0408

      Now that you mention the translation, when I read volume 01 I don´t remember Stephanie Dora being half naked when she knocked to the door, not that I´m complaining!. XD

    • April 13, 2014 at 11:40 pmPtolemaios00

      My wishes have been answered, and translation of Volume 3 is finally progressing on BakaTsuki!

  • April 9, 2014 at 6:25 pmRyan Ashfyre

    Kamiya Yuu’s been one of my favorite authors in recent years, so it’s really awesome to see his work given the treatment it deserves; a great first episode. Can’t wait for the next one. XD

    P.S. – Shiro. Is. Too. Cute.

    • April 10, 2014 at 5:00 pmExukvera

      So cute it’s a crime. Omochikaeri!!!

  • April 9, 2014 at 6:34 pmKuntzy

    That was pretty darn enjoyable. It was nice to look at as well. (As expected of art adapated from Kamiya-sensei.)

    Colour me surprised that the sibling’s were portrayed in a normal sibling relationship. I’ve become so used to the incest craze recently that as soon as I hear siblings in a work out of Japan, I pretty much expect it. (Unless the little sister ends up being a side character and shows up infrequently.) Kudos (so far) to the author for not adhering to recent trends.

    Another thing I liked is that the siblings actually look like gamers. *cough* Kirito *cough* I’d generally expect people that throw themselves into games to at least look the part. Sora, in particular, looks like he’s been looking into a screen for long periods of time.

    Finally, I need to complain a little bit (off-topic I suppose)…

    but in games you either win or lose

    The recent trend of mobile gaming is so bad simply because this isn’t how it works. People play these stupid addicting games (like Flappy Bird or Temple Run) that isn’t even about winning or losing but seeing how high you can make your score go. What’s really the point to this? A game with no end is just boring…

    One last thing. (for real this time.)

    10. Let’s all have fun and play together!

    If only this was how gaming in real life worked…

    • April 9, 2014 at 7:09 pmStilts

      A game with no end isn’t necessarily bad. In fact, that’s how life is – there’s no single thing that makes you win, you just keep playing until you can’t any longer. That’s fine. What I personally find objectionable about those is they’re not fun.

      Like Tet in the war between the gods, the only way to win is to not play. Flappy Bird and such, I mean. Keep playing life :P

    • April 9, 2014 at 7:42 pmil-Palazzo

      Notice that rule 10 comes after rule 9: All the above rules are absolute according to God.

      When you think about that you can almost see [sarcasm][/sarcasm] tag around rule 10.

      • April 9, 2014 at 8:02 pmKuntzy

        That’s true I guess…

        That’s just my annoyance towards the gaming community in general (rage-quitters, lag switchers, hackers, griefers, etc.) coming out. It’s pretty much the main reason I tend to stay away from online games like FPS’s lately. Give me an RPG to last me a good 40 or more hours and I’m all good. (FFVII remake pls Squeenix.)

      • April 9, 2014 at 8:23 pmStilts

        Personally, I’ve been doing more tabletop gaming. People are less of dicks when they’re friends you’ve known for years, and also they’re within striking distance. Does wonders ^^

      • April 9, 2014 at 10:33 pmSK

        The being less of a dick in part doesn’t always hold for me, Stilts, especially when 2 or 3 people in a group love to troll (in a good way, with people who can take it, not the ruining the game and friendships way). I do agree that being within striking range tends to keep it under control though.

      • April 9, 2014 at 11:02 pmStilts

        Nyahaha, that’s true! But it’s still fun, so I don’t mind : )

  • April 9, 2014 at 6:34 pmVsAllGaming

    This was an anime I was looking forward to and I definitely enjoyed the first episode.
    In some ways Sora had reminded me of Shiroe from Log Horizon aha.

  • April 9, 2014 at 6:36 pmbelatkuro

  • April 9, 2014 at 6:38 pmPancakes

    This is by far the largest otaku pandering, wish fulfillment show to come out in a while. That sentence alone would be enough to write it off, but Madhouse has so far made this a must watch.

    I always like shows with solid male MCs, the no holds barred, don’t give a sh*t ones who best represent what most of us guys are actually like one life kicks your a*s enough; Sora is definitely one of them and a welcome relief to what we normally get in the form of the soft, shy, emotionally embarrassed, outwardly ignorant, and morally naive harem male usually featured in these types of shows. Although not a fan of the loli in general, Shiro is alright because there is no (definite) incest angle here. She is not overly sexual like some other shows (looking at you Black Bullet) and instead comes across more as a naive and isolated little sister. It allows for better character development to make her something more than just token fan service (which Madhouse has also apparently toned down from the source material).

    Combine that with the wonderful art we have here (offsetting colours combined with nice shading and very good backgrounds; it almost screams cyberpunk to me) and a tight, simple plot and we have what so far is set up to be a very good show this season. Of course things could all fall apart, but I’m liking what I see enough so far to watch this all the way through.

    • April 9, 2014 at 7:20 pmStilts

      I read your first sentence and I was like “Oh what the heck!”–and then I saw that it was you, and kept reading. Makes a lot more sense now!

      For the record, wish fulfillment isn’t necessarily bad. That’s one of the nice things about fiction, preferably when it doesn’t pander – and I don’t think this panders, because that would involve a rabu-rabu imouto and many other things that this show isn’t exhibiting yet. It’s definitely wish fulfillment though, and that’s one of the things that makes it fun!

    • April 9, 2014 at 8:06 pmPancakes

      Geeze Stilts I thought you would know not to read a book (comment) by its cover :P

      I agree that wish fulfillment is never a bad thing, but it has to be done right. All the good examples usually lack the pandering (or at least its excesses), with the most recent example being that of Log Horizon. It’s why looking at the surface NGNL could be considered pure pandering. After all we have a hikkikomori male with a hikkikomori little sister (who also happens to possess Lucky Star-level moe), both of whom love each other and are now in a world where what they excel at is the only form of competition. Anyone could be forgiven for thinking this would be nothing but saccharine fan service with minimal plot and superficial (female) characters all focused around one male MC who will ultimately save the day.

      Yet we lack all of these points so far. There is no incest (that alone is huge), the voyeur shots are near non-existent, the male MC is not fawned over by every female that comes into contact with him (might change based on next episode’s preview), and he is so far not an invincible Gary Stu that succeeds through deus ex machina (as evidenced by using cheating to win). This is what currently makes NGNL good, it’s a stereotypical concept largely devoid of fan service fat, instead appearing to focus on the psychology and mental aspect of the competition itself. Wish fulfillment for nerds, I’m loving it.

      • April 9, 2014 at 8:26 pmStilts

        One of the big things for me is that Sora isn’t the only main character. The main characters are Sora and Shiro, which will hopefully keep it from going too far into the lowest common denominator type of wish fulfillment and keep it on the fun part, where geeks are badasses because they’re good at games. That’s the wish I want to see!

  • April 9, 2014 at 6:40 pmWanderer

    Magnificent. Probably the best first episode of the season, and lots of potential for greatness to come. The art is beautiful, the imouto is one of the most adorable and awesome things ever, the princess (who seems to have lost even her clothes in that game) is gorgeous and her personality as displayed thus far seems great… This is going to be a treat.

    It’s interesting how our children chose to deal with that cheater (she cheated at least twice that I saw: dealing from the bottom, and palming a card instead of drawing). Instead of going for the win by default and calling her on it, they chose to cheat better and solidly defeat her. That sort of thing is definitely more likely to build their reputation than just catching all the cheating that undoubtedly goes on, but there is obviously the risk of them being caught cheating themselves. They’ve got the souls of gamblers, it seems (although I suppose that should be obvious by this point).

    One last thing… Did they just beat the god of games at chess?!

    • April 9, 2014 at 6:56 pmbelatkuro

      One last thing… Did they just beat the god of games at chess?!

      Yes, yes they did. Watch as how they make use of that fact later on.

    • April 9, 2014 at 7:16 pmStilts

      Another thing I like – mortal characters who best gods. Take that you holier than though immortal sob! *cackles malevolently*

      • April 9, 2014 at 11:07 pmMincemaker

        An average day in Dark Souls.

      • April 11, 2014 at 6:22 pmmichaelman90

        Tet doesn’t really strike me as holier-than-thou; heck, he even abstained from participating in the stupid war over total dominion.

        Speaking of Tet, I think Kugimiya Rie did a great job with his voice. I tend to like her non-tsundere-loli roles better than her usual ones.

  • April 9, 2014 at 6:42 pmricz

    Pretty good first episode
    I really liked the LN

    So I’m pretty sure I’m gonna enjoy the anime too

  • April 9, 2014 at 6:46 pms_w

    It’s interesting to see how pink and purple everything is from the screenshots. I didn’t get that impression when watching the show, though, but man, someone *really* likes pink and purple.

    So far, so good. Wednesdays are looking good so far.

    • April 9, 2014 at 6:57 pmRyan Ashfyre

      Kamiya-sensei really likes his gradients when it comes to his lead females; his signature touch, if you will.

  • April 9, 2014 at 6:55 pmichigo_daisuki

    I thank you for the coverage, Stilts and Random Curiosity. I look forward to watching the adventures of Sora and Shiro.

    On another note, you can make your username like this!?

    • April 9, 2014 at 7:22 pmStilts

      No problem : )

      And in most games, I don’t think you can. Yet another way they defy good sense, I guess XD

      • April 10, 2014 at 8:45 am⁣⁣⁣

        I don’t know. Maybe it’s possible though :D.

  • April 9, 2014 at 7:12 pmAmiluhur

    Would’ve appreciated the show a bit more if the visuals weren’t so over-coloured and over-filtered. It just feels kinda jarring to my eyes, especially in a dark room when the only source of light is the computer’s screen. But that’s just a little nitpick.

    Regarding the episode itself, i have a kinda mixed feelings on it. Sure, i enjoyed the dynamic between two siblings which, thanks to their VAs, reminds me a lot of ol’ good days of Sakurasou. I also appreciated the spectacular avatar vs avatar combat on the first 5 minutes or so. That was simply intense. The downside though, the premiere kinda failed to deliver the game from conventional/technical standpoint. No techniques, no strategies, no tactics whatsoever. It’s basically just the siblings keep winning over and over again. I’d also half-expected the poker game with the busty woman to at least being executed in, say, Kaiji-esque manner. But it simply didn’t happen and i was bored by the end result. I’ve no idea if it’s caused by time restrain or whatnot. But such executions, in my opinions, kinda cheapens the “game” aspect of the show.

    Will probably give it 2 or more episodes, though i won’t be expecting too much.

    • April 9, 2014 at 7:18 pmboingman

      Sounds like you hoped for more explanations. Wonder if we’ll get those in later episodes or if we’ll have to accept that those aren’t that important in this show.

    • April 9, 2014 at 7:25 pmStilts

      Like I said in my post; this is soft fantasy, so you shouldn’t go in expecting everything to be spelled out. Mind you, it’s not the softest of fantasy, so I expect we’ll get some things, and the more important games between named characters will probably have them, but here the whole point of the card game was to show that people cheat, and that Sora can cheat better. That was accomplished, so I’m glad they didn’t waste more time when there was world- and character-building to do.

      For now. I’ll want more of that later on!

  • April 9, 2014 at 7:14 pmboingman

    > 3. In games, each player will BET something
    typo

    Impressive first episode. Those colors! Those eyes!
    So instead of fighting, Kirito has to play/cheat to save the girl/princess in this world? ;)
    It’s been a while that I last heard Hikasa Yoko in a role that is not a strong woman (last time Myuu in Rogue hero). If hadn’t known beforehand, I’d have never recognized her.
    Btw. that Queen character at the beginning sounded like Taneda Risa. Anyone who knows if that was really her?

    • April 9, 2014 at 7:24 pmbelatkuro

      http://randomc.net/image/No%20Game%20No%20Life/No%20Game%20No%20Life%20-%2001%20-%20Large%2038.jpg
      QUEEN: 種田梨沙
      Yes, it’s Taneda Risa alright. She’s fast becoming one of my favorite seiyuus.

      • April 9, 2014 at 7:35 pmboingman

        Thx, I had checked both her MAL page as well as animenewsnetwork, but that Queen character might be too unimportant to show up in her profile. Maybe someone will add it later.

    • April 9, 2014 at 7:26 pmStilts

      Thanks for the catch. Typed those out while watching and didn’t check them. Whoops :X

      Good ears on Taneda Rise. I knew I recognized her, but couldn’t put my finger on it.

  • April 9, 2014 at 7:27 pmSynic

    i feel inadequate playing all mmorpgs with one mouse, one keyboard, & one character at a time. =.=”

    • April 9, 2014 at 8:27 pmStilts

      I’ve played 4 characters at once before, but it was in raids in Everquest where it was all about timing and I usually didn’t have to do a lot of moving. I did have timers running so I could tab through the four different accounts quickly, though! Shit was hardcore, though not playing-characters-with-my-feet level of hardcore, lol

      • April 10, 2014 at 10:30 amSynic

        Haha, the most i’ve ever done was playing two accounts on Maplestory with a 2x exp mule. I’ve never tried Everquest so it’s hard to visualize what would be going on.

        Side note, i gotta hand it to Matsuoka Yoshitsugu. I definitely like his DGAF attitude for Sora. I aspire to have my voice carry that much weight!

  • April 9, 2014 at 7:39 pmLonghaul

    Oh man the colors, I do love me some gradient.

  • April 9, 2014 at 7:43 pmDivini

    Definitely THE season of the loli/imouto.

    We got Miyuki, the greatest brocon little sister ever… Enju, the genki loli girlfriend with her surprise kisses… and Shiro, the most adorable loli imouto that you just want to cuddle. Kyaaaaa~~!!

    *death by moe*

  • April 9, 2014 at 7:49 pmWanderer

    You know, rule 9 says the previous rules may never be changed. But there’s a major flaw there. Two, actually. The less important one is that rule 10 can still be changed. The more significant one, is that, technically, rule 9 itself is allowed to be changed, which could then allow all of the other rules to be changed.

    • April 9, 2014 at 8:04 pmRyan Ashfyre

      Ultimately though, one would have to abide by the rules to even hope to be able to change the rules, and that would mean challenging Tet to a game; though what one could put up that would equal the authority to change the rules of an entire world, I haven’t the faintest idea. Surely even one’s life or the life of one’s impossibly adorable sister would pale in comparison.

      That said, though you technically have a point, I’m not sure if I would call a flaw that’s next to impossible to exploit a “major flaw”.

      • April 9, 2014 at 8:08 pmWanderer

        Technically the siblings have already beaten him in a game, and no official bet was made, nor an agreement as to the reward to be offered…

      • April 9, 2014 at 8:15 pmRyan Ashfyre

        @Wanderer:

        While true, that game occurred in the ‘real’ world where the 10 Pledges have no power, and one could say that Tet already paid for that loss when he brought Sora and Shiro over to his world. Where’s the obligation for him to do anything more than that?

    • April 9, 2014 at 8:15 pmPancakes

      One or two lives maybe, but what about an entire race? After all the premise is that humanity in this world is on the back foot and these two may be able to do something about it. If Sora for example would come to lead humanity, it’s not impossible that he could bet all of humanity on changing the rules to solidify humanity’s standing in the world. And we already know he’s not adverse to betting lives on questionable returns.

      More interesting is the game itself. After all in this scenario Tet would be the one allowed to both choose the game and the rules associated with it as he is the one being challenged.

      • April 9, 2014 at 8:31 pmRyan Ashfyre

        @Pancakes:

        Setting aside whether or not Sora and Shiro could actually pull all that off, where’s the incentive for them to do that? To say that they don’t have a particular fondness for humanity would be putting it lightly, so what possible reason could they have to put so much on the line for a race they so readily abandoned in their home world?

      • April 9, 2014 at 9:28 pmPancakes

        Personally I haven’t a damn clue :D, it’s simply an example which could make use of the flaws Wanderer pointed out. Anything is possible at this point as we still don’t know what the main conflict is going to be in this show beyond having to do with “helping” humanity.

    • April 9, 2014 at 8:31 pmStilts

      An interesting point, and it could have some potentially. Personally I thought of it as merely Tet giving himself an “out” to change the rules if he wanted to, though I suppose, being the One True God and all that, he can do that regardless. Very interesting possibilities here…

      @Pancakes

      I’m not sure Sora or Shiro would try to solidify humanity’s standing like that. After all, where’s the fun if they don’t have to play games anymore? :D

  • April 9, 2014 at 7:51 pmil-Palazzo

    Now I need to find a way to stick “For gaming ONLY” label to my iPad as soon as possible. Probably have to find some alphabet beads and make a strap with it.

    Pink and purple beats green and brown any day.

  • April 9, 2014 at 7:53 pmThasero

    I really appreciated the explanation of the mythological history – it was brief enough not to break the flow, yet told you exactly how the world works and why Tet did what he did. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a high-concept fantasy world explained so deftly and completely.

    Also, a quick pun note: Sora’s name 空 and Shiro’s name 白 when placed together form the word 空白, or “Blank”, their gaming nickname.

  • April 9, 2014 at 8:15 pmZhinvu

    This reminded me so much of Mondaiji-tachi, where it’s also set in a world where things are decided through games, and like Izayoi, Sora’s skills may well be considered overpowered. That’s just my impression from this pilot episode. That and Shiro reminded me of Touwa Erio.

    • April 9, 2014 at 8:32 pmStilts

      Sora AND Shiro. They’re both main characters, and of the two Shiro is probably the more overpowered anyway. Dat big, beautiful brain!

      • April 10, 2014 at 12:28 amZhinvu

        Right again Stilts. I guess it was because it was Sora doing most of the pwning in this episode that he was the only one I associated with Izayoi. If you put it that way, then I’ll be following this looking forward to when it’s going to Shiro’s turn to do some pwning of her own.

    • April 9, 2014 at 8:39 pmKuntzy

      I don’t really know if you can really considered his skill op though.

      I think the main problem is that, eventually, they’re going to need to show us how he managed to cultivate that skill. You can’t just magically become good at spotting lies and cheating, especially if you’re a shut-in like him. I’m sure that probably has a lot to do with how he became a shut-in in the first place though, and judging that one the first episode isn’t really a good thing to do on my part, lol.

      • April 9, 2014 at 9:52 pmtsukioniisan

        Either he’s innately smart (I can’t really label him dumb from what I seen so far – more like he’s logical, much like Shiroe from Log Horizon), or the skills he has was born from being a game-loving shut-in. Or it can be both. Take note that being a full time shut-in gives you privilege to absurd amount of “free” time. And with that free time, he did what he wanted to do – game, gaming, and more gaming (researching game bugs, cheats, visiting gamefaqs or whatever you have to do to beat a certain game). All the while honing the skills or ability you acquire through gaming like hand-eye coordination, motor skills, eyesight, decision making, etc.

        Eitherway, since the show is one of a fictionfantasy-esque entertainment, I wouldn’t really care much about realistic explanations and stuff. The author can throw in anything logic defying just to have us viewers go “wow, that’s cool”.

      • April 9, 2014 at 9:53 pmStilts

        Hmmmm, you may be right Kuntzy. He may have been just a little too good at that kind of thing, which is why the rest of the people around him turned again him (like I assume they turned against Shiro for her uber smarts).

      • April 9, 2014 at 11:17 pmdaikama

        @Kuntzy:I don’t really know if you can really considered his skill op though.

        I’m not sure if I agree though I view them as a single “team”/”entity” rather than individuals since that’s the setup (i.e. [ ]). Frankly, given the setting, I’m a bit concerned that they are too OP/hax – Never losing a game with scores far above everyone else’s. Up for 5 straight days (120 hours awake!? really?) during which they defeat a MMORPG guild of 1200 while one of them uses their feet to control the mouse (2 mice?). Right after that, they defeat the “god of games”… at a game before transporting to a world in which everything is decided upon by… games. Only one episode as you say, but the setup so far seems like these two will pawn anyone and everyone.

        I liked Mondaiji a lot (picked up the LN post anime), and one concern I had after the first episode was Izayoi being OP/hax for the setting. By the end of Mondaiji anime (LN vol. 02), thankfully that proved not to be the case (e.g. he couldn’t defeat Pest/Black Percher on his own and was injured fighting her servant). I’m hoping the same will prove true for NGNL.

        ————————————–

        @Stilts: I agree with you about the execution – specifically the pacing. Some of the 1st episodes I’ve watch so far this season felt like there’s some unspoken competition among anime directors to see who can cover the most source material in one episode. :( Not the case here at all, and TBH, I wish the others (including MKnR as you note) had the same level of execution.

      • April 10, 2014 at 12:41 amZhinvu

        From all the things pointed out here, yeah from just one episode it might be a bit too hasty to say the Blank siblings will be overpowered throughout this series. As pointed out it would be nice to hear some exposition later on how they became what they are, and Stilts’s theory of them being too talented that they’re shunned by their peers is a very possible angle.

        @daikama – I also hope that’s gonna be the case, where they’ll eventually face someone that’s gonna be a challenge so at least the games won’t be too one-sided. I’m going into this blind as I never read the light novels.

      • April 10, 2014 at 8:10 amKuntzy

        @tsukioniisan

        What I mean is that the ability to catch lies and spot cheating is derived from human contact. I can hardly believe that someone who stays indoors and only interacts in person (though we end up having to ask the question of where they get their food and gadgets from, so maybe he does go out of the house) with his little sister is capable of reading human behavior to such a degree at all. I know there’s people who think they can, but this guy’s just a little too good at it for ‘just thinking’. Human psychology just isn’t a skill you can cultivate through games. That’s basically why I said they need to show it; mostly for character development purposes, and so he’s not that good at his signature ability ‘just because’.

        @Stilts

        That wasn’t quite what I was going for, but it’s not too far off. What I meant was that he gained the ability as a result of the reason he became a shut-in. People may have screwed him over with lies and deceit so much that he started to pick up on subtle human behavior, therefore causing him to sort of lose his faith in humanity (people lie quite a bit after all, even for small things) and retreat to a safe haven (his room). That obviously doesn’t account for Shiro though.

        Honestly, I’m probably just overthinking things. It’s only the first episode and I’m already speculating on something that probably won’t take too long to be revealed. When dealing with shut-ins who hate life, there’s always a reason.

      • April 10, 2014 at 8:51 amStilts

        @Kuntzy

        Oh, I know what you were talking about, it just made me come up with my own theory on the matter. That he acquired this skill before he became a shut-in – and it was the reason he became a shut-in – just seems more likely to me.

      • April 10, 2014 at 3:06 pmKuntzy

        @Stilts

        lol, my bad then.

        The wording made it almost sound like you were agreeing with me, which is where the confusion sprung up.

  • April 9, 2014 at 8:58 pmDangerism

    Broken logic: hikikomoris don’t leave their rooms, so why on earth would they have a solar charger in the first place?

    Anyway, great first episode, looking forward to seeing the fantasy world in earnest.

    • April 9, 2014 at 9:55 pmStilts

      Ahaha, true. Mind you, having a solar charger when you live in a city is pretty silly period, but that’s one of those leaps of minor logic I’m willing to tolerate when so much else is going well. One little thing once in a while is fine : )

    • April 9, 2014 at 11:09 pmMincemaker

      In case of black out, you have solar charger to keep your gadgets running for a little while longer.

  • April 9, 2014 at 9:23 pmtsukioniisan

    Holy 7ck this is awesome.

  • April 9, 2014 at 9:45 pmMuhimu

    Very decent start though I have to wonder where this is all going.

    I REALLY hope this doesnt just become the ultimate cheat-fest because focusing on the Games would become increasingly boring and from what I can see from OP and something little bit from this EP is the lacking amount of male characters beside Sora so this might go the standard Harem route and if that is the case I dont see Character Developtment any time soon.

    Its weird to have such thoughts after enjoying the first episode so I hope NGNL proves me wrong hard.

  • April 9, 2014 at 9:50 pmGinobi47

    Hand over Shiro and no one gets hurt…

  • April 9, 2014 at 10:37 pmeryx01

    awesome anime can’t wait for more, I love Shiro she’s just the cutest <3

  • April 9, 2014 at 11:25 pmTassadar

    When imouto talks: All I hear is Shiina, Mashiro Shiina!

  • April 9, 2014 at 11:28 pmewok40k

    Let’s all have fun and play together!

    That’s one thing that probably will come back to bite the twins…
    Why? because they never play for fun. Their objective is to win at all costs, and I wonder if the life in this new world will teach them anything.

    I think their personal development might be better thing to watch than their continued curbstomping of various gamblers on the way. Even the God of Games himself probably doesnt know how it will end. The very specific wording of the “Gaming LawS” suggests the twins might actually end up changing the very rules of the world, just like certain overpowered gamer in Log Horizon…

    I also like their completely asexual, yet intimate realtionship. Especially the moment where in face of danger Sora moves instinctively to protect Shiro. They might be broken, yet still they have human feelings, and in the right direction!

    • April 10, 2014 at 8:54 amStilts

      They clearly do love one another, just not in the way most anime fans assume. Which is, as many commenters have noted, a nice change.

      And I wouldn’t be so sure that they don’t play for fun. They look like they’ve been having a lot of fun since they got to this world, and even back on Earth. I think they only play for fun, but the aim is to win, and winning is fun.

    • April 11, 2014 at 8:39 pmTrapMaster

      For me, I think one problem (don’t take my words for it) that might bite back at them is maybe at the end, the siblings are forced to face off against each other with a really high stake? I’m completely guessing here, but it seems like a viable root that the plot can take, but we’ll see :P

  • April 9, 2014 at 11:30 pmTeutates

    if it stays true to the manga that i read 6 chapters from Show Spoiler ▼

    not that it does matter as i don’t think it has a romantic angle as Stilts wrote.

    Its an epic story and a must watch :)

  • April 9, 2014 at 11:47 pmZJZJ

    I don’t feel like there’s any incest too, and that’s a good thing for me.
    I’m not usually a fan of those cute, quiet, small characters everyone adores, but I love Shiro so much already! I don’t feel like they are trying overly hard to make her cute, but she is just adorable.
    I have a feeling the princess girl will be more than just the usual damsel in distress. She seems pretty naive to me right now but I hope she’ll be able to make me like her even more soon!

  • April 10, 2014 at 12:18 amWiley

    certainly the best episode of this season so far. As you said this was very welll adapted and had just the right flow.

    It was where Hitsugi no Chaikas first episode went a bit wrong. I liked it all the same (have been looking forward to it for some time now)

    But they compressed alot of stuff into that first episode and sadly never got the “flow” like in this episode. Black Bullet suffered from the same aswell(still good tho, gogo enju).

    Overall this is shaping up to be a great season for me.

  • April 10, 2014 at 12:50 amEdge Maverick

    SAKURASOU NO PET NA KANOJO!!!

  • April 10, 2014 at 1:03 amJeremyTMH

    Stilts edit: Don’t be a dick. Wrap your spoilers. Show Spoiler ▼

    • April 10, 2014 at 1:12 amWanderer

      Dude. Spoiler.

    • April 10, 2014 at 1:58 amFaolan

      Best thing is, Stilts edit: Mark your spoilers you fools! Show Spoiler ▼

      The best thing is how their reactions are in sync, like how they both answer how life sucks and such :)

      Show Spoiler ▼

    • April 10, 2014 at 10:44 amSynic

      no glove. no love.

  • April 10, 2014 at 1:49 amMutare

    Haha, great to see the seiyuus of Sora(ta) and (Ma)Shiro come together XD, quick bit of trivia their names Sora 空 and Shiro 白 make kuuhaku 空白 or ‘blank’ which is their ingame name!

  • April 10, 2014 at 2:19 amAnonymous

    Why do I get the feeling that Kugimiya God is also a NEET elite gamer from Earth who somehow managed to attain mastery of this world?

    Madhouse not doing one but two series featuring “wincest” siblings curb-stomping everything around them this season, hell yeah!

    Matsuoka Kiritsugu is still widely known for his role as Kirito, him being cast as elite gamer Sora is a no brainer here. He is reunited with Kayano Ai from Sakurasou, and much like Mashiro, Shiro is another one of her aloof genius roles.

    • April 10, 2014 at 2:30 amAnonymous

      Typo: Matsuoka Yoshitsugu. I blame myself watching too much Fate Zero reruns not long ago. lol

  • April 10, 2014 at 2:24 amSam

    This series is the perfect escapist fantasy for introverted gamers. Let’s be fair; real life truly is a shitty game, and naysayers are likely people blessed with high starting parameters, smiled upon by the cosmic RNG.

    As one aspiring author to another, Stilts, how did you get into fantasy if real life was enough for you?

    • April 10, 2014 at 9:01 amStilts

      Because I’d rather have both ; )

      I’m greedy. I don’t just want one world, I want all of them, and I want to be the master of some to boot. It’s not that I write fantasy because I want to escape reality – reality is fine; quite a lot of it is fun, even if some is tiresome – but because I can’t not. I’d love to be able to stop. It’s a lot of work for uncertain pay (both monetarily and emotionally). I can’t seem to stop though, so I have no choice but to keep on going.

  • April 10, 2014 at 4:19 amofislacker

    We need a full length picture for #7!

    • April 10, 2014 at 9:02 amStilts

      Ahaha, sorry. I tried, but that text played havoc with my combining techniques. Have to look elsewhere to see if anyone else got it.

  • April 10, 2014 at 5:08 amSalleus

    I keep hearing sorata and mashiro lol

    • April 10, 2014 at 9:12 amVincent

      You’re not the only one LOL

  • April 10, 2014 at 5:10 amRed HeartGold ZX

    This reminds me of Log Horizon. Shiroe = Sora xD

    • April 11, 2014 at 7:18 amBenigmatica

      Well, you may add Mondaiji to that ’cause it’s similar, minus the world changing part.

  • April 10, 2014 at 6:31 amXxVanitasXx

    Okay, this anime is just amazing. I love the art direction and the colors! Awesome siblings are awesome. Shiro is a freaking cutie!

  • April 10, 2014 at 6:56 amCroos

    R.I.P Stilts. May you live while watching a lot. :D

  • April 10, 2014 at 9:49 amGiorno Giovanna

    “To quote a very scary man, don’t bullshit a bullshitter. I’d hate to negotiate against him. How was this boy not a millionaire?!”

    >filthy riajuu logic

    • April 11, 2014 at 11:29 amGoodStuffs

      straight answer: his daddy/mommy wasnt one.

      So unless a pro gamer gets paid millions this boy is prob as good as a salary man godly players make money but not that kind of money :P or dooo they maybe…if hes also a poker player? he seems only interested in gaming having fun not getting rich / makin money gettin laid you know what im sayin? but he does has a shot at world domination! Owning the fantasy world with VP imouto.

      • April 12, 2014 at 5:12 pmTre

        Never understood why more high caliber gamers don’t become day traders.

        Well, I guess maybe some are. Hedge funds are probably full of young gamers.

      • April 12, 2014 at 5:47 pmStilts

        @GoodStuffs

        I was referring to how he could kill at business with those skills. Mind you, having the skills but not the desire renders those skills functionally useless, which is the exactly reason why Sora isn’t a millionaire. I was mostly joking though, obviously

        @Tre

        Because day trading is a shitty business that provides no value to the world. Truly smart (or perhaps just wise) people would avoid such a waste of time.

  • April 10, 2014 at 12:11 pmRick Anime

    So far this seems like a great show. Pleasantly surprised to see this will be blogged all season!! Thank you

  • April 10, 2014 at 3:17 pmTrapMaster

    Man this is probably one of the only series so far that really has piqued my interest, the rest of the series are fun, but this I can feel so much more even from the first episode! XD

    The animation is really nice and I like the colourful, soft colouring of the backgrounds and to top it off, we have a pair of badass siblings who are anything but ordinary and as Stilts said, the story felt so slippery smooth, out of most anime I’ve seen ever (and that’s a lot) this is probably one of the best, smoothest 1st episode I’ve seen. Really I’m looking forward to see what this series has to offer!

    BTW Shiro is too HGNNNNNN I can’t take it, 2 lolis so far this season from series I’ve seen(other one being anju from black bullet)! and sora is so badass I can’t contain my excitement! I loved his style of cheating, “negotiating”, and playing mind games with people who are trying to do the same to him and completely outwitting them! its so fresh to see a badass character in anime!

  • April 10, 2014 at 5:15 pmsealouse

    Ah. A breath of fresh air. The one thing that’s bothering me though is the fact that technically cheating is robbery, you just don’t know you’re getting robbed so whatever I’m just gonna look at the pretty colors.

  • April 10, 2014 at 5:36 pmbolton

    this is as close to perfection as it can get. i love how we can refer to the protagonists as a brother-sister pair without the implication of an incestuous relationship. i’m not one to knock it down, but sometimes enough is enough, and pure sibling platonic love rules supreme. i can’t really say much other than this show looks to be really awesome. i have a feeling the endgame goal here is to fight Tet-sama for the right to rule supreme, but perhaps a contemplation on how life isn’t completely shitty as a game would be cool too.

    unrelated, but i REALLY want those poker cards!!!

  • April 10, 2014 at 5:58 pmHochmeister

    Probably the strongest opening of the season so far… I’m enjoying the premise and the characters; this is how you do loving siblings without making it creepy *cough*Mahouka*cough* Shiro reminds me a bit of my kid brother who’s about the same age. They must never meet! She’s far too good for the brat.

    As others have said the setting reminds me a lot of Mondaiji, which I liked, so hopefully we’re in for a fun ride with noincestpleasenoincestpleasenoincestpleasenoincestpleasenoincestpleaseNOINCESTPLEASE!

  • April 10, 2014 at 10:03 pmKairoru

    It time for another adventure with Sora(ta) and (Ma)Shiro.

    Heck, the seiyuu is also unchanged!! Now all we need is for Sora(ta) to do more tsukkomi!

  • April 11, 2014 at 12:15 amBakapooru

    Maybe it went by too fast even with repeating the scene, but how did Sora chea? And the other girl with the spy?

    • April 11, 2014 at 1:31 ambelatkuro

      It was never mentioned in the LN/manga how Sora cheated in that poker. We just know he did. Ultimately, the purpose of that game was to know that you could cheat in a game even with the existing rule.
      As for the girl with the spy and how she cheated, that’s next episode. Why would Stephanie Dora would knock on their room otherwise? Definitely not to have a threesome with the siblings.

  • April 11, 2014 at 3:20 amWaffuRefu

    I don’t remember Steph in the novel losing her clothes, must be fan service for the anime I guess.

  • April 11, 2014 at 11:33 ammagoiichi

    I think Tet should hire this guy to keep his world safe from cheaters.

    Intersting anime, will continue to watch, creating even more of a backlog D;

    • April 11, 2014 at 6:35 pmmichaelman90

      I don’t think Tet would be interested in keeping his world safe from cheaters. He already made a rule that says if you get caught cheating you lose automatically; if you can successfully cheat despite that rule then that speaks for your game-playing skill and you deserve to win. It makes life more interesting, too…at least in that world.

      • April 11, 2014 at 9:35 pmmagoiichi

        Yeah, Tet is giving me Nagi No Asukara’s Uroko vibes. The indifference coming from Tet is obvious.

  • April 11, 2014 at 7:45 pmCassandra H.

    I see what you mean with the soft fantasy. With Shiro and Sora like you mentioned think they are just so similar in the way they are and that is why they stick so close together but no brocons and siscon’s vibes from them. With No Game No Life you should not take it too seriously but just have fun. I think picked well on No Game No Life too. Enjoying it a lot.

  • April 11, 2014 at 9:25 pmergZay

    They said no murder was allowed, but they made no mention of harming people or sexual assault… I doubt we’ll see that in this series, but there’s a big loophole there.

  • April 13, 2014 at 5:16 pmTheMoondoggie

    So here’s our high fantasy cute loli adventure anime! Croos has been bugging me to watch this and gave it a go.

    It’s not so bad, it really has a very original concept… if Mondaiji didn’t exist in this dimension LOLOLOLOLOLOLOL. But maybe this will turn out to be good, so I guess I’ll keep watching.

  • April 13, 2014 at 9:37 pmbobon721

    Is no one ever gonna mention that it’s the seiyuu of Sorata AND Mashiro of Sakurasou voicing Sora AND Shiro of No Game No Life, respectively?

  • April 14, 2014 at 2:58 ama box like Hippo

    I don’t really watch this sort of anime/just haven’t seen one that I like, but found this to be pretty great so far. Bring on episode 2!

  • April 27, 2014 at 3:49 amKamui04

    Was watching ep. 1 again and when Sora mentioned they skydived from around 10,000 meters, the nerd in me really wanted to know if it was true and if the time it took was correct.
    In a belly-to-earth skydiving position like they did, terminal velocity for average person is around 200km/h, at that speed it takes you 3 minutes to fall 10,000 meters. Well they fell for roughly 2 mins, but if we take into account that he was carrying Shiro close to him, adding weight and wasn’t spreading his arms lowering resistance and using the terminal velocity formula, he would have been traveling at 260-270 km/h. Which cuts the time close to those 2 mins. So distance and times are roughly correct, pretty surprising. O.O

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