「起死回生《フェイクエンド》」 (Kishikaisei “Feiku Endo”)
“Fake End”

A tour de force of mind games, games theory, and betting it all for a chance to beat the world, punctuated with one of the most effectively unsettling endings to any episode this season. I still don’t feel like I can take a full breath, lest the world shatters.

Gap Moe & the Justifiably Angry Jii-san

Starting off on the lighter side of things, kemonomimi loli!! This episode we were introduced to Hatsuse Izuna (Sawashiro Miyuki), the foul-mouted (but trying to be polite? HAH!) kemonomimi miko loli who likes being patted by Sora & Shiro. But the most surprising thing for me was hearing Sawashiro Miyuki in a role where I didn’t immediately recognize her as Sawashiro Miyuki. Wait, she has range? I thought she only had the one voice! It’s a good voice, mind you, and I enjoy her work, but it’s always painfully obvious its her. First Hikasa Yoko, now this. Director Ishizuka-san is getting some really good performances out of her seiyuu.

Even funnier was the assistant ambassador and Izuna-tan’s grandfather, Hatsuse Ino (Mugihito). Super muscular, super vulgar, and super pissed jii-san was a riot! I’m always happy to see that No Game No Life can pack in the laughs even when the plot is going strong and everyone is acting badass. That’s a delicate trick to accomplish.

The Secret of the Warbeast

I’m on the record as hating mind control, and mind reading isn’t much higher on my list. It saps away everything interesting in a story if characters can casually read other’s deepest, darkest secrets. That’s why this is, by far, the best (or at least my favorite) application of mind reading I’ve seen in a long time.

I knew something was fishy last episode, when we learned that the Warbeasts kept beating the Elves (and Imanity) despite being third from last, and how they had such a game-breaking power like mind reading, which should have led to them baiting everyone into playing against them, but they weren’t doing that. If my nation had that kind of power, I would have kept it hidden and used it to destroy every single race at every single game, but that’s not what they did. Instead they used it as a deterrent. That made me think it was a bluff, not the least because that’s what I would do in their place. (Storyteller and marketer, remember? Lying is kind of my thing.) I kept that to myself though, because I’ve been wrong before, and because the reveals the show does are sooo much more fun than me pontificating on the answer.

Looks like that was right on the money. Turns out the Warbeasts can read a person’s body, and find out if they’re lying that way (except against a total sociopath, but that’s another matter entirely), which, combined with some decent intuition and maybe a bit of prudent spying, should be able to mimic mind control well enough to the incautious opponent. Unfortunately for the Eastern Federation, Sora & Shiro are far smarter than that.

Backed Into a Corner

I’m not going to go into all the ways Sora and Shiro were awesome this episode, because we’d be here all day. From extrapolating that the Warbeasts’ mind reading was a lie from the old king’s gambit to how they realized the Warbeasts were winning via video game because of their memory wiping + they’re the only ones technologically advanced enough to make the things + Jibril had forgotten about the monitors (that was especially impressive), it was a tour de force of awesome (and mostly reasonable) intuition.

But what took it to the next level was how they kept the Warbeasts from running away. Sora & Shiro backed the Warbeasts into a corner with a threat that, and then made it clear that the Eastern Federation had two options. 1) They could play Kuuhaku’s little game and, if they win, erase their memories (thereby preserving their secret), or 2) run away and claim that Sora & Shiro were lying. The problem is that, if they took the second option, Sora & Shiro could still tell the Elves everything and put the Warbeasts in a bad position, but then Imanity wouldn’t win. So they took away that option.

All or Nothing

All or nothing. Sora & Shiro bet their entire race, risking the enslavement or death of every single Imanity in exchange for conquering the Eastern Federation and getting one step closer to challenging Tet. In a world without death, its not all happy-happy, but if they lose, they’ll become as good as animals – they’ll lose their rights as Exceed, and they can be killed just like we humans of Earth can kill each other (only easier, because they probably don’t have laws against it). The other races would be able to war against them like the days of old. They’re risking everything in this battle, and they’re going to let the Warbeasts use their cheats too. Wow. Just wow.

I don’t think they plan to let the Warbeasts all die if they win and take their race piece, though. They’ve already hinted that there’s a way to “beat the world”, and I can’t imagine them letting the kemonomimi girls fend for themselves.

Ripped Away

Then it all came crashing down. At what should have been the prelude to their next great triumph, it all came crashing down, even if by design. The screen began to tear as magic (I assume) ripped the world asunder and toyed with its very fabric. Some of you called it, and I’ll admit, I didn’t entirely want to see it happen – as much drama as can be mined from the separation of Sora and Shiro, I like these characters enough to want to see them keep winning, and keep being happy together. But the greater the pain, the greater the glory, and original creator Kamiya-sensei knows that a good author must be a sadist. As Kurt Vonnegut said:

6. Be a Sadist. No matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them–in order that the reader may see what they are made of.

So we’ll see what Shiro is made of. Many of you wanted to see Shiro really strut her stuff, after being overshadowed by her older brother (which I never minded, because his game playing strengths are more suited for this messy, political world). Well, here’s your chance. Until Sora comes back – from Elven Gard would be my guess, for something to do with Clammy and Feel, though that’s a total guess – it’s all Shiro.

Looking Ahead – Shiro Alone

Shiro alone, ripped away from her brother, with no one – not even Steph, who loves the guy! – remembering who he is. Director Ishizuka-san, creator Kamiya-san and their entire crew are once again to be commended on how effective their storytelling is. If we were getting more series told this well every season, anime would be on the upswing rather than fighting for its life. I’m just utterly floored.

tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – First it was comedy, then Kuuhaku being badass, only for it to be punctuated with a heartbreaking turn. Sora, nooo! #nogenora 08

Random thoughts:

  • It looks like, no matter the world, humanity is the same. Getting into a construction pissing contest and losing…siiiigh.
  • “Kininarimasu!” A+ for these references!
  • Izuna-tan’s pantsu, Steph’s pantsu, Jibril’s pantsu, Shiro’s pantsu, or Sora’s pantsu? I-I’m glad they’re being egalitarian about this whole thing? (P.S. I pick Jibril’s :3)
  • “I’ll protect your chastity, nii!” This has been Stilts’ Favorite Shiro Line of the episode. Thank you for your patronage. *bows*
  • The races of Disboard have gotten too complacent, too risk-adverse to gamble everything on a chance. Apparently we Earthlings have no such qualms. Bring it on, bitches! Kuuhaku won’t lose!
  • My love for a well-utilized OP & ED is well documented, and Ishizuka-san’s team has done it again. That ED was creepy, effective, and profoundly disturbing. It was sad as well…Sora never showed up. What a gut punch. Well done.

Check out my blog about storytelling and the novel I’m writing at stiltsoutloud.com. The last four posts: The root of procrastination; Ashamed; The fear of doing nothing; and Personifying your muse.

Full-length images: 09, 47.

 

Preview

172 Comments

    1. Fake End, you mean 😉 NGNL uses time very well in its storytelling.

      Did you notice the dates? They focused on the date before and after the ED for good reason. Passage of Time is where a lot of storytellers go wrong, but where NGNL gets so right!

      Before the ED,

      Sora stares at his handheld’s Calender, the whole screen focuses on a zoomed in 19th

      Post ED:

      Shiro stares at her digital calender, confirming it is the 21st.

      The foreshadowing is subtle in that you don’t normally pay attention, but the observant viewer sees a clear message time has passed and it matters. The comment earlier about the Werebeast empire taking time to respond also matters. It is not filler material.

      NGNL handles time well, and gives room to breathe. Earlier episode did the same, post Elf defector Clammy victory, they clearly presented Blank to spend time seemingly wasted as NEETs, with Steph very upset over how they spent their time while she ran the kingdom. But Sora & Shiro were preparing for the next conquest.

      I can only imagine they’re doing the same as a goal, but the performance and expression on how they achieve victory will keep me on my seat’s edge. Oh sweet sweet victory on the edge of defeat.

      What happened in that two days? I can’t wait to find out!

      Drasca
      1. Fake End, you mean 😉

        I wonder how the response to this episode might have changed had they gone with the title of the other of the two light novel chapters this episode covered:

        “Checkmate”

        quigonkenny
    1. Yeah the changes made to the ED song were really depressing, especially with how at odds it is with the song normally. I wonder if next week’s OP will also be changed.

      Xacual
    2. That was so good. It’s another of my (constantly harped upon) favorite tricks when the production team uses the OP & ED effectively. I’m not surprised Ishizuka-san’s team can do that since she did it with Sakurasou as well!

      Stilts
    1. It was far creepier when he petted Izuna for the following reasons:

      1. Unlike Jibril, who is an adult and arguably no less of a pervert than Sora, Izuna is a little kid. We never got any confirmation that she even understood what Sora could have been implying (whether jokingly or not) when he said…

      2. … this line: “Hey pretty little girl with the animal ears! Why don’t you come play with me? Don’t worry, I’m just a pervert.” It takes either balls of steel or outright madness [1] to say this in front of said kid’s grandfather, who is physically stronger than you.

      But, given the nature of this show, the creepiness made it only better. I am looking forward to seeing more cute kemonomimi girls. 😉

      [1] Or knowledge that the ten pledges are in force.

      pyon
    2. In reply to your above comment (more than three nested replies are not allowed): What level of “attachment” are you talking about? This is no Koutoura’s grandfather. I know for frigging sure I would be really pissed if anyone said perverted things to my underage granddaughter, even if were only meant to be a joke.

      pyon
  1. It keeps getting better and better. Just when I thought it couldn’t top a kemonomimi loli, they give me the ending.

    Really awesome episode, it’s been a while since an anime has me so excited I lietrally was on the edge of my seat the whole time. Sora and Shiro are badass as always easily cornering the warbeast. But those references, Hyouka, I think there was one with denpa onna where they were adding and subtracting points. And the yu gi oh reference, omg my life is complete. This really ups the tension, Sora is missing, Shiro is crying (OMG SHIRO I WANT TO HUG YOU AND COMFORT YOU RIGHT NOW!!!! *ahem*) and with everyone from imanity trying to overthrow their king/queen, and warbeast coming soon really looking forward to next episode. The ending so much feels and such an epic cliffhanger!

    PS kemonomimi loli, Shiro, you have some competitions! Man, I want to pet her too!

    TrapMaster
  2. Izuna-tan’s pantsu, Steph’s pantsu, Jibril’s pantsu, Shiro’s pantsu, or Sora’s pantsu? I-I’m glad they’re being egalitarian about this whole thing? (P.S. I pick Jibril’s :3)

    noooo Jibrils’s pantsu are mine..!!

    Aapjuh
    1. I don’t want to crash your party, but unless you’re Sora level and somehow run into Jibril, pantsu are going to be the last thing on your mind. Perhaps literally the last.

      Conrad
      1. Monster Monpiece, with Shiro, Steph, Jibril, Kurumi, Elf girl and Werebeast girls as the battlecards you can power up?

        There is no losing here. Sora will delay the game’s end as long as humanly possible, unless Shiro manages to get on his team.

        Play that game until the end of time!

        Drasca
  3. Amazing episode, builds on the twists from WIXOSS to Soul Eater NOT! that we have been treated to these past couple of weeks. Now we get to see just what makes Shiro an MC here, giving her some needed development after the onslaught of hilarious Sora insanity.

    Quite enjoyed the use of thought detection (i.e. lie detection) too in place of mind reading, offers some welcome variety to the usual (cheap) tricks often employed to explain away unique powers and is also grounded in reality (such body reading is the basis of lie detection after all and also what Sora has been using to win against Steph and Clammy).

    As for the ending the likely explanation is that another race has become involved in the game between Sora and the Warbeasts, it’s pretty obvious something magical has transpired (explained by the glitching in the ending scene). The question is what race would do so and is Sora the one who was spirited away? Maybe Shiro was the one “moved”. Either way we should be getting an answer next week, which by the way seriously needs too hurry up 😛

    Pancakes
    1. I don’t know what Soul Eater has to do with this episode, but it made me wonder what Death the Kid would have to say about Jibril’s character design. You know, it clearly lacks something important.

      Conrad
  4. lol, a “You activated my Trap Card!” reference?

    It’s a little saddening to see Steph not having even a bit more confidence in Sora and Shiro’s abilities considering what they’ve done in the last two games. It’s understandable that she’d freak at how extreme they’re constantly being, but you’d think she’d at least have more confidence in them winning.

    HalfDemonInuyasha
    1. @HalfDemonInuyasha

      I think it has more to do with Steph’s risk tolerance. She’s not a gambler, and she has a low tolerance for risk, much so even than her (seemingly risk adverse) grandfather. It doesn’t necessarily matter if she thinks Sora & Shiro can win. It’s just that, to her, the risk isn;t worth the prize they could win.

      Stilts
    2. IMHO, Steph sees everything (that Sora & Shiro has accomplished) through
      the lens of luck – she thinks they’ve just been lucky up to this point. I don’t
      think she really appreciates their skill at games because her only tool is (bad) luck.

      You know they’ll both come out of all of this okay and be reunited again — you just know.
      But the great writing is that you can’t see how and the wild ride we’re about to take
      to get there – I can’t wait!

      mac65
      1. It’s also great writing because we know, we know that Sora & Shiro are probably going to win…logically. But I worry anyway, because I like these characters a lot.

        They don’t have to make us believe they’ll lose. All they have to do is make us flinch. That’s a victory.

        Stilts
      2. It’s not that it’s all luck, but Sora and Shiro keep insisting that they will never lose and that luck plays no part in games. But replace the word “luck” with “chance” and I have to disagree. A great many things can be predicted and prepared for, but no matter how smart you are you can’t completely eliminate random chance as a factor. By taking what is the single greatest risk ever taken in Disboard since Tet came to power, and only justifying it with “Blank never loses,” Sora sounds frankly like an arrogant ass, rather than someone who actually knows what he’s doing. Lacking knowledge of Blank’s plot armor, Steph has quite a bit of justification for calling Sora out on making a bet like that.

        Particularly since this is against an opponent that no one has ever beaten.

        Wanderer
      3. If siblings were to explain their entire strategy in advance to every single Steph, it wouldn’t end well, you know. Their confident declaration simply establishes that they have a (supposedly) bulletproof plan.

        Conrad
  5. One thing the show didn’t really make clear (Which I wish it did) was whether betting one’s own race piece forces the race that’s being challenged to match your wager by betting their own- or if you can bet your own race piece against things of lesser value, should you feel it to be appropriate. Because correct me if I’m wrong, but it seemed like Sora wasn’t asking for the Warbeast’s race piece, just political dominion over their land and people…

    Zen
    1. Dunno what you’re talking about. The show made it perfectly clear. Based on the ten pledges, both parties can bet whatever they want so long as they agree upon it.

      J_the_Man
    2. How the bets progressed was:
      Steph’s Panties vs Izuna’s panties

      Steph’s Panties vs Everything on the continent belonging to the werebeasts, this basically means everything that the previous king lost to them, plus you know the improvements and even the people living there.

      Imanity’s Race Piece Vs Everything on the Continent still.

      Sora and Shiro aren’t betting for everything of the Werebeasts.

      Xacual
    3. I think Xacual has it right, but I was a bit confused as well. I think this may be another Steph situation, where Sora & Shiro want the Warbeasts on their side without totally breaking them. Which is to say, in this case they want them on their side instead of exposed and potentially dead.

      Stilts
    4. It’s been mentioned a few times too by some anime-only viewers that the likely means to win the “game” (i.e. collect all 16 race pieces) is through cooperation and altruism rather than competition. A quid pro quo situation have you where the games are played to determine a leader of the New World Order rather than the single race who will remain; the objective is not to destroy the other races, but recruit them to your side. Would explain Sora’s remarks about how Jibril and Steph do not understand how to win after Jibril’s little speech concerning the annihilation of the Warbeasts as a race.

      Pancakes
      1. True. They’ll have to get at least some of them to wager (or offer up) their race pieces willingly, and they won’t be able to do that if they go all scorched earth on everyone.

        Stilts
      2. This is not a conquest victory condition. I see it more like a diplomatic victory.

        You do not need to physically wrest the Race Piece from any race, you just need the representatives of each Race to present their piece when Blank challenges Tet.

        If I may take a wild guess, the “Chess” game against Kurami is pretty much how the play against Tet would look like.

        Each chess piece represents the entirety of a Race, it’s personality, culture, magic, etc etc, directed by Blank as they assemble their side of the board against Tet.

        Dude
      3. Has nobody voiced the theory that the so-called “Race pieces” are necessary to be collected to face Tet in the final game? You don’t just challenge Tet: you bring your own chess game with you in the Race pieces.

        jhpace1
    5. Something that suddenly I just realized. If losing your Race Piece meant you no longer qualify as a race, rather animals, then the Ten Pledges no longer apply to you, right? Then couldn’t the axe-crazy Flugel lose their piece, then slaughter everyone?

      ReverseTales
      1. I believe they would be like cattle, wholly owned by the one(s) that beat them. As a result, they couldn’t indiscriminately slaughter another race (much less that of their owner) any more than their owner could. Similarly, the Old Deus or Phantasma or Dragons or some other race couldn’t just come in and lay waste to them any more than they could intentionally knock down the Elkian royal palace (casualties or no), as that would be considered along the lines of theft.

        My thought on the true horror of having your piece owned is that you are now completely at the mercy of your owner. You can be raped or killed (by them or with their permission), or told to commit suicide, and worst of all, the whole thing’s likely a one-way trip, since at the very least your owner would have to allow you the opportunity to win your piece back, if it’s even possible.

        quigonkenny
  6. The Werebeast clans seemed to have taken the mantle of developing traditional technology from humans. I guess the constant warfare before unification helped spur a lot of tech advancement.

    But Yeah, that ending truly wrenches ones heart.

    Netto
  7. Why is Jibril upside down in the elevator? Because she’s Jibril. lol

    My bet is that Sora is playing a game or making a bet, which requires Sora vanishing, with one of the other more powerful races (Old Gods?) to somehow provide protection to the EF (restoring race piece?)once they beat them.

    Its unfathomable to me that this show would just allow genocide to happen or pull a fight club on us in episode 8, so that’s my theory.

    Dfog
    1. Sora´s mind works in such a mysterious way, meaning he´s most likely insane but what the hell, most geniuses are quite insane to compensate their greatness. XD

      haseo0408
  8. lost it at “Kininarimasu!” ..lol

    yeah i would pick Jibril’s pantsu too… damn i love that killing machine.

    wow Sora can get rigth down to REALLY scary!

    PS: that ending.. and the post scenes./.. wow

    OK it been decided … this is my fav show this season …

    inanis
  9. I have the feeling that Jibril would make a very lousy ambassador, every time she open her mouth she gave the Werebeast ten new reason to hate Imanity. Funny as hell for us, not so much for Imanity. XD

    haseo0408
      1. No, you´re wrong Stilts! the Flugel did negotiated. I´m sure it pretty went like this:

        “Surrender to our God or we will slice you in tiny pices, put your head in our trophy room and bath in your blood”.

        See? that´s what hostile I call negotiations. XD

        haseo0408
  10. Damn those Warbeasts are insane!

    Steph’s panties for all of the Warbeast’s territory?! Steph’s panties is worth much much MUCH more than some silly land! The Warbeasts should have accepted the bet! It’s worth it!

    Ginobi47
  11. Ummmmm… Stilts, I don’t know if you know this, man,, but I’m gonna assume you don’t.

    The author HIMSELF wrote the script for this episode, hence the fitting ending and rest of the episode.

    Phantom
    1. I didn’t know he wrote the script for this particular episode, but I knew he was heavily involved with the adaptation. That doesn’t mean it was a foregone conclusion it would be awesome, of course – he could have just as easily screwed it up as anyone else

      Fortunately he didn’t 😀

      Stilts
  12. A chill ran through my spine as I watched the final few minutes. As I stared blankly at the screen, the ED only intensified it.

    I’ve been thinking about it for a while now but this episode clinched it. This is one of my absolute favourite series now.

    I Like My Hat
  13. Maybe it´s because Yuu kamiya is the author and illustrator of No Game No Life but the design of Jibril strongly reminds me Saitohimea and Ramiel Lilith from Itsuka Tenma no Kuro Usagi where he was the illustrator. It´s quite possible he used both chracter as base point for the design of this loveley and crazy angel.

    haseo0408
  14. I can’t say this enough time. Humanity, Fuck. Yeah. Sora called the Warbeast on their mind reading buff. This ain’t crossing over with John Edwards, this is no game no life! Although…I never imagine a top of the line phone having such ranged to zoom in on a tiny area! What the hell is up with that?

    I was surprise Shiro and Sora with how much they attacked the little dog(fox?)girl that they weren’t molesting the other animals girls I saw around. Those were pretty cute.

    Animal Kingdom. IT’s like Dog Days AND Utawamaoru all rolled into one! And it just their luck that their battle strategy is video game. LOL, as citizen from our world, I can honestly say that Sora and Shiro have this in the bag. It’s not even a challenged!

    I don’t get the whole flickering and stuff at the end or the omitting of Shiro, did Tet do something? Also I thought there was no violence so those people that want to attack Sora at the gate..what can they do once they get in?

    Kind to think of it, Steph was able to hit Sora in episode 2 but the Bandits in episode one asked to punch Sora. How does that work? What if you go after someone with intent to harm or punch? Also what about Steph inflicting bodily harm on herself and blooding herself? Isn’t that against the rules?

    Duzz
    1. Watch episode 2 again. She never hit him. She was about to try, but he called a game before she could. Nor did she ever hit him after that. The closest she ever got was pushing him off her, which did no (physical) harm and was more a matter of self-protection anyway.

      Wanderer
    2. Lol I also wondered what kind of smartphone has that magnification, especially since they are using an iphone which has a terrible zoom range. I have an S4 Zoom that has 10x optical zoom, the highest magnification in a smartphone but even then it wont zoom that far.

      I also agree with you that it was weird for Sora not to touch the other animal girls right away when he met them at first, just like how he did it with Izuna, might hint that he is a lolicon lol, but then again he does like to tease Steph, so I dont know. Hopefully he messes around with them once blank beats them, especially as you said with video games as the playing field, there’s no way they can lose, especially cuz I can only imagine that the video games they are playing are far more advanced than the Eastern fed.

      Also interesting point you mentioned about how violence is restricted using the 10 pledges, and I would like to add that I think self-inflicted ones are fine, I mean did you forget that whenever Steph denies her love for Sora, she bangs her head so much she starts bleeding like crazy lol? So apart from harm inflicted to others, I dont think self-inflicted ones are banned.

      Ryner
      1. You must realize Sora’s game was never to rely on the phone. The phone’s actual abilities are irrelevant. Rather, acting with the phone was a device to lure the were-beast leaders into a lie, and to help call the enemy mind-reading bluff. Sora bluffed that he could see, and bluffed that the device was useful since it was already established to other nations he’s used that device in games before.

        Sora manufactured the encounter at his window facing the embassy. Even if somehow they didn’t see him at the window, the slow moving royal carriage ride would not go unnoticed. Remember Jibril offered to teleport them. The werebeast would have to welcome them, or otherwise deal with them, and cordially gathers more intel even if they think they’ll win– the beast leaders are on a strategy of caution to not give-away their upper hand.

        Drasca
      2. @Drasca: No that is not what I meant, I mean look at the episode properly, although Sora cant see the old guy properly as it was out focused, he was able to still zoom in that far using his phone alone from the castle and took a video lol. So he was able to at least see that there was a werebeast standing there, thus he waved that he was coming over?

        Jibril wanted to know how he did it, so he showed her the video footage he took as he zoomed in using his iphone, which his phone was able to, and that’s what me and Duzz referred to.

        Ryner
  15. And that marks the cliffendhanger of vol. 2. I knew Stilts won’t gonna like how things turn out, but Madhouse really exceed my expectation this time with the ED. Very impressive indeed.

    As for what’s going on, anime is generous enough to offer some hints such as…

    Show Spoiler ▼

    viss
    1. To clarify:

      The storyteller in my thinks this is a very good thing, and it’ll make the story all the better. The wishful viewer who just wants nice things to happen to well-liked characters (even if they would eventually make them less interesting…yes, it’s dumb) isn’t so pleased. I’m a storyteller before all else, so it’s a good move, but that doesn’t stop me from feeling the pain.

      Stilts
      1. Yes, I agree.

        There are generally three camp.

        1. Those who wish to see the separation. What’s the point of having such weakness in the first place when no one gonna exploit it.

        2. Those who do NOT wish to see the separation. It brings them pain watching the characters go through that, and there is a chance they may overcome the weakness which end up making them less interesting. They will turn into boring flawless characters.

        3. Those who fall somewhere in between the first two. They don’t mind either way.

        viss
      2. They did need something to make them vulnerable, but they’ve been telegraphing this from the first. As subtle as Superman telling everyone he’s invulnerable except to kryptonite. Who’s ever drawing the ED did an amazing job this time.

        Bear
  16. Sora betting the Imanity race piece brings up a theme that time I only recall ever seeing before in Bokurano.

    Not just being responsible for saving your people from destruction, but being responsible for sending your opponents people to what might be their destruction. And then doing it again and again.
    Show Spoiler ▼

    Longhaul
      1. Ohhhh, that makes sense. I though King Crimson was supposed to be something unbelievably cute, not how the two moved right next to Izuna. So when my search for the term only resulted in a Jojo character, I thought “that can’t be right.”

        Blue
  17. I give you props since I’m still working on finding the words to blog about this episode. That ending….just that ending.

    I give full props to the series for the impact of the ending and the ED. I mean it was so beautifully done in how creepy and unsettling it was. Like the two said in the first episode…it was like the world bugged out.

    In my head I get what you mean about this being the chance for Shiro to show her stuff. Certainly I wanted her to have that chance like anyone. But damn, never did I hope it’d be done this way. We know how terrible these two are alone and how broken they can become. I’m amazed Sora was willing to do…whatever he’s doing. It may be a way to tackle their weakness, but that was a weakness I could accept.

    Really it’s like the rest of the episode just didn’t happen it was so surprising and shocking.

  18. And NGNL continues to churn out amazing episodes one after another. I can’t recall another Anime that’s been so thought provoking, comedic, epic and emotional all wrapped up neatly in a coherent story line. Hmmm, I guess I could give Steins;Gate a close second…

    In any case, can’t wait for next week’s episode!

    1. For sheer emotional effect, Steins;Gate is still the superior story. So far. I doubt that No Game No Life will best it in that, but it looks like it’s going to get some punches in at least.

      Stilts
      1. ^ SG is pure gold and is a completed masterpiece of anime series! hehe. NGNL is still on going anime series no telling when it will dropoff or falters until its over you cant jump the gun only 8 eps in 😛 so far so good tho… up till no theres strong chance it will be a solid series too… but to compare something done to something on going is just this early is bonkers.

        GoodStuffs
  19. A Fake End indeed. The creepy Sora-less static-filled ED reflected Shiro’s anxiety and uncertainty when her brother isn’t around.

    Now for the revelation of Sora’s ultimate gambit.

    Oh and doggy-ear loli Izuna-tan is cute. <3

    echykr
  20. wow haha they spare no mercy at all. Sarcasms after sarcasms and finished up with insults. Poor grandfather warbeast. haha. Hey don’t be mad just because we’re better with your granddaughter than you. Ouch.

  21. Really an amazing series, I swear all they did was talk and negotiate, yet if this was another series we would all get bored, but here in No Game No Life, the very talk alone by Sora is equals to an awesome action scenes already!

    I cant wait to see how Blank will beat Eastern federation but in a more pressing matters, how Shiro will deal with losing Sora. Glad to see a character development between the siblings.

    Ryner
    1. Since nobody made it yet…here you go,
      references in this episode in tidy format.

      Episode 8 references:

      Hyouka reference – 5.29.
      JoJo reference – 5.57.
      JoJo reference – 8.07.
      Detective Conan reference – 12.30
      Yugi oh reference – 12.44.

      Techim
      1. Really loved that YuGiOh reference. Can’t focus on the subs ‘coz keep on starin’ on the 3 types of cards: Ritual, NormalMonster, and Spell(?) xD

        Red HeartGold ZX
    2. The Hyouka reference was lame. Their curiosity aside, I could not possibly think of two more dissimile characters than Chitanda and Jibril. Chitanda is a well-behaved ojou-sama whose only defects are her naïveté (mainly her lack of awareness of Oreki’s snark) and her tendency to drag other people (mostly Oreki) along when she gets excited about something. Jibril is a bloodthirsty God-killing creature whose only redeeming feature so far is the usefulness of her knowledge [1].

      But… Izuna! Sooo adorable and fluffy when she is petted. And she even calls you “asshole” and “hairless monkey” while you do it. What else could one ask for?

      [1] And her nonchalant attitude towards providing fanservice, of course.

      pyon
      1. Contrast only adds to the comedic effect with that reference. Just as the contrasting sides of Jibril’s personality make her a more entertaining character. You can say they’re being consistent here.

        Conrad
  22. Your statement that every good author must be a sadist…. Did you just say that so you could link a trope?
    Or do you actually believe that a character’s self worth can only be depicted to readers proportional to the amount of strife and suffering the author makes them go through?

    The statement about not wanting to see Sora and Shiro separated reminds me of the discussion in Nisekoi, where everyone wants to plot and characters to develop but would much rather prefer the status quo where everyone is happy. I think the very thought of thinking about any author deliberately making his characters suffer for the sake of it is just approaching story writing in the wrong way.

    If you do like tropes that much, here’s one I think applies to the way you see things.

    Giorno Giovanna
    1. The talk about being a sadist is just a fancier version of the good old “No pain(s), no gain(s)”. An author is the demiurge who’s in complete control of his characters and their environment, so he/she has to consciously inflict pain on characters for the sake of believable dynamics.

      Conrad
    2. I didn’t say it to link to a trope. I linked to Kurt fuckin’ Vonnegut, an amazing author whose wisdom I hold in extremely high regard. Also from Vonnegut, after the very same list:

      The greatest American short story writer of my generation was Flannery O’Connor…She broke practically every one of my rules but the first. Great writers tend to do that.

      I tend to use a bit of hyperbole because needlessly equivocating in order to be “technically correct” is fuckin’ aggravating. Of course not every great writer must be a sadist and put their characters through hell. Good stories can be made without this component. It’s wise to understand what made the masters so good at their craft though, and this element is undeniably one of them.

      For a certain kind of story, of which No Game No Life is one, you have to put your characters through trials in order to show what they’re made of. Referring to one’s self as a sadist is exactly the right way to look at it, because it hurts. I sincerely doubt you understand why until you’ve spent hours alone with characters, you’ve created them in your mind, nourished them, guided them into this world–and then you must hurt them.

      You must hurt them because that’s what will make the story great, and that’s your underlying goal, but you want everything to go well for them! Like a parent wishing for an easy life for their children (even though a life filled with challenge would nourish their soul far better), you want to protect them from all of that, but you can’t do that without failing at your true goal. So you hurt them. You put those characters you love to the sword (sometimes literally) in order to show the reader what they’re made of.

      Nisekoi is a bad story because the author is not a sadist. If he put his characters through more strife, showed us what they were made of, and gave some kind of damn resolution to the story, it would be far better. I can understand people not wanting that to happen because then the story will end, but that’s short-sighted thinking – understandable, but it undermines the story until it turns to ash in your mouth.

      You have it fundamentally wrong. Authors don’t make their characters suffer for the lulz. They do it for the story. The story is everything. That’s the experience, the message, the ideal they’re trying to get across to their readers. To do it for no reason would be silly. To do it for the story is absolutely just.

      No, not every author need be a sadist. Great authors can break the rules, and average authors can get by because the market doesn’t have very good taste. But do you think you’re better at storytelling than Kurt Vonnegut?

      I don’t pretend that I’m better than the masters. I listen to them, I learn from them, and I never, never dismiss their wisdom out of hand. Not anymore at least. I’ve made that mistake too many times.

      Stilts
      1. This discussion about “Sadism” in story telling reminds me what Eva from Negima said. “Everyone is happy in the same way, but each tragedy is unique, and therefor make better stories”. Or something in that trend 🙂

        Faolon
      2. @Faolon

        I loved that bit! Quoting Anna Karenina, she said:

        “Happy families are all alike, but every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” It means to be happy is boring. You seem awfully happy recently, right Setsuna?

        Of course, that’s an oversimplification as well, but it’s one that echoes the truth. That’s why slice of life can never be as good as other genres while remaining true to slice of life – without something more, it’s just happy happy happy. Great for real life, not so great in fiction.

        Stilts
      3. You and the others here seemed to get the wrong idea and immediately lashed out with predictable replies. My main point was still just my observation from a lot of experience with discussing things with people in the same way you blog; that people that you converse and teach about literary techniques, tropes and the like eventually start dissecting stories to the point where they’re unable to simply enjoy a watch as they used to. I understand you have ranted heavily about that type of viewing being the way you watch things or whatever, being the opposite of passive watching, but I’m just worried that excessive story telling technique exposition to the readers may be detrimental in their enjoyment of the show.

        And bringing up whether I do consider myself a better story teller than the greats or just reiterating what I said about Nisekoi doesn’t actually do anything but reinforce the point I make about writers that stick to tropes predictably for the sake of keeping the audience entertained in a predictable and safe manner.

        I personally never believed or said that authors would put their characters in peril for kicks rather then to get some characterization happening. Me getting things fundamentally wrong for being sarcastic?

        “To do it for the story is absolutely just.” All I have to say is that there are many great authors out there like Togashi for HxH that defy average story telling and make the viewer question the very aspect of what is justice. Personally, I would point to Kariya in Fate/Zero who drew the attention of a priest seeking a purpose to live for, whose suffering and misfortune were an extension of the viewer’s expectation of the underdog winning to be an interesting turnout.

        In the end, Kariya was the best example of what happens to characters that draw excessive attention for their suffering which as you said, allowed the audience to see what he’s made of. It turns this on its head by giving the victory that he desired to him in an orchestrated playwright by the priest. Therefore, I have to question about the very idea of your post being centered around the idea that characters can prove their worth better when pushed to the limits. I think a good author and by extension his story can bypass this and string the audience along without conflict if he so pleased.

        Giorno Giovanna
      4. True slice of life? I trust you’ve heard of no true Scotsman argument.

        Like I’ve said above, I still think series without conflict can be on par with those that run on conflict, even within the slice of life genre. But firstly, do you consider Mushishi, Kino’s Journey, Spice&Wolf, XXXHolic and such to be slice of life? Even if they are also fantasy based, they are fundamentally without an antagonist and have little to no actual conflict, which doesn’t take away from how entertainingly rich they are in my book.

        Giorno Giovanna
      5. Spice & Wolf has conflict. Mushishi has conflict. (I haven’t seen the others, so I can’t comment on them.) It’s not the overarching-antagonist kind of conflict, it’s more character based and deliberate, but its conflict nonetheless. Characters are tested and we find out who they are through the challenges they deal with, and the world they inhabit with them. Ginko (for example) doesn’t drown in tragedy, but he’s not the only character there. He’s more of a guide than anything else. The point still stands.

        And yes, once again I was engaging hyperbole. There are always exceptions. I’ve heard great things about Aria (it’s on my prodigious backlog, so I can’t comment directly), and it may very well be the exception…or it may have conflict of another sort you’re not focusing on.

        My main point was still just my observation from a lot of experience with discussing things with people in the same way you blog; that people that you converse and teach about literary techniques, tropes and the like eventually start dissecting stories to the point where they’re unable to simply enjoy a watch as they used to. I understand you have ranted heavily about that type of viewing being the way you watch things or whatever, being the opposite of passive watching, but I’m just worried that excessive story telling technique exposition to the readers may be detrimental in their enjoyment of the show.

        To that, all I can say is that if you don’t like how I blog, and if you’re concerned it impacts your enjoyment of a show, don’t read it. As you rightly mentioned, I’ve talked about the four levels of consuming art before, and for anime I’m solidly in the third group, while for written fiction I’m in the fourth. You can’t go back. That’s a hallmark of the second group, trying to recapture that original wonder in some way, but experience changes the experience. That’s a fact of life.

        I’m not going to stop talking about how the story is told as much as the story that’s being told itself. That’s kind of my thing, and through that unique lens I feel like I add something to the conversation that no one else (or at least few others) will. You’re allowed to be concerned. Doesn’t mean I’m going to change anything.

        By the way, though I’ve gotten a little heated in my replies, I do appreciate your comments, both these and all of the ones before. Doesn’t mean I’m not gunna fight ya on it, nyahaha, but no umbrage is meant. A good heated argument can be fun too : )

        Stilts
      6. Aria is a story of a slow growth in a company of friends under a subtle guidance of amazing adults. I can’t even say there’s a lot of internal conflict, rather, it’s about discovering new sides of the world you live in and finding your place and role in it as you accumulate experiences that shape you little by little. The setting is a utopia, no doubt, but it’s handled in a way that makes it acceptable. You can try watching it before going to sleep 🙂

        On a more general note, the most competent characters are the ones that put out sparks before they’ve turned into a big flame. It’s universally more efficient to use preventive measures rather than resolve the problems once they’ve manifested. Of course, if you mine for drama, then the story of beating the lung cancers wins over the story of quitting smoking year before, just as restoring data from a back-up is hardly worth sharing with others, unlike the ordeal of recovering lost data from a dead hard drive in case you never cared for reserve copies. If you look from this angle, then the more awesome and reliable a character is, the harder it is for an author to show that.

        Conrad
      7. Yeap, I appreciate your style as well. In other words…

        “I wouldn’t be here reading your posts if I didn’t like your style! B-baka! Get a hint already!”

        Also, this was an overall enriching discussion, but I’d like to add that I’m the type of person that would not discuss a person’s own taste and would rather talk about things without bringing in personal attacks on how people see things, which can be equally valid. So there’s no need to worry about elitist concerns from me.

        Take these as a sign of good-will.

        Giorno Giovanna
    3. >] “I think the very thought of thinking about any author deliberately making his characters suffer for the sake of it is just approaching story writing in the wrong way.”

      You’re certainly right about that, but it seems to me like you’re under the impression that a sadistic author can’t have a broader goal in mind when making his/her characters suffer, hence your comment about a character’s worth being relative to their level of pain and suffering. With all due respect, that’s simply not the case at all.

      A sadist is simply one who takes pleasure in inflicting pain and suffering on another. That’s all. Such a thing says nothing about their broader goals, motivations, or even whether or not they’re willing to indulge in such pleasure.

      That said, the idea that “every good author must be a sadist” is absolutely correct so long as the pain serves a point. Pain for pain’s own sake is nothing but gore, but suffering that serves a goal is crucial if you ever hope to get across and connect with people.

      Ryan Ashfyre
      1. More to the point, Vonnegut uses the term sadist in order to make a point, not as a literal prescription. Whether the author enjoys putting them through hell or not is immaterial – it’s the act of heaping challenges, conflict, and pain on them, “in order that the reader may see what they are made of”, that’s the important part.

        Stilts
      2. 6. Be a Sadist. No matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them–in order that the reader may see what they are made of.

        Stilts thinks of Vonnegut.
        I think of Urobutcher lol. :p

        Techim
      3. @Stilts:

        Fair point, though an author’s emotional investment in his/her characters – whether by way of enjoying seeing them in torment and overcoming it, seeing them happy or whatever else – is also paramount. If a character’s suffering doesn’t convey the author’s genuine feelings or at least something rooted in something that they can easily empathize with, it’ll obviously be a lot harder for us to relate and appreciate.

        Akame ga Kill would be a good example. It’s definitely entertaining, but a lot of the gore and bloodshed (and there’s certainly enough to put it in a class all its own) is just way beyond a normal person’s ability to appreciate. There are even times when you feel like you’re reading a shonen series in that it’s constantly trying to top itself by way of sheer shock value; in the process pushing itself further and further away from any sense of realistic empathy.

        Ryan Ashfyre
      4. Akame ga Kill is definitely a good example. How the story begins is so cliche that it gave me a sense of security… and then things when horribly wrong… The author must be a literal sadist in this one.

        Freezing is another good example. Until the recent arcs, it was terrifying. Great, but scary.

        And then there was Utsuro no Hako to Zero no Maria… *starts bawling* “None of those characters deserved that! Why?! WHY?!”

        I couldn’t tear myself away from any of these when I started reading until I finished, desperately hoping to end the night on a happy moment. But Utsuro no Hako to Zero no Maria tops the list for me. It stuck a broadsword through my heart and laughed cruelly as a happy and innocent part of me died.

        So when I read this part in the LN, I was already a bit traumatised, and freaked out when Sora disappeared.

        Like with all the other series, I kept wishing for it to never have happened.

        !!! Warning: Extremely Biased Opinion Below! Feel Free to Counter with Own Argument !!!
        But I agree with Stilts, and by extension Vonnegut. As painful as it is, you have to put your characters through these trials. Otherwise, you can’t show how awesome their skills are, and how much of a boss your character can truly be.

        Smooth sailing won’t just make the story boring, but will even make your character pointless. They eventually stop being a character and become a convenient plot tool.

        Of course, there’s more to characterisation than killing them in the most horrific ways possible. Scenes that provoke thought, warm the heart, appeal to your sense of humour, take your breath away, sweep you off your feet, etc. are just as important. This is what makes some slice-of-life the best I’ve ever watched/read.

        But that would be missing my point. My point is that, everything about a character that is shown (through text, speech, action, narration, facial expression etc.) , is all they are. Nothing more.

        E.g. If a character has the power to control fire. If they never use it, or if they keep using it in the same way (and win through sheer will), then they’ve never brought out the full potential of that ability. Their title of “The strongest flame user in the world!” is easily disregarded when they’ve shown nothing to deserve it.

        E.g. If a character is said to be a “Crouching Moron, Hidden Baddass” (in terms of character, not ability), but always hides behind/has to be saved by another character, then all that they’ve shown to the audience so far, is “Moron”.

        ReverseTales
      5. All you people thinking that authors all have to play by the same rules or even bringing up particular methods that authors use to enhance stories are underestimating humanity.
        Real authors don’t have to go by the book in their writing and can turn pre-established ideas on its head for a riveting and engaging story.

        Anon
  23. I wonder what has happened at the end, it seems like Shiro got herself “digitized” into virtual world where her quest will be to find Sora…

    Also, brilliant deduction on the part of Sora! Warbeasts decisive advantage of playing a high-tech game that only they really understood how it works – and wise strategy of keeping the memories of opponents erased – has made them formidable opponents so far. But they could not have anticipated people from another world arriving with detailed knowledge of video game mechanics – and to be such experts at video games themselves.

    I am not sure what apart from massive experience with video games in our world makes Sora and Shiro so utterly sure of win, but I hope they know what they are doing – for the sake of all Imanity and the fate of Steph’s pantsu!

    But I can glimpse obvious hints of the larger strategy: Obviously they are setting giant trap for the Warbeasts, by dangling in front of their noses biggest, most colorful bait possible. At same time they corner the enemy with threat of unveiling their “secret” should they back off. So it is biggest carrot and biggest stick they could find…

    Anyway whatever happens now, I am preparing to be amazed! As much as Jibril, I AM CURIOUS how this will unfold and HOW the BLANK will win this game!

    ewok40k
  24. had a total WTF just happened moment!!!!!!!! x_x gahhhhhhhh I need the next ep asap D: I seriously didn’t expect that… even I do agree that, that’s probably the right path to cure their weakness and see Shiro’s full potential.

    Did anyone else notice the Detective Conan reference?! & Yu-gi-oh Ref??? 😀 (I’m pretty sure it was yu-gi-oh but there’s many card game anime’s out there) I was going crazy over those!

    TANTEI-SL
  25. you’re forgetting something! its only hanbun Kuuhaku. unless its Furuuuu kuuhaku she will get pwnt by mind games or anything sora makesup for what she lacks mostly just insane bluffs! until DUN-DUN-DUUUUN!!! SORA REAPPEARS TO SAVE THE DAY!!! and then… fine. they win.

    GoodStuffs
    1. Dont get me wrong she is OP. but as 11 or so yr old shes still lotso to learn about mindtricks and showmanship! PURE skill she wins but that XXX factor SORA still dominates in that category… Its improbable shes goin pull off a complete win alone. Im thinking she will stall or only get slight upper hand until sora comes back… and only when he comes back for the BIGOODBRO thumbsup you know the one with stars and glitter?! will she act and really BELIEVE in herself to overcome them! http://www.angelfire.com/anime6/amaya_rain/full_metal_alchemist/thumbnails/400×300/ed_grin1.jpg

      GoodStuffs
  26. So watching that episode again, it just occurred to me…DId they even really need the Old King Help? He scrafice all that territory just to find out the war beast weakness? A weakness that Sora and Shiro didn’t even need to study for, it’s video games. Something tells me if they come in and play like normal they would still defeat the warbeast.

    Does that make the old King sacrifice all in vain?

    Duzz
    1. They were frustrated before they got the tip from the old king because they believed the hype. But Sora also just left to do something(?). Perhaps there’s more we don’t know? More they need to get into position in order to win? Sora seemed to imply as much.

      Ohandalso, the old king certainly didn’t count on his successors coming from another world that already had video games. And there could be more up the old king’s sleeves. What happens if a bunch of humans were to take back that embassy building? We Earth humans are veeeery good at reverse engineering technology. Want to bet that Imanity is the same?

      Wait and see, says I. I don’t think the old king’s actions were for nothing, it’s just how exactly he’s helped out that remains to be seen.

      Stilts
    2. The trap that the old king had set served as the first evidence of warbeasts not having a mind reading ability. Actually, after watching the previous episode, I was a bit confused about why warbeasts let the king off with his memories intact if they could read his thoughts, but there was a possibility that they simply didn’t deem his plan a real threat, so that alone wasn’t enough of the proof, but it was the first step. Prior to that the siblings didn’t know how to tackle the problem of beating an opponent who can read your thoughts when you can’t even strategize in advance, so the old king was the one to set everything in motion.

      Conrad
    1. Wow, for seing this… Oo

      And in final, this screen said with proof they can, like they have said, win vs a super-cheat.
      (And vs the cheat “unlimited-mana” in episode 1)

      Zelloss
  27. soooo does anyone know if its the elf and clamchowder girl behind sora’s untimely disappearance?? it has to be them right? they were so upset and were beasts have no magic powers… or warping tech OR DO THEY??? WILL he inturn win them over for +1 to his harem? even tho he already his steph jibrils he still wants MOAR??

    GoodStuffs
  28. I actually got legit chills and goosebumps and had to exit out the ending song halfway through because of the glitches. Why? I really don’t know. It just seemed so disturbing.

    Ash.
    1. Cmon pokemon trainer no reason to shake your booties! just a game show 🙂 its not like you got kids dying creepy horrible final destination like deaths 😛 damn you another that had me shaking D: + Shiro is 11 yr old drama queen! you have no excuse to over react like her ! but wow is this a abduction + amnesia spell casted damn ELFS ARE OP!

      GoodStuffs
  29. You can tell just from how Sora acted right before he vanished, he knew it was coming but he’s got a trick up his sleeve don’t be sad. I have a feeling who’s pulling this stunt off just to see how Shiro can take it. I mean if you think about it even Steph doesn’t even know about Sora it’s like that whole conversation with the warbeast’s and the memory erases.

    Nice to give people ideas on how exactly Sora just poofed and if it’s someone or something, who did it?

    Jason Isenberg
    1. Warbeast wanted the ex-king try again for steal much of his territory… and for this:

      They have think the king said: “Sh***, i know how this game work (because i not have lost memory), i think i can win the next time”

      Warbeast: “Hehe, come come, fool…. and you are a insect anyway, so we no need to erase your memory” (ohoho, we are superior, we are a god compared to you,…)

      Zelloss
  30. But the most surprising thing for me was hearing Sawashiro Miyuki in a role where I didn’t immediately recognize her as Sawashiro Miyuki. Wait, she has range? I thought she only had the one voice! It’s a good voice, mind you, and I enjoy her work, but it’s always painfully obvious its her.

    As someone who has followed Sawashiro Miyuki’s career from nearly the beginning, I can tell you that when I heard her as Izuna for the first time, the first thing that went through my mind was “Puchiko kitaaaaaaaaaaa!!

    It’s bizarre to think nowadays that she’s mostly known for her more icy and/or boyish roles when she got her start with adorable moeblobs and (usually) diminutive rich girl types (See Mint Blancmanche in Galaxy Angel’s anime for a good sampling of her range, considering how that character goes from sweet and soft spoken to scheming, to ice cold, to hysterical at the drop of a hat.)

    So yeah, it’s nice to see her using a voice she hasn’t broken out in awhile. Hoping that we get a lot more Izuna in the remaining eps.

    Toto
    1. how can she not follow sora? hes a chick/loli/beastie/angel/+more magnet shell be part of the gang of im sure of it DID YOU NOT SEE the same eps? how they instantly fondled her and SHE LIKES? no doubt she will join the gang!

      GoodStuffs

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