Practically every time I’ve mentioned an Isekai on this blog, I’ve said the same thing: No Game, No Life is an exception to the ‘Isekai shows are bad’ rule. And since I needed something to talk about for the 12 Days of Anime, I figured I’d take the day to finally explain why this show is so much better than it’s contemporaries.
No Game, No Life is a Studio Madhouse anime. What else has Studio Madhouse done, you ask? Oh not much, just the first season of One Punch Man. They also did ‘A Place Further Than the Universe’ earlier this year, which is another fantastic show. So right off the bat, this show is in good hands.
The setting is also pretty unique and interesting. After a playful god took over (which took a brutal war that lasted a real long time, by the way) the world is now run entirely on games. Be they games of chance, Chess or cards, if you want something then you’ll need to win a game to get it. And luckily for our two main characters, they are exceptionally good at games.
And equally exceptionally terrible at going outside and social interactions.
Our protagonists, brother and sister Sora and Shiro respectively, are transported to this world of games and, thanks to their exceptional skill, quickly climb up the political ranks. But not before assembling a harem of woman who all want Sora’s dick because he’s just so damn good at games.
Okay, I hear you thinking: “Man, this Sora guy sure sounds like your typical Isekai protagonist! Man, that’s fucking lame!” But here’s the thing. Sora isn’t completely flawless. Sure, his level of genius is downright insane at times, but he has enough vulnerability as to not feel like an unrelatable god. Plus, his insane ability is played up as more of a joke than wish fulfillment.
Which leads to the strongest aspect of No Game, No Life: the comedy. At it’s core, the show is about the absurd situations the characters put themselves in and the even more absurd ways they get out of them. For example, when Sora is playing a game of chess in order to become King, you’d think he’d win by coming up with a thrilling strategy, right? Wrong. What does he do?
He leaps onto the board, runs up to the enemy queen, and starts to woe her. which causes her to turn against her side of the board and turn the tide in his favor. Because screw the rules, this is anime!
The show is chock full of hilarious moments like these. It is absolutely absurd top to bottom, and it never takes itself too seriously. But it still manages to have some moments that can only be described as ‘hype as hell’.
Now, there are a few easy flaws to pick from. One, the amount of fan-service is a tad absurd, even by anime standards. While it is again used as a point of comedy, it can be a bit much at times. Hardcore anime fans are used to this kind of thing, but newcomers to the anime scene are bound to either be really uncomfortable or really aroused.
Or both. We don’t judge around here.
All of the female characters (which make up ninety-eight percent of the cast, by the way) are also clearly designed for the sole purpose of fetish pandering. We’ve got cat-girls, lolis, tsunderes, and so on. And unlike most things in this show, it is hardly used at all for comedy.
That being said, this show is definitely more fun than it is bad, and the production values are pretty damn high. The art and animation is fantastic, and the music is downright wonderful. There are tons of unique, entrancing and setting appropriate backgrounds that make the world feel all the more alive, and the background character designs are all varied and interesting.
Thanks to the high production and hilarious writing, this show has become one of the best Isekai shows ever made. It sits atop the genre, right alongside Overlord, Konosuba, and That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime. It is a great time, and I’d highly recommend it if you need a good laugh.
And then you can cry with me over the fact that we’ll never get a second season.