ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

An Anime Review: No Game No Life

Updated on July 4, 2014

«People trapped in virtual realities» have been a trope in science fiction for a long time now. A new version of this idea that has been the «trapped in a video game» genre, with examples like «Sword Art Online» and «The World God Only Knows»(which was basically this). No game No life is not a strict member of this family, as our main characters find themselves trapped in a fantasy land where games rule, rather than a straight out video game. I suppose in a way it has more in common with «Liar Game», where our protagonists battles against different types of games, and where wits and intelligence are your main weapons.

But to start with the beginning(as I am a fan of ordering things chronologically) we open to our two main characters Sora and Shiro, a couple of expert video games who forms the duo “Blank”. They are siblings, Sora being the older brother to the girls Shiro, and they have no life outside of their games. But one day, after defeating a stranger at chess, they are transported to a fantasy world, one where violence and war no longer exists. Instead the supreme God of this world has made it so that all conflicts are decided by games, and the loser is magically forced to honor his or hers wager. Our two siblings obviously fit in well in such a world, which otherwise looks like the Medieval Europe with the usual magical races and magic you might find in a fantasy set in such a location. They quickly go after the throne of the country they landed in and after that for even greater feats, using all their skills and abilities to achieve their goals.

The Players

The main character of the anime is Sora, the older brother. While some might say that the two siblings are equally much the protagonists, Sora is certainly the one with real agency, with ambitions and comical flaws and the charisma that pushes him up on center stage while Shiro is helping from the sidelines. Sora is a teenage who are stuck between his pride as a top gamer and his shame of his failures in all of life's other aspects. He has something to prove and something he wishes to gain. Shiro never seemed as interested in everything they try to accomplish.

Sora is an asshole of a protagonist, but mostly in a good way. He swindles and cheats and is dominated by his pride, shame and lust for girls. His sexual urges is not as bad as in a lot of other anime teenagers I could mention, and it is usually not annoying. While perfectly willing to abuse other people, he does in the end have a good heart and and tries to help, and to his credit he rarely tries to punish his opponents after they lose to the siblings. Instead he often comes to an agreement both sides can support. Other than, he has a disturbing codependent relationship with his sister.

Sora and Shiro
Sora and Shiro | Source

Shiro is the little sister of Sora, and is a variant of the cute, emotionless computer. She is often silent, but is quite a lot more intelligent than her brother. She does not have high ambitions, seemingly happy playing games with her brother. She either joins him in his ambitions or else remains neutral, with the exception that she takes more pride than him in not losing. Much like her brother, Shiro does have complexes about being alone, and this seems to be her primary issue throughout the show. Shiro also has the intelligence of a computer and is able to do quite frankly impossible calculations in her head.

The other main characters are mostly villains and additions to Sora's ever increasing harem. The first of these is Stephanie, who is recruited in a quite disturbing way. She loses a game, and is then forced to love Sora, by the use of a loophole in the rules. The use of mind control is quite common, but erasing memories and parts of the personality, to making someone your slave. The ethical implications of this is never discussed, though Sora is at times looked upon as slimy for his use of this. You might say that since this only happens after the mind controlled lost a game they freely entered this is not a big deal, but I must disaggree, especially in the case of Stephanie who had no idea what she was aggreeing to. The use of mind control does not seem to be getting old anytime soon, though I suppose it may serve as a metaphor for the human rights issues the Middle Ages in general had. I will say that the characters are at all distinct in personality, and often amusing. Each addition to the heroes seems to add something.

Enjoying the Games

So, to the games. I must admit I had my hopes dashed a bit here. A world where games rule all is certainly interesting, as it replaces military might with pure intellect. The cleverest rules, one might say. In the beginning we get some simple games where game theory is used, and for a while I thought No Game No Life was taking the route of Liar Game, setting up realistic games and exploitiong the rules that had clearly been laid out. This was not it at all however. Very often victory is instead assured by Shiro's almost supernatural brain and ability to predict, so while there is usually some kind of outsmarting of the enemies, it is not in a way that the audience could guess ahead of time. Sora's cleverness and sly nature may make him seem like Lelouch or Light Yagami, but these arent great games between enourmous intellects we are watching. Too bad, really.

A game
A game | Source

But is it fun? Oh yes. The animation is extremely colourful, truly giving the impression of a fantasy world different than our own. The games are fun and enganging, despite Shiro being dragged out as a trumph card one too many times. The world and its different races feels large and mysterious, and with wonders at every corner. No Game No Life is one of the most entertaining animes I have seen this year, and while it neatly dodges the ethical issues that raises their heads, its really worth watching.

And as a final note, I do enjoy how Sora and Shiro turns their country around using the knowledge of modern farming and such the medieval humans do not have. Not many seems to have considered that a modern human transported back in time could really change things with, to us, rather basic information.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image


      4 years ago



    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)