I figured I’d give No Game No Life it’s own post to discuss my thoughts on the series as a whole. Looking back before the season started, NGNL didn’t really stand out much. The synopsis seemed pretty standard and not many people expected much from it. Now, NGNL seems to be one of (if not the biggest) most well received shows of the season. But before I get into my thoughts on why it completely blew me away, I’ll briefly touch on the final episode.
No Game No Life Episode 12
Izuna was chosen to play the games because of her rare blood destruction ability. She’s able to push Sora and Shiro into a corner, or so it seems. However, the key to winning this game had been planned out from the start. Steph had been ruled out as a non-factor but in reality, she was the only one that Izuna didn’t keep her focus on. As usual, we get to see everything explained through Sora’s perspective. Everything had been calculated from the beginning. Steph’s spell, Fi’s memories, and Shiro’s calculations were all a part of their strategy.
After being defeated, Izuna and Miko are only concerned their race’s survival. They’re not as greedy as they originally seemed. They know their place within the world and as soon as they see Flugels and Elves make their move, they try to find a way to not be wiped out. The way Sora swung them over to his side is worth noting as well. Up until this point, he’s never made people go against their will. He could have easily forced people to obey him through the pledges, yet he always gives them the option to join him. His goal is to unite Disboard rather than to rule it.
At the end, Sora and Shiro reveal the secret to the world. For ages, people had fought each each other, trying to conquer over the other races. However, Sora and Shiro understand Tet’s meaning behind the pledges. He want’s everyone to work together, play games, have fun, and to have a challenge at the end of it. Everyone was so busy trying to survive or conquer, that no one even dared to consider challenging Tet. In the end, Immanity is the only race that can unite all the others. Rather than rely on their physical or magical capabilities, they have to rely on other means to match the other races. They can’t win a straight on head to head battle, but they can win without actually fighting.
We’re given a slight teaser with Miko summoning Old Deus at the end, bringing upon yet another challenge for Blank. I’d love to see another season but I’m also a bit concerned. With the need to conquer 14 more races, I find it hard to imagine the story not getting too repetitive.
Post Series Thoughts
No Game No Life was one of the few series that resonated with me with nearly every aspect despite being only 12 episodes. The art, music, voice acting, characters, and story all just clicked with each other which raised the viewing experience to another level. One of my favourite aspects of NGNL was how self-aware they were. With fan-service being rampant in this day in age, NGNL implemented it but also made it central to the plot in several instances. NGNL is a highly detailed anime where a lot of seemingly insignificant events and facts are incorporated and made significant in the story.
The characters of NGNL were probably my favourite aspect of the show. Despite a rather large cast, each of the characters were memorable. Each arc focused on a different character and helped us learn who they were. Even though they fit into generic character archetypes, their design and personality stood out from each other.
To add to that, Sora was an interesting main lead as well. We’ve seen other Gary Stu’s (Kirito from SAO, or Tatsuya from Mahouka) but he still feels like a normal human with flaws. We know that Sora and Shiro will never lose a game, but I can’t help but feel the tension when their matches swing back and forth. Sora doesn’t account for every possible situation, but he take care to make informed decisions based on all the information on hand. It also helps that he lays out several safety measures in the event that anything doesn’t go according to plan. There’s something relatable about Sora’s character. He knows his own personal limitations as a human being, but he does not let that stop him from doing what he wants. Despite his many flaws, he refuses to let them limit what he can and can’t do.
The series also managed to keep the intensity up throughout the entire series. They managed to somehow make the next match even more entertaining than the previous one. No Game No Life came out and surprised many this season. There wasn’t much hype surrounding it, and people did not know what to expect. They managed to deliver a high energy show that caught many of us off guard and took us by surprise. I’d definitely say that No Game No Life is my spring 2014, top anime of the season.
You can watch No Game No Life on Crunchyroll (may not be available in all regions)