Warning! The Following Review Contains Spoilers!

Visual Masterpiece!

This review will be fairly interesting. Instead of running through the plot I want to talk about the animation quality first. No Game No Life looks beautiful. Chief Art Director and Head of Character Designs Kōji Ōdate, deserves an award for best artwork in an anime. Ōdate worked on Btooom! and there were great visuals in that anime as well.

Then I looked up who else was responsible for the visuals in No Game No Life and saw Eiji Iwase listed as an Art Director.

When I looked up Iwase’s other work I was pleasantly surprised to see he was art director for Divergence Eve, and Campione! Those two shows are lovely to look at. Iwase even did background art for Ef: A Tale of Melodies.

Art in an anime should never be overlooked and No Game No Life sets the bar high on visuals.

Even the fanservice has a design quality that I enjoyed.

Yep, you’ll pretty much have that reaction to all the fanservice.

Hot bathing scenes are steamed up way passed anything you’ll ever see in a sauna or hot springs. The subtle soap foam on our cute under aged girls are a nice touch. We get everything from panty shots to soft bouncing boobies. Anything perverted, rest assured No Game No Life has it covered.

I’ll admit No Game No Life has funny fanservice and most of the time it will build bonds between the characters. Of course, one negative was that sometimes the fanservice seemed forced and the comedic timing misfires.

For example, I found it weird and ill-timed for Sora and Shiro to invite the War Beasts into their bathtub shortly after defeating them. Of course, there was an immediate conflict that stems from this, but did we really need the fanservice at this critical point, so close to the finale?

I want to mention that Stephanie Dola for the sake of fanservice is usually half naked and I feel bad for her. Stephanie pretty much is the butt-monkey on the show. She gets humiliated way too often and that really bothers me. Sure, she might become better at games eventually, but Stephanie has joined my list of bullied characters. She reminds me of Kanetsugu Naoe from Samurai Girls.

There are different shades of blushing and little details like that really make a difference when you talk about visuals. Everything in No Game No Life is polished and all the characters are well-detailed. I loved the character designs. For example, Jibril; as a Flugel has wings and fluffy ears. But, those added features are complemented with long flowing locks of Persian Rose hair. Her outfit is something straight out of a JRPG and I found her character to be unique.

Everything about these characters are brought to life. In addition, No Game No Life presents their alternate world from every angle possible and the chess motif works really well here.

No Game No Life is a visual masterpiece and I have never seen so many different shades of color blended so masterfully. Madhouse once again delivers stunning visuals and No Game No Life on animation quality alone deserves to be praised.

No Challenge No Suspension of Disbelief

I never thought Sora and Shiro were going to lose and therefore I never could suspend my disbelief. I understand “Blank” never loses and I understand they are humanity’s last hope, but c’mon! No Game No Life sets itself up to fail when you actually realize they never lose! I honestly felt they were not challenged enough throughout the anime. Their high stakes game against the War Beasts becomes anticlimactic and ultimately No Game No Life boasts these unbeatable odds that are going to be conquered, it’s just a matter of how and when.

Which brings me to the plot… It’s not a disappointing plot by any means. Sora and Shiro are NEET gamers and they are the best gamers ever. They never lose and they believe the real world is just a bad game.

Anyway, our social misfits are then transported to a world where everything is decided by playing a game. Our step-sibling heroes learn the goal of this world is to unite all 16 races.

Then the real game begins.

After the unification of every race Sora and Shiro will earn the right to play one final game. But, this game will be against… Tet! The God of This World.

Now, if our heroes are going to just steamroll through the competition then does this anime have any real substance? That’s something that bothered me too.

Sora and Shiro represents humanity, and humanity happens to be the weakest race. Humanity is on the brink of extinction. Nevertheless, Sora and Shiro arrive and they come off as jerks. Just because they are good at games doesn’t mean they get to treat everyone like pawns or like crap.

In the course of 12 episodes the other races use their supernatural abilities in order to gain an unfair advantage. Luckily our heroes have the skills to overcome this and they outwit the other races. They make the most of what humanity is capable of and they never give up. Sora and Shiro are ahead of the curve by being able to constantly adapt. I’ll praise Sora and Shiro for being adaptable throughout the anime. Quick thinking in every game can get exciting. Maybe you’ll think our heroes have finally met their match by the end of the anime.

I loved Shiro’s own game of memories in Episodes 8 and 9. These two episodes was where No Game No Life reached its peak. It proved that Shiro and Sora need each other to win and added very emotional moments.

Each game was unique and they added layers of complexity. The intensity of the games really levels up and I loved that. No Game No Life serves as a good brain teaser and every game will provide beautiful entertainment, but don’t be shocked by the outcomes.

Of course every game is played within the rules, but cheaters prosper because it’s only cheating if you get caught. Thankfully, Sora and Shiro can beat cheaters and have fun doing it because they are unbeatable.

Final Verdict

No Game No Life has a brilliant world and the characters within it are all very important. Every game being played gets our heroes one step closer to their goal. Once they unite everyone then they can challenge Tet. But, digging deeper I ask: What can we really get from No Game No Life that makes it memorable? I recommend it only if you want to see high quality animation, fanservice, and games that are beautifully entertaining.

Stunning visuals can only go so far.

It’s true that I’ll never find anything close to the artwork of No Game No Life. However, I need a plot that isn’t just going to feature our main characters steamrolling through everything. Sora and Shiro come off as being overpowered jerks and other characters are literally beneath them.

Grade: 6/10 (Adequate)

A Visual Masterpiece

Games are Innovative

Very Fun Fanservice

Comedic Misfires

Plot Holds No Weight

Sora and Shiro are Overpowered Jerks!

Poor Steph… 😦