No Game No Life (Animation) – Review


Amazing. I don’t know other better words. Because godlike means that Tet won’t be defeated. And I prefer to keep this one later.

So, NGNL is over. Not for me, thankfully (Yeah, translations and stuff) and I hope that a new season will come up in a year or two, because the next volumes (4, 5 and 6) are even above what you can expect.

But, I not here to only tell that NGNL is the best, this spring. I’m here to prove that, all the comebacks you can come up with are useless in front of this masterpiece.

Disclaimer : This is a review of an adaptation of an LN. Please do not forget this when you read it. Because I heard many things wrong because people don’t know that it is a LN before all. Also, please keep in mind that this is mostly my opinion. And this statement is emphasized by the fact that this is my favorite LN.

Those books are nothing… In front of a tablet.

Because it’s a full season review, I won’t do a rewatch while pointing all I can say about the show. Instead, I will point out what this show can offer, good and bad things.

First point : It’s a pure fantasy-adventure story.

I’m starting with that because I heard an insane amount of time that NGNL is a Slice of Life. NO. It’s totally an fantasy-adventure show.

References aren’t bad, and even if they are too many, in this style, that doesn’t mean that it’s a slice of life. Heroes are not here to make us laugh. They have a goal, be the king and queen of Disboard by every possible way, as long as they follow the Oaths. If in the process they make us laugh by giving Jojo, Phoenix Wright or Ghibli references, why not ? But, in any case, they do that because they are the only link to our real world in Disboard. And that’s something everybody has forgotten. In episode 11, when they talk about Persona, Steins;Gate or Akiba’s Trip, it’s to make a link about other things that ressembles to their world. Not to do a pointless reference.

Chie is the first thing Madhouse thought about P4 ? Yu is the best.

Chie is the first thing Madhouse thought about P4 ? Yu is the best.

And that’s why NGNL can be fun even with references. They make us remember that they’re from our world and as such they know “a bit of” otaku trivia.

Sometimes, you just WRYYYYY.

Sometimes, you just WRYYYYY.

Second point : Ecchi is justified.

One thing that bothers me in every show is that, no matter how much you can expect this, there is always a scene called cliché of ecchi. Guy falls over a girl and grope one of her boobs, for exemple.

Things to know in life : Wings are not R-18.

Things to know in life : Wings are not R-18.

I’m not saying that an anime is ruined if there is such a scene. But, at least make it so that these scene is justified. And here, it’s totally the case. To make it more comprehensible, take the hotel scene in episode 2. They do a reenactment of this kind of scene. So, no more questions, this is totally justified. They even make fun of it.

Every guy wants this to happen.

Every guy wants this to happen.

NGNL give you two characters that are completely insane, to the point, the guy is going to use every thing to have his pleasure. (Same episode for those who don’t know.) Sora justifies every scene. With this only phrase.

If only this was an excuse to everything...

If only this was an excuse to everything…

Third point : Visuals. Gorgeous.

Maybe because I’m one of the few to have read all of the LN about this season (1,2 and 3), this was probably one point I was really awaiting. How Madhouse will render those ideas into visuals. I expected many things from them, they gave me a little more extra.

Everything looks amazing. From the characters to the games, Madhouse has done an awesome job. Eveything is great.

To prove my point, just take the second game, Materialization Word Chain. When Sora and Shiro goes for the final chain of words, you’re practically amazed. A full developed world destruction. In animated version. It’s amzing that this game, where in the LN is really deep and fully described, in the adaptation, it’s outright clear that the world is destroyed.

Well, that escalated quickly.

Well, that escalated quickly.

In the fourth game, the shooter game, (I can’t bring myself to call it Living or Dead Series Side-Story : Love or Loved 2 : Hit her with your bullet of love !) there are many things concerning the characters. Jibril showing her true colors with a menacing dark aura is well created, but the Blood Destruction from Izuna is just gorgeous. You see Izuna, almost blood-thirsty, ready to finish the game as she is going to be shot with the bullet. The transformation is amazing. Passing from violet to red in a dramatical way was way too awesome.

Too much blood. Wait, violence is prohibited is Disboard.

Too much blood. Wait, violence is prohibited is Disboard.

I could also talk about the landscapes described in the first episode, but you already see my point, visuals are amazing.



Fourth point : Original scenario and characters… I think.

Siblings who are transferred to a fantasy-like world where the only thing to resolve disputes are games ? Not common. In fact, I don’t have any exemples who are even close to this story.

So, yes, NGNL has an original story, which is great for our time (Because now, all I can think are rip-offs of other creations.)

You sure are not.

You sure are not.

And, in these story, you know already who’s who. No need to complexify the story by using plot twists. That’s one thing to appreciate in a story. The clarity. And, even with that there’s loads of suspense moments. Kuuhaku is at the brink of losing and they finally win by an amazing feature. It’s also bringing the point that Kuuhaku is no ordinary player. They’re here to show that they’re the best. Even before the game starts.

Only one down-side : Charcters are not really that original. Cold-minded brother, genius sister, Steph, being Steph… But at least, their assets are not just for show. They use them properly in the story.

Fifth point : Creativity at its finest.

The games show this point. (Not really the last one from the adaptation) Every game shown is really amazing. They are common games, chess, word chain, othello, but they have a particularity : they’re modified with magic and turns to be more creative than those previous classical games. But, they at least show that they care about gamers. The games here show that games, how classical they can be (board games) they can become even better, or more understandable throughout the play.

No one can understand why word chain is a good game and it helps think about vocabulary you couldn’t have thought before. Chess are hard to understand but if you see that there strategy to apply, you can understand why this move is more useful.

At one time, I’ve said that : “No Game No Life has something you cannot expect from other shows. It’s purely a tribute to all of us, gamers, even if you play board, video or other type of game, and understand the meaning behind the Game.” And in the last episode, it’s said that the last Oath is the most important of all. The meaning of the Game is to… have fun and get along with all the other players.

Those words of wisdom are important, not only in the show but in our life as well.


NGNL is more than just amazing. It’s above everything I can talk about. I know that some people are going to disagree, but just think out that. Games, nowadays are more present in our lives than before. Everybody knows how to play a board or a card game. Young people play on consoles or smartphone. And NGNL is really a Light Novel meant to talk to these people. And even in its adaptation, it keeps the same message.

Final note : 99.99/100. Because nothing is perfect.

6th point : THAT END.

I have nothing to say. The cliffhanger from the last episode ist just priceless.

Madhouse, you really deserved, your omega good job.


Kamiya Yuu, author and illustrator of the No Game No Life LN series

Madhouse, for the animated adaptation.


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