Anime Review | No Game, No Life (Lights, Camera, Action!)

By Drew Hurley 13.02.2016 1

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No Game, No Life (UK Rating: 15)

No Game, No Life originally began - like many anime series - as a Light Novel set, and since then it has made the transition to both manga and anime, both in Japan and here in the West, with companies snatching up the rights to every adaptation. Originally released in 2014, and simulcast in English on Crunchyroll, the anime of No Game, No Life was very well received, and now venerable British distributor, MVM, is bringing the series to the UK, with a complete collection, on 28th March, 2016.
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The premise of the series sees brother and sister team of Sora and Shiro living the life of the quintessential NEET, never leaving their home and spending their time doing online gaming. The pair is not all it seems to be, however. Known throughout the online world as "Blank," they are undefeatable in any game, from Chess to RTS to MMO, which is how the series introduces them, playing as four characters in a PVP match against 1,200 others… and then winning.

Their undefeatable prowess draws the attention of a mysterious presence that challenges them to a game of chess and, upon losing, offers them the chance to leave their world behind. To leave behind the world that has always ostracised them, a world that seemed like a senseless game they could never understand, or not? The answer is obvious, and the pair gets whisked away, taken instead to a magical fantasy world known as Disboard, where sixteen races fight for supremacy and everything is decided based upon games. Ten rules govern these and any game of chance can be used to gamble anything from some girl's panties to the fate of a nation. Sora and Shiro see this new world as yet another game to conquer and begin their path along to ruling the world and defeating the god who brought them there.

No Game, No Life is very much a comedy, and contains some of the funniest moments seen in recent series, absolutely stuffed to bursting with Easter Eggs, references, and nods to other shows. Fans of anime and games will be hard pressed not to notice at least one reference per episode, with famous series like Jojo's, Phoenix Wright, Persona, Steins;Gate, and plenty more getting attention. A large aspect of the comedy moments is fan service, with Sora drawing a veritable harem to him over the course of the series - panty shots, bathing scenes, and suggestive positions… The best part of these moments is that they are often tongue-in-cheek, with a parody-esque delivery. There are some fantastically funny moments here that play more from the reactions than the scene itself. The worst part is the frequent inclusion of eleven-year-old Shiro… an inclusion that makes those moments just feel rather creepy.

The production values are fantastic, with some superb voice actors and absolutely gorgeous art. Madhouse produced a stunning product that is filled with vibrant tones and rich colours that all combine with the fantastical world to deliver a final product with a truly unique style.

This complete series set contains all twelve episodes, with both a dub and sub, thankfully with a better translation than the Crunchyroll attempt - there is real top tier localisation here. Fans will be happy to see plenty of extras on the discs, too, including the original Japanese adverts, promotional material, commentary clips, as well as, most importantly, the original shorts included with the Japanese Blu-ray and DVD releases. These brief sketches are hilarious additions that capture the same signature comedy of the series.

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Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10
UK fans have been waiting a long time to get their hands on this due to a few delays in production, but it is certainly worth the wait, since it's a fantastic adaptation of the Light Novels, and comes with a truly beautiful presentation. It's a shame there are only 12 episodes, but these cover the first three books and there are currently eight books in total, leaving plenty for a second season. It's yet to be announced but hopefully that game will begin soon. Aschente!

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I loved this anime. So bright and colourful!

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