No Game No Life is a 12 episode anime that follows two siblings on their journey through a new world – one where there is no violence, and everything is determined via games!
No Game No Life is a fantasy + isekai anime that is focused around strategy / intrigue and exciting games. In the world called Disboard, there are 16 sentient races of all kinds, some with powerful magic, other with physical strength, and others with neither. Humans, called Imanity, are at the bottom of the pecking order, with no ability to sense or use magic, and mediocre strength compared to other races.
The two heroes, Sora and Shiro, are legendary gamers from Japan who, together, have never lost a game. They are summoned to Disboard after playing a game of chess versus the god of Disboard – Tet. And so the story follows Sora and Shiro as they start anew in a world where games determine everything, with the odds stacked against them.
Normally I wouldn’t dedicate a portion of a review to the animation / art style of an anime, simply because in my experience a vast majority of anime have average to above-average animation. Especially with more modern titles.
However, No Game No Life has a very unique style. It’s most noticeable feature is the very vibrant and over-saturated colours used throughout the anime. I could see how one might find the over-saturation off-putting, as it can be very bright and hard to make out details at times, lacking crisp lines and borders on the art. That said, I found that the over-saturation was something that sets No Game No Life apart from the pack, giving us something refreshing and unique. I think overall it made for a very bright and appealing anime.
In addition, No Game No Life features some very interesting eye designs. The best I can say is that they are very eye-catching… and so I’ll just show you what I mean with some images (click to enlarge):
Story / Pacing
As for the story itself, I thought it was excellent. Different from every other isekai anime out there, No Game No Life manages to create a world that feels absolutely full of potential. While I wouldn’t call it a shounen, there were many moments where I was more than excited to keep watching and find out what happens next, and see how our protagonists would tackle the next challenge they faced.
When it comes to pacing, I think that the anime did a fine job. A mix of excitement and exposition, often the formula used was a thrilling game followed up by an episode or two of planning / exposition / development, before jumping into another game and continuing the formula. Essentially the formula gives the viewer some breathing room in-between the high-stakes games, which also reduces the temptation to just binge the entire anime in one go.
While I love to binge anime, I think that having slower paced episodes help to stretch out the content and also bring their own type of enjoyment. Not every episode has to put the pedal down and deliver non-stop action.
This is actually quite the interesting topic for me. By far and large from what I have read from other reviews of No Game No Life, one of the largest complaints is the excessive fan service. I actually would disagree that the fan service is excessive, because it serves a purpose.
A vast majority of the fan service in No Game No Life takes place during the downtime between action-packed games. So really what the anime is doing is providing fan service during these slower periods in order to fill out the time a well as provide some eye candy. Fan service is it’s own type of enjoyment!
I was surprised at just how many episodes lacked fan service! Entire episodes, and sometimes multiple episodes in a row with absolutely no fan service – not even a single panty shot. But I thought this was the anime that had excessive fan service? When the anime shifts to a more relaxed tone, that is when you can expect not only fan service but comedy. Even if it’s during a game, if you read the tone, you will see what I mean by this, because a game may start out relaxed but then become more intense as time passes.
In the end, I believe that No Game No Life did a great job balancing its serious content and less serious comedic + ecchi content. I can see why it’s a point of attrition for many, but as someone who went into the anime specifically looking for ecchi content, I can safely say that there isn’t as much as you’d expect from an ecchi anime – especially considering this is an anime that gets flak for it’s ecchi content.
Speaking of ecchi content…
Series Ecchi Highlights
Story Rating: Excellent
From start to finish, No Game No Life delivers a compelling story unlike any other. You may find your curiosity getting the best of you as you wonder what sort of game the anime will introduce next, or how Sora and Shiro will overcome their next obstacle. It’s worth watching this anime for the story alone.
Ecchi Rating: Mild
Despite it’s reputation, No Game No Life only earns a mild ecchi rating. Not only are several episodes completely void of ecchi content, but the ecchi content we do get is actually quite tame. Not very many panty shots overall, and many of the ecchi scenes take place in the bath with a heavy layer of steam. There were some nice moments, but not enough to make the ecchi content in No Game No Life anything special.
No Game No Life is a great anime. As I’ve said, the story alone makes this anime worth the watch. If you’re in the market for a good anime with some fan service, it’s still a great pick. However, if you are more keen on watching an anime that is packed with ecchi content, you may want to consider something else – No Game No Life is definitely more about the story than the fan service.
In case you missed them, you can find my reviews of each No Game No Life episode here!
- Season One
- Episode 1 – Beginner
- Episode 2 – The Game Has Begun
- Episode 3 – The Battle for Elkia
- Episode 4 – First Elkia, And Then The World
- Episode 5 – Stephanie “Dog” Dola
- Episode 6 – Materialization Shiritori
- Episode 7 – Imanity’s New Hope
- Episode 8 – Rogue Diplomacy
- Episode 9 – Existential Othello
- Episode 10 – It’s Finally Time
- Episode 11 – Love or Loved 2: Hit Her With Your Bullet of Love!
- Episode 12 – One Step Closer