One of our spring/summer anime lineups for 2014; No Game No Life. I feel kind of like this is a warped version of Yu-Gi-Oh (just a bit). In the 'real' world two genius siblings Sora, older brother, genius at reading people/manipulating people and Shiro, younger sister, unrivaled calculation genius are bored to death of everything and everyone except for gaming.
They are Neets (Japanese term for Not in Education, Employment or Training - in other words a shut-in geek/otaku/unable to be social person) who spend five days straight at a time playing half a dozen online MMORPG's and winning at all of them. Together they are BLANK - unbeatable, untouchable, an urban legend too cool for this planet.
So what do two untouchable geniuses do? Get sucked into another world where conflict is settled by gaming. Of course.
I admit I had a rough start with the first episode. One thing that bugs the hell out of me is blatant, terribly obvious fan service and when you are doing crotch shots of a fucking ten year girl (Shiro, within the first ten minutes of the episode) it really pisses me off. I will never understand that aspect of Japanese culture where you are sexualizing CHILDREN, fucking children who are far below the age of sixteen. How the hell is this NOT pedophilia and how does this become so pervasive in a culture? So it took an effort to continue with the series.
But I did and I'm mostly glad I did. Hulu is currently streaming the first episode but if you look around you can find up to five episodes which is where I'm at right now. Let's start with; Characters
He almost has two distinct personalities. The first is a goofy, hilarious, pervy happy-go-lucky type of guy who is interested in normal things, like having a girlfriend. The second is the manipulative as hell, take-no-prisoners master chess player who can turn your head on its heels. Its a bit of a whiplash to go from super-serious Sora who is making you dance like a puppet to the goofball perv who is spazzing out about something ridiculous. Good for comedic effect, a bit tough on the serious to comedic back to serious whiplash effect.
Shiro is the extremely young, super genius laid back part of the duo Blank. She is untouchable in chess and calculation. You don't really get much of a feel for her personality; she doesn't say much, likes gaming and is content to let Sora do the talking. She only really comes alive when Sora is stepping out of bounds and is trying to engage in pervy behaviors in which then she usually comes down hard on him (painfully). I should mention that both siblings are completely reliant on one another and cannot be without the other because of extreme anthropophobia.
Poor Steph is just a normal girl in a world full of super geniuses. She doesn't stand a chance against the Blank duo and therefore gets outshined and often looked down upon. She's also the fanservice character; giant perfectly spherical tits, miniature skirts, stripperific outfits and major plunging necklines indicates fanservice to the T.
Steph is the granddaughter of the previous king and is on the verge of losing her kingdom (the kingdom of humans which is about to get overrun by all the other races of the world) when Blank show up and Sora decides to take over and be king. She loses rock-paper-scissors against Sora who then orders her to 'fall in love' with him and by the laws of this gaming world she is forced to do that although she fights against it with hilarious results.
No Game No Life has slick animation with bright and vibrant colors, it has good world building (familiar for anybody who has played a fantasy RPG) and interesting and dynamic characters. The dialogue is quick and witty and often hilarious; there is a good balance between seriousness and comedy. The plot moves fast and centers around the monumental task of taking the kingdom of the despondent human race and turning it around to be a major power in a world full of powerful creatures.
This is looking to be one of the better anime of 2014. The only thing that irritates me is blatant fanservice, mostly centered around Steph and her wonder-tits and the occasional crotch shot.
Overall I would give the anime an A and will continue with the series.