Reading is always one of those things that I avoid, even though as a writer I really need to do more of it. I don’t really have a lot of ideas as to what I should read from western authors, so if any of you guys do I would appreciate some, but I do follow a lot of other stories, and this year I read a couple of different light novels that I absolutely loved.
No Game No Life
If you want to see my thoughts on each of the individual novels I’ve read so far, you can go here, but to summarize, No Game No Life is possibly one of the most emotive, emotional investing stories that I’ve ever read. Not only are its world and lore worth putting extra time into, but its characters, despite their oddness, are loveable and relatable in ways that many wouldn’t want to admit. Sure, at times it is definitely convoluted, but that is just part of the appeal.
Spice and Wolf
Admitting that I’ve only read about half of the first volume of Spice and Wolf is kind of embarrassing considering how good it is. The light novel has everything that makes the anime great and more. The conversations between Lawrence and Holo are explored in a bit more detail than in the anime, probably because it is a novel and there is more time for that. It is also interesting to see more of Lawrence’s mental state before he meets Holo, and discovering that he is not that stable, to say the least. Definitely worth a read if you haven’t watched the Spice and Wolf anime.
What light novels did you guys read this year? What western authors would you recommend I read? Let me know in the comments below. Thanks for reading and bye for now, Friendos!
If you have read my previous reviews before, then you will know that No Game No Life is not only one of the most well-produced anime, but also that its original source material is of high quality. In fact, it’s fair to say that the No Game No life anime is a near perfect translation of the first three light novels, with the last four episodes being a particularly entertaining spectacle.
All of this is to say that the third volume of No Game No Life was a well-written conclusion to the tension that was slowly building between Elkia and the Eastern-Union. In this volume, Sora and Shiro have the herculean task of taking on the “kingdom of cute-animal girls” with only the knowledge they acquired from the writings of the previous king, Stephanie’s grandfather. During the last volume, the crew found out that all of the king’s games that to Sora, at first, seemed like hopeless attempts to win back land and that he was foolish for even trying. However, after looking at the specific areas that the king bet, and finding his information on the Eastern-Union’s game, Sora realized that the king’s hopeless endeavors were actually strategic planning for the next ruler of Elkia.
Armed with the previous king’s knowledge and Sora and Shiro’s ironclad confidence, the unbeatable duo blank challenge and defeat Izuna, the Eastern-Union’s representative in Elkia, in a four-on-one match with the fate of Immanity on the line for Blank, for all of the Eastern-Union’s continental territory and whatever lay upon it. This bet under the covenant just also happened to anything that lay on top of said continental territory, including Eastern Union citizens.
While No Game No Life’s story is one of its better elements, it would be nothing without its hilariously overpowered and loveable main duo. Sora and Shiro remain the show’s main attraction, and while they are not always the most relatable of characters, still exude the quality of good characters. Sora remains the eccentric pervert whose love of his little sister exceeds even his concern for himself, and Shiro is as always the calm and cool eleven-year-old who brings his brother’s deluded fantasies down to earth. The two always work well together as characters, and this volume was no exception.
During the battle with Eastern-Union, it became unclear as to whether or not Sora and Shiro, along with Jibril and Steph, could actually beat Izuna, with her heightened senses and superior physical ability. But, just as Sora had done with Shiro in his battle against Chlammy, Shiro put all of her faith in her brother to trust her in order to grab a come from behind win from Izuna.
I did find it unfortunate, though, that we didn’t learn any more of Shiro and Sora’s past, only things that had already been implied like that the two could barely stand to be outside back in Japan. It feels like a real missed opportunity from a writing perspective to leave out more details about their past, especially considering its importance to who they are as characters.
Either way, Volume three continued and improved on the No Game No Life series. It’s a wonderful addition to the story and only makes me look forward to the next volume. Considering the next volume has story that was not in the anime, I am even more eager to start it. If you haven’t read No Game No Life, do it, because it is absolutely worth your time.
No Game No Life has, without a doubt, been one of the most fascinating adventures that I have been taken on ever. A world in which there is no conflict, no war, no physical pain, and it is all being taken over by an 18-year-old virgin and his 11-year-old sister. In their previous world, they were known as “Blank,” and the two have never lost a game, no matter what it is. Now, slowly conquering the entirety of Disboard, Sora and Shiro are on their way to challenging God.
The second volume picks up right where the first ends when Sora and Shiro have become the joint ruler of Elkia, the last kingdom of the Immanity race. At this point, the writing is still fantastic. Yuu Kamiya’s story has started extremely strong and her characters are both hilarious and relatable.
Sora and Shiro have, so far, been largely defined by being opposites of each other, and therefore have strength in being together. Sora is defined by his ability to read other people. He knows when someone is lying, like how he is able to tell that warebeasts can’t actually read minds just by Inu’s reaction to his accusation in the Elkian Embassy. Shiro, on the other hand, is much more like a sponge, using her near-photographic memory to absorb all the possibilities in a given game, like when she plays chest and is able to map out her moves based on the situation at hand. While they may share much of a personality, the way they approach the games that they play makes them work well as a pair.
It was also good to know that the story of their life in their previous world has not yet been forgotten, as the book also brilliantly hints at the pain they both shared, especially Shiro, in another world. The way Shiro life is described before and after she met sora as being monochromatic and then filled with color really sets up a beautiful ongoing metaphor, although in this case, I feel like it was used to much greater effect in the anime, where the world of Disboard reflects the colorful life they both longed for.
Jibril is also a great addition to the cast, as her lack of emotional understanding of humans leads to some pretty funny comedic bits. It does look like she might be a one trick pony as the story continues, although I can’t be entirely sure.
Steph is, well Steph. I never found her to be the most interesting part of No Game No Life, although I also don’t think she is the worst part of it either. She does become a bit more likable when Sora gets angry at her for how her grandfather handled the kingdom, only to discover that Sora got angry for no reason.
Overall, I can’t stop loving No Game No Life. The second volume got to one of my favorite parts in the anime, the battle with Jibril, and did well setting up the cliffhanger for the arc with Sora’s disappearance. It is still a wonderfully imaginative series that I cannot wait to continue.
Despite a lackluster ending, the anime adaptation of No Game No Life has ended up as one of my favorite of all time. Maybe not my top ten, but definitely top twenty. It brought to life two of the most interesting main characters I’ve ever had the pleasure of watching. When I started reading the light novels I wasn’t sure what to expect. I thought, “Seems like it’ll be boring just reading what I’ve already watched.” However, I’m happy to say that the light novel proved me wrong in so many ways.
If you have seen the anime, then you already know the basic plot. Brother and sister Sora and Shiro, bored with the shitty game known as reality, one day receive an email from someone who claims to be able to be able to bring them to the world they will enjoy much more than their own. Upon responding to that email, Sora and Shiro find themselves falling out of the sky into a world that looks much different than the one they know. They find as they’re falling through the sky from the god of this new world Tet that their perfect world is right in front of them, known as Disboard. With a brief nap after literally falling into Disboard, the two awake and begin their journey.
One of the things that makes the light novel much more interesting than the anime, as I’ve talked about before in a previous post, is the amount of detail we get about both Sora and Shiro and the world of Disboard. Some of the appeal of No Game No life is lost in the lack of detail that the show presents, leaving out important descriptions about details about Sora and Shiro’s past. As screen time isn’t an issue in a light novel, the book gives a much more vivid description of the world and the reasons that Sora and Shiro are so perfect for Disboard.
Another thing that the book did well was portraying Sora and Shiro amazement of the world. A lot of the appeal of the show comes from the fact that we as the audience know that brother and sister Combo Blank are doing what they are for fun. If they weren’t bored of the world they were in, then they wouldn’t have half-jokingly agreed to come to Disboard. This can be seen in the descriptions of their reactions, with the middle of the first chapter describing a scene in which Sora reads over the rules of the world and then smirks after he reads the tenth rule, which is “Let’s all have fun together.” While Sora and Shiro are competitive, they play games for the reason everyone plays games. The smirk shows that Shiro is enjoying himself.
The only real problem I have with the story is the comedy. The show has a much better sense of comedic timing than the light novel, but I think that has more to do with the fact that reading the joke means that the comedic timing is going to be different for everyone because everyone reads at a different pace. I also don’t blame the light novel for this as much because my sense of grammar and syntax isn’t exactly the best.
The writing overall is fantastic. It’s descriptive, and Yuu Kamiya knows how to write characters that are both eccentric and loveable. If you’ve watched the series but haven’t read the light novel yet, then you should. It will make you fall in love with the world of No Game No Life all over again, and the light novels actually go past the series so the story will finish.
My Experience with the No Game No Life anime, aside from the ending, was a very positive one. It was an Isekai show that questions the status quo of its own genre, and it made that questioning really fun, as brother and sister team blank explore the new world that they have discovered. If I had to give one other negative criticism of the show its that The first episode, compared to the first chapter of the lite novel, didn’t give a lot in detail.
What I mean by that is that while the anime did its best to portray the life of Sora and Shiro through visual ques, the light novel does a much better job at explaining outright why it is Sora and Shiro are who they are. Its not that the anime did a bad job setting up the story of Blank, its just that I found a lot more to like in the descriptions of the novel.
For Example, while the show iterates the fact that the two are brilliant at games, it never gets around to connecting there brilliance at these games to there social isolation. The light novel, on the other hand, explains “The brother who had been born no good and so was too good at reading people’s words and motives. The sister who had been born too smart and, because of that and her pure white hair and red eyes had no one ho understood her.” This key detail makes it a lot easier to relate to Sora and Shiro early because we realize that nobody has taken the time to understand them.
Another example comes in the lack of description about there parents. In the anime, we get a quick scene that shows Sora walking along side his parents while they seem to ignore him, and they approach Shiro sitting at a table. Of course, this on the surface would convey the idea that there parents weren’t ever really around really well, but compared to the description in the lite novel, it feels a bit weak. The Light novel states “The siblings who had been abandoned, even by their parents, then left alone in this world, and who finally closed their hearts.” This clearly explains how they both feel about the outside world and why they only play games. They play because they both feel numb, and that no one will ever come for them. They find solace in games the way people find relief in each other. The novel also explains further that they had a past that “not even the most generous of interpretation could recall as happy.” This added detail delivers the idea that Sora and Shiro are lonely much more potently then in the anime
A large swath of detail that got left out of the anime is the idea of conspiracy theories and urban legends are actually just wishes. It further explains that people desire the universe to be filled with order rather than chaos, and that the people who wish for these things can’t except the fact the universe is mostly chaos. This idea fits in with Sora and Shiro’s description of life just being a shitty game because a game has order. The real world is chaos and has no sense of fairness or equality.
Details like these help tie the story together much better at the beginning and allow the story to convey its ideas much quicker then the anime. Again, I am not saying that the anime does a bad job at all, but if you were to ask me who gets more points for presentation, then I would give it to the light novel every time.