Tag Archives: Light Novel Review

No Game No Life Volume Five: Under the Sea and In the Sky

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

It’s been a while since I last wrote about No Game No Life. The light novel has been a pleasure to read since page one of the first novel, but the series has only continued to impress as it has gone on. Volume five brings the story to a whole knew place, and brings a lot of excitement.

After beating the Eastern Union in a game the wear-beasts were almost guaranteed to win, Sora and Shiro are greeted by a Dhampir named Plum who asks for their help in waking up the queen of the Sirens, with whom the Dhampir’s have a symbiotic relationship. The queen has been asleep for over 800 years after casting a spell on herself, telling the other sirens that she wants to be woken up by her true love.

One of the main beats in No Game No Life that has made it such an enjoyable read is the relationship between Sora and Shiro. The series often times goes out of its way to show that, despite the antics and funny jokes, “ “ bond is most certainly an unbreakable one, and no more clearly is that on display than in book five.

One of the best demonstrations of their bond is during the game of tag with the Flugel on Avant Heim. The game involves Sora and Shiro relying on Plum’s magic to create wings so they can fly, but they decide to each take one wing, having Plum disguised as a scarf around their necks. To a normal person, and especially to plum, it seemed ridiculous to expect two people to be able to sync up so well that they could fly while each controlling one wing. But, sure enough, they did, and within the first ten minutes of the game they were out-maneuvering, with the help of the game’s magic of course, the Flugel.

Advertisements

Volume five also has a lot in the way of good storytelling. It was interesting to read about the relationship that the Dhampirs and Sirens have. Due to the ten covenants, the sirens cannot just attack any person they see in order to reproduce. Similarly, the Dhampirs cannot simply drink the blood of anyone they want. This left Dhampirs and Sirens with really only one answer: to use each other.

This bit of lore is not only interesting, but is implemented well into the core of the game they have to play. The Dhampirs need to reproduce soon, but since the queen is asleep they can’t. Meanwhile, since the queen is asleep, the Sirens have not had a leader for 800 years. This increased urgency raises the stakes of the game and makes the twist all the more enjoyable.

Volume five has all of what makes No Game No Life an amazing series, and a lot more. It also does a good amount to move the plot forward, seeing as how Sora and Shiro now have control of five race pieces. It is indeed a pivotal point in the series, but one that is nonetheless incredibly fun.


Have you guys read No Game No Life? If so, what do you think of it? Let me know in the comments. If you would like to support Animated Observations or are just feeling generous, consider donating on Ko-Fi:

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Check out my writing blog, Solidly Liquid!

If you can’t, or just don’t feel like it, no worries. Thank you all for reading, and goodbye, for now, friends!

No Game No Life Volume 4: A Secret Horse Race Conquered(SPOILERS)

Its been a while since I managed to finish a volume of a light novel. Most of the time I get too distracted by scrolling through Twitter or Facebook to be bothered to open my Bookwalker app and read the things that I paid real human currency for, but yeah, that’s just me. Having said that, however, now that I have managed to sit down and finally finish the fourth volume of No Game No Life, it is time to continue with my review of the series and to let you all know whether or not it is worth continuing.


Both volume three and the last few episodes of the anime left the series in a bit of a weird place. Having just defeated the Eastern Union in a contest for their respective race pieces, Sora and Shiro now look onward to uniting all 16 races to challenge Tet. In fact, everything seems relatively calm. That is, until Plum, a member of the 12th most powerful race Dhampir, appears asking for help.

Screenshot 2018-07-03 18.22.36

Of course, Sora and Shiro are immediately distrustful. I mean, Why wouldn’t they be? They confirmed that the Wearbeasts were cheating in the last game they played, so why wouldn’t any of the other races use tricks to steal away Immanity’s piece. However, after determining that Plum was not lying, they accept her request: to help save both the Dhampirs and the Sirens.

Volume 4 is a definite departure from the series so far, at least in terms of subject matter. Both the Sirens and Dhampirs are races that had previously not been mentioned, but share a unique relationship that makes the plot of the fourth book so interesting. Because of the 10 Commandments rule that all violence be forbidden, the Dhampirs and Sirens were forced to make a contract so that both races could survive. Early on Plum describes the situation as less than ideal for both parties, which becomes important for understanding the plot later on.

The plot overall is definitely solid as well. The best parts of all three of the first books can be found in fourth: Sora and Shiro’s ridiculously convoluted ability to understand the world around them, the excellent world-building that makes our main protagonists conquest that much more interesting, and even Steph, who serves as a sort of representation to many people’s base reaction to many of Sora and Shiro’s insane ideas.

The only real complaint I have about the fourth volume and the series as a whole is that a lot of the show’s philosophical underpinnings have gone unexplored, but I imagine that will probably be resolved at the series’ climax when they finally get the right to challenge Tet to a game. Overall, the series has continued to be an extremely enjoyable read, and I will continue to recommend it even to people who are not fans of the anime.


How do you guys feel about the No Game No Life light novels? Are you excited to read the series? Let me know in the comments below. Also, if you want to support the Aniwriter through donations or are just feeling generous, consider buying me a coffee on Ko-Fi. Otherwise, thanks for reading and bye for now, Friendos!

No Game No Life Light Novel Volume 3 Review: Just Getting Better

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.

Not an Idiot

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.

 

Izuna
Izuna, Ambassador of the Easter-Union to Elkia

 

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.

Sora and Shiro 2

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.

 

Review- No Game No Life Volume 2: Blank, the Masters of Gaming(SPOILERS)

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.

 

 

 

Review- No Game No Life Light Novel Volume 1: The Start of a Fantastic Adventure

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.