Tag Archives: No Game No Life

Highlighting the Best Anime of the 2010s

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

Advertisements

The 2010s were a strange time. I went through middle school, became an anime fan, went to high school, stopped being an anime fan, became isolated and depressed, became an anime fan again, started this blog, and then became depressed again. Truly, it is a cycle that never ends. One of the other things I did during that time is enter college and start writing for my college’s newspaper.

Since the decade ended in the same semester I did so, I ended up writing a retrospective on some of the best anime of the decade. Now, because I have consumed a lot more, my opinions have largely changed and expanded. Even so, I thought it would be fun to throw up on here as a fun read and reminder of just how much time has passed. Anyway, hope you enjoy it!


Welcome back, tourists. With 2019 over, the decade has officially reached its end. While the constant seasonal cycle still continues, it is worth remembering anime in the 2010s. 

The 2010s were an explosive decade for the anime industry overall and for fans like myself who love the variety that the medium brings. Indeed, the anime industry’s net worth topped 19 billion U.S. dollars, and the number of shows coming out each season increased dramatically from the beginning of the decade to the end.

Because of this increased growth and diversity, the decade produced a number of incredible anime, both in series and film, that are worth remembering. Here is a list of some of the best anime from the 2010s.

Durarara – Winter 2010 – Studio: Brain’s Base

The decade started off strong with Durarara, a show where almost anything can and will happen. 

The series focuses on Mikado, a high school student who moves to Tokyo’s Ikebukuro district at the behest of his friend Masaomi. Soon after, the two begin hanging out again, only for Mikado to find out that there is a lot more going on in Tokyo than he initially thought. Before he knows it, Mikado is caught up in gang wars, urban legends and battles for mysterious ancient weapons.

There is a lot to love about Durarara. It is a series where new adventures unfold every episode, only to then later reveal something about another previous adventure, culminating into a season finale that, while admittedly somewhat weak, leaves one begging for more—that is, until you realize there is an excellent second season which more or less picks up from where season one left off. 

Wandering Son – Winter 2011 – Studio: AIC Classic

The issues faced by transgender people in today’s world are something not often explored in storytelling media. While representation for trans people is catching up somewhat, it is still lagging behind what it should be, given that nearly one percent of the population identifies as such. Luckily, some creators, like author and illustrator Takako Shimura, were ahead of the game. 

The 2011 adaptation of her manga tells the story of two kids, Yoshino and Yuuichi, who have struggled with their gender identity since entering middle school. The two are able to confide in each other over their confusion but still ultimately struggle to fit in. Luckily, they have other friends to help them through it in a story that explores bullying, relationships and identity for transgender kids.

Advertisements

Psycho-Pass – Fall 2012 – Studio: Production I.G.

There are a number of influential figures in anime whose work has shaped the medium, both for better and for worse. One of its more positive influences, Shinichiro Watanabe, created many amazing works throughout the 2010s, but arguably his best was Production I.G.’s Psycho-Pass.

Psycho-Pass is set in a futuristic Japan, but this time there is a twist. In an age of advanced technology, the country’s justice system has also caught up and uses an invention known as Sibyl. Sibyl allows police to determine the likelihood of any individual committing a crime, and because of this, the entire criminal justice system is based on this technology. However, it becomes a problem when those such as Makishima appear with the unique trait of being undetectable.

To put it bluntly, Psycho-Pass is like if every procedural crime drama show was even remotely interesting. It comes jam-packed with plenty of action, while still holding true to its themes of the inherent injustice in criminal convictions, as well as the problems of relying too much on technology. While its subsequent seasons were less than stellar compared to the first, it is still worth watching nonetheless. 

Log Horizon – Fall 2013 – Studio: Satelight

There are also a ton of individual anime that are influential as well, one of those being Sword Art Online, a series whose trapped-in-a-video-game storyline inspired many similar premises to receive adaptations of their own. However, coming before does not necessarily mean that a show is better.

Enter Log Horizon, a series about a group of friends who get trapped in a world that looks a lot like their favorite MMORPG “Elder Tale.” Although initially comforted by their new environment’s seeming familiarity, they soon realize there are many things about this world they do not yet know. 

While it definitely helps to have some knowledge of how MMOs generally work, it is not necessary for understanding just how amazing this show is. A lot of what makes it so great is its main character Shiroe. For most of the series, Shiroe acts as the not so charismatic leader, helping organize the players in a way that lets everyone live comfortably. Despite not initially coming off as that interesting, Shiroe becomes an even bigger focal point later on as the mystery behind his old guild, The Boston Tea Party, is slowly revealed. 

Advertisements

No Game No Life – Spring 2014 – Studio: Madhouse

Imagine a world in which war, robbery, theft and murder are all gone. It is one where physical violence is impossible due to an ancient war in which the god of play took over and remade the world into one in which all conflict is to be settled by games. Now, imagine the story of a brother and sister who get transported to this world by God himself, and who soon realize the secret hidden within. 

Put all of that together and outcomes No Game No Life, one of the most exciting anime to come out in recent memory. Sora and Shiro, the aforementioned brother and sister, come to the world of Disboard because they wished for a new life, one where their incredible skills at games can shine through.

The thing that makes it a remarkable series is the tag team of Sora and Shiro. Even when it looks like they might lose, the two of them always believe in each other and find a way to beat the odds.

Haikyuu – Spring 2014 – Studio: Production I.G.

Not often talked about in the world of sports is volleyball, a game whose rules and skillsets create a scenario where a play can start and end within a matter of seconds. Luckily, this high-octane sport has not been forgotten about. 

Haikyuu stars Shoyou Hinata who in middle school dreams of playing volleyball on the national stage. In middle school, he forms a team with a few of his friends. The team practices quite a bit, only to be stuffed out in their first tournament by Hinata’s eventual rival Tobio Kageyama. When the two find out that they are attending the same high school, they realize that, for the better of the team, they need to put aside their differences in order to strive for victory.

Good sports stories are often just good underdog stories with sports being the main conflict, and Haikyuu fits that bill easily. Due to his small stature, Hinata initially struggles to find his spot on the Kurasuno High team. Eventually, with the help of Kageyama, who becomes the team’s setter, Hinata is able to become an amazing spiker. 

Tune in next week as I finish highlighting the best of the 2010s.

Advertisements

Now, since this is the future if you want to see the rest of this list it is available already on The Daily Beacon, but I will also be posting the second half next Friday. Now, I know what I think I missed, but is there another show that should be on here? Let me know in the comments.

If you are interested in reading more from me, check under blog to read my most recent stuff, or look below for some related posts. Also, if you would like to support Animated Observations, consider donating on Ko-fi or through paypal, or pledging on Patreon. You can even support by just liking and sharing this post.

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!

Advertisements

My Top 10 Favorite Anime (As of August 2021)

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

Advertisements

Well, It certainly has been a while since I made this list, about three years to be exact. Sometimes it can feel a bit pointless to try and nail down favorites because tastes are constantly changing, but I have watched a few series lately that I feel strongly about, and thus I thought it would be fun time to remake this list and share it with all of you. With that being said, let us get started.


10. Terror in Resonance

Honestly, I thought out of all the shows on my previous list, “Terror in Resonance” would have not made it on still, and yet, through hours of internal debate, it still managed to find a spot. I would say that its one thing in particular that keeps me thinking about it, but that would lie. From the gorgeous animation produced by then up and coming studio MAPPA to the gorgeous Icelandic vocal filled soundtrack, this show has so much. As time has gone on, my sympathies for the series’ political messages have also gone up significantly. While “Terror in Resonance” might have just barely made the list, do not take that to mean I think it is bad, because that is far from the truth.

9. Fire Force

Speaking of shows that I did not think would be on this list. Although, what can I say, it grew on me. “Fire Force” may have some serious problems when it comes to its female characters, which I will definitely continue to talk about, but it also just has a really cool premise that it executes on fairly well. Couple that with the fact that the series was created by the original author of “Soul Eater,” and thus has some fairly similar character designs, and yeah I am on board. It may have taken me a bit more time to fully get into it, but it has certainly earned its place on this list.

Advertisements

8. Robotics;Notes

Oh, look, its the anime that got me somewhat interested in mecha. Not sure how Scott will feel about that, but it is true. Without “Robotics;Notes,” “Gurren Lagann” probably would have ended up as the extent of my mecha experience. However, this show is also just good on its own merits. The character-driven, sci-fi mystery plotline has twists and turns at virtually every stage of its progression, as well as boasting one of the most interesting fictionally diseases in the form of Cat and Mouse Syndrome. I have wanted to revisit this series for a while now, and since I now own the “Robotics;Notes” visual novel, I may just do so…

(This is totally a hint that you should follow me on twitch ;))

7. No Game No Life

Look, I get it, the show is a bit problematic in its depiction of Sora and Shiro’s relationship. Ngl, kinda cringe. However, for those who are willing to look past this, there is a lot to like about “No Game No Life.” Not only did Madhouse do a great job animating the entire series, from the games to conversations between characters, the color palate for this show looks gorgeous, though I am incredibly biased because purple. On top of that, there are some intriguing ideas when it comes to the series’ message and philosophy. For those who are fans of Isekai stories and have somehow not come across “No Game No Life,” this is a much watch.

6. A Place Further Than the Universe

Oh boy. I can count of two hands the number of series that have made me cry, and “A Place Further Than the Universe” happens to be one of them. What is even crazier is that, it does not use any incredibly sappy set up to try and pull at your heart strings immediately. Rather, it just tells the story of a girl who really wants to follow in her mother’s foot steps, and three others who are along for the ride. They share the adventure of a lifetime going to Antarctica and…well, not to spoil too much, but it is certainly an experience.

Advertisements

5. Log Horizon

Alright, so I have a confession to make. I have yet to watch the third seasons for both of the next two series. I know, I know, it feels a bit weird to still have them on here without having technically watched all of them. In my defense though, the first two season of “Log Horizon” are just good enough on their own. Drama, politics, worldbuilding: “Log Horizon” has it all, and then some. It may not be the best looking show ever, but when its got one of the best hype anthems ever written by Man on a Mission fronting every episode, it does not have to be. I said before that Isekai fans should have “No Game No Life” on their to watch list, and that goes more-so for this series.

4. Oregairu

Truth be told, the only reason I did not end up watching the third season for “Oregairu” is because me and my friend got a little too intoxicated while we were re-watching the first two and, well, let us just say it got messy. Regardless, like with “Log Horizon,” “Oregairu” could be carried by its first two seasons. I am still a little bit salty about the change in art style after season one, but honestly, given how good the show is, that is a minor complaint. There really is not too much else to say for this one other than it is a fantastic slice of life comedy that is certainly worth anyone’s time.

3. Golden Time

What can be said about “Golden Time” that is not already buried in my 1000 word video script on the series (I meant to put out the video a long ass time ago I just kept forgetting to record and edit.) Romance in anime has felt one note for a pretty long time, outside of some recent exceptions like “Horimiya.” However, the romance in “Golden Time” is dynamic and feels real. While it may have a fantastical element as it core premise, it is believable because all of its characters, including the main character, develop relationships that mean something. In show’s best moments, there is a deep sense of investment in the lives of the people on screen, and to think, it all started with a dude getting slapped with a rose bouquet.

Advertisements

2. Princess Jellyfish

The hardest part about making this list was not writing these blurbs, but rather deciding who would get second and third between the last two entries. In fact, it probably took me at least an hour going back and forth in my head to make a decision. While “Golden Time” is without a doubt great, I only really felt its impact all at once, at the end, when I could barely contain my tears. “Princess Jellyfish,” on the other hand, was different. It hit in waves, as if at the end I was not able to fully process what I had even just watched. After sitting with the series for a few days, I can be assured in the assessment that “Princess Jellyfish” is a remarkable series.

1. March Comes in Like a Lion


As remarkable as “Princess Jellyfish,” It was unlikely that the series that helped me in one of the darkest periods of my life was ever going to get dethroned. “March Comes in Like a Lion” lacks in no category, and while the subject matter may seem a bit inaccessible, shogi is simply a means to a storytelling-end. Rei, and later on Hina, are two of the most complex characters in all of anime, and their arcs are some of the best storytelling I have ever seen. Couple that with studio shaft’s unique, occasionally minimalist art style and you get a series frankly deserves a lot more recognition than it currently gets.


What are some of your favorite series? Let me know in the comments.

If you are interested in reading more from me, check under blog to read my most recent stuff, or look below for some related posts. Also, if you would like to support Animated Observations, consider donating on Ko-fi or through paypal, or pledging on Patreon. You can even support by just liking and sharing this post.

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!

Advertisements

No Game No Life and The Philosophy of Disboard

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

In order to break up the seasonal excitement a bit, and also to give myself a buffer since school is starting this week, I thought I would dig up one of my original video ideas and publish the script here. I may still make this into a video at some point, but as for now I thought it would be fun to revisit one of my favorite series and discuss one of my favorite aspects: its setting. Enjoy!


Despite being a genre predicated on a change in scenery, It seems as if many of the recent entries into the Isekai genre have ignored one of the most important elements of a good story: the setting. Many of these said entries, such as In Another World with my Smartphone, seem to take for granted the fantasy setting in which their stories take place. As a result, they forgo world-building in favor of giving as much screen time possible to the usual blank slate MC and whatever Harem misadventures he is getting into that week.

However, one Isekai that actively builds on its world in an exciting and interesting way is No Game No Life. In fact, it might be fair to say that Disboard, the world where the show takes place, is itself the main character, with its own unique perspective.

Disboard, as it is known to Sora and Shiro, being a world governed by the ten covenants, was created long ago at the end of the Great War, a contest between the many gods of that world in order to attain the Suniaster and become the one true god. Tet, at the time known as the god of play, obtained it at the very end, recreating Disboard into a world without war and violence.

  1. All murder, war, and robbery is forbidden in this world.
  2. All conflict in this world will be resolved through games.
  3. In games, each player will bet something that they agree is of equal value.
  4. As long as it doesn’t violate pledge three, anything may be bet, and any game may be played.
  5. The challenged party has the right to decide the rules of the game.
  6. Any bets made in accordance with the pledges must be upheld.
  7. Conflicts between groups will be conducted by designated representatives with absolute authority.
  8. Being caught cheating during a game is grounds for an instant loss.
  9. In the name of god, the previous rules may never be changed.
  10. Let’s all have fun and play together!

The rules that govern Disboard, otherwise known as the ten covenants, are the guiding principles that were set in place by Tet in order to create his game world Utopia. These covenants, as they relate to No Game No Life, can best be understood in three separate sections.

Covenants two through eight layout the rules for conflict in the new world of Disboard. Those who wish to fight must do so through playing a game, with the person challenged deciding what game to play and each person betting something of equal value. These rules make it so that people have a way of settling conflicts that don’t devolve into total war and bloodshed. The rules also reflect Tets personality as the god of play, someone who loves games.

Advertisements
Advertisements

The first, “All murder, war, and robbery is forbidden in this world,” and the ninth, “In the name of god, the previous rules may never be changed,” represents Tets desire to see a world in absolute peace, after the many gods of the world spent millennia tearing it apart. This comes largely at the request of Riku, a human who fought to protect Immanity and becomes the main character of the sixth volume of the No Game No Life light novel series. At the end of No Game No Life Zero, an adaptation of the sixth volume, Sora almost succeeds at taking the Suniaster, but then prays to Tet to create a world without violence.

It is the tenth covenant, “Let’s all have fun and play together,” that leaves both Sora and Shiro, as well as the audience, extremely confused. After all, why include something that isn’t even technically a rule in a list of ten rules governing your whole world. Still, it is in this last covenant that Disboard is truly understood, and where Sora and Shiro are ahead of the curb. 

In the eyes of Tet, Disboard was always meant to be a world in which people come together, a world in which the sixteen ixseeds leave aside their racial differences and live in harmony. That is why every race has a representative who holds their race piece, and why Sora and Shiro decide to start challenging the different races to games for their pieces.

Disboard, at its core, is a game, a game that nobody has yet to win, and one that had rules no one quite understood in the way Sora and Shiro do. However, Disboard also has a unique philosophy, one that wishes to set aside sociocultural and political differences in favor of a new world order, one built on peace, understanding, and the past time of sitting down and playing a fun game.

Advertisements
Advertisements

However, much like the real world, the world of Disboard is often governed by tribalism. Despite not being able to enact physical violence, many of the races on Disboard are suspect of one another, and work hard at learning strategies to use during games in order to ensure victory when playing against another race. This can be seen in the game between Sora, Shiro and Izuna. 

The Eastern Union had previously forced the king of Elkia to agree to lose his memory upon losing the game, which was supposed to prevent the king from gathering data. The same rules applied to Sora and Shiro’s game. In addition, The Eastern Union chose a game in which the players had to rely on physical strength, an attribute Sora and Shiro lack and one that Izuna, the Werebeast representative, has in spades.

The political calculations of each of the races’ leaders, even after the ten covenants, likely contributed to the lack of unity and partnership between each of the races.

While the idea that a couple of random humans falling out of the sky and solving the mystery of an entire alternate universe feels a bit weird, it does make sense. Sora and Shiro not only know how to “win the game” of Disboard, but also embody its very existence. After all, the only reason they are there in the first place is because Tet invited them. Whether someone wants to call them savior, test subjects, it doesn’t matter. They are Blank, and they are there to win, but also have a good time, just as intended.


How do you feel about “No Game No Life?” Let me know in the comments.

If you are interested in reading more from me, check under blog to read my most recent stuff, or look below for some related posts. Also, if you would like to support Animated Observations, consider donating on Ko-fi or through paypal, or pledging on Patreon. You can even support by just liking and sharing this post.

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 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!

My Top Ten Favorite Anime (As of August 2018)

Welcome, weebs and authors alike, to The Aniwriter

Since I haven’t had a lot of interest in watching new shows as of late, and because this will be my 300th post on The Aniwriter, I’ve decided to document my top ten favorite anime of all time. I believe I’ve explained my philosophy on the subject before, but I’ll explain it again. This list is going to be a list of my Favorites, and not what I think is the best. That is a different list entirely, and one I would be happy to make if you’re interested. With that being said, here are my top ten favorite anime of all time, as of this month, anyway.


10. Phi Brain

Phi Brain

It’s really hard to describe this show to other people and not get some weird looks. Like, its a show about people battling each other with puzzles. On the surface, it seems like something that should be in the same boring vein as Beyblade, right?

Well, yes, but hear me out. The show has a lot of has a whole lot of entertainment value, from its hilariously edgy characters to the extreme situations they find themselves in. Not to mention the surprisingly messed up backstories of its villains. For those reasons alone, it’s absolutely one of my favorites

9. Terror in Resonance

Terror in Resonance

Two words: the soundtrack. If nothing else, you should absolutely go listen to this show’s soundtrack, even if you don’t like the premise of the show itself. Personally, however, I do think the show it is attached to is worth it. Sure, maybe it’s not the most well-executed story-wise, but I think there’s a lot to relate to when it comes to the main characters. Nine and Twelve go through the entirety of the show with an identity crisis on their hands. They rebel against society because it was society’s institutions that caused them to live without knowing who they are. It seems like their in a perpetual state of being lost, and there is certainly something about that I relate to a lot.

8. The Devil is a Part-Timer

The Devil is a Part-Timer

On a much lighter note, what if the Devil worked in fast food? Yeah, this show is entirely underrated, and the fact that it didn’t get a second season makes me extremely angry. It has a hilarious premise, plus the side characters make the show even better. One of my favorite running gags in the show is how Maou thinks that getting promoted at MgRonalds will somehow allow him to conquer earth. Lucifer is also pretty hilarious the way he just sits in the apartment all day and does literally nothing. If you’re ever looking for something to just sit back and relax with, give this a watch.

7. Black Lagoon

Black Lagoon

Black Lagoon is awesome, plain and simple. I remember the first time I watched this show, and it immediately blew my mind. It was a lot like those memes with people using song lyrics and then saying “My thirteen-year-old mind:” and then showing the Kermit the frog picture. Much of that awesomeness comes from Revy, who frequently rushes in and just starts blowing everything up without much of a second thought. By the end of the series, Rock becomes pretty awesome too, especially in the last scene of Roberta’s Blood Trail, where even Revy notices a large change in his behavior. Then, of course, there are the various fights which also look incredible, so yeah.

6. Spice and Wolf

Spice and Wolf.jpg

Shoutout to one of my best friends Sean for recomending this show to me, because without him it would have never even shown up on my radar. Slice of Life really is one of the most interesting genres to me, because there are so many possibilities in terms of characters, setting, and the challenges people face in their everyday lives. Spice and Wolf, though, manages to bring together such a unique combination of storytelling mechanics, and at the center of it all is Holo, one of the more interesting main characters not just in Slice of Life, but in anime in general. Her view on life is a blend of optimism and pessimism. Lawrence is cut from a similar cloth, which seems to be why they connect so early on in the show. And this is where I make a joke about medieval economics and then move on.

5. No Game No Life

Sora and Shiro

Definitely a newer entry on my list, but none the less an important one. You might also notice about most of the entries on this list that a lot of the main characters of these shows are ones that I find extremely relatable, and Sora and Shiro are not different. Their core philosophy is that “Life is just a shitty game,” and for a lot of people, that’s true. A lot of people don’t get the same opportunities to succeed as others. Most people are born in countries where the living conditions aren’t the best and some are even born into active war zones. For Sora and Shiro, from what has been revealed about their past, it was not having parents that even remotely cared for them. Having the ability to escape to another world in which everything is ultimately decided by your willingness to succeed is exactly what they wanted.

4. Robotics;Notes

Robotics-Notes_03-23-18

Two Words: The Opening. No, seriously, this shows opening is absolutely hype. I honestly might have to bring back opening of the week just to do a post about this show’s opening, because I love it so much. Yeah, it is pretty generic J-Rock, but Junjou Spectra by Zwei gets me hype every time I listen to it. However, it is not just the music in the show that makes it one of my favorites. Robotics;Notes has a wealth of interesting scientific lore. One of the most interesting parts by far is the Condition of the two main characters: Elephant and Mouse Syndrome. The former causes your perception of time to slow down, while the latter speeds it up. Without giving spoilers, the show is able to use this fictional condition to some interesting effects.

3. Oregairu

Oregairu

Some might look at this show and think: “with a title like that I’m sure it will just be some generic garbage.” Now, to be honest, if you talked to me right before I started watching this show, I wouldn’t have blamed you. The English title is “My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU,” but at first I didn’t really feel like it was worth watching, and I sort of just started it on a whim. However, after having watched through the show, I changed my opinion a lot, and now we’re here. Sometimes it can be hard to know who you should really be letting into your life. A lot of people act fake, either because they want something from you or because they think being friends with you will offer some kind of benefit. Oregairu is a show that exposes that kind of fakeness and lays it out for everyone to see, and that’s what I love about it.

2. Fairytail

fairy-tail

Fairytail was, in a sense, a lot of my childhood. It was one of the first shows I watched when I discovered what anime was, and ever since then, I’ve watched it religiously. More and more viewing of the show has lead me to realize that it is most certainly not the greatest show out there, but its one that’s been with me for a while. If you had asked me in 2016 whether or not this show was my number one, I would have said yes without hesitation, but after seriously thinking about this list, there really was only one answer.

And for my number one…

1. March Comes in Like a Lion

March comes in like a lion 3

There isn’t much I can say here that I haven’t already said about this show in other posts. In fact, I think the last post I wrote about the show probably explains my feelings the best, so check it out. But, In summary, March Comes in Like a Lion provides a cathartic experience for me that no other show has. From its incredibly beautiful visual presentation to the characters whose lives sometimes feel more real than my own. If I could get everyone I know to watch one show, it would be this one.


I know I always ask a question at the end of my posts, but this time I am genuinely curious, what are some of your favorite anime? 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!

OWLS Blog Tour July “Mentor” Post: What Sora and Shiro Can Teach Us About the Human Condition

Hello, Anifriends

OWLS

Welcome to second ever OWLS blog post. I’ve only been apart of OWLS for a few weeks now, but it has been great getting to talk to a bunch of like-minded individuals who want to make the world a better place with writing, and I plan on doing just that with this post as well.

As you might have deduced from the title, today I’ll be focusing on two of my favorite characters, Sora and Shiro, and how they manage to bring a sort of hopefulness to the story of No Game No Life.

Before I get started though, a few more things. This month’s theme is Mentor, which you can read about directly below.

Throughout our lives, we might have encountered someone that we admired as a role model or has guided us in some life dilemma. This mentor could be a teacher at school, a coach, a boss or team leader at work, or a family friend. Whoever it is that person impacted your life in a positive manner. For this month’s OWLS topic, we will be writing about mentors or mentorships in anime and other pop culture media. Some topics we will be exploring include how a mentorship impacted a main character’s life, the types of mentor relationships a person could have, and/or personal stories about mentors or mentorships.

Also, I want to give a shoutout to the last OWLS post of this month, which came from Scott of Mechanical Anime Reviews. You can read his post about Gundam Unicorn here.

And now, without further Ado, my OWLS post for July:


There seems to be no end for the praise that the anime adaptation of Yuu Kamiya’s now famous light novel No Game No Life. Many talk about the story’s main characters, Sora and Shiro, and how there Neet personalities dropped against the very real fantasy world of Disboard makes the show almost like a parody. Others praise its unique color palette and the abundance of purple that ties the world together.

There is, however, one element of the show that does not often get a fair shake: the show’s many ideas about the human condition. Littered throughout the fun and exciting world of endless gaming that makes No Game No Life’s story so unique is a very real and powerful examination of what makes people, people.

Screenshot 2018-07-12 00.54.03

The first example of this comes during Sora’s coronation speech during the fourth episode. After having beaten Kurami, who was being supported by an elf, Sora talks about the current condition of Elkia. Sora explains that in the world of Disboard that was created by the one true god Tet, those who previously relied on Brute strength to take down there enemies were now forced to rely on the wisdom they could gather and use to defeat other nations in games.

That knowledge, he explains, has given them an edge over humans, and that in order to regain the strength that Immanity once had, humans needed to realize something about themselves: that they are weak. Humans, in the world of Disboard, have no magic nor any ability to perceive its use. Sora concludes that by remembering their own weakness, Immanity can once again become a strong and powerful nation.

Screenshot 2018-07-12 01.18.37

This core philosophy that drives not only Sora and Shiro personally but the way that they choose to govern and utilize Elkia is also exactly the kind of mindset that Steph’s grandfather, the former king, was looking for in the next king. To him, it was always more important to have someone that believed the potential of Immanity as well as being able to act on that potential

While the mindset of remembering your own weakness in this case likely comes from their neglected past and NEET status back in Japan, the overall philosophy makes a lot of sense. It has always been important to recognize what you cannot do and make good use of the assets that you do have. Without a grounded sense of what is possible and what is not, many would go on to think they cannot do anything.

Another much more obvious thematic element involved in the story of No Game No Life is the act of escaping into is Disboard in the first place. It is completely fair to say that the Isekai trope in anime has more than overstayed its welcome, but in No Game No Life’s case, it speaks to a much more harsh reality.

Screenshot 2018-07-11 15.39.27

The show alludes a number to time to the fact that at the very least Sora and Shiro were very often neglected by their parents, and in the case of Shiro, was sent off to a facility somewhere because of her unique level of intellect and basically forgotten about. When the two meet for the first time, Shiro says something to him even though she hadn’t spoken in a long time: “You really are empty.” Sora realizes that Shiro used his name as a double insult, and the two instantly formed a bond.

Screenshot 2018-07-11 15.01.14

The flashbacks to a much worse time in both of their lives reveals a troubling reality: that, just like they explained at the beginning of the show, life can often times just be a crappy game. While many of those living in Disboard cannot remember a time where violence ever existed, Sora and Shiro come from a world where it is alive and well.

It is interesting to think about the sort of background that Sora and Shiro come from, one where robbery and murder are still plentiful, one where genocide still happens on a pretty consistent basis, and one where corrupt rulers take hold of power and turn countries into dictatorships in a matter of just a few months. To think about all that, and then to realize that many in Disboard know nothing about that, is kind of incredible.

What makes No Game No Life such a compelling story, on top of everything I mentioned at the beginning, is its very human themes and ability to communicate those ideas so well. Sora and Shiro could have very easily been uninteresting, underwritten, and overpowered, especially in the wake of the success of Sword Art Online, but it does not. It goes the extra step to remind us all about just how important it is to learn from our beings and to remember where we came from.


What do you guys think about No Game No Life? Is there something that I missed when talking about it this time? 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 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!

What Else Should You Watch?: No Game No Life

Well, it has been a while since I’ve done one of these, so I thought “Why Not?” No Game No Life has been one of my personal favorites ever since I saw it back in 2014, and will likely continue to be for some time. However, there are some shows that you might like if you enjoy No Game No Life. So, sit back, relax, and get ready for some recommendations.

Baka and Test

Screenshot 2018-03-11 14.27.18

Definitely one of No Game No Life’s most entertaining elements are the games Sora and Shiro play in order to complete their mission of taking over the world. Most of the time they are action-packed and display the abilities of Sora and Shiro well. Another show that has a somewhat similar setup, aside from getting sent to another world, is Baka and Test.

Baka and Test centers around a school where kids are given a power level based on their test scores. That power level is used in what’s called the Summoner Test War, in which students compete to move up the social ladder, and gain access to perks that students with higher grades have.

Baka and Test has a lot of likable qualities, like its setup. The fact that the main character Yoshii and friends are all in Class F, the lowest class, leads to a lot of humorous interactions between members of other classes, like when Yoshii tries to sneak into Class A’s lounge and steal some of their food and end up getting kicked out. A lot of the action scenes are entertaining as well. It is definitely worth your time.

Binbougami Ga!

Screenshot 2018-03-11 14.59.52

One other thing that No Game No Life has going for it is that it is extremely colorful. Binbougami Ga, being the work of Studio Sunrise, is unexpectedly very similar. Its color palette, while not as bright as No Game No Life, might be even more diverse.

The story of Binbougami Ga centers Sakura, whose life seems to be going extremely well. Her grades are stellar, she’s popular with almost everyone, and her financial woes are non-existent. However, one day, the god of misfortune Momoji comes to inform Sakura that the reason her life is going so well is because she is stilling the good fortune, and she has been tasked with stealing back some of Sakura’s good fortune.

Similar to Baka and Test, a lot of this show’s enjoyment can be found in its humor. Momoji has to come with a lot of schemes to get Sakura’s good luck, but her good luck usually ends up helping her avoid Momoji. The two characters, despite hating each other for most of the show, have great chemistry and work as a great comedy duo.

The Devil is a Part-Timer

Screenshot 2018-03-11 15.18.12

Definitely the most comedy-centric of the three, The Devil is a Part-Timer not only provides an excellent comedic setup but also executes on that setup extremely well.

The Devil is a Part-Timer has a pretty self-explanatory setup. The Devil, after having been defeated by the hero of justice, leaves his own dimension and travels to the human dimension with his assistant Ashiya, and in order to survive, The Devil, now named Maou, gets a job at MgRonalds.

To me, The Devil is a Part-Timer remains totally underrated. I never heard much discussion about it even when it was airing, and whenever people talk about good comedy, it never gets brought up. Hopefully, though, this post will change a few minds on that front.


What did you guys think of these recommendations? Let me know in the comments below. Thanks for reading and bye for now, Friendos!

12 Days of Anime #8: This Year in Light Novels (For Me, Anyway)

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

No Game

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

Spice and Wolf Light Novel

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!

12 Days of Anime #6: Top 5 Best Soundtracks I Listened This Year

Music, for me, is an integral part of any anime production. Music is what sets the tone for a battle of all ages and for a romantic climax. It lets people know when to expect a heartfelt tearfest and also when its time to laugh, even if the joke doesn’t exactly land. Without music, many of the best moments in anime would not have nearly the emotional punch that they do. For another end of the year list, here are my top 5 best soundtracks of the year.

5. Durarara!!

Durarara2

No show set in the bustling and always exciting city of Ikebukuro would be complete without Durarara’s equally as bombastic and overactive soundtrack. It takes everything great about the show and transforms itself into the music equivalent. Its mix of Urban and J-Pop sounds makes for a wonderfully diverse listening experience.

4. Jormungand

Jormungand

Jormungand’s soundtrack was a large part of my initial love of the show. Tracks like Time to Attack and Cul-de-sac know how to set the mood of the more action-packed and darker moments of the show. It always felt that the music knew exactly when to come in and when to leave, which is part of why it is such a good soundtrack.

3. Sound! Euphonium

Sound

One would hope going into a show about a high school with a dream of reaching 1st place in the national competition that it would have a good soundtrack to support it, and luckily Sound! Euphonium delivers on that front. A highly expressive soundtrack for a highly expressive cast of characters.

2. The Ancient Magus Bride

the ancient magus bride

While Ancient Magus Bride is an appealing show for many reasons, its soundtrack is one I find to be a particularly convincing one. Its opening Here is one of the many examples of what the show does right, blending Celtic origins of many of the myths that appear in the show with just the right amount of fantastical energy to give it a particular feel.

1. No Game No Life Zero

NO GAME

Everything about this movie is great. It recreates an entirely new world that otherwise hadn’t been mentioned in the No Game No Life anime and manages to bring it to life with exceptionally high quality. I’ll admit that I never thought much of the music in the original, but No Game No Life Zero cranks it up to 10 and breathes life into what would otherwise have been just another J-Pop/electronic filled soundtrack, making it feel vital to the movies overall feeling.


What was your favorite soundtrack of the year? Was it even an anime soundtrack? Let me know in the comments below. Thanks for reading and bye for now, Friendos!