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No Game No Life Vol. #01 Novel Review

4 min read

No Game No Life Volume 1 CoverEnter a world of games!

Creative Staff
Story/Illustration: Yuu Kamiya
Translation: Daniel Komen

What They Say
Meet Sora and Shiro, a brother and sister who are loser shut-ins by normal standards. But these siblings don’t play by the rules of the “crappy game” that is average society. In the world of gaming, this genius pair reigns supreme, their invincible avatar so famous that it’s the stuff of urban legend. So when a young boy calling himself God summons the siblings to a fantastic alternate world where war is forbidden and all conflicts – even those involving national borders – are decided by the outcome of games, Sora and Shiro have pretty much hit the jackpot. But they soon learn that in this world, humanity, cornered and outnumbered by other species, survives within the confines of one city. Will Sora and Shiro, two failures at life, turn out to be the saviors of mankind? Let the games begin…!

Technical:
The front cover is a large image of Shiro in a state of half undress while chess pieces and cards surround her, as a tiny Sora looks on. It’s more than a little trashy, especially considering Shiro’s age, though it’s at least well done technically. The back cover, on the other hand, opts for a plain white background with an image of a pawn, alongside a synopsis, which is far classier. Paper quality is solid, color images are included in the front as extras, and the author even puts a bit of manga in the afterword, which is nice. The text reads smoothly for the most part, though it’s definitely worth noting that it very much expects a bit of nerdy knowledge. Terms such as pr0n and videogame references are certainly thrown around and could throw people off a little if they’re not familiar. And of course they could be seen as more than a little cringe worthy, but it honestly fits fine with the context of the story and characters.

The colored images definitely have some straight-up smut in them, but the images throughout the book are surprisingly restrained. Only one really pushes that line a bit, and isn’t even THAT bad. The rest are actually largely used quite effectively for setting scenes and showing off characters, which is a pleasant surprise, considering the cover.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
There exists an unbeatable gamer, who tops numerous leaderboards, named “Blank”. However, the true identity of Blank is actually a pair of siblings, an elder brother named Sora, and a younger sister named Shiro. One day these two shut-in gamers receive an email challenge that actually seems to know them, and they become a little interested. They get a bit disappointed when they realize the game they’re being challenged to is chess, but the opponent proves surprisingly formidable. Even so, Shiro manages to prevail over her foe, and much to their surprise, the siblings find themselves drawn into a different, fantasy themed world. It turns out their opponent was this world’s god, and the land is called Disboard, a world of games!

In this world, the siblings find themselves on the continent of Lucia, in Elkia, capital of the Kingdom of Elkia, the last city of Immanity, aka humanity. In this world, violence is banned absolutely by the covenants of God, and instead conflict is decided by games in which the terms are agreed upon by both parties. To further complicate matters, it turns out that Elkia is in the middle of a massive tournament to determine the next king, with the ability for anyone to enter. Soon the siblings find themselves face to face with Stephanie Dola, who was formally nobility, but was cheated in the tournament. Sora takes this chance to challenge Stephanie to a game, and actually manages to trick his way towards using the rules of the land to force her to fall in love with him! Though she tries to resist, this forces her to shelter the genius Shiro and the crafty Sora, who can’t stand to be separated.

With Steph’s support, will the siblings be able to take control of the country? And just what threats do they still have before them? And perhaps most importantly, just how high do they plan to aim in this world of games and magical trickery?

In Summary
Though this book has a lot of questionable elements, particularly the smut that seems to be played with even with the young Shiro, it’s fortunately a ton of fun. It has a great key concept and really knows how to play with it. It really is interesting to see the focus on rules, and just what happens in a world where conflict isn’t resolved by violence. Furthermore, the siblings are especially intriguing characters with some real punch behind them. Add some great goofy comedy from Steph in particular, and you have a fantastic start to a new series. Hopefully the following volumes can really keep up the quality, as what’s shown here is wonderful and shows a ton of potential.

Content Grade: A
Art Grade: N/A
Packaging Grade: B+
Text/Translation Grade: B+

Age Rating: 16+
Released By: Yen Press
Release Date: April 21st, 2015

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