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No Game No Life, Please! Vol. #01 Manga Review

6 min read

No Game No Life Please Volume 1 CoverDo not take a Werebeast at face value … you never know what she might say!

Creative Staff:
Art: Kazuya Yuizaki
Original Story/Character Design: Yuu Kamiya
Translation: Daniel Komen

What They Say:
In a world where everything is decided by games, adorable (but foulmouthed) Izuna Hatsuse is a young Werebeast girl who wants to learn more. As she follows Sora, Shiro, and the others, what answers will she find for herself?

Content (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Shortly after Sora and Shiro finished their extremely intense negotiations with the Eastern Union, it seemed this would be the end of their associations with the Werebeasts. However, what the genius pair failed to recognize was the incorporation of two civilizations needed a smooth transition so as to allow their races to function jointly, and yet still maintain their own identity. And so, the great culture sent Ino as ambassador to aid in this affiliation, and with the help of Steph, since both King and Queen are too lazy to be involved with the daily routine of ruling a kingdom, they tried to hammer out the details. However, in a flash of insight to help his granddaughter learn about foreign civilizations, the senior negotiator brought Izuna with him to Elkia, since she appeared to befriend the two Imanity rulers so readily. That … was a big mistake.

While this young girl may seem cute, cheery and precocious on the outside, what is hidden inside is something completely different. And this personality is frighteningly exposed once the trio settle down for lunch, and a certain someone doesn’t think she has had enough to eat; after finishing a sixth bowl of rice, the charming child demands another serving, even finishing her sentence with a polite please. However, her guardian thinks his ward should end the gluttony, since a dignified person does not overindulge during meals. Infuriated by the rejection of her plea, little Izuna launches into a tirade of foul language which makes her grandfather embarrassed to put up with her abusive behavior; all he wishes is to see her grow into a proper lady so she may entice others and thus, have numerous progeny. Ashamed by this old man’s lewd and perverted behavior, the enraged girl storms off, proclaiming she will do as she pleases.

After giving her some time to cool off, Steph finds the sulking Werebeast and suggests if she doesn’t like the way things are, why not challenge Sora and Shiro so she can change the rules? The Covenants are absolutely binding and if Izuna can defeat the pair, she can live as she pleases; but then again, if the burnt out redhead can get the laziest rulers to do some actual work, so much the better – it benefits them both.

In Summary:
When I first heard about this title, I thought it would be a great spin-off for a series which I sincerely enjoyed. No Game No Life was a comical look at the escapades of two hikikomori siblings, thrust into a world which they seemed more suited and thrived, until they eventually set out to conquer the land. While I never read any of the original source material being the light novels or the manga, at the same time I foolishly felt that the anime had properly educated myself about the world of Disboard. Unfortunately, this notion was quickly thwarted once I began reading this first volume and the adventures of Izuna.

The magically pleasing portrait of our favorite and cutest Werebeast may have been enough to lure people into picking up this title, but then a stern black and white warning label in the corner would have been a curve into wondering why this book would need an Explicit Content sticker. Of course anyone familiar with the show will remember Sora’s inexperience with the opposite sex, and therefore, his dream of wanting to assemble a harem of otherworldly beauties; if this is your assumption as to why an average male reader would choose this book, it might be a safe speculation since it does contain a fair amount of nudity. However, the main premise for the warning is something entirely different and stunningly unpleasant – the obscene mouth on our now distasteful cover girl. If all the knowledge you gained about this series was from the show, then this title will supremely horrify you.

Izuna was introduced to the audience near the end of the anime, and from all outward appearances she was the quintessential catgirl: exceedingly adorable, always ending her sentences with a copula (in her case -desu) and small enough to be petted on the head or cuddled whenever Shiro or Sora felt like it. However when she first opened her mouth, that is when her Cuteness Factor dropped, but at the same time, this rebel spirit was overshadowed by all of her other necessary elements. This same attitude was also captured within No Game No Life, Please!, but it appears Kamiya-sensei assumed Western readers would not be taken aback due to Yuizaki-sensei’s delightfully captivating artwork, but on the contrary, it has a completely polarizing effect.

To see such an appealing character spout such foul mouthed obscenities in almost every conversation is appalling. While she does start as we remember from the show with a few choice but tamer words, the narrative quickly devolves into something which seemed gleaned from a Western R-rated presentation. Although Kamiya-sensei does steer clear of more colorful profanities, in fact, he actually does censor himself on one occasion, the wording is still uncomfortable, especially since Izuna ends most of her sentences with please; in fact, using this adverb only amplifies the harshness of her words and the surface looks of this character only makes it worse. The closest equivalent would be to watch Shirley Temple or any Disney movie dubbed over by adult actors after they have been dumped by their significant others and then treated to as much as they can drink. It is outright painful to watch this performance at times since most of the adults have safer mouths than the main character, and she is the youngest of the entire cast! Shiro is eleven and Izuna is around eight, so where did she learn this colorful language? Certainly not her grandfather Ino since he censors himself and no one else uses profanity to this degree. Wonder of wonders, the habits children pick up from the strangest places.

It is a shame to sacrifice No Game No Life, Please! since on the surface, it is a wonderful manga about the curiosity of a signature from anime – the catgirl. However to see Izuna relegated as being a mouthpiece for her temper is unsettling, which one would assume would be safer than allowing her to vent by violence. While the artwork beautiful in its own rights, it is the text which makes this book something to avoid by those more sensitive to such obscene literature. Hopefully, this title will clean up its act with the next volume, but if it does not, then sadly it might become a book to be avoided.

Content Grade: C
Art Grade: A
Packaging Grade: A+
Text/Translation Grade: A

Age Rating: Mature
Released By: Yen Press
Release Date: June 20, 2017
MSRP: $13.00

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