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No Game No Life Vol. #07 Light Novel Review

4 min read
Rolling across the board!

Rolling across the board!

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

What They Say
At the end of the eternal Great War, the world where everything is decided by games, “Disboard,” is born as the means to an end are changed from violence and force to games and wagers. But winners still trample losers, and the victims pile up. A young shrine maiden laughs at how nothing has changed. As the gamer siblings Sora and Shiro play a dice game where the number of dice you have is determined by your age, everyone seems to be against the pair. Will they survive, or will they lose the game–and their lives?

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
With this volume, it’s finally time for the game against an Old Deus! And… it’s honestly a bit of an odd one. Once more, manipulation of memory plays a huge part, as everyone involved has their memories of before the beginning of the game stolen! As for the game itself, it’s described as being like sugoroku (think Snakes and Ladders, largely a game just based around rolling dice)… with the gimmick being that everyone starts up with a limited number of dice which are used up with each roll, with each of them representing a portion of the player’s life. And so, as they are used up the person grows younger… and they can be stolen by landing on and completing “tasks” decided by the players before the game begins… and there’s also a traitor in their midst… AND it takes place on a massive game board in the sky that they have to physically traverse, meaning starving during the trek between spaces is a very real danger. So yeah, as you can imagine, those rules open up some real clever trickery for the book, which is impressive considering at its core, it’s just a game about rolling dice.

Now naturally there are also some other elements to the book than just all the mind games and the like, and sadly I’d say the book falls a bit short there. The biggest element is likely the way that we dig into the pasts of both the Shrine Maiden and Ino… but honestly, it’s all just pretty vague rather than feeling like a distinct story, which hurts the impact it could have quite a bit. And it also doesn’t really help the way that part of that limited word count is wasted on crude jokes that just feel especially out of place when showing up in such serious flashbacks. Meanwhile, the age changing is used for a couple decent gags I suppose, as well as a little bit of clever trickery when playing the game… But honestly the main function is setting up a scene where Shiro tries very aggressively to come on to Sora. This is, as always, the greatest flaw of the book, as it’s just really blatantly sexualizing a child hard (see also one of the insert images for this volume having a panty shot of Shiro that’s REALLY shoved in your face and detailed, which is just plain creepy.) I suppose you know by now if you’re fine with such things, but personally I really wish the book would stop doing it, as it drags down what would otherwise be a really cool series MASSIVELY.

Anyway, just what will the result of the game be? Who will survive, and who will win? And what’s really behind all these rules in the first place, anyway?

In Summary
After a bit of a break, the series comes back with another entry that proudly displays both its strengths and flaws. Which is to say, we get a solid setup to a new game which is fittingly crazy and over the top, with all kinds of clever twists and plenty of intriguing mysteries to it. Aaand we get an extended bit of openly sexualizing a child in a really creepy manner over and over again, complete with what’s likely the most disturbing image the series has had yet. I’m sure by this point that much goes without saying as it’s part of the identity of the series, but it really does go overboard this time, so consider yourself forewarned. And by the same note, the comedic and dramatic elements in general once again come up short in comparison to the game itself, as even the key backstory we get this time around just feels weak. So yes, for the most part the book is great in the way it’s always been… but its weaknesses remain just as present as always, too.

Content Grade: B+
Art Grade: N/A
Package Rating: B+
Text/Translation Rating: B+

Age Rating: 16+
Released By: Yen Press
Release Date: October 30th, 2018
MSRP: $13.99

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