Humans have a very high potential to do great things. But having said that, the outcomes of our actions are very volatile. Some individuals can make a huge impact, while others amount to doing really dumb things. Humanity as a whole can be the cause of our own destruction, but we can also pave the way for reaching new heights and improve the lives of others and those to come. Human potential can be awesome or downright superficial, but to say that all of those outcomes are up to chance is grossly underrating that human potential.
Such is my interpretation of what goes on in this anime.
No Game No Life introduces us to two of the most unlikely candidates for humanity’s hope: the shut-in sibling pair Sora and Shiro. In the online community, they are collectively known as Blank, the greatest gamers out there. No matter what rules, what mechanics, or what strategy is involved, they’ll find a way to beat the game. But when Sora and Shiro are invited into a world where games are a way of life, the comfort of their dark bedroom is long gone, as they find themselves at the core of humanity’s (or should I say Immanity’s) last kingdom.
You’ll have to forgive me if I mess up on the minute details of this show from here on out. I honestly didn’t follow it as closely as the loudest fans out there, so many of the names and places are a little fuzzy to me.
One thing that does disturb me are the visuals of this anime (which you will definitely not get from reading the light novel). Sora and Shiro’s new world consists of a lot of very bright colors that practically glisten on the screen. It’s almost as if the presentation of the anime was trying to irritate other shut-ins in dark rooms while they were watching this, as they would identify with our protagonists’ strife. And I thought I go out and get sunlight often enough!
Humanity in this new world is near their own destruction, as they rank the lowest of the 16 races. The other races seem to be the most adept in a variety of games — mastering strategies, techniques, and resources beyond human intuition. And when games are the law, of course humanity’s going to get the short end of the stick. Like I said at the beginning of this review, human potential is very volatile, and that can mean being at the lowest potential.
When Sora and Shiro first arrive, they are clearly not impressed with the skills and mentality of humans. But when they team up with the late king’s granddaughter Stephanie Dola, they accept the challenge to become humanity’s last hope. It’s not exactly out of pity, as it is that Blank would never back down on one of the biggest challenges of their life: for humanity to conquer the world, starting from the worst possible position!
But what makes these new kings of humanity so special? I suppose one thing other folks like is their cleverness, and how badass Sora and Shiro are when it comes to gaming. You know, that whole “god-mode” mentality that a lot of fans seem to like?
It probably doesn’t surprise most of you when I say that I’m not very fond of such protagonists, hence why I can’t say that I like this show nearly as much as others. But it’s not in my style to always criticize a show by putting it down, because I’m bound to get some kind of weird message from some butt-hurt fan when I do.
One thing I do like about Sora is his ideology. That’s not the same as his god-like mentality of never losing, but his stance on what humanity means to him.
At one point, Sora admits to being a shut-in from the real world because he doesn’t like other humans at all. He finds most individuals to be distasteful or otherwise the worst of the worst (my words, not necessarily his). But even so, he wouldn’t back down on humanity as a whole, just for the vast majority of scum out there. Sora doesn’t think of human potential as how it is for the majority of humans, as that would likely just mean lots of stupidity. He believes in humanity for that greater potential to transcend beyond even the unforeseen limitations.
History has shown us that humans can be terrible, but it has also shown us that humans can be the saving grace of their own kind. Sora recognizes the beauty behind the potential of being either the best or the worst out there. And through strategy, experience, and taking as many risks as possible, Sora and Shiro will find a way to reach for the greatest potential in the medium they love most.
The world they live in now is a world bound by the laws of gaming. But of all the rules, the tenth one is perhaps the most important rule of them all. It is the reason Sora and Shiro never insist on completely destroying the other races, nor ever insist on taking control of everything. For the people, this world is how their way of life; but as outsiders, Sora and Shiro are just here to play the game. That being said, I would like to end with the words of the tenth law, that I believe speak to the true purpose of this anime:
So if you’re looking for an anime that will restore your faith in humanity, or you just want to see a couple of badass characters win at everything, watch No Game No Life. And if for some reason you didn’t like my review, that’s okay. There are plenty of folks out there who have already written about this one.