No Game No Life Light Novel Review (Vol 1-3)

“Accept that because we were born with nothing, we can become anything” – Sora

No Game No Life is a light novel series written by Kamiya Yuu. The series started back in 2012 and is still ongoing now. Recently, an anime adaption was made, but we are talking about the light novel today. Since the novel doesn’t have too many images, so I will be borrowing some from the anime.

 

Characters

Sora (the only mlae) is the protagonist of the series. He is cynical and very observant. He is 18 and and still concerned that he is a virgin.

Shiro (the silver haired loli) is Sora’s 11 year old sister. She is extremely analytical and rational. She can calculate pretty much every equation imaginable and reverse engineer algorithms for complicated programs.

Stephanie Dola (left) was the princess for the human race, then she lost it. Now she serves as political advisor to Sora and Shiro, meaning it is her job to clean after the two protagonists while they go conquering.

Jibril (with the halo on the right) is member of the Flugels aka the Angel race. She is the keeper of the largest library the mankind has owned…. then lost to the Flugels. She worships knowledge and the unknown, and has absolutely no respect for humanity that has neither… until she met Sora and Shiro.

 

Image result for ngnl tet book

Tet or Teto is the God of Disboard. That is a he. He is the one that create the sacred rules of this world. But to his disappointment, world just isn’t as fun as he hoped, so he had to bring some outsiders in to give it some life, enter Sora and Shiro.

 

World

The world of NGNL is very in that it is set in a fantasy world of Disboard that has very clear natural order, an order that was set by Tet himself. I will talk more about this world in detail in future posts but here are the basic stuff: sentient species, 16 in total, are given special protection that protects them from murder, thievery, rape, and any other horrors. You cannot physically do those things another specie protected by Tet. And all disputes can be settled with any game. Meaning lands, property, services, and even lives can be disputed over games, and this applies to the divine protection as well.

In this world, most species have special powers, except for humans, making them the objectively weakest sentient specie.

 

Story

Image result for ngnl novel chess

Sora and Shiro are shut in gamers who conquered the gaming world in every sense, in our normal world. Suddenly, they receive an email where they are challenged in a game of chess, and they win. Then they are teleported to this new fantastic world of the Disboard. Turns out they played chess against Teto, the God of Games, and is welcomed into his ruling world.

 

Image result for no game no life shiro

As everything in this world is based on games, they find themselves in a world where they belong….. except humanity is losing everything to all the other races. Humanity is on brink of extinction, kind of, for losing so much. Sora and Shiro decide they are going to become royalty, save humanity, conquer the planet, then beat God in his own game.

 

Image result for ngnl novel

I will not go into too much details for spoilers, but if you’ve seen the anime, the first three volumes are that, although the ending is different. The first volume covers Sora and Shiro’s taking over the human kingdom. The second volume is their battle for the library and more world building, and the third volume is the first international battle against the Werebeasts.

 

the Bad

Image result for no game no life shiro

There is a lot of lewd comments and very incesty talks. I know some of you like that stuff, but it was way more excessive than typical ecchi. I mean it didn’t go full on hentai or rapey but enough to make me tad uncomfortable. And this also probably has to do with the fact that Shiro is 11 years old, way to young to have anything too sexual happen to her.

 

Image result for steph dola novel

The character that is Steph…. her purpose is… how do I put it delicately, tits, I mean boobs, I mean ass, I mean… fan service. That is her character. She is by far the least competent character in the story so far. It is mentioned several times that she is rather apt in politics, but we hardly get to see that.

 

the Good

I am going to address the elephant in the anime genre, yes this is another “Life in an RPG” scenario that suddenly became extremely popular. I have seen several of these including the following: Konosuba (both novel and anime), GATE, Outbreak Company, Zero no Tsukaima, Sword Art Online, Log Horizon, and Re:Zero. And for most parts, I like them, they are fun. But of all of these, I think NGNL is my favorite. Not only does it commentates on the RPG tropes like the rest, it differentiates from them by establishing very clear world mechanics. Rather than playing an MMO RPG, the characters are playing games within this fantasy world and borders on politics. In this respect, Log Horizon comes very close. And rather than parodying the RPG world or trying to make an epic fantasy, NGNL is about having fun, using brains, and making friends, and hint of politics.

 

Image result for no game no life race piece

The book goes in more detail about severity of some of Shiro and Sora’s decisions, obviously. For example the book goes in more detail about the Race Piece, the most important item to any single specie, even more than lives. The Race Piece is the materialization of the divine protection from Tet, the reason why the killing, stealing, and the all things horrible has stopped. If Sora and Shiro loses this, humanity can be domesticated like animals, butchered for meat, or be sold as slaves so freaking easily. And they decide to use this extremely important item to play games.

 

Image result for ngnl novel

Being a light novel, there is not much art to look at, but the ones that do come are very colorful and great! The character designs are very nice and unique enough to stand apart from many other series. The women are very sexualized.. but that is no stranger to this industry… or any industry.

 

Verdict

  • Will I read it again? With more of content already out, I will have to say no so I can continue with the series.
  • Do I recommend it? If you liked the anime, and want more, definitely yes!

 

Final Thoughts

I loved the anime a lot, but with most things, the book does a better job of world expanding and explaining than the show does. I do like the “Life in another world” genre despite the overflow of them, and NGNL is definitely one of my favorites among them.

Gihoon

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5 thoughts on “No Game No Life Light Novel Review (Vol 1-3)

  1. I must confess, when I read about the general concept of the series, I really liked it. It’s pretty much what you start the ‘The bad’ section with that puts me off. I’m just at a loss as to why it was needed at all, and it’s pretty much scuppered the idea of me giving the series a proper look-in.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love this series, and I want to recommend it to people, but I have friends who loathe fanservices, especially loli fan services, so I understand. If you can isolate the two, you should not have a problem. The fanservice was not game breaking for me but it makes it harder to take it as seriously as it could have been.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Well, since the medium is a Light Novel, there are very few illustrations. The anime version on the hand does have more fan service, but the Novels are more limited in that sense. The Novel also is more informative as well, so it might be a better fit for you.

        Liked by 1 person

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