No Game No Life 01 Manga Review

No Game No Life Review 01 Manga Review
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***SPOILERS***

No Game No Life 01 MangaHaving been intrigued by what I’d seen and heard about the anime No Game No Life, I gave that a spin and found I really liked it. So when I heard that Seven Seas had licensed the official manga, which is written by KAMIYA Yuu-sensei, who also wrote the original light novels, I gave this a spin as well. It was a good decision.

For those who don’t know, No Game No Life is the story of a NEET older teen male named Sora and his elementary age, genius (but truant) step-sister named Shiro. The two are pretty much linked at the hip (a siscon and a brocon respectively) and online, they go by the Japanese punctuation mark for double quotation marks with two blank spaces in the middle — 『  』. Using the kanji for Sora (空) and the kanji for Shiro (白), the pair come up with 空白 – Kuuhaku, which means “blank” in Japanese. As 『  』, Shiro and Sora rule the gaming world and are considered legends.

One day, they siblings are challenged to a game of chess, which they win. At that point, they are pulled into the world ruled by a god of games who goes by the name Tet. Because of the 10 laws Tet enforced on the world, all disputes are settled by games, making it the perfect world for the siblings to be a part of. As a result, the siblings quickly gain money and some temporary lodging. The pair are eventually introduced to Steph, the granddaughter of the former king of Imanity. The kingdom is up for grabs as its next leader will be chosen via games, and after she lost a game where Sora had detected her opponent cheating, she challenges him to a game of rock-paper-scissors for more info. She loses and is forced to fall in love with Sora as well as provide them a place to stay as a result.

The manga is a bit more ecchi than the anime was, which was something I could have done without. However, I knew it would be ecchi going into buying it. Regardless, as happened in the anime, Kamiya-sensei pokes fun at Japanese decency laws and uses the ecchi moments to make his point. Well, this is a seinen manga, so a lot more can be gotten away with.

In terms of story, this first volume of the manga is basically setting the table for what’s to come (Jibril for a start). We get an understanding of these unusual siblings as well as a basic understanding of the world to which they were summoned. If you haven’t seen the anime (or read the light novel), I can well imagine folks wondering if this manga series would be worth their time. From a story perspective, it will get better and grow beyond the more ecchi elements.

The unusual element to this manga is that it contains a short story by Kamiya-sensei. The short story takes place around the events at the end of the manga when Shiro and Sora are living at Steph’s mansion. In the short story, the siblings recount an event from five years earlier where they were emptying crane games for limited amounts of money, but they lost because the manager of the arcade turned them in to a truant officer, which forced them to flee without most of their winnings. I found the story to be humorous and one that would have been fun to see animated.

On the Seven Seas side of things, Japanese honorifics are retained, though they aren’t used that much in the original story. I was glad to see that they had Shiro addressing Sora as “Nii” instead of trying to come up with some cutesy replacement. The name Kuuhaku is translated as “Blank”, but when the Japanese quotation markers ( 『  』) are used, that’s what is used in the text. So I did like that element. There is a note from Kamiya-sensei (which is interesting since he works the manga and the light novel projects at the same time) as well as a note from collaborator Hiiragi-sensei. In addition to an ad for volume 2 of the manga, there’s a preview for the Dragonar Academy manga.

Rereading this manga, it made me really want to go back and rewatch the anime, which was a lot of fun. It may be ecchi, but it is also fun and interesting.

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