Wednesday, 16 April 2014

No Game No Life - Episode 2

Having landed in their new home, Shiro and Sora have certainly made a quick impact upon those who have come into contact them, and none more so that would-be king Stephanie Dora.

Not that this impact has been an entirely positive one, as Stephanie is furious that having given her a hint that her opponent in the game determining the kingdom's next leader was cheating, Sora didn't expound upon why, instead leaving her to her defeat.  For his part, Sora is unrepentant, although he does offer to explain why her opponent was cheating - as well as doing anything else she desires - if she can beat him in a game of Rock, Paper, Scissors that isn't as simple as it first seems.  Of course, Steph (as she quickly becomes known) fails to win the bout, and instead finds herself instructed to fall in love with Sora... rather a problem when it becomes clear just how potent the rules binding the games of this world are.

In the aftermath of all this, Sora and Shiro now have themselves a place to stay, while we learn what happens if the two siblings are separated (it's fair to say that it isn't pretty) and find out some more about the world into which the pair have been dropped.  Key to this exposition is the news that humanity - or rather, Imanity - are on the bottom rung of the world's social strata thanks to their inability to either use or recognise magic.  It's this which has seen their kingdom shrink - a state of affairs that Steph was determined to put an end to, but something which seems entirely beyond her abilities.  Perhaps she now has an ally who can make that dream come true, however...

Now that we're two episodes in, No Game No Life is a truly frustrating viewing experience - it contains some wonderful moments, whether it's the actual gamesmanship on show in even the simplest of games, or some of its slithers of comedy, but this is offset by a male protagonist who is a complete asshole, an over-reliance on a combination of fan service and typical tropes which spring from that, and a tendency to run some of the aforementioned comedy into the ground to the point where it becomes irritating.  If Sora was less of a self-righteous prick of a self-insert character I might be able to give some of its other issues a free pass, but at the moment my experience of watching this series veers almost schizophrenically from being entertaining by it to grinding my teeth in frustration about what's playing out on the screen.

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