Wednesday, 30 April 2014

No Game No Life - Episode 4

Blank have their opponent on the ropes in this very unconventional game of chess, but with Zell showing no sign of backing down to they really have enough in reserve to win the safety of Imanity for themselves?

As it happens, they do - while Steph finds herself amazed at the newcomers policy to win this match without attacking (a wise policy which seems to match that of her late grandfather), this is simply another step in the duo's strategy to undermine Zell and her actions.  Just as it looks as though it's a plan that might be doomed to fail, so outside influences sees her king fall; a trademark of despots and dictatorships the world over.  Thus, Sora is the new king.  Or is it Shiro?  With only a single ruler allowed, the two try to decide who gets the hot seat via a game played between the two of them... a match-up which inevitably ends up as a stalemate.

Eventually, the powers that be acede to allowing both members of Blank to be king, at which point the problem of spies and ne'er-do-wells is put paid to by the simplest of games, and the rest of the country's problems are nothing that Sora hasn't encountered before while playing Civilisation.  Once all of this is settled, it's time for the new king(s) to introduce themselves fully to the populace and declare the next phase in their plan - to win back the nation's lost land by going to war.  If this seems like insanity, it is at least a carefully planned moved, and one that this world's god Tet seems particularly thrilled by as he sets out the full rules of the game his subjects are playing.

It still delves into pandering silliness on occasion, but thankfully such moments don't overshadow the fact that No Game No Life continues to be mostly decidedly fun to watch.  It does struggle to live up to its own momentum here and there - the end of the chess game in this episode felt terribly weak in comparison to what had come before - but Sora and Shiro have become oddly likeable as the series so far has progressed and their journey is a pretty compelling one that twists the usual concept of strangers from another land fighting to get home by having the pair of them clearly make this world their new home with no intentions of leaving.  If it can keep up its current energy and outlook without getting too mired in fan service, there seems to be plenty of entertainment left in the series yet.

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