- Episodes : 1
- Genre : Game, Comedy, Fantasy
- Airing Date : July 2017
- Studios : Madhouse
No Game No Life Zero Introduction and Story (Spoilers)
Taking place 6,000 years before Sora and Shiro entered Disboard. In fact, way before Disboard became a united planet. All the races were fighting each other, causing humanity to reach the brink of extinction. Riku is the leader of the human colony, but is failing at every attempt for a win. It’s as if he’s a pawn on a chessboard, just waiting to be tossed to the wayside. All the other races have supernatural powers, or are highly skilled at weaponry. But with humans being as weak as they are, how can they possibly hope for a win?
Riku decides to investigate the dwarf colony, but ends up coming face to face with an Ex Machina. Ex Machinas are androids who can wipe out entire nations. However, this android doesn’t want to harm Riku, but mate with him. Calling herself Shuvi, the Ex Machina admits that she was exiled by her cluster of androids. To be accepted into the cluster once more, Shuvi needs data on the human heart. Riku uses Shuvi to his advantage so that humanity can finally win at something.
Treasure the first 30 minutes, because that is the only time you’ll get some comedic relief from all the tear-jerking breakdowns Riku suffers. At first, Shuvi believes that the only way to understand the human heart is to “procreate”, as she puts it. Riku puts Shuvi in an adorable sweatshirt with a bunny hood and black thigh high socks. Since Riku had to take Shuvi to the human colony, he had to disguise her as best he could. There is no way the other humans would allow an Ex Machina to live with them. Corone, a good friend of Riku’s, jokes around that Riku and Shuvi are going out. Little did we know that this was foreshadowing a blossoming romance.
Riku eventually falls in love with Shuvi, despite her being an android. In fact, Riku even finds out that Shuvi destroyed his home village when he was a child. Despite this, Riku proposes to Shuvi and she accepts. The lovebirds come up with a plan to end this war by grabbing a stone that will make them Gods of the planet. Unfortunately, things don’t go as planned. (Grab your tissues, because it’s about to get sad.)
Riku lets all the colonies think that humanity died out so that humanity can continue their plans without any suspicions. For the plan to follow through, Riku needed to blackmail each race so that they could use their trump cards in the final battle. Therefore, Riku had to disguise himself by putting ash all over his body. The ash ate away at Riku’s skin, to the point where he loses an arm and can barely sit up. Shuvi steps in to take care of the rest, but Jibril, an all-powerful vicious demon, appears to collect Shuvi’s head. Seeing Jibril use her full demonic powers was absolutely terrifying, as she almost kills Shuvi. Shuvi didn’t go down without a fight, but she did have to make the decision to contact her cluster of Ex Machinas to help her defeat Jibril. After convincing them, the Ex Machina family gave Shuvi one last power boost to blow up Jibril. But instead of Jibril dying, Shuvi does instead.
With the death of his wife, Riku teams up with the rest of the Ex Machinas to fight back against the races and take the stone. In doing so, the Ex Machinas use up all their power to get Riku to the stone and are wiped out. When Riku finally reaches the stone, his body withers away from the intense power emitting from it. But he was so close! Humanity almost won this sick game...that is until Tet shows up to claim the stone for himself and reforms the planet immediately. Tet was watching the war from above in his deity realm. Tet was inspired by Riku’s chessboard tactic to win the war and decided to make the planet into a world filled with fun and games. And thus, Disboard was born.
What We Liked About No Game No Life Zero
We see a completely different side to No Game No Life that we didn’t even know was possible. And surprisingly, this major tone shift works! Within a matter of minutes, you already feel for the main characters in their devastating situation. And the voice acting really helped to bring out the pain the characters were holding. The animation was a feast for the eyes. With its wonderful use of CGI, vibrant colors, and fluid movements, we didn’t even want to blink and miss a single second of this display.
In a way, No Game No Life Zero is a military movie. Now, the humans don’t rise up and get a sudden power boost, but Riku represents the humans by constructing a battle plan and turning it into a game. Riku likes to play chess, and often played it with Shuvi even though he always lost. But he never gave up, and used the losses as motivation to further humanity's survival. After all the loss Riku lived through, we were more than happy to see him get back on his feet. Throughout the film, Riku is reminded by every race that humans are too weak to do anything, and should just die. But Riku is just too stubborn to give up by the world’s tauntings.
Corone, is supposed to be the founder of the Dola kingdom as well as a sisterly figure to Riku. Sadly, she gets pushed to the wayside for a majority of the film. The only time Corone appears is for comedy relief, and there’s not a lot of comedy in the film. By the end of it, Stef says that Corone was a brave leader and the symbol of the Dola kingdom. But from what we’ve seen, Corone didn’t do much in that regard.
As great as No Game No Life Zero is, we’re all still waiting for a season 2 announcement. Perhaps with the success of this film, there will be enough money for a season 2? The question is, how much longer do we have to wait? Why are Riku and Shuvi reminiscent of Sora and Shiro? Are Sora and Shiro actually reincarnations of Riku and Shuvi? It’s tough to say, considering that Shuvi is an android, but a possibility nonetheless.
When watching the trailers or reading the official summary, no one seems to mention that No Game No Life Zero is also a love story. Sure, we still get a lot of romance in anime, but not to this extent. Most romance anime take place in high school, with cute misunderstandings, hand holding, and possibly a kiss. But with No Game No Life Zero, Riku and Shuvi’s relationship goes as far as marriage. The two have come to accept each other despite all of their flaws. And remember, Shuvi destroyed Riku’s village back when he was a child. But Riku didn’t care, because he loves Shuvi unconditionally.
And thanks to Riku, Shuvi (an Ex Machina, mind you) was able to understand the human heart and fall in love. Shuvi can now cry, feel happiness, and die with fulfillment knowing that she will always love Riku. This power couple helps each other out through thick and thin, no matter how dangerous the situation is. This pairing was meant to be. It’s a shame they couldn’t live together on Disboard.
We’re all waiting for a season 2 of No Game No Life to be announced. So when a prequel was confirmed instead, some of us were unsure if this was a good thing. Well, it most definitely was, as we got to learn so much more about Disboard than we thought. We learned more about Tet, and how such a rude deity was inspired by a mere human to create a whole planet based on Riku’s ideals. We got to learn the origins of the Dola kingdom, surprisingly, and we got to see how Jibril originally was before she became thirsty for knowledge.
Each element of this film was necessary for Disboard to become what we know and love. Seeing how the elves used to be sly creatures, and even willing to kill, was a shocker. Knowing the origins of Aschente gave the word more meaning, and it’s basically a memento of Riku’s hard work. The 10 pledges are reminiscent to that of the 6 laws Riku created in order for humanity to win. It’s almost like you caught an easter egg when you see something that reminds you of the series.
3. The Voice Acting
Whether you’re watching the sub or the dub, the voice acting is excellent. Especially for Riku. As mentioned earlier, Riku has multiple breakdowns throughout the film. He’ll be yelling out in pain, crying, and even throw furniture and break walls. What’s shocking is that Riku and Sora have the same voice. It was certainly a feat for both the Japanese and the English dub voice actors to go from a charismatic otaku to a depressed soldier. But Yoshitsugu Matsuoka and Scott Gibbs pulled it off.
1. Nothing Like The Main Series
No Game No Life is an isekai, comedy, ecchi series.There are tons of laughs, fanservice, and intense mind games. No Game No Life Zero, on the other hand, is about war; with tons of depressing scenes and death. There’s not an inch of fanservice, and very little comedy. If you’re looking for more No Game No Life, then it’s best to read the light novels. No Game No Life Zero is great as its own film, even if the main series was never made. However, diehard fans of the original anime, will probably be disappointed with this film.
2. No Sora and Shiro
Again, this is not No Game No Life. Although Sora, Shiro and the rest of the gang make a quick cameo in the film, it’s only for about a minute. No Game No Life Zero is not about Sora and Shiro trying to battle Tet. They don’t make any jokes either, just show up to say a few lines to get you pumped for a possible season 2. Riku and Shuvi are suppose to resemble everything Sora and Shiro are not. It’s not until the middle of the movie when we see the two mimic qualities of Sora and Shiro. At times, Riku will even make the exact same intense “game on” face that Sora makes. That might tick a few people off, as that’s relatively Sora’s thing.
No Game No Life Zero was a film no one was expecting. We never knew how horrible Disboard was before it became the world of happiness and games. Although you can watch No Game No Life Zero without seeing the original series, it’s best to watch No Game No Life first so you can catch all the references. Have you seen No Game No Life Zero? Do you think the movie or the original series was better? Let us know, and we’ll see you real soon. Till next time!