Well, that makes three of my favorite shows this season that have sexual harassment.
• The episode opens with a girl, naked save for a sheet tied around her bulging breasts, across the room from a dude with a loli resting on his lap. Sora assures Steph that he and Shiro are siblings, “so this isn’t weird.” Well, having your sister on your lap isn’t weird as long as you don’t go out of your way to say it isn’t. And after that Shiro whispers in her sleep “Brother rejected me…” and in the corner of the screen we get a clear shot of her panties too. I don’t really care how deep this series delves into wish fulfillment and fanservice, but I figured it was worth pointing out how these first 15 seconds of the episode start things off.
• People were right about how skilled Sora is at reading and manipulating people. Steph rants about how it’s Sora and Shiro’s fault for her losing, as they didn’t explain to her how her opponent was cheating. Sora sees this as an opportunity to take advantage of her though. He says: “You couldn’t even figure out a simple trick like that, so you lost everything you owned and now you’re taking it out on us?” He belittles her, and then once she snaps at him he continues to push her buttons, listing some weaknesses of hers that he sees, e.g., “You blow up in rage at every little thing. You’re simple-minded. Easily riled. You can’t control your emotions, and you’re too conservative to take risks. To be blunt, you never had a chance.”
It’s insults with a good deal of truth mixed in, or at least insults which sound true, which is why it works so well at getting her riled up. And when someone’s being insulted, it’s easier to get them to do something to prove their worth and protect their pride. Then he gets her even more angered by insulting her father, and then once she’s just about angry enough to hit him, he challenges her to a game. Great.
• Sora challenges her to rock-paper-scissors of all games, but there’s a catch: he declares that he can only win if he plays paper, and if he uses scissors or rock he automatically loses. Thus, if he beats her with rock or scissors, they tie. The loser has to comply with whatever demands the other has, but if it’s a tie they compromise; Sora will give her a hint of how the other people cheated, and she’ll have to do him a “little favor.” OOOOOH I see where this is going, judging by the next-episode preview from episode 1. And there’s a one in nine chance of Sora winning, but a one in three chance of a tie.
• Holy shit the amount of analysis and planning they put into this seemingly simple game of rock-paper-scissors. This show really isn’t letting down with the game tactics. And even after all that planning on the princess’ part, Sora was still one fucking step ahead of her. I’m in love with this show already. Though according to others this game of rock-paper-scissors somehow ignores a bunch of game theory. I’ll just say now I don’t know anything about game theory, so maybe this game seems smarter to me than it really is.
• Just about everything Sora talked about was manipulating her, too; by deliberately smiling but not saying anything when she asked if he wanted a place to stay, he gave her false confidence that he wouldn’t do anything unseemly to her if he were to win or tie. And as a result, he gets a much better bargain out of a tie. He’ll need to give Steph a hint of how the other team ties, but in return she has to give him and Shiro a place to stay and fall in love with him.
• Haha, and he just ruins all that hard work by having his favor be for the princess to fall in love with him, complete with an eccentric pose and squeaky voice. Even the smartest and greatest of minds are still subject to human weaknesses at the end of the day. Or in other words, even as a mastermind gamer he’s still a lonely virgin. As Shiro points out, if he would have been more careful with his wording and “have her belong” to him, she would have been obligated to give him her body and wealthy possessions. But as it stands, having her “love” him doesn’t necessarily guarantee any of that. On another note, the implication that he’d have ownership of her body just further shows what scumbags our two “heroes” are.
• Well now, after Shiro chastises Sora and reminds him “You said all you needed was me,” more obvious incest subtext, Sora promptly bows before and asks for forgiveness. Suprisingly he goes on to say everything we incest-naysayers have been wanting him to: “I mean, I can’t go after my sister. Plus, you’re like, eleven! I’m a healthy young man, you know? I’ve got sexual needs!” He then repeats the words “sexual needs” three more times to really hammer the point. Which is true. A virgin like him’s gotta tap some ass eventually, and we would only hope he doesn’t do it with his sister.
• Steph’s perception of Sora starts to be clouded by a “Steph-O-Vison,” where he appears to be a dashing bishounen to her, which she knows is false. She then starts bashing her head on a wall in frustration over her predicament. She may not exactly belong to Sora per se or be obligated to give him all her things, but now the divine powers of Disboard are screwing with her mind.
It only makes sense that there’d be some divine powers needed to uphold everyone to their pledges, though if the divine powers have that much influence, how exactly are people able to cheat? Perhaps the god of Disboard is only concerned with cheating in so far as whether humans can catch each other themselves. Remember, the pledge specifically states that you’ll lose if you get caught cheating. Cheating itself isn’t barred against the rules.
• The best siblings are the ones who congratulate each other for losing their virginity. …And encourage them to lose it in front of them, shoving them onto the unwilling partner and then videotaping the whole thing as their older brothers gropes some breasts. Sora and Shiro truly have a sibling relationship like no other.
• Once Sora is flung out of the room and separated from his precious imouto, both he and Shiro utterly break down. Sora loses all the confidence he had in molesting a girl, cowering in a corner as he beats himself up over it and apologizes to Steph. Meanwhile, Shiro sulks and turns into a white blob, wondering where her brother is. These siblings really do have an unhealthy relationship with how overly attached they are to one another.
• Shiro doesn’t even like to take baths since she’d be away from her brother, and thus steam is a necessity. Not sure why that is exactly. Why not just take a bath with the screen close by? And lol, Shiro doesn’t want Sora watching her bathe since it’d be “child porn.”
• Steph keeps trying to resist the bishounen “Steph-O-Vision” version of Sora that she keeps seeing, and thus continues to ram her head in the wall until her face is covered with blood.
• Hm, so there are 16 different races in Disboard, collectively called the Exceed, and ranked based on their affinity to magic. #1 are the dead “Old Deus” gods that were defeated by the current god; Elves are #7, and humans—referred to as Imanity—are right at bottom at #16. This is why they’ve been gradually losing more and more of their territory to other races, since the other races of Disboard are able to use magic to cheat in games.
• Not only is Shiro probably one of the highest ranking wizzes at math and chess for an eleven year old, but she can learn a whole written language just by observing a book. Though I guess it would be relatively easy since the spoken language is identical to Japanese. And she can speak 18 languages besides that. The show really pushes the whole genius aspect of her character.
• Wait, why has Steph been wearing those dirty clothes all this time? Apparently she’s still a princess of the kingdom up until the other girl officially wins the crown, or until the coronation anyways. She even gave Shiro one of her old dresses, so it’s not like she’s lost all her wealth and worldly possessions just yet.
• And so the cheater who beat Steph ends up winning the crown. Sora and Shiro resolve to help Steph win back her kingdom and prove that her grandfather was right, and thus they become a bit less of the anti-heroes they were before. At least, that’s what it seems like at first, until we get a look at Sora’s checklist on his smartphone, with his next task reading “For now, I’ll become king.” We knew these kids were going to try and exploit this Disboard from the start, so who knows if Sora genuinely wants to help Steph or if he just sees this as a good opportunity to gain some power.
And at the same time, Steph’s bishounen visions of him are gone too. Probably because she’s actually falling in love with him now or something.
Great second episode to the series, which pretty much followups on everything that seemed promising about the first episode. The scene with the rock-paper-scissors duel shows what level of thought the creators are putting into the show, that this show is going to have some great mind games and duels throughout.
I love how the siblings are total creeps, and No Game, No Life isn’t afraid to make them total anti-heroes. Especially with that whole scene where they force Steph to fall in love with Sora, and then the latter proceeds to grope Steph. These definitely aren’t meant to be the most respectable people, and the amount of depravity they show upon being separated from one another shows just how unhealthy their mutual sibling obsession is. Even if the situation they’re in could be considered wish fulfillment, these certainly aren’t people meant to be looked up to.
Sure, when Sora gropes Steph that’s some pretty in-your-face fanservice that we’re meant to jack off to, but at the same time it’s still showcasing what awful people Sora and Shiro are. The show’s having its cake and eating it too, so to speak, and that’s okay with me.