No Game, No Life, Ep 3: Chess meets dating sims

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The cuteness of lolis will always triumph over the brainwashing of an oppressive ruler.

• Haha, I like the Ace Attorney references here, with Sora shouting “objection!” and playing a song similar to the Ace Attorney BGM on his phone. I’ve never actually played any Ace Attorney, but I have a friend who’s obsessed with the soundtrack, which is why I find Sora’s use of the music here quite amusing.

• Ah, so the Con artist was conspiring with elves to win the crown. I thought it was odd how she was clearly using magic to win despite being a human. Thinking back, that also explains why the answer wasn’t obvious to Steph for how Clammy was cheating. We already knew that they were using some sort of magic, but because Clammyis a human the idea of her using magic wouldn’t even cross Steph’s mind.

• So Sora waltz into the coronation, acts even more confident and sure of himself despite being in front of a whole crowd of people now, and exposes the Clammy for conspiring with some elves. But Clammy manages to turn things around and make it seem like Sora might be framing her, and thus accepts Sora’s challenge to a duel; saying they’re commence the game later.

• Afterward Sora explains how the whole round-robin-style contest for the crown is full of holes, as another nation could easily use it to set up a puppet state. You know, this former king of the land honestly doesn’t sound like the smartest guy. Like, why would he even bother to gamble territory and resources with other countries in the first place, when the humans have proven time and time again to lose due to their lack of magic? I mean, since no conflict in Disboard can be solved with violence, I figure they could just simply refuse to accept any challenges and keep the country out of world politics, and become a seclusionary state if they have to.

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This scenario would only really make sense if Imanity wasn’t the most self-sufficient country, and lacks any valuable resources that they could trade with other countries. Since in that case they couldn’t solve any of their issues diplomatically either, since without any valuable resources that the other countries need, these other countries could simply just not do any trading. Imanity wouldn’t be able to do anything about it, so they’d eventually be forced to gamble for a chance at remaining their own sufficient country. But that’s all just speculation; who knows what the situation with Imanity is.

• The elf chick seems pretty friendly with Clammy. I wonder if it’s less the elven country trying to establish a puppet state and more just some couple of kids helping each other to gain power.

• Interesting analysis of the situation. It’d be naive to think that Clammy and her elf buddy would refrain from using any magic, and as Sora explains they’ll probably just use an even harder to detect magic—especially since they suspect Sora and Shiro of having the aid of yet another country.

Though I have to wonder, how were Sora and Shiro able to detect their magic in the first place? In the first episode it was as easy for them to just glance around the room and see a hooded figure with some spirit-thing floating in front of her eye. If it’s that easy for some humans like them to spot, than how come no one else in the room or competition noticed either? And I’m sure it’d only get harder to conceal it the more Clammy succeeded in the competition.

• “The Imanity can only survive by earning the right to live under another nation’s protection, then giving up on all games and cutting ties with the rest of the world.” Pretty much what I was saying earlier. As the former king only proved, Imanity barely stands a chance against magic-wielding cheaters, so the most logical thing would be to simply not play the game, and become a seclusionary country if they must. That being said, if what Clammy is saying is completely true, it is awfully naive to just trust another country to help you gain power, and then not expect them to exploit you as a puppet queen.

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• Haha, and Sora and Shiro get to do a Jojo pose when they refuse to help Clammy. See, it’s no longer funny just to have your cartoon characters do some Jojo poses and leave it at that; at this point that’s just gotten cliche and boring. Now that David Production’s gone and perfected Jojo with some awesome color theory and music, you gotta go all out with the colors and written sound-effects if you want to do a “good” Jojo reference. Go big or go home. Clammy and Steph’s shocked reactions make the scene even funnier.

• Afterward Sora spells out to Steph and us why it’d a terrible idea to agree to help Clammy. They don’t have any proof that what Clammy was saying is true; it’s odd that Clammy would ask for them to withdraw if she’s so sure she’ll win; even if she’s telling the truth, she’d be naive to ask help from someone who might be working for another country, and lastly, the more she knows about the Sora and Shiro, the less of an upper hand they’ll have. That is, she’ll know they’re just a bunch of smartass teenagers and nothing more.  He adds that “Both you and her are selling humans short.” Interesting that Sora is apparently taking their lack of faith in humans personally.

• “This is no ordinary game of chess. The pieces have wills of their own. Give them orders and they will move.” Well, I guess that’s one way to make a game of chess more exciting to watch.

• Hm, so the pieces move not according to the rules, but how much charisma the player has as a leader. Well, that’s a pretty arbitrary way to bend the rules, as it’s not really clear just how much flexibility this gives the players. I wonder why they wouldn’t clearly explain all this beforehand too. I guess it’s funner for us to find out as the game goes, I guess.

• Ah, but since the charisma of a player affects the pieces, a stoic recluse like Shiro isn’t going to be too useful at convincing these supposedly sentient chess pieces into marching off to their death. I guess that’s where Sora comes in.

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• HAHAHA, to increase morale, Sora promises the soldiers that they’ll all be awarded women to lose their virginity to, among other benefits like being exempt from taxes. I laughed out loud at that. Just when this series was starting to lose me with a few possible plot-holes and some arbitrary chess rules, the shows gone and won me over again. And hey, good moral here too: no matter how smart you are, its still crucial to success that you’re actually someone people want to follow and trust—i.e., not a quiet loli. That kind of ties in to the themes presented in the first episode, actually.

This also further reinforces how Shiro is the hardcore brains of the operation, while Sora is more adept at manipulating others. Though consequently Sora has had a lot more influence on the plot than Shiro. Charisma and manipulation is proving to be more important in achieving their goals, so far.

• Sora explains that Clammy’s one big mistake was how she essentially controlled her troops using oppression through the elven magic, and that ultimately humans fight for what they think is right. That is, oppressive governments are doomed to fall so long as they go against what the people think is right. It’d be too much of a tangent to go into detail about this, though what Sora says here is definitely true in the long run.

• In addition to “brainwashing” her own chess pieces, suddenly even Sora’s white pieces start to turn black whenever they touch their enemy. Clammy then expresses surprise when Sora orders his troops to retreat, stating that some sort of brainwash magic is being used. Well, shit, it’s pretty obvious that Clammy is cheating in some way or another if she’s literally turning white pieces into black pieces. Unless that turned out to be just another possibility of this weird magical chess, but that’s obviously not the case here. Wouldn’t the referee on the side put the game on hold to inspect the pieces, since like I said, it’s obviously cheating? Now the shows starting to lose me again…

• Just as the enemy queen is about to slay his king, Sora steps onto the chess board and uses his charms to woo the queen piece, and convert her to a white piece. “Dating sims are one of the few games that I’m better than my sister at,” explains Sora. Well, the shows gone and won me over again a second time. It’s pretty hilarious, is all I can really say.

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• With his skill at manipulation and “dating sims,” I kind of wonder why Sora didn’t just become some master pick-up artist and use his suave, manipulative charms to bang a bunch of chicks. I mean, yeah, pick up artists are super sleazy and all, but I wouldn’t exactly put that sort of behavior above our protagonist here. Maybe he just didn’t have enough confidence to woo real life girls his own age, and sees this chess as more of a dating sim character. But hey, he could pick up chicks if he really tried.

• The episode ends with Sora placing Shiro back in charge, and warning that although he managed to score them another queen, they still have to figure out a way to work around Clammy’s brainwashing.

Thoughts:

No Game No Life was starting to lose me a little with this third episode. A few possible plot-holes became more apparent as I gave them more thought, and a chess game without a solid set of rules isn’t nearly as compelling as the rock-paper-scissors game of the previous episode. We’re literally just watching a guy win a game of chess by shouting at his pieces. But at the same time that’s also what I love about this episode too; seeing a guy like Sora increase morale with the promise of ensuring the loss the virginity for his soldiers is pretty great.

At this point I’m pretty much just watching No Game No Life to see some depraved former hikis manipulate the world around them and act like assholes. Duels like the rock-paper-scissors scene is a nice bonus (even if it involves some wonky game theory according to others,) but that’s not really my primary reason for liking this show. As long as it remains entertaining and the shows other strong points continue to shine, it’s not much of a big deal if these games aren’t the most intellectual or smart seeming.

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