No Game, No Life, Ep 4 & 5: The once and future kings

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Would YOU bow down to these two?

Episode 4

You know, it only just occurred to me that the two shows I’ve consistently blogged about each week, this and Black Bullet, are both adapted from light novels. And just like with Black Bullet, episode 4 of this is where I would guess the first volume or story-arc end.

Anyways, so this episode started out with more bullshit chess games, which concluded rather disappointingly. I’d already accepted that the game wouldn’t end in the most intellectual or sensible way, but I’m just confused at what exactly happened. Kurami decides to make one last push to win the game, but then suddenly loses as Sora makes a comment about how many dictators and rulers have died through assassination rather than the hands of a soldier. Was this a poorly-timed fast forward to Sora beating her in chess fair and square, or am I missing something?

Then Sora and Shiro during their crowning ceremony, start to bicker over who exactly gets to be king between the two of them, citing that there can only be one king. In order to decide who gets to be king, they then get into a three day gridlock as they try to duel each other in various games, but keep winning and losing at an even amount; apparently with no sleep because of how exhausted they seem. Only to realize that there is in fact, no reason the two of them can’t just be king together.

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As much as I like the idea of Sora and Shiro getting into a three day gridlock trying to beat each other, this joke seems a little forced. I find it hard to believe that they would so easily overlook the fine text, or lack of any saying they can’t both be king, or that no one else pointed this out to them. Perhaps they were just too eager to see who could beat the other in a game.

It was smart of Sora to use the commandments to prevent his council from further acting as spies or being corrupt. It makes sense that he’d be able to so easily solve Imanity’s economic and agricultural problems so easily too, since he’s applying modern day knowledge of those subjects to a pseudo-medieval world.

Sora finally shows his nervousness around others when it’s an entire city of people, but quickly regains his cool thanks to his sister, and then proceeds to give a speech to his people. The whole idea of Imanity being strong because of how weak they are is an interesting concept, though it sounds an awful lot like the philosophy of a wimpy kid who’s trying to make himself feel better for not being social or popular. “Those popular kids may be stronger and get more girls than I do, but at least I’m smarter than them!”

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Anyways, in the context of the history of Disboard, what Sora says does make sense. Imanity reigned supreme because they’re weaknesses made it so they had to rely on their brains to win wars rather than magic or brute strength. But now that actual war is out of the question, the other races have cultivated their minds as well, to they have both magic and brains at their side.

And lastly before the episode ends, it’s confirmed that proving the worth of humanity is just a secondary goal for Sora and Shiro at best, and that their primary goal remains to prove that Blank can never lose, and manipulate and exploit the world of Disboard accordingly—all for shits and giggles. And now the end game has gone from conquering the world, to conquering the world so that they can challenge the god of Disboard, Tes, and possibly become gods themselves. And again, everything about the story continues to just be a game for Sora and Shiro.

Overall though episode 4 wasn’t as funny or intriguing as any of the other three episodes. Hopefully this second story-arc gets a good start…

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Episode 5

Well, the majority of the episode was pretty much just Steph trying to prove herself and beat Sora and Shiro in games based on luck, losing, and being terribly humiliated; having to slowly strip down her clothes with each lost, and having to be Sora and Shiro’s “dog” for a day, with dog ears and tail and having to act like a dog. Well you know me, I just find it so hilarious when anime girls are humiliated, so I found this episode pretty funny, haha. *puts on ‘I’m sorry I find this so funny’ hat*

Though I have to wonder that if Steph really wanted to win a game, instead of choosing stuff that relied on “chance” like guessing when a couple of birds will fly off, why not just challenge Sora and Shiro to a race? They’re such weak, scrawny losers that they surely wouldn’t stand a chance against someone like Steph, who at worst is probably just someone of average fitness. Though I guess Sora and Shiro probably wouldn’t agree to that to begin with, so maybe not.

Hm, if it’s true that you could become something as vague as a “decent person” by losing a game, it seems like the ten commandments could be really easy to exploit. Like if you wanted some aspect of your personality to be changed, then theoretically you could get a friend, and then intentionally lose to them so that you can become whatever you. It’s the be end be all cure of social awkwardness! I would hope that this is only limited to personality though, since if you could use it to become smarter or something, then it seems like the ten commandments would be a really broken system (or more so than it already is.)

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I liked the bit with blackjack in the beginning, since now we’re back to some games that actually make sense instead of “charisma chess.”

I’m curious at what all these higher races are like. Since apparently the fugel are just generic angels, but the phantasms is literally a floating island of some sort. For a second at the end of the episode, I thought the flugel was going to be something actually intimidating or powerful seeming, but as expected she ended up being just another moe girl. A little disappointed there, but we’ll see what this character is all about next episode. To be fair though, I did find the bit with her speaking bad Japanese funny.

Not much else to say. This almost seemed like a filler episode in between story-arcs, though like I said it was pretty funny.

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