No Game, No Life, Ep 9: Loli Memento

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Can any loli live without their onii-san, no matter how much of a genius they are? 

• Hm, so before she was one years old Shiro was sent to an orphanage due to her superhuman intelligence. Unless Japan’s culture of conformity is worse than I think it is, it always strikes me as odd when some anime characters are so discriminated for something positive like super intelligence. I find it hard to imagine why some parents would ever throw out their 1 year old child just for being smart. The only explanation I can think of is if some poor, uneducated and underprivileged bumpkins got easily spooked by their child being way smarter than you would expect a one year old to be.

And Sora was some brat who sucked up to adults but never felt any connection, apparently. I guess he was a manipulative kid from the start.

• Interesting that Shiro is referring to Sora as “Blank” when that’s supposed to refer to the two of them collectively. Or perhaps she means Blank as a duo is gone because her partner has disappeared.

• I like how the colors are muted almost to the point of being black and white to signify Shiro’s grief and depression.

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• All these past major events that Jibril explains were done by Shiro instead of Sora, kind of just reminds me that Shiro really hasn’t done much at all in the show compared to Sora. It’s also rather amusing though how now people think it was Shiro who asked for Steph to fall in love with her.

• For a second I thought Jibril somehow figured out that the Eastern Federation altered everyone but Shiro’s memory (I even wrote a paragraph about it,) but alas it’s not that easy: She comes to the more obvious conclusion that it’s merely Shiro’s memories that have been altered by the Eastern Federation. It’s also as impressive as it is peculiar that the Eastern Federation managed to erase the memories of the entire nation of Elkia though. I wonder how they could have worded the pledge to do something that massive in scale.

• Jibril challenges Shiro to a game, but bets her “false memories” and asks her to lose. This brings up something I was saying earlier in the series, in that if you can really bet more abstract and less physical things like false memories, and can purposely lose a game for such a things, it seems like ten pledges would be all too easily exploitable. I just wonder what the limits are. Can a guy just get a friend and bet his stupidity, and than purposefully lose so he’ll get smarter? Anyways, we know that these false memories are in fact, not false at all, and it’s everyone other than Shiro whose memories have been altered.

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• Briefly we see a flashback where a middle schooler Sora consoles a crying grade-schooler Shiro, saying this:

They say people can change, but is that really true? If they decide they want to fly, will they grow wings? I don’t think so. You don’t change yourself. You change how you do things. You have to make your own way. You have to create a way to fly, even while you stay the same. Lets think of a way to make wings that will let you fly.

At face value this is all pretty good advice actually, since it’s true the first step to changing yourself is just to change your way of doing things. For example, you can’t just become a genius over night, but you can still change how you do things to set yourself on the right path.

But keep in mind that Sora and Shiro would eventually become hardcore shut-ins, so I think there’s more to Sora’s words than that. It sounds encouraging, but it puts emphasis on how people can’t change; whether he’s referring to the awful social skills he and Shiro have or to the mean kids who bully Shiro (I’m assuming bullying is why she’s crying.) So I doubt the analogy of growing wings has anything to do with them getting over their social issues, but rather embracing these social issues and instead pursuing a path to master their gaming skills and knowledge.

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• Just as Shiro is about to accept that these memories may be fake, a ghost or scepter of Sora stops her, which encourages her to continue believing in his existence and wins her game with Jibril. I wonder if that was the actual Sora or just some visualization of Shiro’s imagination. Either way, the bright colors of Disboard return and Shiro snaps out of her depressing state; hopefully this means she’ll start actually doing something now.

• Steph decides to trust Shiro, because she knows “you two would never lose!” That seems like a bit of a stretch for her to suddenly think that, but eh, whatever gets the plot moving.

• Shiro asks some questions, showing that none of them can remember anything they did in the last one a half days. Shiro also decides to fondle Steph’s breasts, to show that it was not she who Steph had pledged to fall in love with but Sora. But I thought the affects of that pledge already wore off a while ago and that Steph has just naturally been falling in love with Sora, so I don’t know what that was supposed to prove.

• “If the game involved Imanity’s representative, it could affect the whole race.” Well, that explains my earlier question. I probably should have guessed that was the case for the mass memory manipulation surrounding Sora and the rest of Imanity. And it also affects Jibril too since she’s a subordinate to Sora.

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• Shiro hears the ghostly voice of her brother and runs into another open room. She then searches through her memories to figure out the puzzle, and eventually figures that Sora for some reason must have pledged a game with Clammy to steal each others existence. Well, dang, I thought people were just joking when they started guessing that Clammy must have something to do with this scenario. Was there some hint I missed last episode pointing towards her? Well, I guess Clammy and her associations with the Elven Garde made her the obvious choice for an ally that Sora would need to help him against the werebeasts.

• After the commercials we get a flashback of Sora and Clammy before their match, explaining the rules of a game of Othello in which each piece is subconsciously connected to some aspect of their existence. The pledges really can get pretty abstract here. We’re also clued in that it was Clammy who challenged Sora, so I wonder what she was trying to challenge him for. Probably to get her hands on the Imanity piece after witnessing Sora’s reckless betting of it.

• I didn’t bother to take notes for the remaining nine minutes of the episodes. Wherein Shiro eventually figures out that Sora and Clammy are actually in the room playing the game, but just happen to be hidden because of some magic, and now need Shiro to play the last three Othello pieces for Sora. She does so and because Sora set up such a masterful game, they completely demolish Clammy, taking away all her memories.

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For a second I thought No Game No Life was going to get darker when it showed Clammy getting turned into a vegetable, but thankfully good guy Sora gave back all her memories. And now that they both have a copy of each others memories Sora and Clammy have become instant best buddies, and will now work together against the Eastern Federation! So I guess the point of the game was just so Clammy and Fil would stop suspecting Sora and Shiro of having ulterior motives and are not affiliated with any other country, so that they would have complete trust in them.

I would imagine someone gaining the memories of a shut-in hiki like Sora would also get their share of unpleasant, or at least embarrassing memories too though. I can easily see that getting brought up for comedy later.

Thoughts:

Well, this week’s episode had its fair share of Shiro acting useful and useless, with some moments of her sobbing for her brother and other times actually being smart and showing her usefulness. But of course, we already knew how emotionally dependent she is one her brother in the first place, so nothing too insightful there. Either way, it was nice to have an episode centered around Shiro doing things.

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