Tag Archives: hikikomori

No Game No Life, vol. 1 (Light Novel)

Author: Yuu Kamiya/Translator: Daniel Komenno-game-no-life-1

My rating: 3.5 of 5

Urban legends speak of a gamer with an impossible record of zero losses, a player who goes simply by “ ” or Blank. What the legends miss is that Blank is actually two players, a brother and sister pair who are as awful at real life as they are amazing at games. So when the two get sucked into a world where everything is decided by playing games of one sort or another, Sora and Shiro don’t do the expected and try to get home. They set their sights on the throne!

I really enjoyed reading No Game No Life, but I have to admit rather mixed feelings when looking at the light novel objectively. There are some things about it that are really well done and interesting; others, not so much. The concept, for instance, is brilliant–an alternate world with a fantasy flair that’s run entirely on games rather than wars and such is just remarkable. And the characters that Kamiya chose to stick in this setting are just perfect–I seriously think Sora and Shiro as a pair are about the most interesting characters you could possibly choose for this setting both because of the dynamic between them (which is intriguing in itself) and because of their mindset when it comes to games. The overall writing style is pretty average, I’d say typical for a light novel if not stellar. And I’m not even going to complain about the fanservice because 1) No Game No Life is just that kind of story, and if you want to totally avoid the fanservice, you’ll have to avoid this sort of story entirely, and 2) the fanservice in this volume is actually not that bad. What did bother me in that regard is the mild lolicon/incestuous verbal insinuations that were scattered throughout–they never amount to anything, but they’re kind of creepy still. Also, the fact that Sora uses a command that can’t be disobeyed to make a girl love him is kind of wrong, even though the author makes a point to show all sorts of ways the girl could have gotten around the command without directly disobeying. (And I know, I’m making this sound like a totally hentai story. It really isn’t that bad; I just feel the need to point out these parts since they bothered me personally.) The other notable negative is that at points (whether this is the original style or a mistake on the translator’s part, I’m not sure), the text is a series of somewhat disconnected phrases posing as sentences. . . . You can understand what’s going on, but it kind of catches you off guard and looks weird. But in spite of the negatives listed above, I would recommend No Game No Life for anyone looking for a fantasy/gamer light novel (who doesn’t mind some ecchiness); I’m planning to continue reading the series in any case.


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Summer Wars

Madhouse Studio

Written & Directed by Mamoru Hosoda/Screenplay by Satoko Okudera/Produced by Nozomu Takahashi, Takuya Ito, Takashi Watanabe, & Yuichiro Saito/Music by Akihiko Matsumoto

Kenji Koiso is your average teenager, sort of–socially inept, mathematically brilliant, a good student . . . and a part-timer for OZ, an online community that has become so important and popular that nearly every facet of life ties in to it in some way. When the lovely Natsuki Shinohara offers him a part-time job over the summer, he jumps at the chance to earn a little extra cash (not to mention being around such a fun, attractive senpai for the summer). Finding out that the job is playing her fiancé though is a bit much . . . especially considering the magnitude and intricacy of the Shinohara family tree! One thing follows another, and Kenji finds himself framed for letting loose a monster AI program into OZ where it is taking over user accounts and wrecking havoc across the world. Which is when Kenji finds out that whatever differences the Shinoharas may have with each other, when it comes down to it, they’re the sort to set those differences aside and find a solution, no matter what it takes.

I really enjoyed watching Summer Wars, and I’m excited to have discovered Studio Madhouse–I’ll probably check out their other work in the near future. The most immediately outstanding feature of this movie is the animation: it’s beautiful, lush, and lifelike in the “real-world” parts, and the virtual reality sections are eye-catching and imaginative in the extreme. But Summer Wars isn’t just a bunch of pretty pictures, there’s some quality story writing going on there too. The writing, acting, and illustrating all combine to create a vivid blend of science fiction and ordinary family life–I love both parts, and they work well together. I think what I love best though is the depiction of such a large family, all drawn together to celebrate the matriarch’s birthday, yet every individual distinct and sometimes at odds with the others. It seems like a very realistic picture of family–positive, but not dreamy-eyed and unlikely. I would definitely recommend Summer Wars; it’s a delightful, engaging movie.


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