No Game No Life is a prime example that using the isekai genre does not mean you have to abide by the same settings. It is possible to create a whole new narrative environment while keeping the codes that we already know. A formula that works well for NGNL and brought massive fame to the title prompts the question: considering its widespread success, will the series ever receive Season 2?
What happened so far in No Game No Life
Siblings Sora and Shiro are hardcore gamer-NEETs with an innate talent for games of all sorts. Online, they are known as [ ] (read: Blank), a powerful and invincible group dominating the leaderboards everywhere they go. Until they encounter a potent rival, who pushes them to their limit in a chess game, it turns out that said rival is Tet, a god from another world, and the latter offers the pair to come and live in Tet’s world, Disboard. They accept immediately as for Shiro and Sora, the real world is dull and empty, with mediocre players and no real stakes.
Once in Disboard, they are introduced to the Ten Pledges, a series of commandments regulating life in the new world: violence is strictly prohibited, and all conflicts (ranging from trivial matters to wars) are solved via games. During those high-stakes games, each party has to wager something of equal value to have their wish granted. The siblings quickly end up in the human kingdom and are surprised to learn that among the sixteen races populating Disboard, The Imanity (read: humanity) are bottom of the barrel. After winning a game determining the next ruler, they seize the crown and decide: Shiro and Sora will travel across Disboard to challenge the leader of each Race to be able to confront Tet a second time.
What is going on with Madhouse?
No Game No Life premiered on April 9, 2014, and ended on June 25, 2014, after 12 episodes. The anime is directed by Atsuko Ishizuka, written by Jukki Hanada, and SuperSweep composed the score.
No Game No Life subverts expectations by taking seemingly inoffensive games to higher heights with lost-in-the-clouds peaks. The premise does sound basic. After all, anime like Yugi Oh and Beyblade made their bread by capitalizing on simple games with way too much action than they were supposed to display. However, NGNL is not just about the effort: here, wits and wile will prevail.
Our excitement is stimulated by how the games are visually represented and how the players organize their thoughts and try to stay ahead by formulating cunning strategies. Hiro and Shiro are overpowered. This is a fact, not an opinion. Yet, the story uses that aspect to conjure a different expectation from the audience: it is not about whether or not they can win, but rather HOW they are going to win. An interesting fact to remember during those games is that one of the enforced laws says that cheating will not be tolerated if discovered, which means that as long as you are smart enough to conceal your affair, the game will not stop. And that is the situation our protagonists always find themselves in at the beginning of the biggest games: disadvantaged and in urgent need to come up with a blitzkrieg of a plan that will reverse the situation.
Therefore, the pace is pretty steady, a bit on the short side, but nothing impeding the rhythm of the series. The only issue might be with the more minor games: those are simpler but not always executed (like the rock-paper-scissors game Sora initiates). The characters gloss over the rules, and the viewer ends up rewatching the scene twice to try to understand precisely what it is all about. Otherwise, the rest of the show is pretty well balanced between the comedy, the lull of quieter moments, and the big battles. The humor in No Game No Life can be hit or miss at times. Simple-minded Stephanie getting abused by Shiro and the continuous flow of heavy fanservice is somewhat balanced with Sora being a bit of a pervert with no genuine interest in romance and relationship (when NGNL is a harem) or the way Sora’s self-righteousness during games can turn against him.
The characters are not too complicated to understand and follow while avoiding falling into lazy pitfalls. Shiro and Sora might be all-powerful in games, but they are excruciatingly flawed as humans…which offers a nice contrast. Both are lazy, antisocial, and live in squalor. When broken, their co-dependence is the source of great comedy as the two geniuses end up as slobbering slobs barely able to articulate. A co-dependency with some strong incestuous accents, which will not suit everyone’s tastebuds. Other than that, nothing is calling for real growth in terms of character. The rest of the cast (strangely and strictly made of cute girls) is not dull but walks a fine line between annoying clichés and “it’s a stereotype, but I can work with it.” Each girl seems to represent a physical or personality fetish as often encountered in a harem. However, their limited character is well used in the story to never entirely drown in harem antics and provide diverse forms of humor (not including the fanservice) and how they play the different games.
The visual environment is the first thing that you will notice -and you will not get a say in it. No Game No Life goes for a loud and vivid aesthetic, playing with neon hues of yellow-orange-purple-red. Even the outlines of the characters are red instead of the usual black, and shadows adopt a rainbow pattern. The landscapes are diverse and pretty to look at (if you can handle the tsunami of colors). The animation is proper and goes up a notch during the games, breathing more life into them. Due to its particular textures and riot of colors, judging the animation during standard sequences can be difficult as the festival on your screen can be pretty distracting at specific points.
At this moment, Madhouse is working on the adaptation of Police in a Pod due for 2022.
What do we know about No Game No Life Season 2 so far?
There is no talk about a new season for No Game No Life, which is confusing for the masses considering how appreciated the title is. The novels now have enough material to work with, but the unstable health situation of Yuu Kamiya might be the reason behind all that hesitation.
What are fans saying about No Game No Life Season 2?
No Game No Life has quite the fanbase, always active and updated with new material. The subreddit and Twitter are places where they can discuss new material and opinions, brag about their collection, and post fanarts and cosplays. On both platforms, the fans sometimes mention in passing that Season 2 should be produced and how successful it would be. But it does not occupy most of the threads as the fandom always has extra content to enjoy. There is also a Discord server accessible through the subreddit. No Game No Life scored way above average on IMDB, MAL, AniList and Crunchyroll.
Will there be No Game No Life Season 2?
The light novel is written and illustrated by Yuu Kamiya himself (and from time to time, represented by his wife Mashiro Hiiragi) and has been in circulation since April 25, 2012. It is still ongoing and now has ten volumes. The light novel is a significant success, with three million copies printed by 2017, after five years of publication. It is also found in polls and even on the New York Times Manga Best Seller List 2014. The title was then adapted into a manga that started on January 27, 2013 (ongoing two volumes). The couple is also the ones working on it themselves. A side series (No Game No Life, Please!) written and illustrated by Yuizaki Kazuya started serialization in May 2015 and ended in November 2017 after four volumes.
The movie No Game No Life Zero received a theatrical release on July 15, 2017, and was met with great success, grossing ¥700 million and seizing the #7 spot in the Japanese box office. Sentai Filmworks released the complete series on Blu-ray in 2015 and a Collector’s Edition in 2020. In Japan, No Game No Life has often been spotted in the Top20 of the Oricon’s weekly Blu-ray disc ranking for animation. With how widely popular the series is, it is no surprise to find that its merchandising is enormous. The selection is so extensive that some characters have their category. Fans will easily find what they wanted and did not know they needed (hoodies, t-shirts, tapestry, keychains, wallet cases for smartphones, bags, and so forth).
Google Trends confirms No Game No Life’s crushing popularity: the map is heavily colored in blue, and the graph shows that over the last twelve months, the chart never touches zero. Not only that, but the values for the search queries stay pretty high themselves. A clear round! However, the show is not without its faults as it is the target of stern criticism regarding his intense fanservice and the sexualization of minors.
When will No Game No Life Season 2 be released?
No date available as of yet.
What can we expect in Season 2 of No Game No Life?
No Game No Life is a mysterious case in the industry: the recipe is complete, everything is there for the best business-oriented decisions, but the product is nowhere to be seen. Back in 2014, after Season 1, there was not enough material for continuing, and the author’s health was not stable enough to jump in Season 2 as there was still the risk that the anime would be farther than the light novel.
However, now that there are ten volumes out (with volume 11 planned for November 2021), we can safely assume that it is content to work with for the second season of 12 episodes. The fans deserve to know how Sora’s and Shiro’s ascension to greatness will unfold and who will be their new allies in Disboard.