No Game No Life Review

I have this system that allows me to recommend anime even if they have this “read the manga” bull-sh*t ending. After all, it’s usually the ride that counts for me. No Game No Life is a quizzical anime adaptation based on Yuu Kamiya’s light novel series, and its lack of an animated ending hurts the series the more I think about it.

Bro and sis Sora and Shiro are gifted NEETs who form the notorious “blank” across the gaming world. Together they are an unstoppable force: pulling all-nighters, eating junk food, and learning all of the ins and outs of various games just to achieve victory – but they never cheat. They both find the real world to be harsh and even crappy, donning it as just another game. When challenged to a complex game of chess supposedly designed by God himself, Tet emerges upon their triumph, and the two are warped to another world.

In this world, God has outlawed war and violence, so instead of physical brawls, everything is decided by games. Want all the money from a bank? Beat its owner. What about living in a castle? Simply defeat the king – and that is exactly what “blank” does. With the humans or “Imanity” chased to the board’s edge by other races, is it up to Sora and Shiro to save the Imanity and conquer the gaming world – but in real life this time.

No Game No Life’s basic premise can be carried out in many ways, yet “beat the boss, next floor” format doesn’t flow in this anime, and that can be appreciated – to a certain degree. While you know Sora and Shiro will win all of exciting and intriguing games (cause if they lose there wouldn’t be a show), it’s the ride to that final draw that make 12-episode anime worth it. The games are wacky and chalked full of weird rules, however, that makes them so much fun to watch!

On the other hand, the slight lack of explanation in each challenge often results in seemingly impossible feats. The games can be confusing and drawn out to two episodes at a time. As such this show is a binge watch – you’ll lose track if you try to space your viewings out.

Sora overwhelmingly takes the lead as the perverted-older-brother-mad-hatter type of character. He’s clever and brainy, desiring to win a library for knowledge of the world that he and his adorable sister were thrown into. Logging it in their phone, Sora immediately makes it his top priority to challenge the God of this world. Yoshitsugu Matsuoka (Kirito from SAO, Arata from TRINITY SEVEN) performs with such strong lust in his voice acting that makes for quirky dialogue. He certainly plays the role well!

For a female lead, Shiro is not that interesting. She’s cute, quiet, and relies on her onii-san. There is a much more intellectual side to her, unlike her brother, that makes for quick-witted comebacks and in contrast respectful monologues. While Shiro gets a couple of great episodes to herself – literally by herself – there isn’t really much else to say.

The only other mention is Stephanie Dora, an emotional young Imanity girl who is the daughter of the recently dead king. She is stubborn, whiny, and expressive, yet has an intelligent side regarding the Imanity. Because she flips from being a genius to a dimwitted casual – just to make Shiro and Sora seem smarter, might I add – she was poorly treated by the writer(s). Stephanie is easily likable, but only when she has her dignity intact.

NGNL’s animation by Madhouse is rather . . . how’s to say, bright? The effective use of reds, blues and other vibrant colors as outlines instead of the usual black adds to more eye-appeal. Everything else is also energetic in color; these upbeat hues help to bring the world of games alive! It’s fun J and not like your average anime!

Sound-wise, I wasn’t too impressed. There are a few “Aha!” tracks for the intense gaming climaxes, but the more emotional bits are supported, yet without memorability. I can recall the epic challenges that Sora and Shiro surpass, but I can’t remember any of the characters spewing out their passion, and part of that is because the actual-game-sounding music just wasn’t on-par with the anime. Besides “Predawn,” it’s not bad by any means, but could have been more.

The show gives off this foreboding vibe, as if Tet foreshadowing the darkness behind the gaming world is where the series would end, however, we never get down to the heart of things. That disappointed me most. A perfect reflection of my thoughts are in the opening, “This game” by Konomi Suzuki. The piano introduces us to a mysterious and devious land, yet past this rich piano solo, the song turns into your average anime opening, revealing its sense of playful trickery.

I have troubles recommending No Game No Life particularly because it just ends with another game. Upon release of a second season, which is most likely, then I will 100% recommend this anime to anyone, despite the mild nudity. The characters can drag the anime down a little bit with their ecchi playing, but when the boobs are put away, No Game No Life functions as a great piece of entertainment, and I enjoyed its cleverness thoroughly.

“’Checkmate’ doesn’t mean you’ve simply cornered the enemy king. It’s a declaration that the enemy king is yours. That’s why I said it the first time I met you. ‘Checkmate.’” – Sora

The anime has been licensed by Sentai Filmworks, so we can expect a dub release sometime soon hopefully. Thanks so much for reading my review over this fun gaming anime! If you had similar thoughts, hit that like button and follow me for more material like this. Until next time, this has been

– Takuto, your host

In Search of the Lost Future Review

Also known by its French name, À la recherche du futur perdu, I’m a fan of every word in this anime title. This show is an adaptation of the original Japanese adult visual novel developed by Trumple, and unfortunately does not include the spicier eroge scenes. Yeah I know – that’s horrible! But let’s continue reading, shall we?

Public school Uchihama Academy is growing too large in student population to support itself and thus requires a new building to be built. In honor of its last standing year, a General Club Festival will be held in the old building. As the many excited clubs begin to prepare for their festival, rumored sightings of ghosts spread quickly, and the student executive committee asks the astronomy club to return order amongst the student body. While cleaning out their club room’s second floor, dedicated member Sou Akiyama discovers something that would change his future forever – or rather, someone – as lying unconscious before him is a naked/wet girl named Yui Furukawa, and guys, she ain’t on the roster.

Besides that promising episode one, the first half of the anime is spent on trivial filler, such as skipping class “for fun,” going on dates at the bowling alley and of course, working hard for the astronomy club’s participation in the festival.

But all of that is helpless character development. If the show really wanted to build quick attachments to characters before sh*t got real, then the writers shouldn’t have opened up with the same old stereotypical hogwash. Those first five episodes are sheer boredom and ultimately pointless to the plot. I was gonna drop this series . . .

Until the last few came, then I was semi-glad I didn’t pitch this show along with TRINITY SEVEN. Time travel, artificial intelligence, quantum turing and wait, Schrödinger’s Cat? From like episode 7 and on, a dash of Steins;Gate tries to patch up this lackluster fail of a plot, only to fall short with another two episodes of filler.

Because of the second half, I have more love for the characters. At first, only Nagisa Hanamiya proved worthy of time mainly because you could tell the short yet sassy third-year was hiding something. She kept watchful eye of a mysterious black glowing box, too . . .

Then I connected with the wise Airi Hasekura: Sou’s close friend, club president, aikido learner, and future scientist. She is easily appealing compared to the rest of the cast, especially when we learn of the “lost future” of the female lead, Kaori Sasaki, some schmo we were supposed fall in love with.

Speaking of leads, the main characters, Sou, Kaori and Yui, the transfer, are all bland characters. They perform their cutout task and then yeah, that’s it. At least the supporting characters had depth and a sense of fondness.

Oh gawd, the animation by Feel is so attractive – at freeze frame, that is. The moment characters are put into motion, be it walking around the room or running, things just look choppy. In some scenes, characters even lack their original detail – it’s as if the animators had to warm up each day when working on scenes, some being breathtaking while the majority standing as unfinished.

The soundtrack tries to patch up empty space, only having one worthy dramatic track, and thus only assists the show. There’s nothing new going on here, but hey – it isn’t bad by any means.

“Le jour” (“The Day”), the opening sung by Satomi Satō harbors a thrilling sense of mysteriousness and tragedy. It sounds like rejuvenation yet at the same time sings of loss. While “Le jour” is an absolutely beautiful song, its visuals appear to still be in the works as the show progresses. In episode one, the opening is just full of cheap still frames, but by episode 12, includes smooth and powerful visuals of the characters and stars. Yeah. Well at least it got better over the series, right? o_o

The ending song is “Ashita Mata Aeru yo ne” (“We’ll Meet Again Tomorrow, Right?”) sung by Kaori Sasaki (Hatsumi Takada) and Yui Furukawa (Akane Tomonaga). Yet another lovely song that I’ll probably end up downloading – somehow 😉

In Search of the Lost Future follows in time travel’s conundrum and questions as to whether going back over, and over, and over again is worth the hardship and patience. In all artistic and presentation sense, I’m positively sure that the franchise has one of the best visual novels ever made. However as an anime, the adaptation is quite lacking in all departments. Emotionally, the show has a pleasant ending, but it’s not worth all of the headache and disappointment to meet those tears of joy. “We pass by much today, and someday will change our fate.”

Thanks for reading and be sure to hit that like button (you can follow for more reviews, too!) if you enjoyed my thoughts over the 2014 Fall season’s In Search of the Lost Future. I may return to revise this review if FUNimation proceeds to dub this anime, but until next time, this has been

– Takuto, your host

selector infected WIXOSS Review

Black*Rock Shooter + Yu-Gi-Oh + Puella Magi Madoka Magica. That’s all I’m gonna say.

A popular teen card game called WIXOSS carries a dark secret. LRIG cards (girl backwards – honestly took me a while) are rumored cards that contain the live consciousness of girls, and those females who obtain an LRIG are known as Selectors. When drawn into battle, Selectors face off against each other in another land, aggressively trying to win enough victories to have their wishes invoked by their LRIG. When Ruko Kominato gets infected by “Tama,” a cute yet battle-driven LRIG, she is tossed into the dark and twisted lies of the Selectors’ game. She’s good at first, but what happens when you lose . . .

Do not be dismayed by the fact that the show is based on a card game. I feel that that was the turnoff that makes this show less well-liked or popular. The rules to the game occur in a simple pattern that needs no explanation, so you can sit back and relax, that is to say, on the edge of your seat >.< Instead of trying to grasp the workings of the game, just watch the show – the game is just a way to convey the dark plot (not gonna spoil), making the kids think it’s just a harmless teen card battle. That aside, the plot of selector infected WIXOSS is somewhat to understand, gripping, and tragic. Heads up on Hitoe, though, as she makes the whole thing confusing by the end.

Pick a color of the basic rainbow and that’s how many characters there are. Literally, each character has that one attribute that makes them so generic. Sure, they all have their quirks that make me feel bad for them, and it sure sucks to be them, but I feel it was done better in other anime (see top). Ruko, however, acts as a white sheet of paper, being drawn on by the other characters until it’s hard to make out who she is. At the beginning, she has one mindset, but by the end, boy, she rounded out very nicely! The only other character I thoroughly enjoyed was Akira. I LOVE CRAZY characters! They are unpredictably creepy and enforce amazing plot twists. Akira was no exception to my standards.

The animation, done by J.C.Staff (A Certain Scientific Railgun and many others) was, well, bland. I know the atmosphere that they were going for was dreary like a rainy day, but did it need to be like that all the time? The only interesting scenes were when battles went down. I love the darkness that swells around the girls in the mysterious world.

Sound-wise was also kinda dim. The OST had no stunning tracks whatsoever, but the mood was never lost. The opening, “killy killy JOKER” by Kanon Wakeshima is amazing though! I play the cello, so I definitely know quality tone when I hear it, and man, I heard it. Give it a listen; it is the essence of the show. Also noteworthy is the ending, “REALIZE – Yume no Matsu Basho” by Cyua. Really amazing OP and ED this time around.

So with so-so animation, soundtrack, and characters, is the anime worth watching? Actually, yes. Pacing is well thought out, so getting bored doesn’t happen often. If you want to see what happens when dreams turn corrupt or want a thought-provoking battle of emotions and desires, then this is the show. It’s sorrowful, tragic, and sweet. The thing is, this core idea is not new. Watch Puella Magi Madoka Magica and you’ll see the many similarities the shows have (PMMM is much better). Finally, the ending is like really really  awesome for a first season. A real game changer. I had a decent good time watching it. “Tama, GROWWW!!”

I hope this review sparked any interest in watching selector infected WIXOSS. You can watch the full series over at If you enjoyed this review, give it a like! I’d appreciate it :3 Until next time, this has been

– Takuto, your host