I have a complicated relationship with otaku media. A lot of it is not very good, an exampleof this being the multitude of forgettable isekai light novel adaptations that air every season. However there are still a lot of amazing and masterful works which are aimed at otaku. In this post, I will not be discussing one of those works. Instead, I'll be discussing one which is just pretty good.
The world doesn't operate on logic. It's chaotic, and most of the time, doesn't make much sense. But what if the world did operate purely on logic? Well, that's the premise of No Game No Life in a nutshell. Otaku NEET's Sora and Shiro are amazing at games and logical thinking, however this hasn't translated well into dealing with the many facets of daily life. But one day, they recieve an email challenging them to a game of chess. After an excruciatingly long round, they both get transported into another world by none other than the God of that world himself, Teto, the God of games. Now stuck in a world where all conflict is solved through games, the two siblings set their minds in pursuit of the only logical conclusion: world domination.
One of the good parts of NGNL is the character designs. Candy coloured hair, flashy clothing, and all manner of crazy background art. It does get boring to look at after 12 episodes, but it's a positive nonetheless. The dialouge and voice acting are nothing more than what you'd expect from any other late night TV anime. Refrences to other otaku media, obnoxious cute girl voices that end up sounding more like eldritch horrors than anything remotely resembling a human, and manical laughter whenever the protaginst explains his plan after he won. There really is nothing special about this show, save for it's midly interesting premise which moves so slowly that by the time the it's over you kinda roll your eyes and think "eh, that was cool. I guess." Because the plot progression (or lack thereof) in this show is a fairly important thing to discuss.
Six years after the show aired, all we've gotten in terms of further anime adaptations of the light novel... is a prequel movie. And all that happens in the TV series is that they conquer one country. Out of 16. The thing about them conquering other countries is that since the entire plot of the series is based on the fact that war is outlawed and that therefore, all conflict must be solved through games, is difficult to work with. In the early episodes, the various games had enough visual flair and funny dialouge thrown in there to keep my attention. But when none of those things are there anymore, all you're watching is twenty two minutes which can be summarized as nothing more than "they fight." It gets boring after a while, and no amount of JoJo refrences or upskirt panty shots is going to make up for that.
No Game No Life certainly is aimed at otaku, and it really tries to explore it an interesting way. I can't really say it piqued my interest though, nor that I really got anything out of it. In terms of otaku-centric media, there's so much better stuff, even from this decade. Outbreak Company, for example, has the exact same theme and message: this world doesn't understand me, so I have it way better in a world which operates on the same wavelength as me. Both main characters also express the same sentiment that they don't want to leave, because they have it way better in a world they can understand and not feel left out of. Should you watch No Game No Life? Probably. It's held in very high regard by most people, and it's really popular. It just wasn't for me, and that's okay. I'm still glad I watched it though, for while it may not have given me anything new to think about, it was mildly interesting to me.