No Game No Life
Episode 2: Challenger
Having spent last episode becoming accustomed to their new situation, Sora and Shiro are settling into Disboard quite nicely. They’re gaming prodigies after all. That being said, not all who have met the siblings see them in a positive light…especially one girl. Having lost despite being informed by Sora that her opponent was cheating, she’s decided to find out the truth. Though of course she doesn’t realise, she’s already being played.
First of all, Sora is a Grade A manipulative bastard…and it is hilarious. Though I do feel for poor Stephanie, the way that Sora forced her hand (in more ways than one) was brilliant. Despite his outwardly lax behaviour, there is never a moment when he isn’t thinking. It is because of this that he can so easily acquire what he wants, especially in this world. Hell, the guy manages to turn Scissors, Paper, Rock into a mind game. Devious. Though to her credit, Stephanie isn’t as inept as her first appearance would make it seem. In fact she is rather quickly able to understand the outcomes that may arise from Sora’s game and plans accordingly…wrong, but accordingly. Of course Sora knew that she would know what he knew and knew to go ahead and do what he knew she wouldn’t know…trust me, it makes sense. Just don’t trust Sora, Steph learned that the hard way. In fact, trust seems to be her best and worst trait. Best because it’s nice to believe in people, worst because she lives in a world run solely on game law. It’s probably a good thing she met Sora and Shiro, who knows what could’ve happened to her if she was left by herself.
After managing to best Stephanie in a deceptively simple game, Sora deceive her once more. Though it was kinda her own fault. Ever the schemer, Sora recounts how he never actually answered Staphanie when she assumed that all he wanted should they tie was a place to stay. Whoops. It is at this point that Sora unleashes his ultimate plan, with a menacing face and dark aura he commands Stephanie…to fall in love with him. Diabolical. Of course he immediately chastised by Shiro who points out how he should have just forced Stephanie to obey him, rather than seeking to sate his own desires. In addition to this, Shiro is genuinely hurt by the fact that her brother wishes for a girl other than her in his life, hinting at just how close the two are. It’s pretty strange, though still kinda sweet. Even stranger however is Stephanie’s reaction to the proposal. Whether because of her absolute adherence to the Ten Pledges or her own desires, she immediately begins to see Sora as a charismatic bishounen. However, she also shows resistance to her own perception, leading to moments that were actually funny. I can’t remember the last time an anime actually made me laugh out loud. Well played NGNL.
This episode also features a scene that, though played for humour, is actually quite frightening. After sending Sora careening down a hallway, utilising her humour based combat proficiency, Stephanie bears witness to what happens when the siblings are separated. Unable to see the other, both Sora and Shiro completely break down, cowering in fear. Sora frantically apologises to Stephanie for accidentally groping her (the cause of her outburst), citing his fear that he would never get the chance again, living the rest of his life without anyone other than Shiro to love. Shiro is even less coherent, simply panicking whilst imploring someone to tell her where her brother is. Though we are aware that the two lived alone together, it isn’t until this moment that we saw the true extent of their co-dependence. I shudder to think about what made them this way and fear that someone may exploit this weakness should it be discovered.
After coming to terms with their new living arrangements, Stephanie provides some exposition regarding the world of Disboard and the sixteen races that populate it, collectively known as the Exceed. All following the Ten Pledges, these races are also ranked in order of their affinity to magic. Coming in first, of course, are the Old Deus…or they would, if they weren’t dead. This race formerly ruled over Disboard and were the Gods who fought in legend, with Tet as the only survivor and One True God. We also learn that Imanity (the human race) comes in dead last on the magic charts. Their affinity is so low in fact, that they can’t even detect the presence of magic. Not exactly a benefit in a world of games. Though now that Sora and Shiro stand under the Imanity banner, perhaps things will change? Stephanie certainly seems to believe so. After all, Sora can transform even the simplest games into crises of faith and Shiro can learn an entire language in roughly twenty minutes. So I’m inclined to agree with Stephanie on this one.
After gaining an ally and friend in Stephanie, Sora and Shiro’s prospects are on the rise. Running into the girl who bested Stephanie in poker once more, Sora resolves to prove that Steph’s grandfather was a wise king despite the loss Imanity suffered under his rule. Said resolution also provides him with a new objective. Nothing major, just to become the King…for now.
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