No Game No Life: Zero

No Game No Life: Zero

No Game No Life: Zero anime movie poster
No Game No Life: Zero Poster

Overview

No Game No Life: Zero is the prequel movie to the No Game No Life series. In this movie, Sora and Shiro, the main characters from the series, aren’t present other than a minor scene at the very end of the movie which ties it to the main story.

The main portion of the movie is a story being told to Izuna Hatsuse by the god of games as a legend, although the viewer is led to believe the story is more than just a legend. It appears these were the actual events which took place in the past of the world.

You may recall from the series that everything in this world is decided by playing games and any wager is enforced by the fundamental laws of the world. It’s also impossible for anyone to use violence against anyone else due to a similar law of “physics” we’ll call it.

However, the world of No Game No Life: Zero isn’t the one we’re familiar with from the series. The movie takes place before the world was run by games and so violence and war are very real.

In fact, there’s a war going on between all of the different races which has sent humans to the brink of extinction. It’s in this dark, dangerous world where the story of how the world ruled by games came to be takes place.


Characters

Riku is the male lead of the movie and is essentially the previous version of Sora from the series. By this I mean that Sora is a reincarnation of Riku. However, he doesn’t seem to have the same perverted nature that Sora has.

Really all that they have in common is that they look fairly similar and are both good at games, although in Riku’s case it’s only chess. They also both have loli “companions,” but in different fashions.

Schwi is the Shiro of this series. While Shiro was Sora’s sister (I forget if they were blood related or not), Schwi isn’t related to Riku in any way and isn’t even human. Instead, Schwi is a robotic life form known as an Exmachina.

While Exmachina are usually found in large swarms and work as a hive mind, Schwi was outcast from the group. The reason for this is that after she was sent to learn about the human heart, the data she collected couldn’t be comprehended by the hive mind and so was labeled as corrupt data.

In order to blend in with human society, Riku dresses Schwi in an over-sized animal hoodie and has her take on a different persona, one that’s supposed to seem “cute.”

Another character who’s considered “main,” but is really more of a supporting character is Couronne Dola, the ancestor of Stephanie Dola who’s friends with Sora and Shiro. Her character is even less important than Stephanie’s was in the series.

Schwi from the anime movie No Game No Life: Zero
Schwi

Complaints

Although this movie looks nice just like the series, it really isn’t that good of a movie.

My first complaint is about the way in which the story is told; there are a lot of random jumps in the plot which are never explained. This is particularly bad since most of the story doesn’t appear to take place over a very large time period, a couple of days at most.

Riku has been fighting to survive in the war for what seems to be years, but one night he and Schwi suddenly know how to end the war without any indication that they were actually trying to figure out how to do so. They’re playing chess, then suddenly they’re explaining how to save the world.

However, the worst plot jump comes when Riku suddenly proposes to Schwi. There was no buildup in their relationship to that point, and suddenly he’s proposing to a non-human, mechanical life form whose physical appearance he has already mentioned he isn’t interested in.

Worse yet, Riku and Schwi actually get married shortly after. At this point it appears they’ve only known each other for like three days. Let’s not forget that Riku specifically said he’s not interested in loli girls, as I just mentioned.

It appears that the writer decided that since he couldn’t have Sora and Shiro get married since they’re siblings, he can at least have their previous incarnations marry each other even though they’re essentially the same characters. There was no reason for this other than fan service.

Another issue I had with the movie was that Riku apparently orders his own men to die on a regular basis for no known reason. He’s committed his life to protecting humanity, and yet he throws away the lives of his men like they’re nothing.

He orders one of his soldiers to die right in the opening of the story and I thought this was done as a diversion so the other two could escape, although you’d think that they’d try to all escape together if saving even one human is so important.

However, while I was going to accept this death at the beginning as a diversionary tactic, he mentions later that he’s tired of ordering all his men to die and he even lists them all. This makes it seem like this is something that’s fairly commonplace.

If that’s the case, maybe he’s not really so cut out to be a leader. Sure, he’s good at chess, but his comrades aren’t the same thing as sacrificial pawns, they have lives and families as we see. We’re never given a real reason for why he orders his men to die so frequently.

The final issue I’ll mention comes at the very end of the movie after Riku “ends” the war and is about to claim the theoretical object which will allow him to remake the world into one without war. My issue is that he doesn’t succeed in doing this.

He sees the object, he’s about to grab the object with nothing impeding him, and then he can’t do it. There’s no real explanation for what stopped him given, and it doesn’t appear to be a choice on his part because he’s desperately trying.

It kind of just seemed like the writer realized that since Riku wasn’t the god of games (since that’s another “character” we already met) it wouldn’t have made sense if he got the object and became the new god of the world. There would have then been an inconsistency between the series and its prequel movie.

So, rather than writing an ending that makes sense, he used a Deus ex machina to solve the plot inconsistency and end the movie. This is never a good device to use when writing a story because it shows a lack of planning and forethought on the author’s part.

Conclusion

While I thought that No Game No Life: Zero was an enjoyable watch, I can’t honestly say that it was a good movie. However, I’ll still give it a 6/10 because it has enough things going for it to make it more than a 5.

If all you want to get out of this movie is robo-loli fan service, then this is the movie for you, but if you actually wanted a prequel to No Game No Life that had a coherent story, then you’ll probably be disappointed.

Somehow this movie has an 8.73 rating on MAL, but that just goes to show that the masses will eat up anything as long as it looks pretty and has a cute girl (legal age apparently not necessary).

As this is a movie, there’s no OP, so here‘s the movie’s theme song instead.

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