No Game, No Life and the Isekai Boom (TBR/W post)

When watching No Game, No Life for the first time a few years from when it was first airing (i.e. in 2018), it becomes pretty apparent that it’s from the isekai boom era, if not being a progenitor to it.

It’s been a bit of a while since the last TBR/W tag post, huh? Anyways, here’s where we’re at:

Makai Ouji: Devils and Realist

Amagi Brilliant Park

Garo – Vanishing Line

Inari Kon Kon, Koi Iroha.


Clockwork Planet

Outbreak Company <<<< next

No Game, No Life <<<< current

Acchi Kocchi

New Game!

…and now, to the content:

The isekai genre is characterised by a few aspects, all of which show up in No Game, No Life, which make its roots – or possibly the genre it may have popularised – obvious. For starters, it’s got a “useless” self-insert protagonist (technically in this case, it’s two of them but Shiro is 11, and is thus more excusable as a dependent person). Not to mention it’s full of wish fulfilment through specific types of fetishes and appeals to a particular group of male anime fans (well, there might be some girls in that group, but the target audience tends to be mostly straight and male), who like the collection of harems, little sisters, tsunderes and other typical trope-embodying women/girls. Furthermore, the wish fulfilment includes pandering towards the protagonist’s strengths – in No Game, No Life’s case, it’s obviously games and their related strategies, but sometimes it includes an almost-encyclopaedic knowledge of anime as well. Only in rare cases, such as Subaru’s (from Re:Zero), a protagonist has zero skills to mention of aside from the ones he was granted through reincarnation.

Additionally, the wish fulfilment extends to the concept of the story as well. Being reborn in another world where a “useless” character’s skills from their original world (in this case) or skills gained through reincarnation (in other cases, such as what was mentioned with Re:Zero) are the decider of all plot points is just another form of giving an ordinary reader entertainment by making the reader’s highly-specific skills hot commodities, at least in a world unlike our own.

Often, the world itself is of a Western medieval style in order to facilitate some of the more fantastical (and fetish-laden) elements such as dragons, kemonomimi girls and elves, but there tends to be some degree of modernity involved in some works to go alongside the magic. In No Game, No Life’s case, modernity is when the characters’ gadgets work in the fantasy world and the Warbeasts have control of video games, allowing them to best even Elven Garde due to superior technological advancements.

Speaking of technology, the use of smartphones and the like when electricity isn’t a big thing doesn’t make sense when Sora and Shiro haven’t dealt with the Warbeasts, but at that point, it would be a natural assumption for them to run on magic (or whatever power Tet uses)…right?

As much as I like to criticise In Another World With My Smartphone for how dumb its premise is and how far it manages to run with it (even in its first episode), watching No Game, No Life suddenly makes the plot of Smartphone look like a logical extreme. Sure, it’s a silly one, but it does make sense…in its own twisted way. It does also partially explain away how Blank can keep common folk at bay with things like crop rotation, like they do in episode 4, although knowledge of crop rotation is from our world. How Tet (or whoever else is powering Blank’s devices) can keep Blank’s electronics synced to the internet of another dimension is another conundrum in itself, though…

So, if you’ve seen No Game, No Life, what do you think about it? If not, what’s one complaint or bit of praise you have for the isekai genre (one that’s not covered above, of course)?

10 thoughts on “No Game, No Life and the Isekai Boom (TBR/W post)

Add yours

  1. I actually liked Smartphone… but I’m a total sucker for isekai anime, it’s an extension of my love for fantasy anime.
    Looking forward to seeing what you think about Clockwork Planet and Garo: Vanishing Line. I’ve considered both of those in the past, and while I haven’t watched them, I am still a bit curious.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I am about half way. I’ve been about half way for awhile. I did kind of like the show mostly the OP… Sometimes brother sister relationships get a bit too awkward for me to watch.


    1. To be read (W for watched). It’s the name of a tag that was around a while ago and I split it into both the variants I’d seen, but only chose to follow up on the anime version. There are some other posts around the Spellbook which explain the tag and my decisions for it in further detail, but that’s the basics of it.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. This is one of those animes that has been looking at me from my to watch list for quite a while, but one I still haven’t gotten around to watching. With so many things yet to watch including some true classics, like Full Metal Alchemist, don’t think I will get to this one anytime soon I’m afraid 😢


    1. Don’t worry about trying to get shows watched as fast as possible just to get to “the classics” – anime is just a hobby for most people and if that’s the case, it should stay that way. Speaking of FMA though, if I remember right, it’s on my watch list as well…(ha ha) Can’t remember if it’s Brotherhood, 2003 or both, but there’s at least one on it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Haha. Well I never rush things anyway. When I watch a new anime series, especially one that I really like, I tend to take my time with it in order to enjoy it more 😊
        But since I started blogging I have really increased my viewing of anime 😊
        Lol…well glad I’m not the only one then who still has to see FMA 😂😂

        Liked by 1 person

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