Ya, the calculations are just that intense! In all seriousness, however, there’s not a whole lot to really say about this week’s episode. The objective this week is for the two sides to try and hit each other with the love-love gun. When you are directly hit by a bullet from the love-love gun, you fall in love with your shooter and become their slave, I guess. There is, however, some leeway: you can use your clothing as a shield. The only problem is, the piece of clothing that gets hit will dissipate into thin air. Anyway, it’s pretty much straightforward action. In fact, this week’s twist isn’t even clever. Did anyone actually think Shiro got turned to Izana’s side? It was so obvious she didn’t. After all, she was this can’t-miss marksman just moments ago. Even with Izana’s super fast speed and reflexes, the little girl could only barely avoid Shiro’s shots. Without her grandfather helping her out by cheating like hell, the siblings would’ve won the game a long time ago. All of a sudden, Shiro gets turned and she can’t hit Sora? So yeah, No Game, No Life doesn’t even try all that hard this week to pull the wool over our eyes.
In the show’s previous games, you could reasonably argue that No Game, No Life was — if nothing else — imaginatively over-the-top. After all, it has to be imaginatively over-the-top to compensate for the fact that the siblings can never lose. And because they can never lose, the show lacks any tension you can derive from the possibility of them losing. I mean, unless you’re just an utter fool who honestly thinks otherwise, there’s never any actual suspense in the anime. One of the central premises of the story is that the siblings will always find a way to win. As a result, no one with at least half a brain should ever wonder, “Oh god, can the siblings get out of it this time?” Don’t get me wrong. Even though No Game, No Life‘s lack of tension is certainly a narrative weakness, it’s a self-imposed weakness. I’m not saying that the anime doesn’t know what it’s doing. And because the story is fully aware of its own self-imposed weakness, No Game, No Life tries to make up for it by being as crazy and wild as possible in its various scenarios. If viewers are on a wild ride, they presumably won’t mind the fact that the siblings are infallible.
(What’s with all the infallible protagonists lately, though?)
For instance, we got a game in which chess slowly turned into a real-time strategy game where the morale of both the protagonists’ troops and the enemy troops became an important consideration. In the end, Sora won by a ridiculous emotional appeal to the Kurumi’s army, allowing him to turn them against her. This game set the tone of the story by telling us that No Game, No Life wasn’t going to hold back. Games weren’t going to adhere to what we normally think of them. Against Jibril, the anime stepped it up to another level. The siblings go so far as to delete everything but the Earth’s core in order to defeat the Flugel. So y’know, if I’m going to give the show credit for one thing — and it’s clear that I haven’t liked the show whatsoever — it’s that the previous games had been pretty wild in their execution. This week, however, we just get a slightly perverted FPS. It’s just like… really? That’s it? That’s rather ho-hum for the final game of the season.
It’s about delivering something that hasn’t been realized in the real world. There isn’t an RTS game out there where I can win by making a heartfelt speech to the enemy. If there is, I certainly haven’t heard of it. But continuing on, I definitely can’t play materialization shiritori. We can agree that this is literally impossible. This week’s FPS, however, is pretty ordinary. Sure, you can shoot people’s clothes off, but the anime itself just referenced an actual game in which you pull the clothes off of zombies in order to defeat them. Yeah, yeah, the game isn’t over yet. After all, the episode ends right as Izana is about go all ultra-furry mode on us. But even if the final showdown between the siblings and SSJ Izana is still to come, the fact of the matter is the game itself is lame. It’s just an FPS game with dating sim aspects sewn into it. Meh.
— So the siblings freak out at the start of the game because the virtual world resembles Tokyo. But then Ino shows up and reminds them that this simulated Tokyo is nothing more than a fictional world somehow “imagined” within the game. As a result, the siblings pull themselves together. That is so stupid.
— I had no clue what Akiba Strip is, so I looked it up. Apparently, it’s a reference to a PS Vita game called Akiba’s Trip. In it, you defeat the undead by stripping them of their clothes in order to expose them to the sunlight. Hm, yes, let’s turn something rapey into a righteous act. In any case, I’m not sure why Persona 4 is being referenced. It’s the only game here that doesn’t take place in Tokyo.
— On a related note, since this episode takes place in a fictional Tokyo, my eyes aren’t being assaulted by No Game, No Life‘s absurd color palette.
— The 3-D thing at the start of the episode reminds me how much I dislike Hatsune Miku and her ilk.
— Stephanie is useless yet again. Even better, she gets to humiliate herself in front of her entire kingdom. Imanity is watching them closely, after all.
— Sora running straight at Shiro to dodge her shots reminds me of people often making the excuse that they only missed because their opponent sucks: “He didn’t even try to dodge!”