Manga Review: No Game No Life, Please! – Volume 1

No Game No Life makes its return to ‘Manga’ form with the spin-off known as No Game No Life, Please!; but does this spin-off offer the same comedic value as the original or is it just a series that pleases the masses with its fan-service styled themes? In short; it is a bit of both but you can find out more in our Manga review of No Game No Life, Please! – Volume 1.

Title: No Game No Life, Please!
Publisher: YenPress
Author Yuu Kamiya
Illustrator Kazuya Yuizaki
Pages 160
Language English

Synopsis:

In a world where everything is decided by games, adorable (but foulmouthed) Izuna Hatsuse is a young Werebeast girl who wants to learn more. As she follows Sora, Shiro, and the others, what answers will she find for herself? LET THE GAMES BEGIN!

Our View:

Taking place during the events of the No Game No Life light novel series, which saw Shiro and Sora warped to a world where everything is decided by games, comes the manga series known as No Game No Life Please!; a story which focuses its attention on the warbeast Izuna Hatsuse and her daily activities within the castle grounds of the kingdom that is being ruled by Shiro and Sora.

That’s right; the story of No game No Life Please!, otherwise known in Japan as No game No Life Desu!, is a manga series which sees the warbeast Izuna attempt to learn more about the world of games by living within the castle grounds and interacting with those they are currently dominating the kingdom. Although at first glance this isn’t exactly the story on offer when reading through the first volume of the manga series; as instead it offers something a bit more ‘ecchi’.

Featuring 160 pages this first volume of No Game No Life Please! contains five stories surrounding Izuna’s activities within the castle, a bonus light novel short story, four bonus comic strip stories, a note from the author (Yuu Kamiya) and some artwork of the major players within the franchise. As you can see this first installment is filled to the brim with content so regardless of what happens in the story you’ll have plenty of content to sink your teeth into.

Our adventure begins in this first volume of No Game No Life Please! when Izuna teams up with Stephanie in order to challenge Shiro and Sora to a game; which naturally sees Izuna and Stephanie loosing, with Shiro and Sora left to use them as they see wish. As you’d expect Stephanie, the once princess of Elkia, is forced to do chores as a maid while Izuna on the other hand is pampered by Shiro and Sora for being a charming, cute, warbeast.

Alas it’s a rather obscure start to a story with very little in way of introduction to the characters on the page; so newcomers may be at a loss to who these characters are. Fortunately however annotations do explain the rules of the world and – at times – provide some much needed context. In short terms; knowledge of No Game No Life is needed in order to understand what’s going off within this spin-off series.

The second story meanwhile changes the pace completely and offers a complex political one-way-discussion with Stephanie explaining the politic workings of the world with Izuna left amiss as to what is happening; to which they venture out to do political duties within the kingdom. It’s a rather obscure story and – in my experience – is just confusing and dull; especially when the third story of this volume is completely unrelated.

Realistically this third story is probably the highlight of the entire volume, with the first story holding the second spot, as it’s a story which sees Izuna’s grandfather tricked into separating Shiro and Sora within the castle – while Izuna, as a loyal warbeast, helps protect them from the traps. There is a story behind this madness and it’s quite an amusing one; but unlike the other stories within this volume it has a nice comical flow that goes naturally with the events of the story.

Once again starting afresh the next story sees Izuna, Stephanie and newcomer Azril eat snacks in the castle while discussing about the current status of the Elkia Kingdom. Azil meanwhile has other ideas and wants Izuna to call her Sister onee-chan. Naturally Izuna disagrees but it leads on to her ‘second’ game of the volume; with them both playing chess with the winner getting their terms met. Unlike the contents of the original this match isn’t as dramatic as you may expect (its over within a single page) but it reiterates the fact that Izuna is within the castle to learn about the world and to enhance her gaming potential.

Finally  the final ‘manga’ story within this first volume is nothing but pure ecchi fan-service and solidifies the ‘Mature Rating’ and ‘Parental Advisory’ icons on the cover.  In this story the entire  female cast’ venture to a outside bath within the castle and discuss the importance of looking after ones health as well as the usual ‘ecchi banter’ about bust sizeds and sexuality. Depending on your view of the content it can either be a ‘good story’ or a ‘bad one’ but considering that nothing of importance, other than a teaser at the end, it’s a relatively pointless story that offers nothing but questionable fan-service – especially in regards to Izuna.

My expectation of No Game No Life Please! was that it would be a spin-off of the main story from a different characters perspective and while this is ‘partially’ true its not exactly the story we get. The five chapters (or stories) we receive here feel disconnected from one another and do not offer that flow or continuity you would expect from a manga. The only ‘real’ continuity is the fact that tips that Shiro and Sora provided to Izuna are remembered as memories on how to play games; but an over branching storyline seems no-where in sight. That’s not all either as the chapters, or stories, themselves are relatively short and – at times – feel like they end rather abruptly before moving onto the next unrelated story.

The pacing and presentation of this volume is not my only (personal) disappointment either; as the way that Izuna talks to other characters quickly becomes tiresome to read. Honestly YenPress’s localization team should be commended for keeping in tune with the original source material but with Izuna ending every conversation with the word ‘please’ it quickly gets tiresome.

At the start it was slightly confusing to read, as it makes you think that Izuna is constantly asking for permission on things, but eventually I found myself blanking out the please and reading it as a normal conversation.  Naturally this is not an issue with the localization or production; it’s just the way the book is meant to be and requires a little bit of work (so to speak) to overcome it – but at times it does add to overall comedic value of the series – especially when she blurts out profanities to the other characters.

In short No Game No Life Please! – Volume 1 was not the experience I expected to receive; but for those who enjoyed Izuna in the source material then you’ll have some enjoyment in this manga-filled-spin-off with its cute drawings and ecchi fan-service. Despite this No Game No Life Please! – Volume 1 does show some promise; with storyline teased in an upcoming volume.

Score: review-stars-3

No Game No Life, Please – Volume 1 is now available as a digital download and a physical release within the UK and America.

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About Scott Emsen
Scott is the Founder and Executive Editor of AnimeBlurayUK but in the past he has worked at ZOMGPlay, Rice Digital and Funstock and was once a Community Moderator for the Nokia N-Gage forums. Based in the UK, he loves anything related to Games & Anime and in In his spare time you'll mostly find him playing on one of his many gaming consoles; namely the PS Vita, PS4 or Xbox One.

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