Los Angeles Anime Film Festival Opening Night: No Game No Life Zero Review

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The Los Angeles Anime Film Festival (LAAFF) began their inaugural year with celebrating 100 years of anime. Over three days, LAAFF showcased new anime movies debuting in Japan and America. Audiences were treated to screen gems such as Kiki’s Delivery Service (Studio Ghibli), Cowboy Bebop the Movie (Bandai), and Summer Wars (Madhouse).

To open the whole festival they premiered No Game No Life Zero to a sold out crowd of eager fans. The movie was a prequel to the 2014 anime No Game No Life.
In No Game No Life, fans followed the NEET (a young person “Not in Education, Employment, or Training”) genius siblings, Sora and Shiro, as they willingly left our world and were taken to Disboard, a world where everything, everything is decided by games.  From preventing robbery to determining the King, everything is decided by the games (as overlooked by the God of Games = Tet). The following Ten Pledges of Disboard must be followed:

1.All murder, war and robbery is forbidden in this world.

2.All conflicts in this world will be resolved through games.

3.In games, each player will bet something that they agree is of equal value.

4.As long as it doesn’t go against Pledge 3, anything may be bet, and any game may be played.

5.The challenged party has the right to decide the rules of the game.

6.Any bets made in accordance with the pledges must be upheld.

7.Conflicts between groups will be conducted by designated representatives with absolute authority.

8.Being caught cheating during a game is grounds for an instant loss.

9.In the name of God, the previous rules may never be changed.

10 . Let’s all have fun and play together!
With No Game No Life Zero, we are taken to a time of the Eternal War, 6,000 years before Sora and Shiro plummet to Disboard. The whole world was almost destroyed by the powerful factions fighting one another to be the one true God. There are elves, dwarves, angels, and other beings that can tap into the spiritual energy to use magic. Contrary to everything possible, humans are barely hanging on. Unable to tap into the spiritual energy, the humans are at a complete disadvantage and can only rely upon willpower to make it through the day. Frustrated with the unending death and destruction, one of the humans, Riku (voiced by Scott Gibbs), ventures out to elven ruins to learn as much as possible about the others. He comes upon a rogue Ex-Machina unit, Shuvi. Shuvi has gone rogue from her cluster to discover the human heart. Together, this unlikely pair will not only discover the answer to Shuvi’s answer but so much more.

After the red carpet event, where Fangirl Nation was able to meet and get to know various voice actors, we were also treated to the screening of the film. This correspondent had absolutely zero experience in No Game No Life, so her mind was devoid of expectations and filled with excitement. As this film was a prequel to the anime, it was not difficult at all to follow. Triggered by the cheers from the audience, I deduced that there were definite references that fans would have picked up on.

It is a movie that is heavy on neon framed aesthetic. For those familiar with Summer Wars, imagine that aesthetic with darker colors but still bright neon under lighting. When it comes to the fight scenes, it is stunning. Absolutely stunning.

Even with all of the debris and destruction, there is still humor in it all. The introduction of Shuvi to Riku had the whole theater bursting out laughing. Just like the anime, there is the same kind of random humor that is self-aware of how perverted it can be. Humor definitely helped to break the tense and bleak moments.

The bright, cathartic end of the movie leads seamlessly right into the anime series. To the hollers and cheers of the crowd, the characters that we see are beloved and it was a fitting end to the prequel movie. Watching No Game No Life Zero did tickle my curiosity to watch the anime No Game No Life. After two episodes in, I can already see why fans enjoy this anime. Even with the eye-rolling fan service, it is a unique and fun story, and I am definitely looking forward to following Sora and Shiro.

Achente (I swear by the pledges)!

 

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