No Game No Life Zero is based on the sixth volume of the No Game No Life light novel series by Yu Kamiya and reveals the origin story of Disboard. The movie is narrated by Tet, the One True God of Disboard, and follows the story of Riku and Shuvi. The English dub of No Game No Life Zero premiered at the first annual Los Angeles Anime Film Festival on September 15, 2017 at Regal Cinema in downtown Los Angeles. The event celebrated 100 years of anime and featured a Q&A with the English voice actors of No Game No Life Zero.
Set 6000 years prior to the current storyline, humans are on the brink of extinction in a world torn by the Great Eternal War. The sixteen races of Disboard are fighting to claim the title of One True God. While the humans were powerless to have any influence in the war, their leader, Riku, believed in a tomorrow for humanity. While exploring an abandoned Elf city, Riku discovers an exiled Ex Machina whom Riku named Shuvi. The Ex Machina claimed she was exiled because she wanted to understand the human heart and was deemed broken as a result. Together with Shuvi, Riku devised a plan to become the One True God and end the war.
As a fan of the series, I was initially thrown off by the movie because it did not feature the main characters of the series, Sora and Shiro, and there were no games. However, that’s not to say I did not enjoy the movie. The movie played a ton of jokes on the life of an otaku with Riku, unfortunately, being the butt of all the jokes. My favorite being when Riku proposed to Shuvi, but Shuvi stated, “But if you marry me, you will be a virgin forever.” As an origin story, the movie did amazingly well in connecting events 6000 years ago to the current storyline. Cameos from characters such as Jibril and revealing Stephanie Dola’s ancestor helped establish that connection, not to mention the uncanny resemblance of Riku and Shuvi to Sora and Shiro. The final battle between Shuvi and Jibril delivered an epic fight that only an anime movie can provide. I remember saying, “This is absolutely ridiculous,” several times during the fight because it was just that insane. Watching the fight scene in a movie theater enhanced the experience tenfold and I highly recommend it buying a ticket.
Overall, the movie was great. No Game No Life Zero connected to the current storyline well, the characters had good character development, the pacing was good, and the visuals were amazing. The only issue I have is that we still have no idea who Tet is. Throughout the origin story, Riku revealed he loses every game of chess against what seemed to be a figment of his imagination. At the climax of the movie, we discover the figment is actually real and it is Tet. Tet claims all the hard work of Riku to be the One True God without even lifting a finger. The movie does not even reveal what race or gender Tet is (I don’t really care for the gender, but that’s just how little we know about the character). We’re not even told why Tet chose Riku of all people and Tet was narrating the story. At this point, I will admit my knowledge is only limited to the anime and I have not read the light novel. In all likelihood, Tet’s background will play a pivotal role in the future, if it hasn’t already. In the meantime, I’m just frustrated with being in the dark on who Tet really is.
No Game No Life Zero is an action-packed, emotional rollercoaster of an anime movie. The story of Riku and Shuvi will rekindle your love of Sora and Shiro, even if they are brother and sister.
You can buy your tickets now from Fathom Events.