Anime A to Z: N – No Game No Life: Zero

We are officially past the halfway point for the Anime A to Z challenge!
Time sure flies huh.

For anime N I decided to finally watch an anime movie during the challenge: No Game No Life: Zero. You know, I remember when the movie was first announced, and for some reason I thought it was a recap movie so I never paid it any attention. I actually believed that all the way until last week when I was looking for what to watch for anime N, when I took a glimpse at the synopsis and realized that it was actually a prequel all along.

And what a prequel it was!
No Game No Life: Zero Spoilers Ahead!

ngnl zero flugel

Wow. (Animation & Sound)


I admit I haven’t seen very many anime movies, but everytime I do watch one I am stunned at the amazing animation and sound quality. This is one area I don’t usually touch upon, but both of these technical aspects are so well done I feel like it’d be a disservice to the movie to not mention them. I suppose it’s just an aspect of anime movies though? Maybe if I had seen more I would be able to judge this better.

If I had to compare to the Persona 3 movies… I still don’t know what I’d have to say to be honest. Those movies also impressed me. Your Name also impressed me. Anime movies just impress me! The animation and sound were great, but I guess that’s just par for the course when it comes to anime movies.

Despite the setting of a war-torn world where the sun no longer shines, the anime manages to create some very beautiful scenes, as well as some awesome impactful scenes. Magic, machines, and the divine work together to create some great aesthetics!


Speaking of sound, I feel obligated to provide you with quite possibly the greatest ED song ever. At least I can say that it’s the greatest anime movie ED song, in my opinion. Although the video says theme song, so maybe it’s both ED and theme song?

At the very least it’s something to listen to while you keep reading!

No Game No Life

So the anime is a prequel to No Game No Life, set in the same world, only 6000 years in the past. Our main characters Riku & Schwi are clearly designed to mirror Sora & Shiro. Only they technically came before Sora & Shiro, so I guess Sora & Shiro are the reincarnation of Riku & Schwi. It must be fate!

The characters themselves are pretty similar. If you’ve seen NGNL, you know Riku & Schwi. Well, Schwi is a little different from Shiro from a technical standpoint, but she still fits the bill well.

ngnl zero duo.jpg

Anyways, what I’m tryinig to get to here is that the core difference between NGNL and NGNL: Zero is that NGNL: Zero takes place in the past where people can die, and war ravaged the world. This difference is what makes NGNL: Zero such a powerful story.

Riku starts out as a man who has lost so much. Desperately clinging to survival with the remains of the human race in a world where the odds are stacked against them. Just like in NGNL, the humans are simply outgunned by all the other races in some way or another –  from brute strength to intelligence to magic to divine power, humans simply can’t compete. So unlike Sora, who is introduced into a world of games, Riku is introduced into a world of strife and suffering. It’s hard to justify games when you need to spend every waking moment trying to survive.

ngnl flugel.jpg
Jibril made an excellent appearance in the movie!

Bouts of frustration followed by bouts of hopelessness, Riku’s emotions are very well done and convincing. You can’t help but feel for him.

The introduction of Schwi into Riku’s life is the beginning of an amazing journey and transformation of Riku from a man simply focused on surviving to a man who is ready and willing to struggle to accomplish something greater with his life, until his very last breath. Watching Riku become filled with resolve and confidence is a rewarding experience. Once he begins to treat life as he would a game, his mindset completely changes. He realizes that if humanity is going to win, they have to start taking risks and planning ahead. They needed to participate in the game that was playing out all around them.

ngnlz riku

Schwi wished to learn about the human heart.
What was it that allowed humans to survive in a world where they should have gone extinct?

It’s all about the struggle.
Even if you only have a 1% chance of success, that just means you have to try 100 times.
Nothing is off the table, everything is permitted…
And a loaded die always yields the expected result.

In other words, it’s tenacity and cunning that have allowed humans to survive. They refuse to give up, and they will do whatever it takes to keep moving forward.

Might sound cheesy, but all of this is expressed so well in the movie. It’s definitely one of those movies that made me want to go and workout after it’s finished. I felt so motivated and inspired afterwards! If you ever feel like you can’t do something, watch No Game No Life: Zero! It’s a great shot of motivation.


Remember the Mad King in NGNL? The one who lost almost everything Immanity held to the Beasts, challenging over and over? The people called him a foolish king. Why would he keep challenging the Beasts when he couldn’t win?

It’s all about the human heart!

Even though he lost his memories of the game with each loss, he wrote down as many details as he could. Each time he lost, he increased his chances of winning. He wasn’t mad, and he wasn’t a fool. He was human! Tenacity and cunning are all that humans have going for them. The human heart would not let the king give up, and while he never managed to win in his lifetime, his work allowed those after him to finally win.

It wasn’t until NGNL: Zero that I had these thoughts about the king. I know NGNL portrays him in a positive light anyways, but I think he is the perfect example of the message NGNL: Zero is trying to convey.

Couronne Dola, sister of Riku Dola and ancestor of the “Mad King” & Stephanie Dola.

The message that is conveyed in NGNL: Zero is the core message behind all of NGNL. Humans can overcome adversity thanks to the human heart – the ability to keep on trying over and over and do whatever it takes to win in the end. NGNL might show us the cunning side of humanity, but I feel like it failed to properly show us the tenacious side. NGNL: Zero shows us both.

I loved this movie more than I loved the original NGNL, but I think that watching NGNL first is a requirement. I love the fantasy world that is NGNL, and the message contained within.

No Game No Life: Zero is a very beautiful and inspiring movie, one that I already want to re-watch despite just finishing it yesterday.

If they ever come out with more NGNL content, I’ll absolutely re-watch everything.

No Game No Life: Zero is rated pretty fairly on MyAnimeList.
I’d probably give it a higher rating anyways.

I’ll also give No Game No Life: Zero the Beacon of Inspiration award, for making me want to run a marathon after watching. An amazing movie that is well worth the watch. If you enjoyed No Game No Life, this movie is a must-watch!


This concludes anime N!

Stay tuned for the collab kick-off on Jan 7th!
Everyone is welcome to join in.

Until next time.
Thanks for reading!

4 thoughts on “Anime A to Z: N – No Game No Life: Zero

  1. I have always wanted to return to the NGNL world, and a prequel is a great way to go. I had to watch it!

    The story was interesting, and it went in a direction I was not completely expecting. Heh.

    Well written review.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I like how they still brought the whole “game” aspect into it.
      Like how everything was going wrong, until Riku realized that everything was just one big game. Even if it was a war and whatnot.
      When you think about NGNL, people might not be dying, but the humans are still losing just in a different way. It’s almost as if they lost that game mindset, just like Riku did.

      If only we could get a S2!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: A No Game No Life: Zero Rewatch | Umai Yomu Anime Blog

  3. Pingback: The Anime A to Z Awards! | Umai Yomu Anime Blog

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