No Game No Life – 09

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It’s rare for me to be as royally stumped as I was at the beginning of this episode, with regards to how things were going to sort themselves out. Sure, I had an inkling some kind of game was being played, but the manner and result of the game escaped me completely, disoriented as I was, like Shiro, by the sudden upheaval of reality.

Steph and Jibril quite reasonably assume Shiro lost and had her memories altered. But there was a very good reason why Sora spoke so clearly and deliberately to Shiro before vanishing into thin air a day and a half ago: he was providing her—and me—all the clues we would need to figure out what was going on and how to proceed. Slowly, but surely, we piece this impeccably-structured mystery back together.

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“I believe in you.” Upon first meeting him, the young Shiro told the young Sora how “empty” he was. She didn’t mean it with malice, but because she made connections no one else could (or would). But there also happened to be some truth to it: there was indeed an emptiness in Sora’s existence, one that was filled upon meeting his sister.

“The two of us are always one.” But that void-filling went both ways: just as Sora’s name suggests an empty sky, Shiro’s denotes a similarly vast expanse of whiteness. Upon meeting each other, everything turns to the vivid color we’re used to when this show is in normal operations. What they have is beyond trust; beyond faith. So Sora knows he’ll be able to count on her not to let Steph and Jibril cut the game short with another.

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“We’re bound by a promise.” Shiro thinks hard, even if she “blows out”, for while the pledges of Disboard are almost infinitely interpretative, there’s a canny inexpungibility to her bond with Sora, one the pledges can never completely overcome. Shiro searches her vast repository of memory, and recovers the knowledge that a day and a half ago, Sora challenged Kurami Zell to a perilous game of “Existence Othello.” Yikes!

“We’re not the heroes of a shounen manga.” In another memory Shiro recalls, Sora tells her “you don’t change yourself. You change how you do things.” This conundrum won’t be solved with brute force, or yelling, or by changing herself, but by looking things differently, which she achieves by having Jibril scan her room for magic and finding…lots.

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“We always win a game before we start.” The game is still in progress, in that very room; Sora’s existence hasn’t disappeared. And it’s a game he would not have started had defeat been possible. Even when he’s on the cusp of defeat, he has faith Shiro will take over, using the last three white (=Shiro) stones he left her to turn the tide and soundly beat Kurami, returning Sora into physical being and ending the illusion.

“I’m going to get the last piece we need to bring over the Eastern Federation.” What’s most amazing about this whole epic ordeal is that it didn’t involve the Warbeasts at all, nor was the primary purpose of winning to defeat the adversary (again, this isn’t shounen). The “piece” he spoke of was Kurami Zell, along with her elf associate Feel.

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She would never trust him the way Shiro did unless he could unpack the entire width ad breadth of his existence, which he did by intentionally losing right up until the end. The two demands of his choice he asked for as the reward for victory gives him his piece: restoring each others’ memories, but keeping copies of the ones they took from one another. I’m very much looking forward to the new Kurami he made.

When the “sky walk” is over and the dust settles, Sora and Shiro and Kurami and Feel collapse into two bawling heaps of exhaustion. The extreme nature of this game served to underline how important a united front against the Warbeasts was to Sora, and how seriously he takes them as an opponent. And all of this was hidden in his monologue last week.

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Author: sesameacrylic

Zane Kalish is a staff writer for RABUJOI.

4 thoughts on “No Game No Life – 09”

  1. It’s so nice having one’s wild ass guess proven to be correct!

    (see my comments from last ep)

    PS – This is my #1 series of the season, right now.

  2. I love this show but this episode contains lots of irregularities.

    – Firstly, if like Jibril suggest, you can erase the result of a previous pledge by making another, it destroys completely the fact that Elfs can have their memory erased by warbeast (can’t they just get them back by making another bet between themselves ?).
    – Secondly, even before Fii (the Elf) is invited to take part to the game as Kurami’s partner, Kurami is asked to bet the Elf … what does give the right for Kurami to bet another person ?

    Not that it kills the show, but I was a little disappointed by those facts

    1. Hmmm…to try to address your first point regarding erasing the result of a previous pledge by making another, I would guess the elves never bet to get their memories back because they forgot they lost said memories?

      Regarding Kurami betting Fii, this is an easier matter: Pledge 3 states “each player will bet something that they agree is of equal value”, and Pledge 4 states that “As long as it doesn’t go against pledge 3, what they bet and the rules of the game will not be questioned.”

      So as long as the players agree, that “something” can be anything, including someONE. Also, Fii seems willing to be Kurami’s bet, since they’re friends.

      But I won’t deny this show probably has its fair share of logical inconsistencies; the thing is, I’m often so swept up in the twists and turns of the games that it doesn’t really bother me.

      1. The Elfs should not have forgotten they lost their memories since the fact they lost is real and even Jibril remember the terms and conditions of the game between the Flugel and the Werebeast.

        About what you pledge, those rules cannot justify pledging anything, especially something you don’t own. It is understandable for Sora’s people, because with Shiro they are like one entity (Blank) and being the representative of Imanity, he owns every humans in Disboard.
        But that isn’t the case for Kurami and Fii. If you can pledge anything whether you own it or not (whether it is possible or not), you would be able to pledge the whole world against anybody who would loose on purpose (or ask for eternal life / resurrecting the dead)

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