No Game, No Life is a series that’s best summed up as “pure joy, delivered in 25-minute doses.” It’s a rare series that seems to get nearly everything right, from its brilliant writing, to its engaging characters and genuinely fascinating setting. Visually, the series stunned, with rich backgrounds, gorgeous animation, and a simply sublime use of colour.

It was a series that won over an ardent following, including many of us at The Herald. The series took home a unanimous “Show of the Year” award from our Nerdy Talk podcast. For many, though, the series seemed to fade with the ebb and flow of time, as the seasons changed, and new shows hit the airwaves.

In March, we began to hear rumblings about No Game, No Life once again. Sentai announced that they would release the series on July 28, both in a standard edition and a special limited Blu-Ray/DVD combo pack. Sentai went above and beyond in their promotion for the show, buying up ad space on hot spots like Anime News Network, and even producing a trailer for the limited edition release.

We received an early copy of the No Game, No Life limited edition a few days ago. Given the high esteem for the series, as well as our love for all manner of fancy boxes, we felt that this was a series that certainly warranted a full teardown.

Packaging

No Game, No Life‘s limited edition consists of four major components, which are shipped in a standard chipboard art box. The Blu-Ray and DVD editions, as well as a series soundtrack are packaged in standard-sized Amaray DVD cases. Also in the case is a box, which has roughly the same dimensions of the three cases stacked, labeled “Extras.”

The front of the art box features a visual of Sora and Shiro, seated and clasping the Imanity Race Piece. An array of cards and pink streaks are placed through the background.

The back of the box features Jibril posing suggestively, tongue sticking out playfully as she does. The background, like the front, features an array of cards and yellow and pink streaks, to give accents to the overall composition. The color fades in a gradient, from pink to silver.

The backgrounds on both the front and back, as well as the spine and top, are stamped with a holographic foil, lending a shiny, metallic look to the release.

The Blu-Ray case features a reversible cover. In the standard configuration, the front features a visual of Sora and Shiro before a white background, streaked with azure. The back of the case contains an episode and extras listing, as well as standard copyright and ratings information. The reverse contains a wraparound image of Sora, Shiro, and Stephanie Dola in the royal palace of the Imanity.

The first disc features the image of Sora and Shiro that was used for the case’s front cover, while the second contains a shot of Stephanie, as she gives a defiant glare. Both discs feature standard branding with the show’s logo, the disc number, and the various parties that hold the rights to the title.

The DVD case also features a reversible cover. In the standard configuration, a visual of a defiant Stephanie Dola stands front and center against a white background, which contains blue streaks as accents. The back of the case contains an episode and extras listing, as well as standard copyright and ratings information. The second cover features a wraparound shot that includes Sora, Shiro, Stephanie, Kurami, and One True God Tet.

The DVD release includes three discs. The first disc and second discs reuse the artwork that was featured on the art box. Specifically, disc 1 features the Sora & Shiro piece, while disc 2 features Jibril. Disc 3 includes a shot of Kurami and Fil, posing together against a white background. All three discs feature standard branding with the show’s logo, the disc number, and the various parties that hold the rights to the title.

The soundtrack, like the two main cases, features a reversible cover. The main cover reuses the image of Sora and Shiro that was featured on the front of the art box. The background is a bit different, with a pink to white gradient, and numerous colored streaks providing a visual accent. The back of the case features a track listing for the three discs.

The second cover features a wraparound image of Shiro, Izuna, and Miko in the Imanity bath house.

Each of the three discs features a female lead, eched in white on the CD’s silver background. Disc 1 features Shiro, Disc 2 Stephanie, and Disc 3 Jibril.

The Extras Box

The Extras Box is decorated with a pair of visuals. The front of the box features a shot of Izuna, who poses with the Warbeasts’ Race Piece. The back contains a shot of Kurami and Fil, who are posing together, though Fil’s expression screams “I don’t want to be here!”

Inside the box is a series of sleeves and pouches, which include the following:

  • A regulation-size deck of cards
  • Six double-sided art cards
  • Nine vinyl character stickers
  • A double-sided poster
  • A foil-stamped trading card
  • A numbered certificate of authenticity (We’re #1360!)

On-Disc Extras

  • No Game, No Life Shorts
  • Commentaries for episodes 1, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12
  • Japanese commercials
  • Japanese promo videos
  • Clean Opening & Closing

Menu Structure

Note: Due to a lack of a Blu-Ray drive, we do not have shots of the Blu-Ray menus.

What was particularly surprising was that the menus for both the DVD and the Blu-Ray were consistent with one another. Normally, the Blu-Ray will feature looping video or, or a more understated menu system which places the selections to the side. In this case, though, both the DVD and the Blu-Ray follow a similar format, with the selections taking up a mane pane of focus near the center fo the screen, while flanked by a key visual. The menus themselves are presented in a style of an old CRT computer monitor, with chunky Commodore-esque letters, and various sprites that could find themselves at home in an old video game.

Each menu is accompanied by opening theme This Game, by Konomi Suzuki.

Video Quality

Overall

No Game, No Life is, without a doubt, the strongest release that I’ve seen this year. The gorgeous video and audio quality of the Blu-Rays are a real treat, and the overall presentation is equal parts functional and attractive. The chipboard box is well-constructed, and the gaggle of goodies are a real treat for series fans.

The English dub, while not destined to win any awards, is decent. The roles are well-cast, and the acting is decent. There are a few questionable choices made in the adaptation, though. Sentai’s dub omits a number of pop-culture references, such as an homage to Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure in episode 2.

Likewise, the subtitled version of the series features a number of clunky translation notes, which would have been better-placed as an optional feature, à la the old “AD Vid Notes” or even a digital liner notes feature.

These are minor issues, though, and do little to discount that the overall release is a high-quality, gorgeous product that would be welcome in just any collector’s library.