Sora and Shino are known in the gaming world as simply “Blank,” an ominous player as yet undefeated. But when the two siblings receive a challenge online and win, they find themselves transported directly into a game world they’ve never seen before. The game turns out to be a world where killing is off limits and the way nations “war” against one another is through various mini-games. But the cards are stacked against the siblings this time as they end up on the side of other mortal characters with no magic abilities and no real ways of cheating their way to victory, something all the other nations have no problem accomplishing.
Considering that this show doesn’t allow killing, there isn’t too much violence aside from slap stick. You do see blood now and again as some “games” allow characters to be “killed,” though only for the duration of the game itself (so it’s not permanent). Also, some of the slap stick ends with a character bleeding from a head wound (who knew pounding one’s head into the stone floor could do that?), but it doesn’t stick as it’s for comedy’s sake only.
Although I’ve heard worse, this anime certainly doesn’t avoid bad lanaguage either. Every now and again you’ll hear a d-mn, sh-t and a b-word of one form or another. Although, it’s still far less common than your average American TV series.
The worst aspect of this show by far goes right in this section. The fanservice is extensive and nearly got this show a WZ. Very nearly. Aside from the random panty shot, you also have to put up with the big busted female characters, shower scenes with soap barely covering the details, games played where the loser must strip and an entire scene where a game played renders all female characters nude, but without details. Think of colored silhouettes. Although details are kept out of these nudity scenes, they’re still insulting and inappropriate. As are more than a few comments, jokes and such. Be prepared. This show is rated YA for this section all by itself and this is a strong warning spot. If any of this bugs you, skip this title.
In the world the siblings find themselves in, various “gods” exist that once ruled the gaming world and one, Tat, now rules over even them. However, even though they are considered “gods,” they aren’t really worshipped as such. They are treated more along the lines of “they’re out there and are powerful” and that’s about it. So there’s no indoctrination. And, again, this is all in a game world, so it’s not “real” anyway.
If this show wasn’t so strife with fanservice, it’d make its way to my Top 20 list of shows. Because, story and character-wise, I highly enjoyed it. But there was that fanservice, and as I mentioned above, it’s pretty bad.
But putting that aside, this show has a great set up, even if it does take a bit of time to take off and find a good pace. Genius gamers is nothing new to anime, but the addition of all other players being able to cheat and use magic while they cannot makes for an actual challenge. While you know they can likely pull it off, it’s extremely impressive to watch how they do so, despite the enemy trying every dirty trick in the book to beat them. The theme of humanity needing to make up for their “weaknesses” by playing smarter, not harder, is pushed throughout the show and actually makes sense. Although I could have used a bit more character growth for our heroes, the set up for more story and depth is there for season two, should that come to pass.
And I certainly hope it does. With bright and beautiful art and settings, alongside some throughly entertaining battles of wit and skill, this show was a fun ride, despite the stupid boob jokes here and there. If it only had more to the end besides a cliff hanger…
Personal rating: Young adult
Official rating: TV14
Genre(s): Fantasy, action, comedy
Company: Media Factory
Legal streaming: Crunchyroll