By Yuu Kamiya. Released in Japan by MF Bunko J. Released in North America by Yen On. Translated by Richard Tobin.
The general rule of thumb when reading a volume of No Game No Life is to ignore anything that is not directly related to the plot or character development. and yes, this means you are ignoring about 85% of each book. This volume in particular is filled with pointless fanservice, cringey cliches, and more situations and art that remind you why this series got Amazon banned (though, again, this new volume is still there). When you get past all that, you’re essentially left with two things. First of all, the fact that [ ] actually lose for the first time in the series… and they’re not too sure how it happened yet. The result, though, is near catastrophic, though I guess it’s very good news if you’re Chlammy. The second thing is that Sora and Shiro, adopted siblings, are forced to confront their feelings for each other for real… and Shiro especially is almost broken by them. This is a rare reminder that she’s still eleven years old. And while there’s a reset at the end, I think both of them have moved forward a bit.
We open with Sora, Shiro, Steph, Jibril and Emir-Eins waking up to find they’re now trapped in a death game, to Sora’s horror. He hates the very idea of death games, and knows that the only reason that he and the others would ever have agreed to it is if [ ] had lost. Their host is Foeniculum a fairy who is streaming all of this on the fairy version of YouTube. The five of them are in a room where there’s an exit door… but only those who say they’re a couple can go through it. Needless to say, everyone is horrified at this… especially as there’s five of them, so someone will lose. Also, four of them are women. You can buy a key to get out… but the price is exorbitant, and depends entirely on getting donations from viewers. As a result… Sora and company need to be interesting enough to make money!
A lot of this, especially in the first half, is pure stupidity, with the usual antics. Sora has low self-esteem, Steph whines, Jibril and Emir-Eins fight, etc. Things change once the fairy viewers force Sora to tell Shiro that he finds her attractive… something Shiro, theoretically, has been waiting eleven books to hear. But theory and practice are two different things, and it turns out Sora seeing her sexually terrifies her… and indeed Sora, after being released from the fairy geas, is appalled he said it as well. The incest subtext has always been uncomfortable in this series, and it’s shoved in our faces here, but the outcome in the end is good; Shiro doesn’t really need Sora as a lover or a boyfriend, she just needs Sora there next to her all the time. As for [ ] losing, we’re still not sure how it happened either, but it’s setting up for a big battle against the elves next time.
I didn’t mention Steph, but her role is the same as always: be degraded and humiliated 95% of the book, then remind the cast she’s the emotional heart of the story, and far more sensible than any of them. NGNL fans will definitely have a ball with this. Hope we don’t wait so long for the 12th book.