There have been many great anime Films in 2017, my expectations were quite high for this film. Studio Madhouse did not disappoint. This prequel to the first TV series was superb overall. Sadly the theater run in North America was only two days, one sub night and one dub night. Both nights featured a Sentai films pre-roll that featured the US Dub team, ADR, and staff. This pre-roll was neat but also full of minor spoilers, Many folks complained about this on Social media. Honestly I felt it was okay, but I would have preferred it after the movie.
The film opens with Tet and Izuna playing chess and talking about humanity. They Wrap their first game and Izuna wants a rematch. Tet agrees to the game and tells Izuna that she can’t beat him, and that he has only ever lost to blank. Izuna scoffs at that statement and Tet responds with the story that forms the movie. It was such a great setup and pays off in the end and ties to the series in such a powerful and meaningful way. You really gotta watch the first season and then watch the movie to fully understand the connections. It was such a moving story, I don’t want to spoil anything for those who have not seen it.
The story focuses on the Human race trying to survive underground while the other Races duke it out in an all out war. Elves, Dwarfs, Flügel, Warebeast, and Ex-machina fight using spirit weapons and technology well beyond what the humans can defend. The main character is Riku a human teen who leads scouts into the wastelands searching for food, weapons, information, and enemy intel. Riku meets a rogue Ex-machina named Shuvi. Shuvi had been separated from her colony and was on a mission to discover the humans secret weapon known as Heart. Riku and Shuvi begin to grow attached to each other and any more I write about this would be spoiling it.
The visuals of the film are great, no short cuts or cheaping out on a bad CG here. The art quality is not as good as let’s say “Your Name” but is still bold, dark, and very much in line with the style of the TV series. The art quality is slightly better than the TV show. I have no major complaints about the animation, if you enjoyed the show, you will love the movie. The world is much darker and reflects the story of the movie, so a change in tone for sure, but it fits very well. The characters are very high quality, well thought out and executed beautifully.
The audio and the voice acting was top notch but not epic. We went to the Sub show and got a small taste of the Dub. The Sub was masterful, the original Japanese cast filling the roles for the movie. You can’t beat it, the dub does a fine job overall, but I feel the Sub is far and away the superior cast for No Game No Life. The English cast just can’t match the range just listen to Izuna and Shuvi and compare, just not at all the same or even close.
Sound effects and music were high quality, the soundtrack was very befitting of the tone and the sound FX teams did a solid job hitting you in the chest with explosions and making every detail jump off the screen. But sound FX would sometimes fall flat, or get lost in the mix, this might be a fault of the theater speaker system but some FX were lost and or just did not reach me. The soundtrack was itself was moving, and added to the drama and chaos, It for sure borrowed some tracks from the TV show, and it is better for doing that.
The writing is where this film I feel shines the most. The blend of action, drama, comedy, romance and the universe that is No Game No Life all make the planet of Disboard feel alive. Not going to lie this film is drama heavy when compared to the show, but this is for the better. The story also contains sexual jokes and jabs, but never takes it to far. This type of humor is like the TV show, but with a dark spin, the writers knew their audience and played to them perfectly. The romance and tragedy will tug at your heart and it will all make sense in the end. I loved the story overall.
- Release date: October 5, 2017 (USA) Theater
Director: Atsuko Ishizuka
Production company: Madhouse
Music composed by: Yoshiaki Fujisawa
Screenplay: Jukki Hanada
- North American publisher: Sentai FilmWorks
Bottom Line: Overall I feel like it is a solid movie, it is kinda of a shame it did not see a bigger release, 2 days only. I will for sure be picking up the Blu-Ray once it is for sale, there is no announced street date for that just yet. If you did not get a chance to watch the film I would recommend picking up the Blu-Ray once released. The Movie is very good, I was moved by it and as a fan of the show I can say I thoroughly enjoyed the movie. Even if you you are not a fan of the show this movie still stands strong on its own.