No Game No Life: Zero

A prequel movie to No Game No Life

Genre(s): Fantasy, Drama, Romance

Age-Appropriateness: 14+ (Violence, partial nudity, heavy themes)

Platforms: Netflix, Amazon Prime

Episodes: One 1 hr. 45 min. movie

TheAwersome Rating: 8.4 / 10 (Very different from the series)

Premise: In ancient Disboard, Riku is an angry, young warrior intent on saving humanity from the warring Exceed, the sixteen sentient species, fighting to establish the “One True God” amongst the Old Deus. In a lawless land, humanity’s lack of magic and weak bodies has made them easy targets for the other Exceed, leaving the humans on the brink of extinction. One day, however, hope returns to humanity when Riku finds a powerful female Ex-machina, whom he names Schwi, in an abandoned elf city. Schwi is determined to understand the human heart, as she believes it is the reason for humanity’s continued survival. Forming an unlikely partnership amid the overwhelming chaos, Riku and Schwi must discover for themselves what it truly means to be human as they fight for their lives together against all odds. Each with a powerful new ally in tow, it is now up to them to prevent the extinction of humans and bring an end to the global war.

TheAwersome’s Thoughts: This goes on the special shelf of “Prequels that are better than the originals” along with Fate/Zero and the Kizumonogatari Trilogy. Where the series was very degenerate pandering with classic OP Isekai Protagonist with a Harem syndrome and anime memes galore, NGNL: Zero is an emotional, apocalyptic struggle for survival and defining what makes humanity worth saving and life worth living. I went in expecting more of the NGNL vibe and antics and was blindsided by the emotional weight, crying about 4-5 times throughout. Some of it is probably because I’m a sucker for the “Learn to be Human” trope, but also the world situation at the time of viewing this was probably a major contributor.

TLDR: A surprisingly emotional shift from the series that I truly enjoyed.

There are some scenes that feel like they were definitely planned to be the “hopeful, inspirational dialogue” scenes that somewhat fell flat, but I feel in general this was very well done and didn’t commit anywhere near the number of sins as the original.

“Do I have to watch the NGNL series before watching this?”

Not necessarily, but it is framed as being told by someone after the events of the series; you won’t know who anyone in the first or last scene of the movie is, so watching the series does help. I would say that it is worth watching the series for the movie.

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