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Light Novel: No Game No Life

"Have you two siblings ever felt that you were born into the wrong world?"

Among hardcore MMORPGs players, there exists a Living Legend known only as "『  』" (literally, a blank space), a video game account infamous for dominating nearly every game he/she touched upon. In Real Life, however, "『  』" is actually a pair of NEET gamers — Sora, aged eighteen, and his stepsister Shiro, aged eleven. Bored of their daily existence, one day they receive a mysterious email — one that knows that "『  』" are two people — questioning their life.

Determined to protect their identity, the step-siblings play (and win) an online chess game (hotlinked onto the email) with this mysterious sender, culminating in the latter offering them a chance to be "reborn" into their "ideal" world. Before they can react, however, Shiro and Sora are summarily transported to the world of Disboard, ruled by an androgynous entity who identifies as "Tet", where violence is outlawed and where every dispute, trivial or serious, are settled with games.

But just as they decided that they prefer their new lives at Disboard, Shiro and Sora discover a startling truth — Disboard is divided between sixteen races, of which Imanity, the most humanoid of the lot, are ranked dead-last — and without powers of magic, they have become a dying race, now reduced to the city-state of Elchea. And before they knew it, this brother-and-sister gamer team, together with Stephanie Dora, granddaughter of the last king of Elchea, and Jibril, the angelic custodian of the National Library of Elchea, would have to push their gaming skills to the limit (and beyond) if they want humans to still have a future... but also to climb up the ranks and set up a rematch with Tet.

No Game No Life is an ongoing 2012 light novel series written and illustrated by Yuu Kamiya (a pseudonym for Brazilian-Japanese Thiago Furukawa Lucas), published under Media Factory's MF Bunko J imprint. It has also received a 2013 manga adaptation illustrated by Mashiro Hiiragi and published under Media Factory's Monthly Comic Alive magazine, as well as an anime adaptation directed by Atsuko Ishizuka (Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo) and produced by Madhouse as part of the Spring 2014 Anime season.

Crunchyroll is streaming the anime, which can be viewed here for people in the following areas: USA, Canada, UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and Latin America. This series is picked up by Sentai Filmworks for North American home video release.


This work provides examples of:

  • A Man Is Not a Virgin: Averted — Sora is one and this is among the first things the audience learns about him. He wants to change it, which is why he told Stephanie to fall in love with him.
  • Accidental Pervert: In Episode 2, Sora accidentally gropes Stephanie after Shiro kicks him towards her.
  • Added Alliterative Appeal: The three main characters are called Sora, Shiro and Stephanie.
  • Ambiguous Gender: Tet has pink hair and feminine body language, but a boyish voice. Although as a deity, (s)he might not even have a gender at all.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: Sora asks Izuna one right before their game. While it doesn't affect her performance, it does cause Izuna to think about during the game.
    "When was the last time you had fun playing games?"
  • Art Shift:
    • In Episode 2, after she "falls" for Sora, Stephanie always sees him in a very Shojo style including Bishie Sparkle. This stops at the end of the episode, showing the audience that she really is falling for him.
    • Also happens in Episode 3, in a blatant Shout-Out to JoJo's Bizarre Adventure.
  • Ascended to a Higher Plane of Existence: The deceased Old Dei still exist somehow, and they often argue with Tet about his/her involvement (or, rather, the lack thereof) with Disboard.
  • Awesome by Analysis: Sora and Shiro do this on a regular basis, and they often explain their strategy to Stephanie about why things usually happen the way they do.
    • Used brilliantly in Episode 9, when Shiro figures out the game Sora was playing against Chlammy, due to the fact that they know each other very well. She also figures out how to use the last three pieces Sora left for her to defeat Chlammy.
    • Done again during the game in Episode 11, when Sora explains to Izuna (and the audience) at how Shiro is such an expert at first-person shooters that Izuna's shots seem to fly through her, while her own shots seem to home in on the latter.
  • Badass Boast: Sora does this to the Warbeasts in Episode 8, basically calling their bluff on how they use "mind reading" to win against their opponents. He then bets Imanity's Exceed piece in whatever game they plan on playing. He even tells them about how he figured a lot of those things out based simply on cold reading and what Stephanie's grandfather, the previous King of Elchea, wrote about his games against them.
  • Badass Creed: Sora and Shiro work under one principle, fueled by their complete faith in each other and the plays they make:
    "『  』 never loses,"
  • Barbie Doll Anatomy: Invoked during "materialization shiritori" in Episode 6, a game in which anything the players can name is either called into (if not yet present) or removed from existence (if already present). Sora mentions the word "girls' clothing", thereby completely stripping Shiro, Stephanie and Jibril naked. However, his earlier words allowed him to remove all their "naughty bits", making the scenario a little bit more "family-friendly".
  • Batman Gambit: By betting away Imanity's Exceed piece to the Warbeasts in his bid to reclaim lost lands, Sora causes an uproar. Which he doesn't mind, knowing Chlammy (and, by extension, Feel) will exploit the chaos to resurface and challenge him again. True to his words, they do. He then engages them to a game of reversi with their existences at stake, where Sora deliberately played poorly so Chlammy will receive his memories (just to convince her he's trustworthy), counting on nothing but Shiro intuiting his intentions to continue the game for him after he is erased from existence, winning the game and bringing him back to life. He then proceeds to strike a deal with Feel, convincing her to help him deal with the Warbeasts, as well as change her kin's policy of slavery. He also did this to not only force Imanity to watch him intently, but also make it harder for the Warbeasts to blatantly cheat.
  • Being Human Sucks:
    • Of the sixteen races, only Imanity and Warbeasts have no magic powers, and even then the latter have heightened strength and senses to get by, truly leaving the former at their mercy.
    • Sora's speech in Episode 4 inverts this trope. It can be summarized as "being human is awesome".
  • Beyond the Impossible: A more mundane example — in the beginning Sora and Shiro were each controlling two characters at the same time by using their feet to operate the second controller. Sora later demonstrates the ability to control all four. For those who know about the Real Life Impossible Task "rub your stomach while patting your head", such a thing is superhuman.
  • Big Fancy Castle: Elchea's former palace had been won by the Warbeasts. In Episode 8, Sora and Shiro are told about how the Stephanie's grandfather built a replacement, causing the Warbeasts to build theirs up, which then caused Imanity to make theirs bigger. Then the Warbeasts really go overboard with it and supersize it even more.
  • Big Brother Attraction: It's this or just very playful teasing, but when Sora said to Stephanie that they were siblings, Shiro said that her brother has rejected her. Also, she was really heartbroken and angry when Sora orders Stephanie to be his girlfriend, when before he said that he only needed Shiro in his life.
  • Bishie Sparkle: Due to Sora's win and demand that she fall in love with him, Stephanie starts seeing him this way a couple of times in Episode 2. She immediately tries to beat it out of her head by banging it on the wall or floor.
  • Blatant Lies: When Chlammy insists that she won't be a Puppet King to the Elves should she reign over Elchea, Sora accuses her of lying through her teeth. Chlammy responds by asking him (and Shiro) to withdraw from the game, but he refuses. He later tells Stephanie that there's no guarantee she meant what she said, and that he simply hates to lose, especially with the way Stephanie and Chlammy are bringing Imanity down with their pessimism. She also insists that she's not a crybaby, after bawling in front of them twice.
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: Both Sora and Shiro are very intelligent, but they don't know what to make of their lives.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: When Shiro says that an study of all erogenous zones of Jibril and Sora would be 18+.
  • Breather Episode: Usually happens in the aftermath of major matches, though the Episodes almost always end with a Mood Whiplash to foreshadow the next game.
    • Episode 5 (Chlammy to Jibril) has Sora and Shiro literally turning Stephanie into their bitch (as in female dog) for a day as they apparently ignore their duties for Elchea, only to surprise her by the fact that all this time they have been doing their research and are just hesitant to act with too little information on hand.
    • Episode 7 (Jibril and Chlammy) features a Furo Scene starring Jibril, Stephanie and Shiro, before later treating the audience to Sora's research efforts on the Warbeasts, in preparation for challenging them to a game.
    • Episode 10 (Chlammy to Izuna) features another Furo Scene (this time including Chlammy and Feel), while shedding light on their background and being inspired by Sora into joining him in his match against the Warbeasts.
  • Brother-Sister Team: Both Shiro and Sora cover each others' weaknesses when playing games. Sora is skilled at manipulating his opponents and predicting their moves, while Shiro is a genius who can analyze and predict all possible outcomes of a game. That's why they always insist on playing together as a single person. However, the drawback is that Sora and Shiro are so dependent on each other, that they will both suffer a serious nervous breakdown if either of them were to be separated.
  • Brutal Honesty: Sora gives it to Stephanie harshly that due to her lack of poker face and a defeatist attitude, she's lost any bet she enters before she even started. She doesn't take it well at first, lashing out at him. Then, after defeating her for position of King/Queen of Elchea, Sora bluntly chews Chlammy out on her lack of faith in human potential.
  • Calvinball: Pledge 5 explicitly states that a challenged party has the right to set the rules of the game. This pledge lay at the core of every game seen so far:
    • Sora/Shiro vs. Chlammy: Living Chess, where each piece has a will of its own.
    • Sora/Shiro vs. Jibril: Materialization Shiritori, played in an alternate dimension, where yet-nonexistent objects indicated by words manifest, and likewise existent objects disappear when mentioned.
    • Chlammy vs. Sora: Existence Reversi, where each piece has two sides and represent an aspect of both players' existence.
    • Sora/Shiro/Stephanie/Jibril vs. Izuna: Love or Loved 2, a virtual reality FPS where gunned down players join the opposing side.
    • "Miko" vs. Sora: A coin toss.
    • Sora/Shiro/Jibril/"Miko"/Plum vs. Azrael: A game of tag where players can use syllable-blocks to create obstacles.
  • Camera Fiend: Both siblings mostly use their phones to take pictures. Justified as they're recording everything new they learn about Disboard, or just taking photos of new people they meet. Some pictures they've manage to take have catch some cheaters on the way.
  • Cat Smile: Sora and Shiro both share this trait — the former, because he's a devious con artist, and the latter, whenever she's being mischievous.
  • Censor Box: An interesting variation is used at the beginning of Episode 6. A circle with Stephanie's passed out face is used to cover her crossed legs.
  • Cheaters Never Prosper: Played with. Tet has stated anyone caught cheating automatically loses. Therefore, savvy players like Sora can get around this rule by being discreet.
  • Chekhov's Classroom: Stephanie has a flashback during Episode 4 about her grandfather believing that someone would arrive that would save Imanity. He said this was specifically because humans are so weak they can use it to get the upper hand against the other races. She starts to see it happen in front of her eyes with Sora and Shiro during the chess game.
  • Cliffhanger: Episode 8 ends on one. Sora mentions a game starting against "someone with a backbone", and says some words of encouragement to Shiro. Then has he turns and walks away, the images and sound begin to distort somewhat and he begins to disappear. The ending song is also missing Sora and has occasional errors and sound distortions in it but otherwise plays normally. And afterwards, Shiro wakes up alone, and Stephanie doesn't know who Sora is when asked.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl:
    • As a result of the love command Sora put on Stephanie, she becomes this as a result.
    • Shiro also shows these tendencies for her beloved stepbrother yet she still congratulates him on getting a girlfriend after he explains his "sexual tension". In Episode 4, she objects to him being the king, because then he could make a harem of women, and therefore wouldn't need her anymore.
  • Clothing Damage: Sora tests this out in Episode 11, first by shooting at Stephanie, who loses her clothes when hit, and later at a random NPC girl's clothing.
  • Color Failure: After Stephanie kicks Sora off of her in Episode 2, he goes flying outside the room. Both Sora and Shiro then turn white and immediately start spouting nonsense, showing Stephanie why they can't be more than a certain distance away from each other without freaking out.
  • The Commandments: All sixteen Exceeds are bound by ten inviolable pledges set up by Tet upon his/her ascent to godhood following the brutal war that destroyed most of the Old Dei (themselves one of the Exceeds, by virtue of Tet surviving). It was actually created by Riku Dora and his wife Shuvi 6,000 years ago, with Tet as their own Old Deus created to help fulfill their wish of creating a peaceful world for the war-weary Exceeds.
    1. All bloodshed, war and pillaging is forbidden.(This includes any kind of violence or violation of rights, like physical injuries, rape or an Armor-Piercing Slap.)
    2. All conflicts will be resolved through games.
    3. Each party involved in a game must bet something that both sides agree is of equal value. (The wagers can also be non-material, so long as both side agree to it being equivalent.)
    4. As long as it doesn't go against Pledge 3, the things that are wagered and the rules of the game will not be questioned.
    5. The challenged party has the right to decide the rules of the game. (This also includes the right to refrain from the game.)
    6. Any bets made in accordance with the Oaths must be upheld. (The laws of the universe will actively see to it.)
    7. Conflicts between groups will be conducted by designated representatives with absolute authority. (But that doesn't mean that two persons can't compete as one, as Sora and Shiro shows.)
    8. Being caught cheating during a game is grounds for an instant loss. (Which Sora interprets as a deliberate loophole meant for smarter players to exploit.)
    9. In the name of God, the previous rules may never be changed.
    10. Everyone must have fun playing together!
  • Conservation of Ninjutsu: Sora and Shiro, by controlling two character each at the same time, can beat 12,000 players.
  • Consummate Liar: Sora can lie to your face and you won't know it until he tells you. It's all about the poker face, you know?
  • Cornered Rattlesnake: At the end of her match with Sora, Chlammy goes nuts once the latter deduces that she's been using mind-control magic (courtesy of Feel), ordering her remaining troops to defeat Sora and Shiro's pieces even if they die. They saw through it, and notice she is now fighting on with nothing but fear, and exploits that to checkmate her.
  • Crapsaccharine World: The world is peaceful because crime and war etc are forbidden by God, and all bets are enforced by Magically-Binding Contract, and so such agreements must be honored. However, this means that skilled cheaters are the most dangerous people in the world, capable of dooming even countries in a single game. Also, the sentient species are ranked by magical ability, which means humans are at the bottom of the barrel and dying out as a result.
  • Crapsack World: During the war of the Old Deus, Disboard was in complete chaos as each Old Deus and their Exceeds attempted to kill one another so that one Old Deus may become the one true god of Disboard. Imanity, the only non-Exceed, only survived by hiding and staying out of the conflict while being extremely careful not to present themselves as a threat to the other Exceeds or they will be immediately wiped out.
  • Crazy-Prepared: When Sora and Shiro were transported to Disboard, they had on them the following: their cell phones, two hand consoles, solar chargers and a tablet PC. There's also a lot of information from their world stored on there, which comes in handy. And while at times it looks like they're deliberately slacking off, in actuality they're learning more about their opponents and devising various plans to ensure they win any game they play.
  • Cry Cute:
    • Stephanie and oddly enough, Chlammy, in Episode 4. She calls to her knees and cries twin geysters while blubbering.
    • Shiro and Sora in Episode 9 after the current game that episode ends. Chlammy and Feel join in by hugging each other too.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle:
    • In the first episode, Shiro and Sora take on 1,200 other players in an online game, and win.
    • Once they're teleported to Disboard, Sora and Shiro win against the people playing games against them.
    • Stephanie suffers one from Chlammy in the first episode, and later to Sora come the next episode.
  • Dangerously Genre Savvy:
    • Sora and Shiro are this in general, due to being Crazy-Prepared and really good at playing against others.
    • The Warbeasts, largely suspected to be cheaters, also try to be as prepared as they can as well during their match against the duo. So at the end of episode 10, when the players are entering the virtual world for the game, Sora and Shiro find out that the setting is in outside Tokyo. Being Hikikomori, both Shiro and Sora are weak against being outside, and he immediately starts to apologize to Stephanie, saying they're definitely going to lose.
  • Dare to Be Badass: Sora's speech to Imanity in Episode 4. Paraphrased it is "Imanity is so weak we could take over the entire world if we tried."
  • Daydream Surprise: Stephanie has several in Episode 2, because of her brain being bent into falling in love with Sora. To snap herself out of them, she smashes her head at walls and even the floor.
  • Department of Redundancy Department:
    Sora: "I'm a healthy young man, you know? I've got sexual needs, and sexual needs, and sexual needs! And even sexual needs!"
    Shiro: "He said it four times."
  • Death Is Cheap: In Episode 6, Sora and Shiro play a game of "materialization shiritori" against Jibril, where the word used removes an object in existence, and adds it if it's not there. In the end, Sora uses physics against Jibril, and they all "die" (with Jibril being done in a few milliseconds ahead, thus losing the game), but there was also a rule that everything would return to normal once the game ended. So then the library they were in returns to normal, and everyone there is no worse for the wear aside from Stephanie's complaint about "dying".
  • Defeat Means Friendship: Every one of the major characters that Sora and Shiro have challenged and defeated so far have ended up befriending them afterwards, largely because they don't care about anything other than having fun playing games with them.
  • Desperately Seeking A Purpose In Life: Sora and Shiro are both incredibly smart, but due to a lack of direction and malaise they felt back on Earth, they didn't do much besides play video games. It starts changing once Sora learns about Stephanie and the humans in the new world, although Shiro calls him out on it, saying that he's still using personal amusement as an excuse. Nevertheless, at least he feels he has something meaningful to start working towards.
  • Did We Just Have Tea with Cthulhu?: After Sora and Shiro become Rulers of Elchea, Tet personally congratulates them and encourages them to conquer the world to earn the right to challenge him/her.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?:
    • Sora and Shiro take great pride in the fact that they beat Tet in a game of chess. After they win over Elchea, Tet promises that (s)he won't deliberately lose next time.
    • Episode 6 sees the siblings duel something referred to as a "god killing weapon". They win with a hypernova.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: During the introductions in Episode 10, Feel says she isn't too fond of Jibril. When Sora inquires about it, she reveals the latter caused massive destruction and wiped out many of her kin centuries ago. In her defense, Jibril says the Elves placed some anti-flight magic near their areas, causing her to fall from the sky and bump her head. So she wiped them out in response. But because Sora doesn't want racial rivalries to get in the way of bringing down the Warbeasts, he (and Chlammy) force the two to bury the hatchet — with Feel adding the condition that Jibril must lick her boots.
  • The Dividual: Sora and Shiro start out functioning as a powerful team, nearly inseparable, and are most efficient when working together.
  • "Do It Yourself" Theme Tune:
    • Ai Kayano (Shiro) sings the ending theme, "Oracion", both as Shiro and under her real singing voice.
    • In Episode 11, Miyuki Sawashiro (Izuna) sings the opening credits for the in-series game "Love or Loved 2", while Mugihito (Inu) does the (hammy) narration.
  • Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male: Stephanie hits Sora a couple of times due to his perversions. She also kicks him while he's on top due to Shiro kicking him, and knocks him through the door into the hallway. Though the way he (and Shiro) humiliate her in return could also be considered abuse in a different way, so it's more or less mutual abuse.
  • Driven to Suicide: In the light novel, while in the living chess match, it's highly implied that Chlammy's king self-destroyed because he couldn't bear knowing that one of own pieces has turned on him.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Jibril was first shown watching Sora and Shiro's speech from the library she won from Stephanie's grandfather.
  • Everyone Has Standards:
    • Sora may be a pervert but he's not a Lolicon. In Episode 2, he wanted to see Stephanie naked, but doesn't want to get Shiro in the picture because that's child porn. Also in after Shiro puts up a Clingy Jealous Girl act when he demanded Stephanie to be his girlfriend, he also says he doesn't see Shiro in a sexual manner, since they're siblings. He also won't allow anything erotic happen in front of her.
    • As perverted and clingy she is, Shiro has no qualms chewing her brother out for making girls cry.
  • Evolving Credits: In Episode 8, the ending largely starts out like normal, except that Sora is mysteriously missing from every scene. The ending also distorts occasionally, as if things are being edited or erased out of it.
  • Family Honor: Stephanie wants to be the Queen in order to prove to the rest of humanity that her grandfather wasn't foolish.
  • Fanservice: Unlike most other shows, here it's entirely Played for Laughs. Most of it being courtesy of Stephanie.
    • At the end of Episode 1, she arrives at the siblings' room wearing nothing but a bedsheet. In the light novels, she still has her dress.
    • In Episode 2, Sora attempted to get a picture of her without Shiro in it by knocking his smartphone near her and asking her to pick it up, but Shiro was Genre Savvy enough to realize it. So the "boobs" he sees in the picture was actually just Shiro flexing her arm and pinching it to make it look like she was groping Stephanie. Since he didn't see it happen, he believes they were a real shot of Stephanie.
    • In Episode 4, Sora forces Stephanie to wear a maid outfit that exposes her midriff... without underwear, as Shiro tells him.
    • In Epsiode 6 Sora strips Shiro, Stephanie and Jibril in a game of "materialization shiritori", though he also made a few words beforehand that cause them to get Barbie Doll Anatomy.
    • Episode 7 presents a Furo Scene starring Shiro, Stephanie, Jibril, and her... shampoo bottle-tentacle.
    • Episode 10 is a repeat of the aforementioned scene, this time with Chlammy and Feel... and Jibril's shampoo bottle-tentacle.
    • Played straight during one scene in episode 11, when Sora shoots Stephanie a couple of times and she loses her clothing. Later subverted when he spends some time shooting at the NPC girl's clothing. At one point he shoots her panties, and it begins to dissolve. Then the entire girl disappears before the panties can reveal what he was hoping to catch a glimpse of, and he rants about being teased like that. Chlammy calls him an idiot when she watches him during that scene.
  • Flipping the Bird:
    • Sora does this to Steph (though it's censored) in Episode 5 after he finds out her grandfather lost their library to a Flugel, wondering why he bet their knowledge away like that.
    • Inu flips this to Sora and Shiro in Episode 8 for getting too frisky with his granddaughter Izuna.
  • Flirty Stepsiblings: Shiro could be seem as this, see Big Brother Attraction above for more. Sora, while a pervert (he says it's because he's already in "that age"), he doesn't see her in a sexual way.
  • "Freaky Friday" Flip: Sora uses this to test the limits of the Pledges.
  • Follow the Leader: In a sense. A small number of people with exceptional abilities are, after responding to a message, summoned to another world where everything is decided with games and they group up with the lowest-tier nation in order to help them climb the ladder? Where have we heard that before?
  • Forever War: Thanks to the Old Dei creating and using the Exceeds as pawns in their battle to become the One True God of Disboard, the Great War that laid waste to Disboard lasted tens of thousands of years. Even after Tet's ascension prohibiting violence, the Exceeds still warred one another through games. Its gotten to the point that few even knew the reason why they started fighting in the first place.
  • Fun T-Shirt: Sora wears a yellow shirt with the words "I ♥ Humanity". While this sounds ironic, considering his misanthropic nature, it actually belies his faith in human potential, which he believes is embodied by Shiro.
  • Gender Bender: After making an alliance with Chlammy and Feel, Sora ask is the elf's magic can turn him into a girl, so that way hw'll be able to join the girls currentely bathing together. Feel says it's possible but she won't be able to change him back after that. In the light novels, it's described as changing the XY chromosomes to XX chromosomes, and Sora is utterly dissapointed.
    Sora: "I beg of you......this is a world of fantasy with Oaths and magic; why is something like sex reversal impossible! Stop being such a slack world, put some effort into it!!"
  • Genre Savvy: Shiro and Sora, of course, being game otaku.
    • They're savvy about the Trapped in Another World plot and wonder why the characters in such plots always want to go home.
    • They know all about cheating and cheaters.
    • From Dating Sim to history, they know what to do.
  • Genre Roulette: Invoked by Sora to gain advantages in the Living Chess Game. When Chlammy's spells make it impossible for Shiro to win conventionally, he switches the turn-based combat into real-time strategy. Then, to prevent a checkmate, he turns it into a dating sim to convince Chlammy's Queen to pull off a Heel-Face Turn (and in turn cause several of her non-Pawn pieces to revolt).
  • God Is Good: Once Tet became the only god, (s)he outlawed violence and robbery and stated any dispute would be resolved by games, where cheating is not allowed (or at least blatant ones).
  • Gratuitous English: The "Love or Loved 2" game title in episode 11.
  • Heads Tails Edge: Sora invokes this during a coin flip.
  • High Heel-Face Turn: Sora convinces Chlammy's Queen to join his (and Shiro's) white pieces by smooth-talking her and appealing to her sense of duty and love. He also claims that Dating Sims were one of the few genres where he was better than Shiro.
  • Hoist By Her Own Petard: In Episode 5, Stephanie attempts to play blackjack against Sora, only to lose when he tells her the game isn't as random as she tried to make it sound like, and called her out on her attempted cheating. Later that episode, she tries to make a bet with him, to be a "fulfilled" human, but Shiro elbows him, and plays the second game in which they try to determine whether the next ten people to pass by in an alley they're watching is a man or woman. Steph loses badly (9 to 1), and is forced to give her panties to the latter, who then wears it on her head as they walk down a busy street. Sora wonders if Shiro is upset at Steph for this, but the latter denies it. The next few games she gradually loses more of her clothing, and has to wear a pair of glasses.
  • Hopeless War: The war between the Old Dei was this until they were all gone. Tet survived because (s)he wasn't involved.
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Sora and Shiro, due to their 7-year age gap. It's great enough that Shiro can sleep in Sora's lap.
  • Humans Are Special:
    • Stephanie strongly believes in her grandfathers words that, despite humanity's massive disadvantages compared to other races, one day they could triumph over them all. Then came Sora and Shiro, who prevent a potential takeover by the elves (courtesy of Chlammy), then inspired their fellow humans that they can turn their weakness into a source of infinite potential.
    • In Episode 7, Jibril asks Sora about humanity a little. He essentially says that they all suck, himself included. But then he confides that Shiro changed his life and proved that people with great potential such as her still exist, thus he made it his duty to keep that potential, embodied by Shiro, alive. And after reading the former king's hidden journal regarding playing against the Warbeasts, he gives a lot more respect to Stephanie's grandfather, who sacrificed his reputation by losing consecutively to the Warbeasts until he has gathered enough information for his potential successor.
  • Humiliating Wager: In Episode 1, Sora wins the clothes off the back of some thieves, who were also giving him an Info Dump on their world. They ask to at least have their pants, but he takes it all with him, leaving them in their underwear. Then at the end of the same episode, Stephanie shows up at his (and Shiro's) doorstep half-naked, covered only by a blanket, having lost her game with Chlammy.
  • I Always Wanted to Say That: "One of the things The Blanks love best is saying 'no' to people who think they've got an absolute advantage" is the 4th one of Sora and Shiro's "things we always wanted to say" list and they were very excited over finally being able to say it.
  • I Know Mortal Kombat: The real reason why Sora knows how to govern over an entire country? He plays lots of Civilization.
  • I'm a Man, I Can't Help It: After losing to Sora, Stephanie is ordered to fall in love with him. Shiro recalls that Sora could have asked her to be his slave or something, freaking him out since. As he claims, he's a guy having sexual needs and that he always wanted a girlfriend.
  • Insane Troll Logic: Sora's "cute makes right" speech sounds like silly otaku logic but it makes sense if you think about it in terms of morale. The ability to inspire others to fight on your behalf is a hallmark of the Charismatic Leader.
  • Instant Expert: Shiro learns Imanity's language simply from reading a book of it in Episode 2. She says it was easy because the written word is identical to the spoken one.
  • Intelligence Equals Isolation: Sora and Shiro. The first episode shows how people didn't approach them for being smarter while Sora was musing about how life was a "bad game". Ironically, this makes them inseparatable.
  • iPhony: Sora's tablet pad, which contains thousands of e-books, which he bet against Jibril (in exchange for her pledge of allegiance to him and Shiro) is an iPad with a cherry logo (may also serve as a Visual Pun, seeing that Sora is an 18-year-old virgin who really wants to get laid).
  • It Amused Me:
    • A lot of the early games Sora plays against others are largely due to this, since he finds the new world and it's rules interesting.
    • The reason why Tet brought Sora and Shiro into the new world in the first place. Episode 4 makes it clear that (s)he doesn't care about Imanity any more than any other race — (s)he just wants a Worthy Opponent.
  • Jail Bait Wait: Inverted — Shiro wants to grow up to catch Sora's eye, but he just sees her as a sister.
  • Last of His Kind: Tet for the Old Deus (or rather, "his/her"), as well as Plum for the Dhampires (last male, to be exact, forced to dress as a girl to avoid the Seirenes).
  • Like Cannot Cut Like: Sora and Shiro spend three days straight trapped in a constant draw because they can't beat each other. "『  』" is fighting "『  』" and so naturally "『  』" wins.
  • Little Bit Beastly: The Warbeasts look like this. Sora was really happy to hear that.
  • Living Emotional Crutch: Sora and Shiro are this to each other. They have to be near each other in order to keep each other sane and functional.
  • Lonely Rich Kid: It implies that Shiro, based on her clothing, comes from a wealthy family and she was alone until Sora came into her life.
  • Loophole Abuse:
    • Being caught cheating is grounds for losing but if you're good enough to not get caught, then technically you weren't cheating, as Sora points out to Shiro in the first episode after she says he cheated to win at that poker game.
    • While Sora and Shiro are technically two people, they often play games together and consider themselves one person for the purposes of playing. As a result, they are allowed to compete together, which is a good thing since their opponents are almost always cheating anyway.
    • In Episode 4, Sora and Shiro, after winning against Chlammy, are told that only one person can become. Both of them end up engaging in 500 games. Shiro then points out that there's no specific rule stating they couldn't co-rule together.
    • In Episode 5, Steph makes a bet with Sora to determine when some birds perched nearby would take off. Sora lets her bet first, and she guesses thirty seconds. He then says three seconds, and throws a rock at them to have them fly away. When she tries to argue that he cheated, he claims she never put a rule against throwing rocks in this game.
    • During the game in episode 11, being hit by your opponent's bullets causes you to turn to their side. While it seems Izuna is outgunned 4 to 1 due to Stephanie, Jibril, Sora, and Shiro teaming up against her, she has a few tricks up her sleeve as well. One of which Shiro and Sora discover that shooting at articles of clothing doesn't cause you to turn, and instead it just dissolves said clothing away.
    • In episode 12, Miko challenge Elchea to a rematch/revenge game. Sora simply picks a coin toss, as he doesn't want to dawdle further. Both sides offer seemingly generous concessions, such as Warbeasts keeping their resources, while Imanity reclaims all their lost lands. The coin ends up sideways due to Sora shifting one of the stepping stones slightly, causing it to fall on the gap and stop on its side. He then says they can either both win, or both lose. Miko obviously decides that both would win.
    • Additionally, Sora and Shiro wonder about Pledge 10, which encourages the Exceeds to simply have fun playing games. They claim it would contradict the other ones, so all of their meticulous and sometimes on-the-fly planning was designed partly so they would always have the upper-hand, and partly to let the other player enjoy the game instead of just suffering through a Curb-Stomp Battle. They speculate that was really why Tet made that pledge, so that the races could have games both sides could enjoy. Prior to the two showing up, said games were usually in the interests of whoever won the game, such as the previous king of Elkia losing a lot of land to the Warbeasts, who then exploited the resources on said lands for their own people.
  • Lovable Sex Maniac: The Seirene Exceed. They live their lives without a care (probably for being so stupid) and all they have in their minds is eat, sleep and mate. But especially mate.
  • Magically-Binding Contract: Pledge 6 — All bets made according with the Pledges must be fulfilled. Once you close a game's bet, you swear for the 10 Pledges with the word "Aschente". Then you're magically binded into following the bet, no matter how much it pains you.
  • Male Gaze: In the anime, the camera often pans down to look up Shiro's skirt and show her striped panties.
  • Mars Needs Women: The Seirenes are an all-female race who can only reproduce with other Exceeds, but Tet's laws forbade them from launching raiding parties to hunt for males, thus forcing them into an alliance with Dhampires. Unfortunately, Serienes also have a tendency to kill their mates, nearly driving both races into extinction (and forcing Plum, the last male Dhampir, to disguise himself as a girl to get past their attention).
  • Meaningful Name: Sora and Shiro's name uses the Kanji 空 (sky) and 白 (white), but can also read as Kuu (Empty) and Haku (white)creating their nickname Kuuhaku /「 」(Blank)
  • Medieval Stasis: Due to the establishment of the Oaths and all focus by the sixteen races at discovering new ways of cheating, technology remained stagnant and Disboard had been stuck in the equivalent of a 15th-century Earth for millennia. This changes for Elchea when Sora and Shiro become King/Queen, where they implement modern knowledge to improve human conditions, though they're quite wary of also introducing technology.
  • Might Makes Right: Sora declares that cute makes right, and for that reason (among others) Shiro is a more deserving king than Chlammy.
  • Modest Royalty:
    • Sora wears his crown on his arm rather than on his head. He also wears his regular street clothing instead of regal attire such as a cape. Shiro, likewise, wears her navy blue Sailor Fuku.
    • Stephanie, based on a flashback, was like this as well. The dress from her grandfather is not at all pimped out or jewel encrusted.
  • Moe: Invoked by Sora in his game of living chess against Chlammy. He gave the pieces the courage to fight and move, despite putting themself at risk, by encouraging them with Shiro's cute face, saying that if they can't give their best for her, who loves them and cries for them, they were no men.
    People will only truly fight for what is right [and] the one true, unchanging rightness in the world is cuteness! Cute makes right! All our needs, desires and instincts look to cuteness, and it's for cuteness we give everything we have! That's just the way men are!
  • Mood Whiplash:
    • In Episode 4, Chlammy goes up to Sora and Shiro after losing, convinced they were cheating. Sora basically tells her she lost because she limited herself rather than relying on her own wits. She then immediately starts crying a stream, complaining about how her efforts with Feel went to waste. Shiro then pokes fun at him for being a virgin and making a girl cry.
    • In Episode 7, Stephanie gives Sora a key she kept as a memento from her grandfather, the old king. When he inspects it, he mistakenly believes it to be a key to the old king's supposed porn stash. Cue Stephanie's disappointed look in the corner.
    • Volume 6 consists mostly of Tet reminiscing about the past prior to his ascension. The tone shifts completely to a grimdark setting showing just how bad things were during the Great War.
  • Mundane Made Awesome:
    • Even something like cheating at poker is made extremely intense in the anime depiction.
    • The chess game in Episode 3, which turns out to be a lot different than a regular chess game. Especially after Sora takes over for Shiro.
  • NEET: Prior to their arrival at Disboard, Sora and Shiro play games inside their house all day. Shiro outright stated the the time of day or day of the week doesn't matter to someone who stays inside all day. Sora responded that it does matter for special game events. In Episode 5, even when they become rulers of Elchea, they apparently reverted to this state, with Stephanie calling them out on it, only to be stunned later that episode when she realizes that all this time they have been doing their research on Imanity's state, only refusing to act due to lack of sufficient information on hand.
  • Nigh-Invulnerability: Flügels are able to take a nuke to the face and be fine with it. A hypernova, on the other hand, is too much.
  • Not in This for Your Revolution: Sora and Shiro's motivation is not being Elchea's saviors nor taking over the world; those are just stepping stones for their real goal: challenging (and defeating) Tet again.
  • Not Blood Siblings: Shiro and Sora are siblings by remarriage (i.e., Sora's father to Shiro's mother), but they're so close to each other one can be forgiven for mistaking them as true siblings.
  • Not Cheating Unless You Get Caught: This is a pledge that the players abide by. They are all free to cheat, but if they are found out, it is an instant loss. Sora believes that cheating is allowed and the punishment is for being caught rather than cheating in the first place.
  • An Offer You Can't Refuse:
    • On top of winning the chess game in the beginning, Tet asks some very specific things about Sora and Shiro, such as their relationship and boredom with real life. The deity then yanks them into Disboard, and tells them they were meant to live there due to their skill at games. They are initially distraught by it, but eventually come to like it.
    • At the end of the games between Sora and Miko, the former declares the coin toss a win-all, because the coin got stuck between a pair of rocks and landed on its side. Miko realized he cheated, but found the implications of his declaration — Imanity will take back all their lands, but the resource-needy Warbeasts will be allowed to remain there — too tempting to pass up (that, and also because she realized she's fighting an ultimately losing battle to Sora), so she simply accepts his more charitable alternative.
  • Oh Crap:
    • During the chess match against Chlammy, when the latter reveals she can brainwash Sora's pieces like she did her own. Later Sora turns the favor by personally convincing her Queen to do a Heel-Face Turn by appealing to her emotions.
    • Jibril has a few when she realizes that Sora and Shiro are actually quite crafty during her game, and has the biggest one when Sora removes Coulomb's force, triggering a hypernova against which even she has no defense.
    • Sora and Shiro have one when they realize the setting for the Warbeasts' game is based off of modern Tokyo.
    • Jibril in episode 11 while chasing after a falling Izuna after the latter jumped out of a window on a high rise to avoid Shiro's attacks. The former then realizes she can't use her flying in the game, and starts to panic as she starts freefalling.
  • Omniglot: Sora can speak 6 languages; Shiro can speak 18; Jibril can speak over 700.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: Dhampir are vampires in name only. Because of the 1st Pledges, Dhampirs are unable to bite anyone for blood (or more specific, 'soul essence', found in body fluids) as they're assaulting someone without mutual consent. Because of this, they had to find other 'body fluid' to suck in order to avoid dying from starvation... essentially becoming Succubi.
  • Out with a Bang: The Seirenes's mating drains off all the energy and life of the mate.
  • Pals with Jesus: Stephanie freaks out when she sees Sora and Shiro talking with Tet, the One True God, like they were old friends.
  • Parental Abandonment: Sora and Shiro's parents don't take care of them, hence why they're NEET's. In the light novel, their parents are actually dead.
  • Patrick Stewart Speech: After becoming King of Elchea, Sora claims that while humanity lacks magic, they had an untapped intelligence that would improve their lot in life.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: Sora and Shiro have a variation. If they find out someone is cheating, instead of telling which would result in their victory, they just cheat better and beat them anyway.
  • Performance Anxiety: Sora gets stage fright trying to address a huge crowd in Episode 4.
  • Personal Space Invader: In "Love or Loved 2", if you're touched by the infatuated NPC for too long, they not only lose interest in you (meaning you have to start all over again) but they also drain all the love energy from your gun. If you're playing solo, it means an automatic Game Over; if you have an ally, you have to suffer the humilliation of getting shot and get temporally infatuated with your partner.
  • Pet the Dog: Whenever Sora is nice to Stephanie. In one example, during Episode 5, he compliments the way she's kept Imanity from rebelling due to all the new rules he and Shiro put into place, after she yells at them for seemingly not doing anything besides play games all day long.
  • Pinky Swear: Sora made one with Shiro to stay together no matter what as seen in a Flash Back in Episode 2.
  • The Plan:
    • Sora declares war on every other race in Episode 4. When Stephanie tried to call him out on this, He tells her it's unlikely the other races would simply attack, because chances are they'll think some other race is backing him (and Shiro) up when they defeated the Elf-backed Chlammy. So until they find out the truth, they'd be too suspicious of each other, while Imanity shores up their defenses and morale.
    • At the end of their match in Episode 6, Jibril realizes that Sora planned the game of materialization shiritori to end the way it did, and that she already lost after the first move.
    • During Episodes 8-9, Sora bet Imanity's Exceed piece against the Warbeasts, causing a massive uproar. This causes Chlammy and Feel to take advantage of the chaos to challenge him to another game. Sora establishes a game of Reversi where the stakes are the players' existences. Sora deliberately plays badly so Chlammy receives his memories, all to convince her that he and Shiro are nobody's pawn, and leaves Shiro to play his three remaining pieces to win the game when he gets (temporarily) erased from existence. Then, due to the rules he established before the game, he returns Chlammy's soul, in addition to the ones she earned from him during game, and requests the right to alter Feel's memories. This gains him their support for his upcoming game with the Warbeasts, and to help him later with sabotaging the Eastern Union.
  • Please Don't Leave Me: Sora gives Shiro some encouraging words at the end of Episode 8. But come post-credits, he's nowhere to be seen, causing Shiro to curl up in the corner of the bed crying for him, particularly after Stephanie doesn't seem to know who he is.
  • P.O.V. Boy, Poster Girl: Sora is the most prominent narrator (and pretty much the only relevant male character) while Shiro is the most prominent girl in merchandise.
  • Power Levels: Each Exceed are ranked according to their relative magical power. Note that despite the Elves only being one rank below the Flügel, the difference in power is like heaven and earth. The reason being is that Ranks 7-16 are classified as Living Beings, whereas Ranks 1-6 are classified as Life itself. The ranks for Fairy and Demonia are still currently unknown.
  • The Power of Love: Parodied and weaponized with the "Love or Loved 2" videogame. You shoot at NPC to recharge your weapon with their love energy, your opponent can get your allies to their side via making them fall in love with them with a shot and viceversa.
  • The Power Of Trust: Episode 9 is like a crazy trust exercise. Sora literally trusted to Shiro his existence, knowing that she's the only person able to understand his train of thoughts, not only about what happened to him but also his stragety in his game of "existence Reversi" against Chlammy.
  • Rags to Riches: In about two days since Shiro and Sora came to Disboard, they went from renting an inn room to becoming the Sovereigns of Imanity.
  • Reluctant Fanservice Girl: Stephanie, who's seen nearly naked a lot in Episode 2, because she lost her dress in a bet. Sora tries to take as advantage of this as much as possible. For instance, her maid outfit in Episode 4 is revealing and lacks underwear. and then her Shameful Strip in Episode 5 until being left with only a sash around her breasts and a short apron.
  • Rousing Speech:
    • Sora delivers one to his chess pieces in Episode 3, telling them to be the badasses they are, and offering a lot of incentives for them to win. It works, until Chlammy uses another trick up her sleeve.
    • Sora delivers another speech at his and Shiro's coronation, promising to the take over the entire world and put Imanity on top of the food chain.
  • Running Gag: Stephanie losing any game to the siblings and being stripped of her clothing.
  • Secret Test of Character: Sora and Shiro believe that the 10th Pledge is actually a hint from Tet on how to successfully challenge him. They're not supposed to force the other Exceeds to contribute their Race Pieces, but instead convince them to willingly assist them in battling Tet.
  • Sequel Hook: Episode 12 of the anime has already shown prominent characters from later novels, such as Plum from twelfth-ranking Dhampires, Amira from fifteenth-ranking Seirenes, and Azrael, avatar of Avantheim (home of the Flügels), from second-ranking Phantasma). Additionally, Sora and Shiro state that they still have a lot of races to conquer before they can challenge Tet to a game again, which of course means plenty of stories for another season of the show as the duo challenge the other races in games.
  • Serious Business:
    • Sora and Shiro take every game to be serious, having promised to never lose. It helps when they transport to Disboard.
    • On a more disturbing note, almost all sixteen Exceeds take the games far too seriously, to the point where Imanity and Warbeasts genuinely feared for their existence as a race should the opposing side win their big game. Sora rips into such a belief, noting that in their self-interest and paranoia they have been technically in violation of Pledge 10 — to simply enjoy the games as Tet has wanted them to.
  • Shameful Strip: It seems that, whenever Stephanie is involved, she bets and loses her clothes slowly until barely having something to cover herself (if any, as in Episode 1).
  • Sheathe Your Sword: If the white pieces touch the black ones, they get brainwashed into black pieces so the only option to win is convince the black pieces to stop fighting. Sora got the idea after the Black Knight refused to attack the Black-turned-White Queen, who was ready for the blow, and then the Knight turned white.
  • She Is the King: Chlammy was about to be crowned "King" when Sora interupted. When he and Shiro became co-rulers, Shiro called herself "Queen".
  • Ship Tease: A lot of these beween Sora and Stephanie. While it started on a one-sided note (Sora forcing Stephanie to fall in love with him after losing a game), as time passed Stephanie's feelings for him became genuine, if Jibril's comment that the command was only supposed to work for a short period is true. In turn Sora also began to feel the same way for her, to the point of regretting having made her run off crying after insulting her grandfather one too many times.
  • Shipper on Deck: Jibril ships Sora and Stephanie.
  • Shout-Out:
    • As early as Episode 1, after the monologue about the history of the world which is done in a pretty close style to The Legend of Zelda as a whole, the narrator has a sound effect associated with his strong-styled face.
    • In Episode 2, while Stephanie is fighting with her inner self, she yells "WRYYYYY!".
    • In Episode 3, when Sora barges into Chlammy's coronation ceremony, he interrupts an elderly official that bears a striking resemblance to the judge from the Ace Attorney series. During this scene he also yells "Objection!" (complete with Ace Attorney-style speech bubble) and plays music that is highly reminiscent of one of the most iconic soundtracks for the series (which is often heard during a turnabout in events, after an objection) on his smart phone. Being a game otaku, he's was savvy enough to invoke it. This also continues to the siblings' coronation in Episode 4.
    • When both reject Chlammy's offer of withdraw in Episode 3, they make a shout out to JoJo's Bizarre Adventure via Art Shift, while stating Rohan's Catch Phrase, "But, I refuse!"
    • In Episode 5, when a Floating Continent appears, Shiro and Sora promptly belt out "Laputa really exists!" and are suddenly dressed up as the main duo from the titular film. They even reference the film's climax when thinking of a way to get up to it, which is so blatant a reference that they had to bleep it out.Explanation (Spoilers for Hayao Miyazaki's Castle in the Sky. The Episode 6 preview also has Jibril quoting the "Death should not have taken you" line from the Dragon Quest games whenever a character is revived.
    • Several things in the background after the time skip in the Alpha and Omega battle in Episode 6 are references to Western culture and common mythology. Among other things, the Moai statues, Mayan civilization, what looks like the Amazon Forest, a classical orchestra, something that looks suspiciously like King Kong, and an Alien with the correct H. R. Giger inspiration all show up in the span of less than a minute.
    • At the very end of Episode 6, Sora mutters the infamous "I used to be a [XX] like you, until I took an arrow to the knee" stock line of city guards in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (i.e., "gamer") before Stephanie yells "Stop!"
    • Episode 7 is practically a reference festival. When Stephanie objects to Jibril calling her "Dora-chan", she immediately shouts "DORA??" while darting back and forth in protest. Later, while seeking information from Jibril regarding the Eastern Federation, Sora is seen with glasses on and hands clasped, a la a certain anti-alien organization figurehead. While Jibril reminisces about her past activity as a Living Weapon, she does the infamous "yandere trance" gesture. Much later, upon realizing that Elchea was the realm that foolishly challenged the Eastern Federation for a decade, Sora crosses the Despair Event Horizon while striking a pose akin to that of a certain suicidal homeroom teacher. The episode also has two references to Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind in the form of God-Warrior lookalikes during Jibril's flashback and the uncanny resemblance of the secret room of Stephanie's grandfather to that one in said anime. The preview for Episode 8 also has Sora and Shiro utter the traditional war declaration speech from Civilization: "Your head would look good at the end of a pole."
    • In Episode 8 Jibril apes Eru Chitanda's "I'm curious!" Catch Phrase, complete with the Moe Stare, befitting her knowledge-thirsty nature. Sora also whipped out some Yu-Gi-Oh! cards featuring Stephanie, Jibril and Feel, to which Shiro responds with a trap card. Immediately before this, Shiro dresses up and uses Detective Conan's Catch Phrase, mimicing the opening of the anime (at least some of the seasons). Also, when they first see Izuna, the main duo shouts "King Crimson!", and seem to immediately teleport over to her to molest her (King Crimson's ability being to erase a section of time while still having it happen).
    • In episode 10, the coach driver looks suspiciously similar to Professor Layton.
    • In Episode 11, while explaining to Shiro that they are just in a simulated reality that looks too similar to modern Tokyo, Sora does his exposition amidst a cheerful yellow background with rainbows akin to that frequently seen in Persona 4, complete with the All-Out Attack cut-ins of Chie (from that same game), Kurisu Makise of Steins;Gate and Kati Raikonnen of Akiba's Trip: Undead & Undressed (with their eyes censored-out, of course). The entire premise of the game is also suspiciously similar to Gal*Gun. "Love is Over" plays as Sora gushes over his sister as a side effect of being shot by an ally. Also, when Sora asked Jibril to fight Izuna to stall for time, the latter reply with "You don't mind if I defeat him, do you?". Also, the scene where Jibril scales a building looking for Izuna looks very similar to Saber VS Rider.
  • Showy Invincible Hero: Blank's motto is that they never lose and they sure live up to that statement, but seeing all of the awesome ways they win is where the enjoyment in the series lies.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: Shiro and Sora are opposites at everything even down to their hair colors. Also goes to their playing style forte; Shiro is more logical and "going by the book", so she is great at looking the better way to victory, while Sora is more guile and better at reading people, making him the best commander ever, able to predict the opponent's next move.
  • Single Gender Species: Sora thinks the Warbeasts are all cute girls because of his Little Bit Beastly fetish. This is despite Stephanie telling him otherwise.
  • Slave Race: The Dhampirs are practically the Seirenes' slaves. The women provice them of magic and even built their underwater city, while the men were their Sex Slaves. Everything was once fine between them but wih only Plum as the last male Dhampir, both races are in danger of extintion.
  • Spell My Name with an S: Is her name "Kurami", "Clammy" or the really outlandish "Chlammy"? Also, is her elven girlfriend's name "Feel" or "Fil"?
  • Spit Take: Jibril does this in Episode 6 when Sora bets 40,000 books as his bet in his game against her. He then shows her a tablet to prove it.
  • Stealth Pun: In Episode 5 when Steph loses to Sora in Blackjack and explains why he won, Steph cries scales. Meaning the scales have fallen from her eyes.
    • Also in Episode 5, Shiro and Sora try to bring down the Floating Continent Avantheim by shouting the spell from Castle in the Sky to bring down Laputa. After finding out it didn't work, Sora says "It didn't crash." to which Shiro answers "The servers here are better than in our world..."
  • The Stinger:
    • At a post-credits scene in Episode 1, Sora and Shiro hear knocks at the door of their inn room. Sora opens it to find a half-naked Stephanie asking for lodging.
    • A post-credits scene in Episode 5 introduces Jibril. Jibril starts to dramatically descend from the library's ceiling in front of Sora, Shiro and Stephanie while Sora internally compares her with death itself. Then she ask politely, with a cutesy voice, what brings them to her library, with the last scene is her giggling to the camera.
    • At the end of Episode 8, the credits play normally, except Sora is missing from it, and there is some playback error, as if it were being edited poorly. Then Shiro wakes up alone, and Stephanie doesn't seem to know who Sora is when Shiro asks about him.
    • The very end of the first anime season has "Miko" channeling an Old Deus, to which Sora and Shiro respond by declaring that their real game has just began.
  • "Stop Having Fun" Guys: A rare In-Universe case. Games aren't mere games anymore — in Disboard they have now become literally a battle of intelligence, where everyone is more than willing to do just about anything to win, and where even a single defeat can have serious consequences (so serious indeed that after losing to Sora and Shiro, Izuna breaks down crying out of genuine fear for the Warbeasts' existence). In the final episode of the anime, Sora then mulls that in doing so all sixteen Exceeds are technically in violation of the Tenth Pledge — to simply enjoy the games.
    Sora, to Izuna: "Say, Izuna, since when was the last time you enjoyed a game?"
  • Stylistic Suck: The intro for the game in episode 11, complete with Conspicuous CG and some strange things happening in it, such as a few girls riding hearts towards a fleet of spaceships, which then turns into a concert.
  • Take a Third Option:
    • Sora presents Stephanie with one when Chlammy is nearly crowned king in Episode 3.
    • Sora manage to win not by fighting the black pieces, but convincing them to rebel against the Black King (and Chlammy by extension) for being a tyrant.
  • Take Over the World: Sora and Shiro's goal, if they want to challenge Tet.
  • Taking the Bullet: Shiro does this for Sora in episode 11, getting hit by Izuna's bullet to avoid him getting hit by it and falling under her command. However, said bullet only hit her panties, so Shiro was technically never under Izuna's control since her clothing got hit instead of herself, due to the duo figuring out that clothing hit by bullets merely dissolves them, rather than make them switch sides.
  • Technician Versus Performer: Shiro and Tet's online chess challenge in a nutshell. Shiro played by a strategy based on memory, which allowed Tet to counter her by playing arbitrarily and confusing her. Tet would have won if Sora (another performer) hadn't stepped in and helped Shiro to know whenever Tet was tricking her or not.
  • Technicolor Eyes: All characters have two colored eyes but mostly because of art style. Tet is a egregious example, mixing this with mismatched eyes.
  • Telepathy: When Sora hears about how Warbeasts can read minds, he wonders how the heck they can defeat them. Thanks to the former king's journal, he and Shiro were able to realize, and later confirm, that the telepathy thing is a sham. They're actually Phony Psychics, using cold reading and their Super Senses to know when a person is lying.
  • Thanks For The Mammaries: Sora gets quite a handful of Stephanie's ample bust in Episode 2 after Shiro kicks him towards her, and he accidentally falls on top of her. Shiro also immediately starts taking pictures of the situation. In Episode 9, it was Shiro's turn, but she actually did that to confirm Sora's existence via proving that Stephanie wasn't aroused by her feeling her, despite the claim that Shiro command her to fall in love.
  • There Are No Coincidences: The siblings don't believe that a game of "pure chance" exists. Whether its blackjack or the probability that the next person to walk into a given alley is of a given gender, there are invisible factors that more or less influence the outcome. This is why information is so important.
  • There Can Be Only One: In the past, there were many gods fighting to be the only one. Ironically, Tet, the only deity who refused to fight, survived to take the position for him/herself.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: While technically Nobody Can Die in Disboard's games, during Episode 6, the first word Sora uses is "hydrogen bomb". Jibril helpfully casts a magic barrier around them to protect against the explosion, though he claims he wasn't purposely trying to end the game in one move. However, the trope is still played straight, because Sora was using Earth sciences against Jibril, and in the end uses a hypernova to "kill" her, causing her to lose the match.
  • Tower of Babel: In episode 12, Sora and Shiro discusses their plan of conquering the 16 Exceeds to challenge Tet. They theorise that all 16 Exceeds must come up as one to raise a tower (made up with their combined knowledge, resources and hard work) able to reach Tet's Black King tower to prove their wisdom. This calls back to the original Babel, which was a tower built with the goal of reaching God. Unlike the legend however, God in this setting (Tet) actually wants that to happen, rather than punishing humanity for it.
  • To Win Without Fighting: Sora states this as his goal for winning the chess game in Episode 4 because it was the pragamatic thing to do. This was also the opinion of Stephanie's grandfather and so it raises her opinion of Sora.
  • Trapped in Another World: Lampshaded, discussed and defied. Sora comments of the many stories about this trope where the protagonist spends all their time looking a way to return home, but they're not interested in returning to Earth and instead are staying. In Episode 4, they thank Tet for allowing them to "be reborn" because they belong in Disboard.
  • Turned Against Their Masters: In Episode 4, Sora turns Chlammy's pieces against her one after another, staring with her Queen. He convinces them overthrow their tyrant King, and this causes another side to be born from said pieces, with the newly red pieces teaming up with the white pieces to fight against the black pieces. In the end, one of Chlammy's turned pieces "assassinates" her King, and she loses to Shiro and Sora.
  • TV Genius: Shiro can speak 18 languages and remembers all 10^120 possible states of a chess board. She is only 11.
  • Tsundere: Stephanie is an odd justified example. She lost a game with Sora where the winner can make the loser listen to any request. Sora told her to fall in love with him, as such her emotions were manipulated to make her fall in love with him. She is fighting against her twisted emotions, initially... then something genuine starts up.
  • Underdogs Never Lose: Humanity is ranked 16 out of 16 regarding magical affinity due to not having any. Stephanie explains to Sora and Shiro that humans aren't even aware when magic is being used. Despite that, her grandfather believed humanity could win at the games against the other races, despite losing most while he was ruling.
  • Urban Legend: Sora and Shiro in their shared "『  』" persona.
  • Victory Is Boring: Zigzagged. On one hand, Sora and Shiro grew tired of winning all the time (especially against easier opponents such as Stephanie), but on the other hand they also deeply appreciate a victory earned by pushing their skills to the limit.
  • Weak, but Skilled: Sora claims humanity is this; lack of magic makes them weak but their intelligence makes them skilled.
  • Wham Episode: The ending of Episode 8. Sora suddenly disappears, leaving Shiro a tearful wreck, more so when she realizes all of Disboard's memories of him went along with him.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • When Sora insults Stephanie's grandfather in Episode 7 for playing eight straight losing games to the Warbeasts, she gets pretty tearfully upset with him, telling him that she'd take insults towards her better than those to him. Even Shiro calls him out on this, telling him he went too far.
    • Imanity in general seems kind of ticked off at Sora and Shiro after they bet the Imanity race chess piece. They're warned that losing that would make them lose their "Exceed" status as one of the 16 races. Which then means they're essentially the same as animals, and can be killed with impunity without the protection of Tet. A lot of the rioters even go so far as to accuse Sora and Shiro of either working with the Warbeasts, or that their previous victories were just a fluke. So considering how serious of a bet this is, it's understandable why they would be upset, despite Sora and Shiro's insistence that they wouldn't lose. Sora reveals he started the rumors of collusion himself, in order to rile the populace so that they would scrutinize the game much more closely for possible cheats, which would force the Warbeasts to play (relatively) fair and square.
  • Whole Episode Flashback: Volume 6 is dedicated to the events leading to end of the Great War 6,000 years ago. Specifically, it tells of the story of Riku Dora, his stepsister Korone, and his wife Shuvi, all uncanny lookalikes of Sora, Stephanie and Shiro, respectively, and their actions that helped create both the Ten Pledges and its enforcer, Tet.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?:
    • Warbeasts are known to erase their losing opponents' memories of their game. An exception, however, was given to Stephanie's grandfather, the previous King of Elchea, instead choosing to fool himself into thinking Imanity still has a fighting chance, which would allow Warbeasts to hawk off more lands, while forcing him to pledge to keep shut over them as long as he lived. It ultimately comes back to bite their collective asses, when it turned out he secretly committed his experiences to paper, passed on to his successor — who so happens to be the cunning Sora.
    • Played for Laughs in episode 11 when the Warbeast leader is explaining how the guns work in the game they're playing. When he tells them that getting hit by the bullet makes you a "love slave" to the person that shot you, Shiro immediately shoots Sora, who then turns lovey-dovey towards her. Jibril then shoots Shiro, causing the latter to fall for her, while Sora is rejected. A moment later they turn back to normal, with Shiror promising to punish Jibril later for that act, which causes the latter to get a little excited at that prospect.
  • World of Buxom: It seems that all female born in Disboard must have a big chest as a norm. The only exceptions are of course the little girls like Izuna and Chlammy, who is none too happy about it.
  • Worthless Yellow Rocks: Averted. In the first episode, while Sora isn't entirely sure how much a coin he gives the innkeeper is worth, he is Genre Savvy enough to realize due to the innkeeper's unconscious actions such as looking away, he was being cheated. The innkeeper initially claims the coin is good for one night's stay, but eventually relents to four nights.
  • Worthy Opponent: The true reason Tet summoned Sora and Shiro? (S)he was bored and heard they were the best at every game.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Lots of different hair colors here.
    • Stepanie has red hair, Tet has pink. They come from another world, so they can be excused.
    • Shiro has white hair and she's 11. Despite the fact that she is depicted with (predominantly) yellow eyes both in the anime and the light novel illustrations, it is stated numerous times in the light novel that her eyes are red, and that her skin is very pale. White hair, abnormally pale skin, and red (or pink) eyes are signs of albinism.

NobunagunAnime of the 2010sNoragami
Nogizaka Haruka no HimitsuLight NovelsNo-Rin

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