This anime has become one of the most talked about shows in both the gaming and animation communities, and it’s easy to see why. It’s fun, but intense, filled with magic and scientific-level logic. It has been described as a “must-watch” by the anime community.
It centers around two siblings, Sora, an eighteen-year-old who is skilled in strategic thinking and cold reading, and his eleven-year-old stepsister Shiro, who excels at logic and calculations. Together they form an undefeated group of online gamers named Blank. When they are challenged, and ultimately defeat, a god from another reality called Tet, they are transported to the world ‘Disboard’, which is centered around gaming. In this world, there is a spell which disallows any citizen from harming another, meaning they have to resolve their issues through magic-assisted gambling instead.
Sora and Shiro must traverse the land, challenging others and using the betting strategies of professional gamblers the world over, like the Kelly criterion, to ensure the survival of humankind, who they find have been outnumbered and cornered into one city by the other species living there. This anime, outwardly about games, is actually about the relationship between the two main characters and their desire to leave the “crappy game” that they call society, where there are no rules and people play whatever move they want. In the classic anime style, the parents of our heroes have passed away, and the siblings suffer panic attacks when they are separated from one another. It makes for an endearing, as well as exciting, adventure, where the viewer becomes emotionally invested in the characters, rather than just watching the progression of the plot.
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The art style is praised, with clean-graphics and modern animation, although it could be a bit more suited to a ‘real-world’ anime instead of a fantasy show that is filled with magic and dragons, as well as betting and gaming. One of the most interesting things in the series is the fact that there are fifteen non-human species to look at, so the designers can explore lots of different concepts with the show and give the viewer no shortage of things to look at on screen.
There is also a great amount of world-building, with the show having a well developed in-universe mythology that gets more and more interesting as the series progresses. It is also extremely funny. This is something that anime can either get dead-on or completely wrong, but the humor in this show is undeniable. The contrast between Sora’s easy and sometimes a little wild charisma and Shiro’s deadpan genius makes for comedy gold as we watch the two interact with each other and other characters in the show, such as Stephanie Dola, a princess who joins the siblings on many of their adventures and who lacks the intuition of a natural gamer but more than makes up for it in knowledge and political talent.
Overall, this show is a raucous ride, which will give every gamer at home hope that they someday could help to save humanity, or just give them a few hours of entertainment.