Who Would Like this Series/Volume?
In my opinion, it’s a bit cringier than former volumes and also a lot less funny. It’s rather focused on answering a few mysteries from volume 4. That aside, it’s still a fantasy story with no real drama and, if you’re a fan, it won’t let you down.
Oh man. So much slang, so many madeup fantasy things you gotta understand, so many names, so many locations, such a bothersome writing style. It’s honestly hard to read and sometimes even hard to grasp what the author wants to tell you. You really gotta buckle up for this one.
There’s an official translation by Yen Press. I, however, gave up on it after volume 1. It hurt to read, can’t say for sure for volume 5, but I don’t see why they’d put more effort into 5 than 1.
NOTE: This volumes/series has an anime and/or complete translation somewhere. Hence, the contents section will be reduced to the bare minimum as you can get the experience more or less by yourself.
No Game No Life 5 took me a ridiculous amount of time to finish. Mainly for two reasons: One, it’s still a pain in the ass to read. Super heavy on the dialects and slang, hard to follow sentence structure – all compared to other light novels I’ve read. Two, volume five is cringier than earlier volumes. At least to me. I didn’t read it continuously, of course. I just put it away for long amounts of time. Long enough that I had to actually start reading it over since I’d forgotten most of it.
Anyway, volume five starts off strong. Chlammy and Fiel are infiltrating an Elven aristocrat’s premises to gain an advantage in their overlying scheme. The author does a good job picturing the Elven domain and draws a pretty colorful picture of the rough surroundings in your head. The deciding game is more or less a TCG with equal decks. It’s interesting to read and the twist within this arc is reasonable, too. Its epilogue with Fiel voicing her doubts whether the memories Sora shared with Chlammy are real or not also helps fleshing out Fiel’s character as a girl who seems nice and unfazed on the outside, yet can be very cold and calculating on the inside. On the other hand, Chlammy is ridden with fatigue (so is Fiel, but it’s more obvious for Chlammy) since she’s obsessed with trying to copy Sora and Shiro’s skills by diving into Sora’s memories; also a nice touch in regards to her development, as she’s struggling to trust her own skills, always kind of haunted by something like an inferiority complex. A small downside is the way the Elven aristocrats act: They’re very vulgar. Basically, their end of the bargain is to turn Fiel into a sex slave, obsessing over the girls’ boobies all the while. It’s getting old.
The small intermissions with Izuna and Stephanie are okayish fillers. Kinda funny, kinda interesting, but nothing special.
And now we’re getting to the main problem I’m having with volume five of No Game No Life: The Flügel arc. I was really looking forward to this one, since the Flügel seem to be the most interesting race to me. Putting it shortly, they’re “man”-made tools of war, whose creator died, whose war ended, and who’re now searching for the answer whether tools of war have a purpose in peace and what that purpose is. That sounds pretty good, right? Sadly, while the Flügel domain does get an OK amount of picturization, there’s not much taking place in there. They try to look for information on the Siren Queen, end up having a game with the Flügel, and leave. They basically conquer the Flügel in half a volume, I was really hoping for this to be more of a milestone – and to feel like more of a milestone. The background you get on the Flügel is also pretty sparse, it’s more about their creator, one of the old gods (if I remember correctly), and about the thing they live on. I was hoping for more events with the Flügel than just a game. The game itself doesn’t spell excitement either: It’s a game of tag with a wordplay component added (similar to the game they won when facing Jibril for the first time). Especially the way how this game of tag played out felt pretty cringy to me. Sora and Shiro each get one wing, and they fly from the Flügel by communicating and coordinating movements through their hands. So they’re navigating at high speed through the air without fail and without any miscommunication whatsoever simply by whatever their touching hands can convey. That’s a bit too much bullsh*t to swallow for me. It’s fantasy and they’re supposed to be the super IMBA, OP gaming sibblings, yeah, yeah; but this explanation in general sounds like something a fourth grader would come up with. tl;dr: Not enough Flügel stuff, unoriginal game, eyeroll-inducing explanations.
The final arc – beating the Siren Queen once and for all – is fine overall. It does make sense that she feels that she can get anyone anyway and only by being distant you can actually draw her towards you (the urge to want to have what you cannot). It doesn’t necessarily make sense that she’s masochistic and enjoys abuse, but it’s funny, so I totally roll with that. In my opinion, the big “Siren Arc” is resolved in a satisfactory manner.
Still, volume five basically made Sora and Shiro conquer three (!) races: Flügel, Sirens, Vampires (They’re going by another name in No Game No Life, a name I’ve forgotten; anyway, they’re just like vampires). Those are way too big steps for my taste. No Game No Life has a great fantasy world with big diversity, I don’t see why Sora and Shiro couldn’t have more exciting adventures in the Siren, Flügel, or Vampire world before ticking those off. It’s always just one game which is the decider, it really doesn’t feel like they’re conquering a world, it feels more like they’re conquering a state at best.
All in all, volume five isn’t a bad story at all. It’s just lesser. It’s funny but less funny than volume four was. Its plot is interesting but less interesting than volume four’s was. The games are mostly exciting but less exciting than volume four’s games were. Volume five is a good light novel and a good No Game No Life book – but just not as good. To me, it’s a weak seven: Behind in what volume four did plus the extra cringe in the game of tag, but still a good book.