No Game No Life OP Single – This Game – Review

Limited Edition Cover

Album Title: This Game
Anime Title: No Game No Life
Artist: Suzuki Konomi
Catalog Number: ZMCZ-9306 (Limited Edition)
ZMCZ-9307 (Regular Edition)
Release Type: OP/ED Single
Release Date: May 21, 2014
Purchase at: CDJapan

Track Title Artist Time
01. This Game Suzuki Konomi 4:44
02. Delighting Suzuki Konomi 4:51
03. Cyber Thunder Cider Suzuki Konomi 3:29
04. This Game (Instrumental) Wakabayashi Mitsuru 4:44
05. Delighting (Instrumental) Wakabayashi Mitsuru 4:50

Review: Suzuki Konomi’s debut single in 2012 put her on my radar as one of the most promising anisong artists. However, every work since then has been an utter disappointment. I have no clue who decided to have her sing things like “DAYS OF DASH” and “Yume no Tsuzuki”. Then there was “Avenge World”, which made me miss the much-needed audio editing and auto-tune. The only work that I found decent has been her collaboration with Kiba of Akiba, but to be completely frank, she was not the success factor there. Her only winning quality is how her delivery was sparse enough to be punchy; hardly a compliment for a singer.

Hearing the TV-size opening to No Game No Life rekindled the hope I originally had in her. I never believed that it would be masterpiece material, but I knew that this was finally a piece that worked for her. The fast-paced melody, the crisp piano arpeggios, Suzuki’s conviction and confident delivery – everything worked! The full version lost none of these, and had all the features of a solid piece of anime music. I mean, a soft piano solo opening that gradually builds up to the instrumental apex? That pretty much gets me on board instantly. Furthermore, Suzuki’s delivery is powerful, with a strength that is reminiscent of her debut. I thought she handled the staccato parts from 1.00-1.02 particularly well.

But somehow, I could not enjoy it. I could not bring myself to say that this was a good piece of work. My first listen was plagued with disappointment, but one that I could not place. It could not be that it was generic; I never expected this to be novel in the first place. As such, I went on to the instrumental version, trying to find fault somewhere. Was it the melodic progression? Was it the repetition? No, the instrumentals were rich, elaborate, and beautifully arranged.

Turns out, I had been wrong to think that if there was a piece that allowed Suzuki to display her vocal talents, it would be a good piece of work. ‘This Game’ could not have been more perfect for that purpose, but it was not good. A few more painful, restless listens finally pinpointed the reason: things might have gone like clockwork for this piece, but music is so much more than that. If anything, music that merely ticks all the right boxes is not good music at all. For all that ‘This Game’ had, it lacked a soul. The piece was an assembly of all the right elements, but remained an assembly, not a cohesive piece of work. At the end of things, the music and delivery were separate elements – neither component engaged with the other.

The problem is so slight, yet so ubiquitous among amateur musicians. How many times have we been told to listen less to ourselves but to other sections? How often are we reminded to sing or play as one body, not as a random collection of voices or instruments?

Despite all the efforts that have evidently been put into ‘This Game’, ‘Cyber Thunder Cider’ (which, I am ready to bet, is lyrical rubbish) turns out to be the best song on the single. It will not bag any awards for ingenuity, but it is the most musical of the tracks. That is what I mean when I talk about the singer and music being one. The kind of engagement between Suzuki and the instrumentals gave the piece a fresh breath of life which the A-side so badly needed.

This single could have been great – at long last, everything fell into place for Suzuki. However, it lacked the most crucial element. It lacked musicality.

Rating: So-so

No Game No Life OP 1 – This Game


I have been a contributor to Anime Instrumentality since late 2009 (blimey...). Being a lousy musician trained in cello, keyboard and voice, I feel obliged to censure the other amateurs who have the cheek to release their rubbish to the world, and to affirm those who actually deserve their salary. Nothing gives me more joy than listening to good music, though I admit that writing scathing reviews on bad ones comes close.

5 thoughts on “No Game No Life OP Single – This Game – Review

  • July 11, 2014 at 9:07 am

    Hahah man I don’t have any kind of musical training or anything so I LOVE This Game. I keep listening to it over and over. Sure, it may not be that original or anything but I think it’s a very fun song to listen to and really does show off her vocals. Then again, I love Days of Dash as well. I’m kind of a sucker for regular J-pop songs I guess. At least, ones with decent singing. I can’t stand any kind of idol group where the singing is just terrible. I’ve got a big respect for Suzuki Konomi and I think she’s doing a great job working with the material they give her. Part of why I like her is because of her stage presence, I’ve watched all of her live performances in the Animelo and Animax and I feel like her live performances are even better than her studio recording. She’s very charismatic and enjoyable to watch.

  • October 3, 2014 at 11:40 am

    The Lyrics are sure trashy, like most of particular songs done for specific animes. But she did well for this song, also I love the beautifully made instrumental.

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  • May 2, 2015 at 8:40 pm

    I absolutely adore DAYS of DASH (it is probably my all-time favourite anisong), and while I think the instrumentals are by far the defining aspect of the song, I think Suzuki Konomi did a great job with the vocals. Oh well, agree to disagree I guess.


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