I’m a Steph


There are many reasons why Steph is the best character in No Game No Life, but the biggest and main reason is that I am a Steph myself.

(Warning: This post contains dirty humour, for what is a Steph without embarrassing sexual incidents?)

This shocking realisation came to me the other day when my friends discovered the porn on my laptop. “What kind of idiot leaves their porn in the downloads folder?” they asked me. They had discovered it within two minutes of accosting my laptop.

“Er, uh, um,” I said. “I can explain. This is all a misunderstanding. I don’t actually watch cartoon porn. I’m pure! I swear!”

“So what’s this?” asked friend A, hovering the mouse over Harem Time the Animation.

“You didn’t even download part two! You’re a pleb!” said friend B, who owns a hard drive solely dedicated to hentai.

(That’s because it sucked.)

Friend C scoured my entire laptop for suspicious folders entitled [Academic Essays] which contain multiple gigabytes of data. He found–

— nothing.

I really had left everything in my downloads folder unsorted.

He looked at me with disbelief.

It was the first time I had ever conceived the wisdom of [hiding one’s porn]. My parents were computer illiterate, so no one had ever looked through the files of my computer before, and this was the second time I had brought my laptop outside of my house anyway. It wasn’t even [password protected]. In fact, the only reason why my friends got to my laptop in the first place was because I had been happily playing the common route in Grisaia no Kajutsu when–

— (sudden oppai!)

— I screamed and slammed my laptop shut.

This brought back flashbacks of the first time I ever brought my laptop to my university campus. I had been been showing my friends one of the endings to the School Days visual novel. That episode didn’t end well, on multiple levels.


In any case, I closed my laptop and pretended I had business to do, and by the time I got back, my friends were all over my computer, combing through all the [embarrassing files] I had on there.

Pornography was one thing (there was only a handful of files anyway), but–

— the worst was yet to come.

My friends soon discovered my unpublished fanfiction, which remains unpublished for very good reasons.

At this point, I thought to myself: (calm down. You can handle this, bro.)

I could actually [outwit my enemies]! So I wrote a bunch of crappy fanfiction when I was in high school? HA! Who cares? I’m proud of my fanfic roots!


So I actually opened up some of these old unpublished stories and showed them how harmless they were:

— parody lyrics of popular songs

— artsy pretentious vignettes

— a story called The True Ending of Prince of Tennis, which goes like this:

Then they all got together and had a massive gay orgy.


(It was all going so well.)

— and then my friends found this one document entitled [censored] and I realised all my efforts were for nothing since my idiot teenage self had actually written a derpy [lemon] without my knowledge or consent. Goddamn it, Froggy of the past!


I hastily slammed the lid of the laptop shut again.

“You saw nothing!” I screeched.

“Dude, you’re gonna break your laptop at this rate.”

“I think I saw the phrase ‘twelve-inch co-”



I started performing somersaults and backflips and bodily contortions much like a Chuunibyou Demo Koi ga Shitai! character.

“Man, you’re more hardcore than me,” said my hentai friend, the one who owns a hard drive solely dedicated to hentai. He was visibly impressed.

(I don’t need that kind of approval!)

At this point, I had my hands over my face, making sobbing sounds but without any tears.

“I’m ruined,” I said. “No one will marry me now.”

There was an awkward silence, as all my (male) friends looked at each other.

Some guy said, “Cheer up! You’ll always have your waifu!” and I said, “NRRRRRGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH” and then I started convulsing.

The story ends with those who call themselves my friends laughing at my sheer ineptitude at not only hiding porn but also at creating it. At that point, I realised that I was the Steph of my group. No two ways about it. There’s probably one in every group.


[a short reflection, if you please]

I’m an overly optimistic, trusting person who usually ends up as the butt end of jokes. And apparently my reaction faces are amusing. Watching No Game No Life was fun in the perverse way it sometimes is to watch a character who reminds you of yourself suffer terrible things in life. Steph reacts to everything in the same way I would. I’m even terrible at gaming. The only main difference between our personalities in day-to-day life is that I have less shame.

The show wasn’t a deep character study or anything, but the way it treated Steph was both hilarious and awful. This made me laugh or get extremely mad, depending on my mood. Steph was the only character I had any emotional attachment to in the show, and this is most likely because she was the only character who had human-like reactions to things.

Steph is the best character in No Game No Life, hands down. 

(n.b. If you were wondering about the [weird writing style] in this post, it’s because the post was inspired by the [light novel], which made use of many [strange literary devices] which made the story–

— unique?

— neurotic?

— the kind of experience unable to be encapsulated purely by words?

— hard to read?



  1. I commiserate with you on your friends outing your unpublished fanfiction (and reading it!). I’ve never written anything explicit (or even sexually suggestive) but having friends read aloud your tender, young thoughts penned by your teenage self is nothing short of mortifying.

    Also, Steph is best girl.

  2. I don’t know If I should be laughing at you or cringing. Instead I will say this: You’re such a Steph! ;P

    Also, Steph is great.

  3. Haha! This post reminded me how much of an adorable dork you are! Pffft.
    Even though I don’t watch the show, I might watch it later because my friend is also curious about it (and we’re rec’ing animes for each other)

      • Okay, maybe that part. I forgot about that part. But I maintain that the reality of ‘slumping over your laptop like a dead body’ was no less of an amusing overreaction.

    • Wait, are you “hentai friend” or “judging friend”?

      And by the way, Froggy, that was hilarious XD. I am more of a Sora-like kind of person (had I ever downloaded porn I would have hidden it in a misleading folder and possibly steganographed it inside otherwise harmless files. Plus I would have booby-trapped the laptop, Light Yagami style) so I can relate to the feeling of looking upon a Steph and shaking my head in disbelief.
      Btw, my girlfriend is kind of a Steph.

  4. Hahahhaa…. Dont worry froggy, Im the same too. Especially with my tendency (or fetish ) that….some of my friend know. at first it was very embarassing. but then…. I actually feel proud of my … inclination ! viva Steph!
    (though my fav chara is still Jibril)

  5. I think you will appreciate. Steph took the number 1 seed in the best girl tournament I’m running on Crunchyroll’s forums. So you are, at least, not universally despised.

    • This, of course, begs the question: what is the appeal of Steph for the non-Stephs in the audience? Is it that people like seeing someone so much more incompetent than themselves being made fun of, sp it makes them feel better about themselves? Is it a voyeuristic pleasure of seeing a female humiliated over and over again? Is it that they secretly admire her optimism and naiveté, wishing they were not so brooding and dark themselves?

      For my part, I consistently feel bad for Steph’s character (not her as a character, but the character itself). Her whole existence seems to be conceived in a spirit of meanness. She seems to be built around the two central tenants of being humiliated and making Sora/Shiro look good. It’s like what Bobduh is saying about Recon in his SAO write-ups: the character is so totally pathetic, that you can’t help but like Kirito because he’s not that.

      • I don’t think NGNL’s portrayal of Steph is entirely mean-spirited. Her faith in humanity and her loyalty to her grandfather are portrayed as genuinely respectable traits, and Sora and Shiro do tell her that they appreciate her. Nevertheless, I agree with you overall. I think Steph’s purpose as a character is to show the perspective of someone who doesn’t identify with hardcore gaming/otaku culture – the people who are, basically, NOT the show’s target audience. NGNL makes fun of this type of person and understands their usefulness in society, but its criticism is quite harsh: “Your own narrow-mindedness and blind acceptance of social norms makes you unable to let go and enjoy yourself.”

        The female exploitation doesn’t really help. At all. I understand that it’s in the spirit of fun, but it’s basically a demonstration of rape culture. “It’s your fault you’re so uppity about sex! We’re just having harmless fun by sexually harassing you and removing you of all human rights! Can’t you take a joke?”

        It’s actually quite sad and this won’t be the last time you’ll be seeing me write about this issue in regards to NGNL. But I did want to have fun too, because I’m not against self-deprecating humour, and so this post was born.

      • I think people who are bothered by Steph take the violence stuff too seriously. It’s a effectively cartoon violence. Should we be bothered about how Bugs Bunny treats Daffy Duck? I’m not saying that all violence in anime is cartoon violence. Obviously some is serious stuff. The Steph abusive is clearly presented as “cartoon violence”.

        I don’t see it as mean spirited. They are just making fun of her. I mean, most people probably wouldn’t claim that froggy’s friends are being abusive right?

        • Froggy did make a good point that Steph is essentially a foil character to Sora/Shrio’s NEET/otaku personas—she’s normal, but she’s specifically portrayed as someone to be made fun of. That’s not what I’m complaining about.

          It’s the sexual harassment that bothers me. You can make fun of people as stereotypes of groups of people all you want (although it’s not great). But it’s pretty uncool to watch the show strip Steph naked over and over again, humiliate her, grope her, and then make fun of her on top of all that.

          Froggy made another good point about rape culture, but it’s wider than that. That sort of thing is unacceptable whether it is a guy or a girl. I mean, I believe in the intrinsic dignity of human beings. So it’s tough to stomach Steph essentially being degraded from a person to an object to be made fun of in basically all aspects of her identity as a human being.

          • I could still classify it as “cartoon violence” even though it’s actual sexual harassment. That said, it’s true that there are “lines” and for you, they crossed that line.

            One thing I will say is about your comment about your of Steph being “degraded from a person to an object”. It’s true in the sense that she is being sexualized/objectified but I assume that’s not what you mean, instead, I am assume that you believe the abuse she suffers “degrades her a person” more so than the standard fanservice stuff. In which case I disagree. That might be how it appears to you, however, I don’t think that was how it was intended to be interpreted .

            An example of something similar is in the last season of Game of Thrones. In an episode there was a scene which many people interpreted to be rape. According to the people who wrote the scene it was not rape. Thus it was not rape. The fact that some people initially viewed the scene as rape (I don’t disagree to be honest, I fast forwarded it) means that the scene wasn’t as clear as it should have been, but that doesn’t somehow make the scene a rape scene. The writes are the people who decide what things are. That’s how fiction works.

            • The writes are the people who decide what things are. That’s how fiction works.

              Well, yes and no. The writers decide how they want a story to be interpreted, but I’d argue that how the story is interpreted by others ultimately means a lot more, especially when it comes to the story’s lasting impact on our culture.

              In the case of NGNL, I can’t help but interpret it as an example of laughing off sexual abuse as a joke. The context of the Steph abuse is a show where every other female is also sexualised as fanservice jokes, and the context the novel was written in is an otaku culture which is… pretty misogynistic, to put it mildly. Sure, Kamiya Yuu probably intended the bullying to be affectionate and I do sympathise with the message that we shouldn’t take ourselves so seriously. I understand what you’re saying that it’s cartoon violence and that it’s exaggerated for humour’s sake. But at the same time, the subtext is there and it shouldn’t be ignored.

              So how do I personally prefer to read NGNL? I like the message about having fun, and this entire post is an exercise in self-deprecating humour. But I’d rather not hurt people with my fun and I want to remain sensitive of that. So I think it’s very important to call NGNL out on its maliciousness, whether it’s intended or not. That, I think, is the purpose of criticism, and why I prefer not to simply swallow the author’s message.

            • The show is pretty misogynistic. However, that is a criticism you can apply to the entire show, rather than Steph specifically. I’m not trying to defend or address that at all.

              But I’d rather not hurt people with my fun and I want to remain sensitive of that. So I think it’s very important to call NGNL out on its maliciousness, whether it’s intended or not

              My point is that Steph isn’t actually hurt by this. So people are just imposing their own issues onto the show by acting as if she is hurt by it, or that she should be.

            • I think people focus on the Steph harassment because it’s representative of how the females are treated in the show. They all get harassed and it gets passed off as a joke, generally. Steph’s case is just way more exaggerated, so it’s really noticeable.

  6. Ah yes I know that feeling. Friendly banter can be some of the most embarrassing and fun things ever. It’s pretty infuriating when they manage to take EVERYTHING you say and turn it into a sexual remark. A lot of what I say are double entendres (the unintentional kind) which really doesn’t help.
    Although its not nice when people quote what I say out of context or twist my words (Explains to a friend that apparently, a lot of people think that all my friends are my lovers. Another friend eavesdrops and quotes me on “all my friends are my lovers”.)
    These shenanigans are fun but exhausting. I normally end up running away in embarrassment though.
    Froggy-kun you probably had fun as well when your friends were teasing you right?

    • “all my friends are my lovers”


      jks, I’m glad someone else understands what I put up with ;) And yeah, I have fun with the teasing too, unless it oversteps certain moral boundaries. But half the time I don’t even know where the boundaries are, since I’m 100% uke.

      …what did i just type

  7. After that autobiographical post the other day and now this, my perception of you has been radically changed…. Regardless, I still love your blog! But after reading this post and some of your others, I feel like something is missing. I can clearly see that you’re a man who likes his yaoi, but where is all the yuri? I must admit that this genre often seems to be rather more shallow than its female oriented counterpart, but it would be foolish to completely dismiss it. So froggykun, what’s your stance on yaoi vs yuri?

    • Haha, yeah! There’s really not a lot about yuri on this blog, huh? To be completely honest, I’m not very keen on the genre. I don’t really enjoy shows featuring all-girl casts, nor am I big on moe despite intellectually understanding the appeal. Yuri shipping in non-Yuri shows I’m fine with and engage in sometimes – I’m partial towards Yozora x Sena from Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai and Kirino x Kuroneko from OreImo – but in general I don’t get engaged by how anime tends to portray female relationships. I complain about that a little here: https://fantasticmemes.wordpress.com/2013/08/17/cute-girl-anime-and-the-female-adolescent-experience-or-why-you-should-watch-love-lab/

      Then there’s the fact that I just don’t find lesbians titillating. I don’t find homoerotica (male or female) appealing on that level. I have nothing against either genre; both are neutral to me. But I’m more sympathetic of fujoshi than I am of male otaku, and I find it saddening how fujoshi are often marginalised and stereotyped as screaming fangirls. So you could say my endorsement of yaoi culture is rather politically motivated.

      • Hey, you’re being kinda discriminatory here :P I LOVE YURI -quite a few women do. Mainly manga though tbh. I love both actually, but perhaps lately I lean more torwards yuri because the fanservice tends to be less in my face, the relationships are less power polarized etc. // Obnoxious fans know no gender. But I bet everyone even once has been like that, so…

        Going back to the post, I hope you’re not insulted by me liking it. I know what you mean about the porn stash. Though it’s on the outer disc not in the downloads. Reason: what happens if the pc breaks down and then someone gets to play around to fix it? It’d probably be in a very embarassing and troubling position.

        P.S.: About Steph and any other character in fiction it’s important imho that they are literally /not/ humans, thus they haven’t got human rights. They also can be great ways to explore kink fantasies with no harm in RL. I think that Nozaki-kun made a great point on the foolishness of anyone equating fiction with RL (you know, when Mikorin used VN as love advice). But we’ve probably discussed this before.

        • Hmm, maybe I would like yuri more if I read more manga and didn’t just base my impressions off “cute girls doing cute things” shows (which aren’t even technically yuri in most cases, I admit).

          About treating characters in fiction as human, I think it’s a case-by-case issue, honestly. It really depends on what the author is going for. While you’re right that fictional characters don’t literally have human rights, humans tend to empathise with human-like behaviour no matter where they see it. It’s kind of like how we see human-like traits in animals and robots. That’s why stories can resonate in the first place.

          No Game No Life is in one of those grey areas where you’re supposed to empathise with Steph while laughing at all the cartoony suffering she puts up with. It’s natural this could lead to confusion for some viewers, especially when the jokes get a bit mean-spirited. So I think my reaction is pretty normal.

          • I understand where you’re coming from. Of course we identify with 2D characters, and fiction can be a balm for our souls. My objection lies in the fact that it’s /our/ responsibility as interpretators of whatever message to have filters and clear distinction between what’s not fun and games in RL. Education is a major key to this (and I’m almost quite proud to say that as a teacher).

  8. http://strawpoll.me/1517599/r
    >> bully Steph

    Steph may be the show’s butt monkey, but I think many of us are cheering her on. Out of all the supporting cast defeated by Sora/Shiro, she is the only one shown to continue challenging them again and again, despite always losing. Steph just might be the character with the most potential for growth, representing the humanity that Sora believes in. While Sora/Shiro’s mantra is “Blank does not lose”, Steph seems to have the force of will that she will one day win.

    • That Tet option… O_o

      About Steph, I do see your point there. The bullying is affectionate when it’s not sexually exploitative. It makes me wonder how the audience would have reacted to her if she had been male. Being a Steph has nothing to do with gender, after all! (As this post proved)

  9. I don’t think you Steph. Rather, Steph is clearly a Froggy.

    You are a better (worse?) Steph than Steph.

    I hide all mine in a Download\Other\Old folder. It’s hidden and only my user has access to it. Only problem is that I often forget to move them from the Completed Torrents folder, as I normally want to keep them there until I’ve evened up the download/upload ratio.

    • To Love Ru Darkness is still in the Completed Torrents folder, since I’m not sure if it should go into my Anime folder or the other one…

  10. […] No Game No Life made me realise that the one thing I can’t take seriously is people who take games too seriously. This show furiously masturbates to the idea of the PERFECT GAMER. I’m pretty sure you’re not meant to see Sora and Shiro as nice people, but at the same time, you’re supposed to idealise certain parts of them. They’re misunderstood geniuses – socially awkward and morally twisted, but enlightened in other ways. Steph represents the endearing idiots who just don’t get games and must be educated via humiliation. (Full disclosure: I’m a Steph.) […]

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