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–
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My friends soon discovered my unpublished fanfiction, which remains unpublished for very good reasons.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So I actually opened up some of these old unpublished stories and showed them how harmless they were: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-”
“UWAAAAAAAAAAGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHH! FORGET YOU SAW ANYTHING! FORGET YOU SAW ANYTHING!!!”
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–
— the kind of experience unable to be encapsulated purely by words?
— hard to read?
— ALL OF THE ABOVE.)