Every anime season, there’s that one show that’s a bit tongue-in-cheek or “campy” if you will, and this season is no different. This time, I’m going take a look at an anime that has a semi-realistic/semi-unrealistic approach to the video game industry. This is New Game!
A great deal of people often dream about what it would be like to work for a video game company. The thought of flexing your creativity for your favorite game company and/or creating the game of your dreams is often sought out by game creator hopefuls, but the real world industry isn’t like that at all, unless you just happen to be New Game!
Aoba is 18 years old and fresh out of high school. She lands a job at Eagle Jump, a game company that is responsible for the creation of her favorite series “Fairies Story.” Her role in this company is that of a character designer. She doesn’t know much about character design, but the company is willing to train her. Aoba then deals with the pressures of having to create amazing-looking characters within a deadline time frame so the game can have a successful launch.
There really isn’t anymore to the story of New Game! other than that, to be honest. This is a slice-of-life anime through and through that does have some realistic elements to it, but also some unrealistic elements as well.
First off, it is realistic in the fact that games do have deadlines and one minute you’ll find yourself cruising along at your normal eight hour shift and then you will be living there during crunch time. There are events in which your game is announced as well as catering for the workers and staff parties. Those realistic elements of the video game industry and represented here pretty nicely.
On the flip side, it is NOT realistic that an 18 year old will be hired fresh out of high school with little to no experience. If, by some miracle or God-like connection that actually happens, then the company most certainly will not train you to do your job. If you get your foot in the door of a game company and you don’t know how to make characters, they will not hand you a “For Dummies” book and give you time to learn. In fact, you won’t even be a character designer. You’ll probably end up as a janitor, or even worse, a member of Quality Assurance where you’ll sit and play the same 10 frames of a game 8 hours a day in an attempt to break it and/or find game-breaking bugs and glitches.
Aoba’s insertion into the company is, essentially, a plot device. It was necessary to tell the story of New Game!, but it gives aspiring game designers an incorrect scenario in which they can get hired. Had Aoba been a fresh out of college student with a background in character design, the show would been a hundred times more believable, but despite this major flaw, the show still has a heart-warming air about it and if you’re looking something light-hearted that you can just sit back and enjoy, then you’ll probably end up liking the show for it’s atmosphere alone.
She is the pure and innocent girl who is naive about the game design industry and…. That’s it. Aoba has almost zero personality that makes her unique as a character. In fact, in most shows like this, there’s always that one character who is drawn in such a way where she is overly cute or adorable to the point where she was obviously created to be the center of attention. Aoba is that character.
She also must be a complete and total genius because she went from having zero knowledge of character design to having some of the best looking characters in the game by the end of episode four. While she has determination, nobody learns character design that fast. Her nervousness makes her akin to any new employee, but here it’s used to enhance her cute factor more than develop her personality. Aoba is about as vanilla as they come, but her actions, design and mannerisms will still make anyone fall in love with her. Damn lolis.
She is the Lead Character Designer and a hero to Aoba. She worked on the first two installments of Fairies Story and she causes Aoba to become starstruck at first, but that quickly fades away and the two develop a normal relationship. Kou gets SOME backstory, but most of it is crammed into the final episode, which kind of sucks. Outside of her development, we know that she is a hard worker who usually stays overnights and refuses to wear pants when she’s in the office alone.
As a character, she was a decent leader and there is an instance where she even questions her abilities. That was a bit of foreshadowing for the events in the final episode, but it was so subtle it was easily overlooked because the nibble wasn’t big enough for anyone to really care. Still, she was a decent main character, but at times, she felt like a supporting character.
She is the Art Director for Aoba’s department and… that’s it. Her only other outstanding quality is that she is Kou’s best friend and is extremely organized. In fact, she’s so much of a friend to Kou that there are even some yuri hints going on there, but nothing is really confirmed throughout the series. I understand that some friends are close, but it seems Rin and Kou take that to a different level at times.
I didn’t really remember all that much about Rin’s character outside the closet yuri stuff. She kind of floated in the background and was used only when she was needed. Sadly, a lot of the characters are like this as, afterall, this show is about Aoba and we need to give the moe loli all the attention!
She is a character animator that got stuck in the character design section because her section of the office was full. She is a full on otaku who loves to collect toy and plastic models. She is often seen playing with lightsabers in order to experience the way her characters should be animated.
She has a bit of an outgoing personality at times and at other times she seems a bit introverted. It was hard to pin her personality completely, but she is outgoing most of the time. She does have a brashness about her that makes her a bit of a firecracker though, so it’s nice to see some characters with spunk every now and then. As a supporting character, it seems her role is to break up the monotony with some raised volume from time to time, which isn’t a bad thing. She was a fun character all around.
If there ever was an introvert, it’s her. She can’t deal with being talked to so she converses through E-mails and text messages… even if the person is sitting right next to her. She does; however, have a bit of a cosplay fetish and will attend conventions in costume. She also has a pet hedgehog that she uses as her only friend which is kind of sad, if you think about it. Outside of this, she’s a bit of a senpai to Aoba as she gives her tips from time to time. Her quietness makes her a bit of a lovable character, but the show doesn’t really do much with her outside of that.
She’s one of the character designers and is Shinoda’s friend. I really wish I could say more, but that’s about her extent. In fact, other than filling the fourth seat in their cubicle, I have no idea why she is even in this show. Vanilla seems too gourmet when describing the kind of character that she is.
She is the director for Fairies Stories 3 and the boss of bosses, but despite that, she’s only stern when she needs to be. Otherwise, she’s pretty down to Earth and the one big nuance about her is that she brings her cat to work. The cat makes more appearances than this character, by the way. If I could only see more of this character, then perhaps I could feel some sort of attachment to her, but she’s around for a cup of coffee and then gone for several episodes only to appear here or there.
She hates being called by her last name and is a gun nut. She’s constantly trying to shoot people with toy guns and even has her own training course up on the roof of the building. Honestly, I loved this character the most out of all of them because of her attitude. She’s very tsundere-like in the fact that she’s cold towards most people, but she’s quickly caught in her own tomfoolery. She has a lovable side to her and it’s always comedy whenever she’s on screen!
OH… MY… GOD… SOMEONE JAM A SCREWDRIVER INTO MY EAR DRUMS!
She’s Aoba’s childhood friend and she’s about to go to college and… okay, I can’t do this.
Seriously… She has got to be the MOST ANNOYING character I have seen in my time watching anime. She’s loud, obnoxious, naive and acts like a little kid. On top of that, the voice actress gave her the highest pitched, nails on chalkboard voice I have ever heard. If this… THING… was the main character of this show, I would have instantly dropped it, poured a concoction of hazardous liquids on it and set that ablaze.
How in God’s Green Earth did anyone stand this character? It would have been fine if she had just stuck to simple phone conversations with Aoba, but then she ends up working at Eagle Jump as a game tester and we have to see her in EVERY EPISODE from that point forward. No… No… just no. This character gets a -10/5.
Art, Animation, & Sound
The art was okay for this show. Backgrounds in this day and age will look good and the office environment and urban setting were done pretty well. The character designs did stand out with Aoba being the star of the show due to moe loli reasons. All of the facial expressions did bring life to each character and helped enhance their personalities, but outside of that, the show was pretty standard fare for something done in 2016.
The same can be said for the animation, too. New Game! does switch to CG animation when showing scenes from inside the Fairies Story 3 game, though and it’s not wrong for doing that. It is glaringly obvious when it switches to CG, but since it’s used to depict a video game, it works perfectly. Doga Kobo/Kadokawa did a great job utilizing the CG in the areas that made the most sense and it didn’t break the suspension of disbelief for this show. Nice job!
New Game!’s OST was completely forgettable and the opening/ending themes sound like they came out of a generic anime song generator. Solid pastel colors? Check. Female vocals sung by the cast of the show? Check. Upbeat synth/rock/with wind instrument of choice? Check. The songs have it all and unless you’re a fan of that stuff, these songs are completely skippable.
New Game! has a lot of flaws ranging from its character development to its unrealistic look at the video game industry, but despite all of that, it still brings a campy and light-hearted feeling to the slice of life genre that still ends up being enjoyable. Fans of moe loli will instantly love this while casual fans may still find some of the humor fun to watch. It is, by no means a bad show, but it’s no masterpiece either. It’s middle of the road and a good time killer if you don’t have anything else to watch.
If you are a geek and know about the video game industry, then New Game! might be a bit off putting for you. It’s one of those shows where you have to switch off your brain and just sit back and watch it for what it is rather than what it should be. If you can do that, then New Game will be a bit more enjoyable. It would be a LOT more enjoyable without Nene, though.
New Game!, while unrealistic at times, does bring forth some smiles with its light comedy, but the undeveloped characters leave a lot to be desired. Plus, there is Nene.