The second season to one of the most unrealistic looks into the video game industry is here! Of course, I’m talking about New Game!!…. with two exclamation points to let you know that this is, indeed, the second season! Does the second season stand up the same quality as the first?
In New Game!!, the team is enjoying the release of Fairies 3, but it’s time to move onto a new project. There, things get shuffled around a bit and Aoba ends up as the Lead Character Designer for the new project, which ends up getting named PECO… a game about wearing a plushie suits of different animals.
I wish I would elaborate more, but that’s the gist of season two. It’s the journey of Aoba in her new role as she works on this brand new project. She’s faced with new challenges and it’s how she overcomes those challenges that drives this second season forward. Of course, she is supported by her team members as well so she doesn’t have to go it alone, but outside of the new positions and a couple of new characters, it still feels like the old New Game that we watched before, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing because the first season was actually decently good.
Even though it’s pretty straightforward, there are some moments in the show that really make you feel bad for Aoba. Those same moments even cause her to question whether or not she should deserve her new position. The biggest moment is when they decide that they want Yagami to do the key visual art because they don’t think Aoba’s art is good enough to sell the game. From a business perspective, it’s completely understandable and that kind of thing does happen in real life… not just in the game industry, but in any industry, but from the anime’s perspective, it adds a bit of drama to an otherwise light-hearted show.
On the flipside, Nene ends up getting a three month contract after she makes her own video game in her spare time. She wants to try her hand at programming, but Umiko isn’t about to let her just dive right in, but her debugging skills come into play later which end up saving the game.
Outside of these stories, New Game is about as straightforward as it gets, but the heart of season two comes with the development of its characters.
Typically, when I review a second season, I like to skip the characters section and refer you to my previous review due to spoiler reasons, but New Game is a bit different. Their characters aren’t really built around spoilers so it’s okay to actually talk about them without ruining anything. That’s one of the things I like about New Game!!
She’s 19 in this show and in her second year with Eagle Jump she gets promoted to Lead Character Designer. I’ll go into why that I am completely bothered by that in my overall thoughts, but for the sake of the character, she’s still the same optimistic Aoba you know and love from season one. When it’s implied that her art isn’t good enough to sell PECO, she takes it kind of hard, but due to the nature of her character, she still marches forward with determination. The heartbreaking moment and the pivotal point of her development is when she pours her heart and soul into creating a piece of key art and then goes to take a look at Yagami’s. Even though she did everything to the best of her ability, she knew that she lost the competition and breaks down into tears. It’s a great moment for her character because it shows that she really is human after all and not just some happy-go-lucky girl who’s motto is to just try hard and smile 24/7. It was probably one of the best moments from the show.
In this season, she resumes her old title as Art Director… a step up from the Lead Character Designer title she held last season. While Yagami seems like the same exact character from season one, things do begin to change for her. Again, it was that pivotal point when it’s implied that Aoba’s art won’t sell. Yagami becomes enraged over it and stands up for Aoba, but in the end, she did the key visual anyway. This puts things into perspective for Yagami and it brings up a lot of internal conflict which later manifests towards the end of the season. It was a nice twist on her character and it makes me wonder if there will be a season three to see the results of that twist.
In my original review, I couldn’t stand this character and I still can’t. I cringe every single time Nene opens her mouth. Her voice is like nails on a chalkboard and she’s too inept for her own good. I guess that’s supposed to give her character a certain charm, but I’m just not seeing it. She does have a bit of a redemption when Tsubame’s (one of our new characters) code wasn’t tested properly and ends up creating a massive problem near the game’s deadline. Nene’s debugging skills are a lot higher than her programming abilities and she takes charge and overcomes the differences between her and Tsubame to pull the team through. It really showed the strength of Nene’s character and it made me kind of like her. Then she opened her mouth and all of that went right out the window.
She is an intern who joins Eagle Jump late in the season with hopes of becoming a programmer. Her parents run a hotel and want her to take over the family business, but she was defiant against doing so in order to follow her dream. Her parents told her that she will be excused if she can get hired by a company. Tsubame bets everything on this internship and it causes frictions between her and Nene. While Tsubame is giving it everything she has, Nene doesn’t exactly treat things seriously. In fact, she’s okay with the fact that her minigame works just find until the marble reaches the goal. Tsubame kind of goes off on her about that lazy attitude and it creates that friction between the two, but when Tsubame’s code breaks the game, Nene, after learning of Tsubame’s reasons for being so focused, does whatever she can to help and ends up saving the day causing the two of them to become friends. I don’t know if I really enjoyed Tsubame as a character. While her backstory did explain her personality, it didn’t really give me much reason to care.
She’s the other intern and Tsubame’s roommate/childhood friend. Momiji joins the character design team because, like Aoba, she has a deep admiration for Yagami Kou. Momiji actually doesn’t think highly of the art for PECO and when she discovers that it’s Aoba that did the art, she makes Aoba her rival, claiming that she will do whatever it takes to surpass her. When Momiji learns that even Aoba has tasted failure, she begins to respect her just a little more. As for her personality, she’s kind of quiet… the kind that lives in her head… so she has some flashes of Hifumi in her. She’s also slow to warm to up people, but despite this, I just couldn’t get into her character all that much. I think the problem with both Momiji and Tsubame is when they are introduced. Had they been around for the entirety of the season, it might have made things different
The rest of the characters are, pretty much, the same from season one. Hifumi is slowly growing out of her shell, but not by much, but you can see some progress. Also, I found it pretty hilarious that they heavily insinuated Rin to be a lesbian who likes Yamagi. Especially towards the end when Shizuku says “let the lovers be” and takes the crew along with her to a maid café in continuation of their release celebration. Oh that tease.
Art, Animation, and Sound
Douga Kobo is back once again and everything from the art to the characters were exactly as you remember them. Tsubame and Momiji’s designs were pretty well-done and they meshed well with the other team members so that they stood out enough and didn’t blend into the background. Despite being new characters that came in late, they didn’t really feel out of place.
The animation was pretty well-done, especially when they were showing off the development of the game. Here, CGI was used and while, yes, it stood out like a sore thumb, it was done so on purpose to differentiate between the anime and the video game. See? This is how you make CGI stick out on purpose and do it in the right way! It is jarring to see typical animation switch over to exaggerated CGI (like in Chaos Dragon), but here, it’s on purpose and it actually feels natural. When you see the CGI, you realize and understand that it’s to represent the video game that they are working on. Therefore, it makes sense to our brains that it’s supposed to stand out and it just meshes with the show beautifully!
As with any slice-of-life show, the OST is nothing more than background noise. The opening and endings were okay at best, but it’s just another “insert voice actor for character into lead vocal role and slap on some upbeat electronic melody” song. This trend is become WAY more common in anime these days and it’s really starting to make me wonder if actual bands and/or recording artists are starting to stray away from lending their music to anime. Nine times out of ten, the songs produced this way are easily forgettable or just downright terrible (See Anonymous Noise).
I felt that the second season of New Game was just as good, if not better, than the first season. My only qualm is how they treat the way the game industry works. What makes it even more baffling is that Shoutarou Tokunou, the creator of New Game, is a former game developer himself. That means he, of all people, should know that it is virtually impossible to downright unheard of that someone would get hired by a video game company, fresh out of high school, get placed on the character development team with zero experience and receive training on the job. It is also infinitely impossible that you will also get promoted to Lead Character Designer in your second year with the company… especially when you can go to any major or independent game developer and see that all lead positions require a minimum of 3-5 years of exceptional work and experience… not to mention a degree in some cases.
Having a game design degree myself, I find this notion of making it in the game industry straight out of high school to be extremely far-fetched to the point where breaks the suspension of disbelief. For people who don’t know any better, they may watch this show and think that actually happens in the game industry and they might feel inclined to put in an application fresh out of high school. If you are 18 and get accepted into a character designer role with no prior experience…. That means that you either A) somehow managed to start your own studio and gave yourself that role or B) you have artistic skills and knowledge of the game design industry so advanced that even God himself will bow to you.
I understand it’s an anime… it’s entertainment and it’s not supposed to make sense. Hell, 99.9% of anime is unrealistic.. that’s why it’s anime and that’s why we love it, but the whole misrepresentation of the game industry just bothers me. It’s like… even though I know I’m supposed to overlook it, I just can’t for some reason.
Be that as it may, if you enjoyed the first season of New Game!, you’re going to love this second season. The extra drama and the heart-touching ending make the show very worthwhile. While it does misrepresent the game industry, New Game still offers up realistic challenges that every company faces so not all of it is a complete fabrication. The only thing that bothers me is the way the show ended. It looks like it leaves the door open for a third season, but at the same time, it ends in a way where you can safely say “this is it” and just walk away and not return. I hope we get a third season as I would love to see more New Game!!
Until next time,
New Game!! brought with it a bit more drama that makes you feel better connected to the characters. In that retrospect, it took the simple formula of the first season and made it better! This was a joy to watch!