While I find myself struggling to find time to play video games, I always manage to find time to watch anime. Watching an anime about video-games is almost like killing two birds with one stone, right? Enter New Game! A comedy all about working in the video game industry.
New Game! follows Aoba Suzukaze, a fresh high school graduate embarking on the adventure that is joining the workforce. Aoba manages to secure her dream job working as a character designer for her favorite video game company, Eagle Jump. Not only that, she finds out she is working under her idol, lead character designer Ko Yagami. Even more exciting is that the game she is working on is Faeries Story 3, a continuation game that’s part of her favorite series! With so much awesome happening, how could this life suck in any way?!
As Aoba soon finds out, being an adult can suck in a lot of different ways. Long hours at the office, little time to spend with friends, being accountable, and learning your job are things that weigh down even the most upbeat and well-seasoned adults among us. Even still, with great coworkers in her life, Aoba learns to appreciate the life of an office worker. She progresses through character designing and is able to go to both a convention and launch day of the game to enjoy the hype. The energy and love she feels from the fans and her coworkers inspires her to continue on with character design to hopefully become a lead designer like her idol.
One thing I especially enjoyed about New Game! was how they made Ko vulnerable in an extremely relatable way. At the wrap party for Faeries Story 3, game director Shizuku Hazuki approaches Ko about being art director for their next project. Ko expresses disinterest, which confuses Aoba. Hazuki then tells Aoba how Ko was the art director for Faeries Story 2 and her strictness and need for perfection led to a new hire quitting. The new hire quitting hit Ko pretty hard and rocked her confidence in her leadership skills. This doubt is extremely relatable and made Ko feel like a more realistic character.
The story itself is fairly straightforward and follows its end goal nicely. The story is also fairly authentic in the types of antics that happen in an office setting. From temperature fights to watercooler talks and even the awkward work outing, New Game! captures the good and bad of the office life. While there wasn’t much happening that would be considered deep or ground-breaking, New Game! has a cute plot which is the perfect pick-me-up to cure any bad mood.
Animated by Doga Kobo, New Game! has a unique and cute batch of characters. It does pull the typical anime trope of giving the protagonist a unique hair color, but makes up for it by giving the rest of the characters interesting hairstyles and eye colors. I looked up other anime this studio has worked on and saw they are also the studio behind Himouto! Umaru-Chan. In hindsight, the two universes share a lot of similarities in character design, specifically in head shape. Still, it works for their studio and fits the overall theme of the anime, so it doesn’t detract from watching or enjoyment.
New Game! is an anime filled with characters I’d love to be friends with, but know we’d never make it work. When not talking about deadlines, Aoba and her coworkers have the most superficial conversations ever. From worrying about diets, to fights about the temperature in the office, to discussion of their lack of boyfriends, they’re all conversations I’ve had at one point in my life. However, they’re not the only thing I talk to my coworkers about. Considering they seem to be trying to foster friendships, you’d think their conversations would extend farther than water coolers banter. Still, there’s hope that season two fleshes out their characters more.
Packaging & Bonus Materials
Having been spoiled by the Yuri!!! On Ice box set I just received, I find myself expecting a lot more out of box sets. In the case of New Game! the box set is pretty lackluster. There’s no fun goodies or inserts. The bonus features only include textless versions of the opening and closing theme songs, along with some trailers. For how much a box set costs, I find myself wanting more from standard editions.
All in all, New Game! is a cute anime series. While the dialogue can be a little superficial at times, I still find myself looking forward to season two. Fans looking to add New Game! to their collection can purchase it here from Funimation.