Written By: Anonymous
New Game! jumped onto the anime scene back in 2016. It became a favorite title with all of their adorable characters made by studio Doga Kubo. It gained a lot of attention on social media with many who follow simulcasts, and fans were in for a treat with FUNimation announcing that they would dub the series as well (to the surprise of many fans). New Game! follows the workers at the Eagle Jump game studio as they work on the next installment in the Fairy Story game series.
The protagonist of the series is Aoba Suzukaze, the newest hire for Eagle Jump straight out of school. She is highly motivated to try to learn how to be better at making character models for games since she has a high affinity to art. We follow Aoba as she tries to fit in as an adult and make a name for herself in character designing. However, it’s not just Suzukaze who we see at Eagle Jump. Her coworkers include Hifumi Takimoto a timid and soft-spoken worker, preferring to communicate mainly using instant messaging. She has difficulty trying to hold a conversation or speak her mind when she wants to say something but is trustworthy to a lot of her peers. Yun Iijima has a year of experience working at Eagle Jump. She tries to act calm and collected but gets easily flustered whenever she is teased about her youthful appearance. Hajime Shinoda is an eccentric girl who works on character movement. She prefers to act out movements when working, no matter how goofy she ends up looking or how distracting she is being for everyone else working around her. She started at Eagle Jump the same time that Iijima did, and the two are pretty close. Although, Shinoda is teased a lot and seems to fit in more with the character design team than the motion team. There are two supervisors in the art department. The first supervisor is Ko Yagami, an experienced artist who becomes a mentor to Suzukaze, pushing her to try her best She is always second guessing if her leadership methods are useful or not leading to some exciting drama throughout the series. The other supervisor is Rin Tōyama. Rin is the more responsible of the supervisors, preferring to take her job much more seriously than Yagami and at times has to give Yagami advice on mentoring Suzukaze.
The plot of the series mostly just follows the day to day activities that go on at the Eagle Jump office. It seems to follow the model of “cute girls doing cute things.” There can be long stretches of time where there isn’t a single point of conflict. The lack of conflict was a bit of a surprise for me because I was expecting there to be some significant conflict where there is a deadline for the game they are working on that causes stress for everyone. Maybe my expectations were a little high, considering this is a slice-of-life series and not a drama. But I did think that things wouldn’t go as smooth for Suzukaze as they did. A significant deadline does come up, but that issue was resolved in half an episode. To my surprise, someone accidentally eating a co-workers pudding cup causes more of a conflict than the deadline.
However, this is something that I enjoyed since it fits well with the laid-back tone of the show. Since the show has such a bright and cheery art style and tone, it would feel almost out of place to add a massive point of conflict near the end just for the sake of conflict. Instead the show just chooses to maintain a relaxing feeling throughout the series. Which is a considerable strength of New Game!. Series like this aren’t meant to try and grab viewers due to some compelling plot point. We are watching because we are invested in the girls working on their project and want to have a lovely time watching. The silly moments and everyday life scenes we get to see just makes New Game! easy watching. Something that I can’t see many people shying away from.
The thing that I really like about the comedy is how it does not rely on referencing old video game jokes. There are no lazy game reference jokes like “arrow to the knee” or “all your base are belong to us.” Instead, the humor is based more on the interactions between the characters. This for me helps to make the series much more endearing since it does not have to rely on overused jokes that would only cause the series to feel dated or a joke of itself. That wasn’t the direction that New Game! needed to go. While I enjoy the fact that the setting was at a video game company, it wasn’t the sole focus meaning that the jokes weren’t meant to be about video games. Instead, it was more about the funny social interactions coworkers have with one another. It makes the series feel more intune with the audience that it is catered to.
The Blu-ray set itself is a little underwhelming compared to what most FUNimation sets offer. The discs themselves have simple pastel colors with a controller added on for additional artwork. I do appreciate how the cover of Blu-ray case is different from the artwork on the slipcover. The Blu-ray menus have a nice touch of using a sound effect that feels like it comes out a video game whenever you move from option to option. As for extra features, there is just the clean OP and ED as well as a few trailers for other FUNimation shows. It is disappointing there is no commentary for any episodes since most FUNimation releases have commentary for at least one episode.
Overall someone’s enjoyment of the series will depend on their feelings towards the slice-of-life genre. There is not much conflict in this series, instead just focusing on comedy that comes from the day to day activities at the office. If you enjoy that type of show, you’ll most likely enjoy New Game!. If you want some conflict for the cast to overcome, New Game! is probably not a show for you.