You graduate high school with an ambition to be apart of something bigger and something meaningful to you so you sign-up as a digital artist for a company called Eagle Jump. During your stay you find out that you get to be apart of a close knit family of developers, artists and debuggers; not to mention you get to work on the third installment of the gaming series that grabbed your attention. New Game! Is just this scenario and more. It’s an adventure of growth, fun and friendship. The anime follows Aoba Suzukaze as she starts her job working for a gaming company. Along the way she meets the inspiration as to why she loves character design a certain Yagami Ko and is thus driven to be the best that she can be in order to give a bit back to a company that has filled her childhood years with such fond memories.
A Story that’s as fluffy as it’s characters are moe: New Game! Is an anime that looks to take us into a company that is as moe as it is fluffy. The fictional company of Eagle Jump is host to some amazing and talented young women who all share one passion; gaming. They are playful and hardworking, yet they also share close relationships; especially concerning Yagami and Rin. The story is in full honesty nothing too grand or entirely special. It simply follows a day to day telling of a video game company that is working on the third entry in their gaming series. That is not to say that it is without a lesson learned or general theme. Frankly this anime has quite a few and the one that I predominantly saw was the development of personal character in being able to reach out from your protective shell in order to accomplish great things; whether that be flawless character design or embracing leadership as an Art Director. We see the push to better oneself primarily through the leading lady Aoba Suzukaze, but we also see this in characters like Nenechi or Hifumi.
Seeing these characters push and learn is pleasing beyond all reason. I love being able to watch an anime that is more than pure fan-service. Granted this anime does have it’s moments although it mainly revolves around the characters Yagami and Rin as they are the golden-yuri couple in this anime. While not an actual couple they are a shipped couple. Granted I have chatted a bit about how I feel about fan based OTP’s and I feel that this is one of the few times I would be totally fine with the fan pushing or ‘shipping’ of these two characters! I mean just look at them! There are a few pantie shots here and there but nothing that the story actually pushes and focuses on which is just absolutely beautiful. As I mentioned in the highlight before I started writing this section New Game! Looks and feels massively fluffy and moe. The characters are so very cute and their mannerisms are just absolutely dripping with kawaii. The characters are so well designed that they hardly mesh together, but there are a few like Umiko or Yagami who happen to share very similar proportions. Don’t let that one example off put you when it comes to the actual character diversity, because there is a vast amount. Their moe nature fits so well with the fluffiness of the story as it goes about telling their day to day doings and trials they go through. Whether they are successful or not each episode is delightful beyond reason and it always left us with a feeling and sense of enjoyment.
Never once did I feel that the anime was too overbearing in certain regards; nor was it lacking in anyway. I felt every episode gave a situation that was explained and presented in such a way that it meant that each episode could be thoroughly enjoyed. Granted these are my personal opinions in regards to the actual pacing and as such I can guarantee you may not feel the same way. I have not felt this joyful about an anime since the fantastic anime Shirobako.
The Sights and Sounds: This should come as no surprise to our regular, but we do love to chat a bit about the sounds and background artworks in an anime. These items can very much add or detract from an anime’s overall face value and enjoyable nature. If one is too lessened or overbearing then you can end up dooming your enjoyment of said title. Thankfully the opening, ending and general composition for New Game! Is beautifully composed and just an overall delight. The opening itself is my personal favorite and is available on the Japanese iTunes Store (if you happen to have one). Now the general composition is fantastic but it lacks in diversity. Many of the same jingles and sounds are often reused on a consistent basis, but only enough to stay relevant and fresh. I never found myself once annoyed by the music of the anime or off put by the lacking diversity.
Now the voice work is brilliant pure and simple. I love the tone difference between all the amazing ladies and it gives each character an essence of unique personality. Granted this is only in Japanese, so for the fans of English based dubbing you don’t get that contrast here. This doesn’t detract from the overall performance however as the native Japanese dubbing is above and beyond. I personally loved the voice work of Madoka Asahina for the character Nenechi as she had such a different tone than all the rest and I just loved the performance!
Now the actual background art is just beautiful. I did touch upon the actual background art in our initial impressions of the show and they have not changed one bit. They are stunning and manage to give so much more weight and substance to the characters that interact with them; they are also pleasing to gawk at when nothing is happening on screen. Granted this is the studio that worked on the supremely popular Himouto Umaru-Chan and as such they are no stranger to quality and diverse art style.
The exploration of an industry craze: Fitting with the general interest in how the industry works, anime themselves have been tackling these topics in the past few years. Shows like Shirobako gave us a look at the basics of the anime production industry and now New Game! Gives us a window into the gaming industry. Granted these are not a 1:1 comparison on the actual game development process, but it allows us to glean a bit into what goes into the creative process. This sort of industry exploration has been a popular interest as of late and it is frankly a welcomed addition for the slice of life family. It is not a perfect look a sit has to cater to some sort of story to compensate, but it is still enjoyable. Don’t take this as a de-facto look into the industry just a playful look with some delightful characters.
Granted you will take something away from series like these and you will understand some of the frustrations, but you will never really know how trivial game development is and how stressing it all can be. That’s why titles like these are enjoyable as they paint us an image or they open up a window into it all and will hopefully grant you a better respect and understanding of the actual process.
Final Thoughts: New Game! Is the anime I have been clamoring for ever since the ending of Shirobako. I just love the looks into the various industries that the anime focus on and I love that out of an anime. Granted these sort of overly moe series are not for everyone as they can be quite off putting for many. If you are however a fan of cute girls, a wonderful story about bettering yourself and the occasional yuri romance then this one if for you!. With only a twelve episode run the anime is not too overbearing in terms of length, however I would have loved to see maybe a 24-25 episode run as I feel there could be a bit more to be to explore for the enjoyment of the game development and quite possibly a little bit more in the relationship development department. New Game! Can be enjoyed over at Crunchyroll for your streaming enjoyment of the anime.
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