Ready for another week in exploring moe anime on Mechanical Anime Reviews? While I loved Mecha March and everything, it sometimes gets a little tiring in posting similar contently repeatedly for an extended amount of time. I really do love the genre a lot and am almost always watching a mecha show that I don’t talk about until I write reviews for them. You know, besides what I talk about on twitter from time to time. I’m also always watching something else too. A lot of something else in fact. I’m back to posting all sorts of random anime reviews content until the next major event happens this year, so enjoy the ride to moe anime this week and a little bit next week. Possibly more later on. Who knows, life is a mystery.
Usual Spoiler Warning: The following review may spoil a lot of things for it despite my usual generalizations. This time for both seasons. Just to let you know, I did like it more than I thought I would. A more then soft (possibly ok) recommendation from me honestly. One Thumbs up.
The first season of New Game starts with our protagonist Aoba Suzukaze fresh out of high school joining a video game company to work in the field of graphic design. The company she joined is called Eagle Jump and that’s where her graphic design idol, Ko Yagami, started out after she was in high school years ago. Their current project is working on the third Fairy Tales game that has been under production for a while now so she’s jumping in near the end. It’s kind of hard to discuss the entire plot of a slice of life series because there is a singular goal, the video game. The rest is the work crunch and character interactions while the game is being completed.
New Game!’s sense of daily adventures comes from watching Aoba struggle to find a way to even start heading towards dream of being like Ko and at the beginning of her character modeling journey. In the beginning, she is at the bottom of the totem pole compared to Ko who can just casually create art whenver she wants the way she wants to. At the same time, she almost never loses her own sense of motivation when faced with her directly. There is also the fun cast of characters she works around. Ko isn’t the beautiful genius Aoba thought she would be, she’s very much like a tomboy who stays up late constantly working. She’s also obviously married to the manager Rin on some level who keeps her focused so you know. Good stuff there.
Plus, there are the side characters who work along Aoba with their set of motivations and personality. Yun is the oldest member of her family and always worried about her motivations and work ethics compared to someone like Aoba who is aiming for the top. Hajime is the resident coworker for the game design and animation department who shows off her otaku-ness to everyone with full gusto so she’s honestly possibly my favorite character from the new season. Hifumi is interesting though because she knows her job so well, but is so shy. Yet she was late one day when breakfast was so good. A lot of interesting reads there.
As this partial transition point between season 1 and season 2, it took me a while longer then I thought it would for me to get into this anime. Like six or so episodes because I’m not a big fan of just plain moe things for moe sake? I’m sorry, I just can’t. I tried, I’m sorry. Plus, the Ko focused panty shots and jokes annoyed me. There is a reason why I was never able to finish the first season of K-On. (Yes, sue me.) At this point, we were just watching Aoba learn how to do things fast and not have her be challenged in anyway or show us how the 3D modeling system works. You know, how Shirobako or Eizouken would do it. Yeah, that’s why I originally thought about completing the first season, stopping, and reporting my findings.
It wasn’t until the introduction of Umiko, head programmer and loves Aerosoft, at Eagle Jump and Nene (Aoba’s college friend) had an internship at Eagle Jump that my interests finally increased. That was towards the end of the show. Aoba was called into check for her newbie failings that Ko ignored and the free-flowing Nene questioning the work ethic of the company and why Aoba was working so hard that it got more interested. Not to mention how Umiko and Nene’s interactions are honestly amazing. The aloof and flighty Nene meeting the stricter Umiko who sees Nene’s value in finding bugs and everyone else is just great. I’m glad that season 2 built off of this in more ways.
New Game!! or New Game! Season 2 is honestly stellar in how good it is. I was nervous about it when it started with the one singular panty shot from Ko in the entire season until the end in a remembrance sort of way, but there was a lot of ambition and fun at stake here. The season itself starts with a direct character design competition between Ko and Aoba for what the next game will look like. It’s a competition that deepens the relationship between the two in some very interesting degrees. Especially since the winner for character designs comes from Aoba but with Ko’s direction. I was expecting that, but not in that way. I was expecting a straight Aoba loss and that’s it.
There is also a lot of other solid character interactions too. Not just with Aoba and Ko, but with everyone. I loved seeing Yun and Hajime interact and trade their stories with each other during important moments. The fact that they are opposites gets played up a bit more but it’s never overdone. Hifumi grows a lot this season too because she has to step out of her comfort zone as the lead her area and it’s great to see how good of a leader she can be. And yes, I do have to mention Umiko and Nene. Nene creating her own game through programming and getting advice from Umiko outside of work was pretty great were great. Plus, there are some newer characters that appear later which adds a little more to the experience.
The best part of New Game!! for me despite all of that good stuff was seeing the game production of this game actually happening besides the small corner of villagers being created and such. All of these interactions come with a production. It’s so cool to see how an idea that Aoba came up with when looking by looking at her bear pajamas and then seeing what comes from it. It’s seeing that defining spark hit and the team work together which makes it so interesting. There is some moe stuff and fanservice here and there, but they felt from much more appropriate moments or were better spaced out. Wearing whatever you want in your apartment or place of residence is perfectly fine after all.
I know that there is the usual video game stuff here and while the girl’s character designs and clothing are well detailed and everything, I do think the video game animation is where New Game feels special for me. Yes, the animation and art are fine and they are all characterized for various different reasons I’m sure. I’m just saying that it’s nice to see the characters move and feel different from each other when they suffer from same face syndrome. Still, I loved seeing the characters come to life. The video characters move different from real life and it’s just to fascinating. From design segment to walking and fighting animation, it’s so authentic. The merging between the 2D and 3D was almost perfection.
In the end here, I am going to rate each season differently. Why? Not all of these seasons are created equal in my eyes. New Game! Gets an ok from me because while I didn’t like the beginning that much for reasons that I already described, there was another material going on in the background to keep me going. At the same time, New Game!! is such a big improvement over the first in terms of content, character writing, and everything so it’s a good. I do think it’s over shadowed by shows like Shirobako and Aggretsuko, but it is able to hold itself up pretty well. Maybe that’s not fair, but oh well. Over all, I had a very good experience watching New Game!(!). Would definitely recommend.