Title: New Game! + New Game!!
Anime Studio: Doga Kobo
Publisher: Manga Entertainment
Released: September 28th, 2020
Language: Japanese / English
NEW GAME! Complete Series contains Seasons 1 and 2 of the anime directed by Yoshiyuki Fujiwara. 18-year-old Aoba Suzukaze just landed her dream job at a video game company, but the real world of office culture is challenging for this total noob. From her awkward first day, to her first game s debut and even training the next new recruit she s got a lot of skills to level up. But with a little help from her coworkers, she can handle any raid boss in her way.
The biggest strength that New Game! and New Game!! has is undoubtedly its grounding in realism. This is not a story about battles with magical swords, or supernatural creatures popping up in the middle of the street. This is office life in a gaming setting.
That may sound a little dull, but believe me, it’s really anything but that. Yes, we get to see some snippets of the game development horror stories that have been prevalent in recent years, such as staying far later than is reasonable and having to sleep in the office. Yes, there’s some focus on things like debugging and trying to perfect character models. But, there’s an underlying element that carries the story forward and keeps it interesting: the characters.
It was nice to see this setting portrayed as female-centric, as gaming has historically been seen a very male pass time. What helps here is that the characters feel very natural too. They’re all hardworking and trying to improve in their specific discipline. The way they interact with each other is an absolute delight too as you can really see when people are already close, as well as when they grow closer.
The series does a decent job of dealing with some very real-world problems too, with topics like overworking, social shyness, and being self-conscious about weight or looking cute slotting nicely into the game development backdrop. Interestingly, while the show features all the comedic and cute moments you’d expect with the art style, these serious scenes never feel out of place alongside them. I think that’s because the story is executed in a way that everything feels consistent. Even the little callbacks like characters sneezing when others are talking about them, or Aoba Suzukaze’s changing coffee orders at the start of each season feel natural within the setting.
The art is decent throughout. It’s cute in style, and doesn’t try to do anything flashy, and that works very well here. The voice cast in both the Japanese and English dubs do well with the script and pack just enough emotion in for it to feel right without going too over the top. Meanwhile, Hajime Hyakkoku’s score is unobtrusive. Nothing spectacular, but still fitting.
The thing that surprised me the most was learning that the series was adapted from a four-panel manga series. Ordinarily, I find these lean a little heavier into the comedy and feature shorter episodes. Here though, we get full-length episodes and a plot that feels more fully developed than I would have expected if I’d known what the source material was.
There wasn’t anything that stood out as poor to me in this one. I would have maybe liked to have seen the romantic undertones to Ko Yagami and Rin Toyama’s relationship developed further, but this was a minor gripe really.
I loved this show far more than I thought I would. Thanks to the balance between serious, comedic, and cute moments, this is a game development anime that you can enjoy even if you don’t care about game development. The characters are lovable, and the story is fun. What more could you want? I give this the full 5 out of 5.