We should get this out of the way first: New Game! is to lesbian undertones what being burned alive is to slight discomfort. Now that this is done with, New Game! is the anime equivalent of a cute sitcom without any bite but a whole lot of cute. There is no negativity, only some fan service and cuteness. There is no real drama, only people liking their job and cuteness. There is nothing edgy, but there is a mildly quirky cast and cuteness.
You may have noticed my subtle hint, and by hint I mean blatant repetition, that New Game! goes about as all-in on cuteness as possible without an adorable kindergartener. Suprisingly though, it works rather well. There is clarity of vision in this show, where everything feels like an organic development around the core concept. Once you watch the first episode, you don't need to see the rest... but you kinda want to even if it isn't what you're looking for.
I don't think that New Game! is unique or groundbreaking or anything like that. But I can also appreciate a show that doesn't need to be, which is what they were (obviously) going for. Sometimes we don't need something to be in our face, deep, clever, or even particularly interesting to have some fun. As such, the show is tastefully done for what it sets out to achieve.
New Game! is not a show that you need to put too much thought into. People can mock how people like going to work in it, but it's not out there (surprise: there are people who enjoy their work). There is talk about the thinly veiled lesbian themes but those don't come at the expense of what the show is all about. The fact that everyone gets along (and even when they "don't", they actually pretty much like each other anyway) just adds to a carefree vibe that is at the heart of the show. It tries for light hearted fun and cuteness and succeeds.
Writing (Story and Characters):
The writing of New Game! is solid. It sets out to achieve very little, but succeeds unequivocally. That's all there really is to it. This show doesn't try for a complex plot, but is strictly into the character based side of things. All the situations are setups to show how a bunch of cute girls handle it by working hard and together. For the most part, it's a strict episodic structure, meaning that there are no grand setups beyond who the characters are.
That being said, even in such a case where a show is aimed at showcasing the characters personality, the story has to succeed in doing that. New Game! doesn't fail with this. It is not a high bar to clear, because the structure and idea behind the show makes the requirement be "don't utterly fail". There are some generic challenges for the characters, they do not feel out of place or forced, and that's all that was needed.
So, the cast. There is an all girl cast, and men are mentioned abstractly (never a specific one) maybe twice in twelve chapters for a total of three sentences or so. The girls offer various shades of cute, basically the entire gamut of standard quirky girls in anime. It works. The show is about showing cute girls being cute, and the cast manages to be cute while doing cute things. Shocking, I know. They aren't boring, and their interactions are pretty fun, and that was the entire point.
Perhaps I haven't made it clear, but New Game! has decidedly unambitious but well executed writing. This is a good thing, because even if this show isn't exactly to your taste, it is solidly written entertainment, which is not a given. Don't expect the writing to wow you, but also don't expect a moment where you just say "welp, I'm done" and quit because of it.
Artwork (Animatio and Sound):
Pretty darn good. New Game! has very simplistic writing, and as such, would be a failure if the artwork wouldn't hold up. It does. The writing is given just as much life as it needs, with crisp execution and solid design throughout. This is not a show with an infinite budget, but it manages to feel surprisingly close to one.
Visually the show looks sharp. The character designs are solidly executed, the use of cliches is light hearted and well done, the animation feels lively when needed, and the backgrounds are well thought out. That being said, things are reused a lot, be it the main backgrounds and the character designs - but that fits with the writing pretty well, making it into a strength rather than a flaw. There is not much in the way of wow-factor, but the show excels when needed.
What I really wished for is strong voice acting, but it is instead just pretty good. It's not something that I feel is completely fair, pointing out that I am looking for more charisma in roles which don't really need it... but I just feel that it could have kicked this show up a notch. That being said, the voice acting is good, the soundtrack and effects are decent, and while I don't really like the OP, it isn't bad.
This is perhaps one of those cases where the solid execution in art makes a show that would otherwise be completely forgetable move into the realm of "actually pretty solid". New Game! is brought to life very well, and this is important when we're talking about a bunch of cute girls sitting in place most of the time. This show needed that injection of liveliness, and succeeds very well.
New Game! is simple: cute and enjoyable, with a dash of fan service and lesbain themes to spice it up. There is nothing more to it. There is nothing objectionable (except said fan service if you don't like fun), and there is nothing complicated. If you're looking for generic cuteness and positivity, this is made for you.
For those of you who haven't read my reviews before, le tme just say th at there will be spoilers, so read at your own risk.
Back in 2014 Shirobako struck the anime community. One of the most polarizing anime in recent memory, it received mcuh praise for probably begin the first anime to delve deep into the anime industry and what creators have to go through to produce the anime we love. I was bored when I first watched the show weekly, but recently re-watched it all at once, and I found it much more enjoyable; it’s the prime example of an anime that suffers in quality if it’s not marathoned. While a good show, many people voiced two interests; the first was to view a show much bleaker in tone and more cynical about the anime industry. For that, we now have Girlish Number, which Digibro already reviewed so I’m not gonna touch it. The second interest was to have the same story told about the video game industry. For that, we’ve got New Game, the first season in 206 and the second season in 2017. there are noticeable differences. New Game focuses more on moe blob and comedy than Shirobako, but both are lighthearted representations of their respective artistic industries. The biggest criticism I see for New Game is that it’s TOO lighthearted, and a video game company run like this one would never survive. Keep in mind, these same people love Shirobako has similar optimism when it comes to anime projects. While the characters in Shirobako appear to be harder workers than those in New Game, I just think they chose not to SHOW all their hard work in New Game because they wanted the main focus to be Slice of Life. I mean, they do make significant progress in their projects, so clearly the must be putting some effort into their work.
The original creator of New Game was Shotaro Tokuno. Before writing the manga, he was a member of the video game company tri-Ace, who are known for two specific series, Star Ocean and Valkyrie Profile. It stands to reason that, if the focus strayed away from the struggle of game development, it was probably intentional; in fact, I know it was, because Tokuno said so himself. He knew how painstaking, and sometimes thankless, the video game industry could be, and wanted to create a series using that as its framework, without actually presenting the reality of the job. Besides, you shouldn’t pretend Shirobako is much different, because it’s not. While you could argue that the trials presented in Shirobako get more intense, it’s still incredibly optimistic. Like I said, watch Girlish N umber if you want a more accurate interpretation of the anime industry, not Shirobako. I’ll link Digibro’s review in the description box down below. New Game is a ton of fun from start to finish, and even manages to work in heartwarming character moments too, especially at the end of the show. I love thse characters, each of them are entertaining in their own way. My favorite is Ko Yagami, the lead character designer for Eagle Jump. I love every aspect of her personality. She’s usually goofy and laid back, but can also be brutally honest and is an extremely hard worker. I personally related a lot to her work ethic and perfectionist nature. Like her, I often work through many nights to finish projects I have ongoing, such as what I’m doing right now with this script. Of course, she’s not the only character who has this work ethic, she just seems to have it the most; character traits like this helps give New Game a tiny bit of realism, even if it’s not enough to please everyone.
I’d be remissed if I didn’t mention the most marketable aspects of the show; the moe art style and the goofball comedy, which are top notch. This is probably the cutest anime I’ve seen since GochiUsa, which believe me is high praise, and these characters are legit hilarious a lot of the time. I’ve mentioned this before but I don’t usually like comedy in anime, and this is one of the few that’s able to get many laughs out of my during most episodes. Of course Ko Yagami provided most of those laughs, but Nene Sakura and Hifumi Takimoto come in a close second and third place respectively, and each of the other girls get their moments here and there. Plus, each one of them are friggin’ adorable, and it’s the type of show where I have to question my manhood each time I watch it. This is another area where it differs from Shirobako. Shirobako, while possessing a slight bit of cuteness in the expressions of it’s female characters, isn’t trying to be a moe blob anime; hell, not only is New Game obviously more adorable, but there’s almost no male characters, definitely not from the main cast, and the characters in Shirobako are drawn to be visibly older thant hose in New Game. One of the many rules of moe blob anime, the younger they look the cuter they are. New Game just makes me smile, it’s as simple as that. Even during scenes that are clearly attempting to get me emotional, like the ending of season 2, when Ko Yagami leaves Japan to join a different company, I still have a smile plastered on my face because of how likable the characters are. I’m not sure if that’s praise or criticism now that I think of it.
New Game is a fun, funny, heartwarming, criminally adorable anime that deserves to be watched, regardless of what others say it IS the Shirobako of video games in many ways, it may be idealistic and optimistic about the industry, but to complain about that would be to suggest that Shirobako wasn’t as well, which is simply untrue.
*First thing that I liked in NG was the character design and with that the overall color palet that the studio used. NG was supposed to be a lighthearted, fun anime and the studio emphasized that perfectly with the bright colors that it used throughout the entire anime. It’s such a simple but effective thing to do, you can make an anime that much more fun by using the right colors. And that fun character also radiated in the character design. Here in particular I liked the eyes of the characters. There was a certain sparkle to them that gave the characters a more lively look. The eye design reminded me of the characters from Mayoiga even those are animated by a different studio being Diomedea in stead of Dogakobo. But then I went and looked at some pictures from Plastic Memories, another anime from Dogakobo. Great anime btw, definitely watch it if you’re into romance-drama. And also there I noticed that sparkle in the eyes of the characters so that’s something that Dogakobo has mastered.
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*Then NG was supposed to be lighthearted comedy and it became exactly that. The comedy was simple but effective. No deep meanings or difficult interactions but straight and simpel comedy which was what I expected from NG. Although I must say that the comedy sometimes was a bit weird. Not that I’m complaining but there were some moments where I had to rewind the episode to see if I got that right.
*And a final thing that also greatly impacted the comedy were the yuri innuendos between Yagami and Rin because they were quite strong at times, especially in the final episodes. But again here not that I’m complaining, the innuendos made some pretty good comical moments and were part of NG’s good comedy.
*A first thing or better person that I found deserved more attention and development was Hifumi. The anime stays quite on the surface when it comes to her development. She does become a little bit less shy over the course of NG but still I thought that things like her love for cosplay would have been displayed more so that, with the help of Aoba, she could have opened up more.
*Another thing was that this anime did focus on the development of a game but we get to see very little of it mostly for two reasons being: 1) Aoba only gets into the team very late in the development phase so we never get to see how the foundations for the game were laid out. And 2) every character except for 2 work in the character design departement. So we do get to see how these characters get designed but other elements of the game like programming, script writing, voice acting never get shown. So despite NG giving us an insight in the game’s development, it’s only in a small niche from the bigger structure that lies behind set game.
*And a final negative point was that although I liked the character design and the overall colors of the anime, there were some times when the animation showed signs of “budget shortage”. I especially noticed this when there were a lot of people in one shot. Our main characters, who were on the foreground would be animated as normal. But I noticed that the characters on the background would be completely still, they were not animated at all but simply drawn into place. So probably that was to save budget but it was something that was very noticeable.
So as a conclusion, NG became what I expected it to become. It was an overall simple but therefor not less entertaining anime, and I like having one or two of those in my schedule. So for this fun and entertainment I’m going to rate New Game! at 3,5 stars. This is a lighthearted anime that you should give a try if you’re into simple comedy anime’s.
As far as CGDCT series go this is the one i liked the most in a while, it's mostly a harmless cute series that made me smile all the time, with some pretty funny gags.
The characters have really cute designs, and the character dynamics specially were a lot of fun.
As most iyashikei shows it doesn't have any overarching plots or big stakes, it's mostly a really relaxing series.
My only complaint would be that i found some of the voices pretty annoying, but that's just my personal dislike of really high pitched voices.
All in all a really good cute girls doing cute things show, 9/10
Kudos to New Game! for the detailed background info on how video games are produced. Teams of artists, character designers, programmers, voice talent … the closing episode gives you a hint at how many people get involved in the production. I immediately caught the parallel to Shirobako in their 24-episode development of an anime series. Come to think of it, After School Dice Club did the same thing for explaining the background of gaming and how people conceive board games and how they enhance social experiences through such pastimes.
Now, moving on, let’s get to that critical component of the story, the plot. Plot? Did anyone happen to see one?
In those 12 episodes, we may have a long dragged-out narrative on the work of the video production company Eagle Jump as they are creating Fairies Story 3. Just joining the team is Aoba Suzukase, fresh out of high school and a fan of original Fairies Story.
Now, an interesting (and cute) character can do much for a narrative. But … Plot? Still looking.
What probably hurts the storyline of New Game! is the panty shot issue. The ‘lewd pursued’ grows dull in little time, even with gratuitous visit of the bath house. New Game! gave us the best modest views of female form, all important items tucked under water level. But ‘Tease and titillation’ for little reason saps a story in the end. especially in the scene where one game tester checks character of ‘panty shots.’ New low in techno … and Eagle Jump gets excited about the concept! The videogame is the thing, and the team committed to its development is the important thing. Getting buzzed on 'ladies night out' just stalls the story. In New Game! it offers nothing worth remembering.
Plot? Let's talk character study. New Game! is best seen as the girls behind the game, their fresh and multifaceted contributions to the team effort. Understandably, Eagle Jump hires strong video gamers as Hajime, whose otaku ways and collections demonstrates that she is driven to produce the best game ever. Yun is a talented artist whose designs initiate superior character development. Usually overlooked is Hifumi, a shy girl who is talented, but fears being treated poorly, and often misinterprets teasing with rejection. Rin is a driven perfectionist, destined for advancement in Eagle Jump; she is art director now, but slated for upper management. She is very protective of her friend Ko Yagami. This design team lead has a past history of being a failed director, and fears getting placed into positions of authority. Ko is too laid back and goofy (panty-shot issue ... that's her). Ko had gotten too bossy, and resents that low mark in her life. But … bossy? The person jaded by authority ... that's Umiko, whose brusque attitude towards others reminds me of Gestapo tactics gone bad. She is a soft-rifle fanatic and blasts girls who irritate her with nerf pellets. Her usual victim is Sakura, Aoba's friend and part-time game tester. Sakura is flaky and not sure of what to do with life, college a possibility, not sure Aoba was right in joining the workforce straight from high school. And Aoba? She has so much to learn about the craft of videogame construction but has so many apt budding friends at Eagle Jump who will show her the ins and outs. And the taverns. And the bath houses. And the video game conventions. Aoba's first year at Eagle Jump will be memorable.
Plot? Well, let's call it a handful of girls getting together moving toward a goal of making Fairies Story 3 the premier VG on the market. New Game! lacks the complications of Shirobako, but both series ends with a celebratory party, in this series marking the release of FS3. As for plot, let's say that New Game! resolves enough personal issues but allows for enough baggage to promote a second season New Game!! (taking a page from the K-On!! playbook). Aoba, growing into her job as much as she does, has so much more to learn.
New Game!! will give her twelve more lessons.