Full review here:
New Game is a colorful show with a great premise, a fun cast, and just sits on all of it until it all suffocates and stagnates. The story of New Game centers around Aoba, who grew up adoring the Fairy Story series of games, to the point where it inspired her to pursue art in college. At least until Eagle Jump, the developer of Fairy Story hires her to help out with Fairy Story 3. In broad terms the plot is the perfect device to project anyone's ascended fan wish fulfillment fantasy. Don't lie, there's that one company that past or present you would kill several small children to even walk through the front door, no less work at.
And I'll still hold that the first few episodes were pretty fun, as we get to know Aoba's new coworkers. All of which comes to a hault on occasion so a character (usually Aoba's boss, Kou) can show off how much she doesn't like wearing pants. Or to imply two characters might want to bone each other silly. Which distracts from the show in itself.
Thankfully, New Game gets bored of all of it. The game development, the fan service, and just...treads water from the midpoint on. To the point where the game only gets wheeled out to make lame "jokes" at its expense.
And at the end of it, I'm just feeling a big ball of "eh". As much as I wanted to enjoy the show, after awhile it was harder to motivate myself to keep coming back. Characters never evolve, we never get a sense of Aoba getting better at her job after she gets 1 NPC into the game, it feels like the show was a means to an end after awhile. Like, here's a bunch of cute characters, and we get to see most of them in their skivvies. Buy the Nendroid, buy the figma's, show out of context moe moments or the fan service so more people flock to this vapid waste of time and spend their goddamn money.
I'm so tired of shows that have 1 neat idea, or goofy moe pantyshots and think its enough to carry an entire show. New Game is 12 episodes long but I wished it was 4. Or less.
Just...Don't watch it. I'd call it bad if it was more malicious in its terribleness. I'd say its cynical if it cared more about its vapid plot and complete lack of pacing. New Game is a puff of hot air, a show that's doomed to be forgotten now that it's finished airing, with no one really rushing to buy it's crap merchandise, or even rewatch it.
Just watch Sweetness and Lightning. It ran alongside New Game, and while that was disappointing too it at least has one thing that New Game doesn't: A plot. A Point. And a Reason to Exist. Skip it.
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.
This game was not made for me
When I sat down to watch the first, and it turns out only, episode of “NEW GAME!” I was expecting to not be taken with it. And I wasn’t I watched this because it is good to try something outside of your comfort zone once in a while. Half an hour is more than long enough to be there in my opinion. This is a story about cute moey girls doing slightly more realistic things than is normal for them. Working in a generic modern office, with the associated comedy, creating video games. If that sounds appealing to you then certainly give this a try otherwise don’t as there is little else here.
THE BEST MOE ANIME EVER!!!