New Game is based off of an ongoing manga by Tokunou Shoutarou. The manga started in 2013. The anime came three years later and was brought to us by Doga Kobo. Yes, the same studio that brought us Yuru Yuri. So, we know they can do high quality slice of life comedy. Let’s see if that happens here.
We open with our protagonist, Suzukaze Aoba, starting an exciting new job as a graphics artist for a game developer. More impressively, she’s right out of high school (do game developers hire people right out of school like that? I thought you had to study at the university level) and it’s not under the thumb of a trash publisher like Electronic Arts. They provide her with some training and give her her first tasks, modelling characters for the latest sequel to her favourite game series. We basically watch as Aoba interacts with the quirky people at the office and they try to bring the game to light.
The biggest issue I have with this series is that they feel the need to explain very basic video game terms that every gamer knows. You know, just in case someone who hates games is watching this slice of life that revolves around games. And we are talking very basic terms like “NPC” or “FPS.” Even non-gamers know those ones.
That being said, the comedy in this series is really damn good. It really takes advantage of the setting with a lot of jokes revolving around the launch, the testers looking for the kinds of exploits that actual gamers would and other such things. It helps that a lot of its set ups are vague enough that there are multiple directions for them to go with the jokes, leading to punch lines that work but aren’t obvious. The comedic timing is spot on. There are jokes that aren’t uproariously funny but there aren’t any that aren’t enjoyable or that just fall flat.
This is one of those comedies that doesn’t have the most complex characters, but it has ones that mesh very well for a comedic series. I will also give it credit for having some really strong interactions that aren’t comedic. The final episode, for instance, has a really good conversation betwixt Aoba and Kou. I shan’t spoil it, but it’s actually really heart-warming.
The artwork is cutesy and definitely one of the areas where this series resembles that other Doga Kobo work. I will give this series credit on a few counts, though. First off, the trailer they have for their fictional game is really well done. It looks like the kind of trailer that would get you excited for a game. The cubicle decorations are really good too. Each of the major girls has decorations for her work station that really reflects on her. My only real issue with the art is that there’s some pointless fan service because… you can’t have a series about women without getting fan-servicey. It’s literally against the law.
They got some strong actresses for this. We’ve got Toda Megumi (you may know her from Sakura Trick,) Hikasa Yoko (k-on, yuri kuma arashi,) Kayano Ai (Anohana) and quite a few less prolific actresses who still do their roles really well like Takada Yuuki and Yamaguchi Megumi. Hyakkoku Hajime’s soundtrack is excellent. Which is to be expected from the bloke who did the music for K-on.
Honestly, I think this entire game company is populated by lesbians. To the point where Eagle Jump might as well just merge with the lesbian coven across the street. Rin blatantly has a crush on Kou and there are some strong indications that it’s reciprocated. Yun mentions that she would fall for Kou if she was Rin, which really says something about her. Hazuki flirts with other women constantly. Mifumi really wants to get close to Aoba. In a way she isn’t close to anyone else. Actually, Umiko seems oddly interested in Aoba too. And when Aoba meets Kou there are hearts and sparkles everywhere.
New Game is a really good series. It has some relatively minor issues, but it’s thoroughly enjoyable with a strong comedic sense, fun characters and it’s definitely an example of a slice of life comedy that does it right. My final rating is going to stand at an 8/10. Next week I’m looking at Black Lagoon: Roberta’s Blood Trail.