Quick Thoughts on New Game!!

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I apologize in advance for how short this post (and likely future posts) will be. I simply want to get it out there before more work in my real life piles up and I won’t be able to update my blog efficiently anymore. Please bear with me.

New Game!!, the second season of New Game!, is much of the same as its predecessor, only slightly worse. Semblances of self-critique and intrinsic motivations presented in the first season felt fresh and lively in the face of anime’s typically mechanical approach to the topic. While it harvested moe tendencies and sexual fan service, it all felt as though it were believable within that context, aside from a few lingering fallacies.

If only its second season could keep the boat afloat with a lot of the same thing, except more motivated on divvying up the character development between a large number of characters and adding more sexual fan service to fill in the bland spots. When focusing more on the cast around the once central character of Aoba, especially when there are so many, it tends to lose the focus on presenting Aoba’s challenge to the gaming world, the intended purpose of the original work. Eventually becoming a character drama (though not that dramatic) for those who bounced off of Aoba, which leads into Aoba taking the role again, only to bounce back to someone else, and then even more new characters enter the scene and they take the spotlight. Deary me, this is all getting so complicated and messy. I don’t even know who to root for.

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Y’know who I won’t root for? “Nenecchi.” She’s got the most irritating voice in the existence of everything, and her character is so naively simplistic in its waxed moe aesthetic that it makes me sick. How convenient that she just so happens to like video games enough to join her equally gorgeous female friend at Eagle Jump, where every employee is a gorgeous young woman. At this point, I’m just ranting about the things that I wasn’t fond of this time around. More of the same, I suppose.

There is some essence of dramatic narrative points, such as Aoba’s ascension as lead character designer in the face of the previous (and incredibly famous/established) lead in Yagami Kou. These were perhaps the more enjoyable/impactful moments of the show, seeing these two duke it out to the best of their abilities, which somewhat highlighted the better portions of the first season. Unfortunately, these moments are far between situations where other characters fuck around and do nothing aside from treating half-an-episode-long anxieties that resolve themselves in no time flat. Even the new characters fall victim to this. They all just need to be honest and express themselves, so that they can become comfortable enough to grope one another and suck on the skin of their collarbones. This doesn’t actually happen, but I wouldn’t put it past them with the insinuations constantly presented.

It is worse, though not so much worse that I didn’t find myself ravished by the dazzle in front of me. Less focused and less polished, it still harbored a lot of what made the first season good. Though, above all, there’s a sense of aloofness that this season provides, where most of it doesn’t really matter in the long-term. Without avoiding spoilers, I can only think of two situations that actually made any difference between the end of season one and the end of season two, new characters excluded. I take that back, three, but it was so aloofly handled that I forgot it happened. Did I even like this show?! I seem so harsh with it… At least this post didn’t turn out as short as I thought it would.

The rating for this title and all others can be found on MyAnimeList.

Early Impressions: New Game!!

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Four episodes in, I almost miss the first season.

Now, it’s been more than half a year since I watched New Game!!’s debut season, so my collective insight on the ins-and-outs of the series may not be as I remember. All I seem to hold on to is that this second season feels a little more… serviced than its predecessor. Good things may be lying in wait, but was there ever so much fan service in the first season? Not just in conveniently-angled shots that showcase characters’ assets, but the sort of behavior that is considered very, very moe. Thinking about it, all of these characters are moe to some degree, and a third of the way through this season, the series seems determined to flaunt that. Though encouragingly, there is some degree of inner conflict with characters who didn’t receive a ton of development in the first season. Only issue is that some are resolved quickly.

More than anything, the essence of a sequel is something I’ve discussed to varying lengths before, whether in anime, movies, or video games. A sequel should seek to improve upon what came before, or allow a different direction to take place that still holds its own within the context its predecessor designed. New Game!!, so far, feels as though its meandering around its potential for the sake of character cuteness.

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Why is Aoba’s friend suddenly into game design? Why is the Eagle Jump company that the girls work for only taking in young, beautiful women? Why is it that so many young, beautiful women are suddenly within a realm where young, beautiful women design video games and sleep within their office space without pants on and flirt with one another. Why are all of these women conveniently different in personality so to blend with one another in a dysfunctional family-esque environment where they must learn to deal with each other’s quirks? Why am I bringing all of this up? Evidence; there is a disconnect from reality that this series has that makes it feel somewhat artificial. How everything comes together so perfectly, so succinctly exploitable for fan service, makes its attempts at serious development feel too self-indulgent. The best of both worlds is so hard to capitalize, such as with my wavering thoughts on Mahoujin Guruguru.

Even with my stabs at its moe nature, New Game!! offers more than the average Urara Meirochou. At least it’s doing something with its characters past the benign standards of archetype development. At least it’s allowing for the motive of self-improvement to take the forefront when the serviced charm wears thin. While inner conflicts resolve somewhat quickly, they’re there, and to some extent that’s all one can ask for. Thus far, it’s worse than its predecessor for reasons relating to its balance of serious development of characters/plot (whatever it may be) and close-up booty shots—at least I think so. What it all amounts to in the end is an above-average show.

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Though I’ve noticed, perhaps because I’m more actively looking for it, some fluctuations in animation. The overall design, which is still absolutely spectacular for its moe undertones, holds its own yet again. Although, animation can be shaky from time to time. Nothing incredibly noticeable, but aside from highly-detailed booty shots, basic mannerisms come across as too sketchy. Moving in just the perfect amount of delay to make things feel a tinge robotic. Easily ignorable, for those who wish to do so.

If Made in Abyss is current MVP of the season, this show would be LVP—though not by much. Only that the magic contained in the first season that made it so enamoring to watch is fading fast. For the first time, despite looking forward to watching this sequel season, I felt bored going through some episodes. Perhaps it is the artificial nature of the anime’s absurd setting that finally feels too noticeable to ignore; unfortunately, I value realism more than most in realistic settings. Should New Game!! employ a “Why are there so many girls running a video game company? That’s weird!” without making it sound like an obnoxious preaching from the cronies of social justice, I would find the setting more natural to take in. However, even stating that desire opens up a can of worms I’m not about to put my stake into.

Thoughts on New Game! (Spoilers?)


It’s easy to get the misconception that New Game! is a mindless, moe-blob of cute girls and their cute character quirks in a setting more associated with the male demographic for the sake of escapism. I certainly thought so, which played a part in my not picking it up when it aired last year. As the dust settled, the overall rating on MyAnimeList gave me a little optimism that the series would be worth my time. Sure enough, New Game! isn’t all that I had assumed it would be by my initial impressions; in fact, it’s a lot more. A lot more good, though not completely escaping the moe atmosphere that made me hesitate watching it in the first place.

Indeed, New Game! is very cutesy at its core. The characters have a lot of embarrassing and/or exaggerated personality traits that are exploited for the sake of appeasing moe enthusiasts. This includes an entirely female cast who are young and attractive, differentiated by their (surprisingly creative) designs and ways of expressing themselves. Unrealistically shy? Check. Unrealistically peppy and spirited? Check. Unrealistically childish with the squeakiest voice in existence? Check my god damn ears. Though not entirely one-dimensional, a lot of the humor and interactions between characters directly involve exploiting one’s single characteristic. Sometimes it can be charming, while other times it feels too intentional to be effective. To its credit, the anime could’ve been far more obvious with its desire to make the cast so enticing to the crowd, but instead it chooses to prioritize one other central theme that makes it more than just slice-of-life fluff: achieving a long-standing goal.


In this respect, it feels almost like Shirobako. The understanding that a project as large as making a playable game takes time, dedication, and sacrifice is poignant in both titles. And while Shirobako plays with this concept masterfully by showing the characters struggle through all the setbacks, New Game! almost gingerly sets it out on display, then yanks it back when it feels the point has been established. Especially early on, this concept is paced well enough to set a course for some longstanding development for the main character via the first real project of her dream career. Unfortunately, this impression gets lost along the trail of silly situations and glossy animations—though not entirely.

A bait and switch is not on the radar, for those concerned. New Game! will not tempt you with the prospect of a serious tone and throw it aside the moment you get comfortable. It does a decent job of peppering the more dramatic elements throughout, though it still gets noticeably less time than the goofy antics. As it goes on, one might make a game out of what kind of situation could arise with each passing scene. Sometimes it appears comical, others appear substantial, and sometimes, very rarely, there’s a mix of in-between. The silly, occasionally sexy quirks of scenes almost do well to establish characters as people rather than characters. Only thing is, of course, they’re all naked in a tub, so one may not be entirely paying close attention.


There is a small bit of fan service present in this anime, aside from the obvious “The game industry has plenty of young, super sexy women who love working on and playing games!” mindset. I was disappointed to see how prevalent random shots of girls’ rears and/or chest areas appear without warning. A couple bath scenes, I can tolerate. New Game! has more than a few bath scenes, random angles of sensitive areas, a subtle sexual harasser of a director (also female, so it’s funny instead of creepy), and a character who often sleeps over in the office in her underwear. It’s one of the more “liberating” shows I’ve seen in a while, but nowhere near the extreme of something like High School DxD.

For a slice-of-life show, the artistic direction is incredibly detailed. While this isn’t the typical slice-of-life setting, it still exudes a lot of what makes the genre so persistently popular. Nothing short of “eye candy” can accurately describe the sparkly nature of New Game!. The characters are diversely-coated in different assortments of colors and still manage to look trite to the reality of their setting. The main character has light purple hair and eyes. A lovely balance takes place of both cutesy and realistic integrity behind the choice in design for each character. Not only this, but animation is typically very smooth and expressive. Still, that doesn’t stop the anime from taking shortcuts such as non-moving background characters. In a rare twist, sound also played some part in the quality, as the characters (aside from one) had very enjoyable voices and did an outstanding job of flexing their vocal muscles to acclimate to every situation.


Are they people or are they characters? This is an integral question concerned with one’s genuine enjoyment of the show. With as serious and non-serious as New Game! can be, the characters have an important job of making the show all the more immersive and endearing. For the most part, I think they do this job well, as while they aren’t entirely developed, they have enough motivation between them to give them some spunk. Clearly some characters are more there for comic reliefs than others, with the ratio between genuine and “genuine” characters being about 50-50. The female lead is probably the most realistic of the bunch, if not for her superior and idol, though this also makes her the least entertaining on her own, as she behaves the most vanilla of all characters. Almost like a male lead. The surrounding cast gets the most points for group work, as the chemistry between characters is probably the most enjoyable part of New Game!. There are one-dimensional characters, and then there are one-dimensional characters who work well with others of a similar role. Slice-of-life’s are famous for this set-up of character interaction, and this anime is little exception. An extravagant mix of kooky and occasionally endearing conversation, the characters develop one another along with themselves as time goes by.

A lot of benefit could’ve been had with a little more focus. While slightly spoiler-ish, I really don’t like that they managed to finish the game by series’ end. It doesn’t help that the beginning of the series had the game about 50% complete already, but while I understand from the perspective of the main character there isn’t much going on outside of her focus, it feels as though the game consists of very few steps, with plenty more thrown under the table for convenience sake. It feels rushed at the least, lazy to the more cynical-minded. One might not appreciate this anime for being as quick-footed as it is with trying to emphasize the power of human emotions influencing one’s work. One could also argue that the anime isn’t all that serious and they’re being too harsh. Whatever the case, New Game! is anything but slow.


The way I see it, there’s a lot to like here, with a few serious issues that keep it from being timeless. Character interaction and overall charm of the art design and atmosphere make New Game! a very easy show to watch, though not entirely memorable. It lacks that human touch that, despite its best efforts, falls short of the mark compared to other series that do it far better. Even so, slice-of-life enthusiasts will likely gobble up this light attempt at human growth in the form of moe fodder. Even the more jaded viewers may have some fun with this, I’m no exception. It at least attempts to be more than just another face in the crowd, and for that alone, I can respect it. Good job, New Game!.

The rating for this title and all others can be found on MyAnimeList.