Hope you haven’t missed me for too long, because as of late, I will probably be doing these reviews more sporadically than before. No anime-related reason, but let’s just say that I’ve started my own “new game” in a post-baccalaureate program, and it’s come to my attention that I have to hit the ground running.
Having said that, I found it useful to reflect on what this series means to me at the moment. After all, entering a new job, field, or whatever can be quite a daunting experience! And the game design industry is no different. So in light of an experience that raises so much anxiety for many of us, New Game is here to remind us that work is challenging, but… it doesn’t have to be so bad!
New Game is a situational comedy about Aoba Suzukaze, a young girl (ahem… lady) who just entered the game design industry. Placed immediately as a character designer for Eagle Jump, she is given the opportunity to work with amazing girls on the next installment of a game series that she adores: Fairies Story 3! For any new hire in the field, Aoba pretty much landed the dream job.
Now I do have to add at least one point of criticism, given how some of my friends have gone into game design or are interested in it. Aoba is a rare case of game designers who can enter a dedicated full-time position straight out of high school, without any prior experience or networking with the company. Most designers take her friend in college Nene’s route, and start out as a quality assurance tester. And as naive as Nene can be, QA testing requires a lot of patience for stuff that the average gamer isn’t even going to see!
Romanticizing the game industry aside, New Game‘s humor comes from normalizing what the work force is like in general, only to make fun of the stupid things we do, all the time!
While there are a few instances in this anime that pertain directly to game design, New Game tackles work life behind the scenes, emphasizing casual interactions among these young ladies, and the occasional reference to other things pop culture. And although this series captures a lot of funny moments that I have seen in real life, it also captures quite a few life lessons about work in general.
Alcohol or manga? I know which one I would pick!
Well I guess it’s better than saying you’re forever 17 (oi! oi!), Director Shizuku.
Like Hifumi’s, my inner monologue tells me that every time I take a gen ed course or attend anime club meetings. Yeesh!
I know how judgmental our cosplay and general otaku community can get, but sorry Yun. Aoba gets it!
Thanks, Rin. This! I am going to be such an asshole of an educator because this!
I suppose there are plenty of fun culture references that I have purposefully left out of this review, which I think you will enjoy if you give the series a chance. However,what stands out to me about this show is its handle on turning mundane, everyday interactions and showing that they really aren’t so bad.
While I don’t think this is a series that could possibly be SPOILED, I think the best scene to reflect this notion comes toward the end of the series, when Aoba’s personal hero at Eagle Jump, Kō Yagami, expresses her own experience when she entered the company.
Having spent about a year working with Eagle Jump, Aoba experiences a mix of anxiety and excitement as their staff is just moments away from finalizing Fairies Story 3 for its inaugural release. When the rest of the girls are ready to party, Kō takes Aoba aside and expresses just how jealous she was of her.
“It took me quite awhile to find my place here,” she said.
I’m not sure how Aoba took it, but I imagine this would come as a surprise from someone like her. Aoba idolizes Kō for her diligence, her unshakable will to do whatever she wants, and for being the lead designer of Aoba’s favorite game that brought her into the industry. Similar to the realization that Aoi Miyamori experiences about Musani’s staff in Shirobako, Aoba discovers that this god-like mentor of hers actually had an extremely tough time to get where she was. And to top it all off, she admits that Aoba has it easier in a stern, yet kind manner.
Kō demonstrates a very strong sense of humility, but also expresses a desire to see that Aoba doesn’t forget her own sense of responsibility that she has acquired from her first project. Over my years of being a critic in this insane hobby of ours, I have become a senpai to many of my peers. I may be scratching the surface right now in a new career like Aoba, but I have to admit that I also experience a great deal of jealousy for a younger generation like Kō. That, to me, makes New Game so memorable!
But let’s be real. A handful of you are still reading this because you want me to drop some fan service. You want me to tell you who’s the best girl. The Eagle Jump staffer whom I think is waifu material. (Hey, I can have fun with these reviews too, right?)
Well seeing how none of my previous screenshots have her in it, I’ve saved the best for last: Hajime Shinoda! She’s energetic, fun to be around, and when everyone else is having a mundane time getting through work tasks, she’s there to lighten the mood with all of her anime and gaming memorabilia. Hajime proves that every company needs an otaku, or at least someone who doesn’t take work seriously like I do.
I just hope I can keep up with her in… You know what? Never mind. I don’t get involved in stuff like that anymore. I’m an adult, after all!
So if you are looking for an anime that makes light of the gaming industry with a plethora of references to our pop culture, the work environment, and the struggle to be an adult nowadays, watch New Game! Back to the grind stone for me!