Welcome, all, again. Our subject today is NEW GAME!, a humorous coming-of-age story set against the backdrop of a first job. And if that sounds a little intimidating, well, it can be–I lived it (albeit decades ago). Our protagonist is Aoba Suzukaze, who has turned down her acceptance into college in order to pursue her dream job working as a character designer for a gaming company. But not just any gaming company–she has been hired by Eagle Jump, the company responsible for her own favorite game, Fairies Story! How much better could a girl’s luck get?
This much better, apparently–she is assigned to work on the new, third installment of Fairies Story under the supervision of the original character designer, Kou Yagami. The hero-worship is immediate, amusing, and altogether brief. (Real people, after all, have flaws.) Yagami is a paradox, a hard worker with a laid-back attitude, seemingly given to long spells of thought interspersed with periods of frantic activity. It is dedication rather than laziness that sees her frequently overstay normal working hours and end up sleeping on the office floor. And while still admiring Yagami’s genius and work, Aoba quickly decides that she might seek a better role model.
Nor should finding one prove difficult; being the only new employee, Aobi has a whole gaggle of senpais at work. And she has plenty to learn from just the three with whom she shares immediate work space: Hifumi is a fellow character designer and secret cosplay fan with gorgeous curves but shy demeanor; Yun, a designer of monsters, is an outwardly proper young lady who likes [Loli]Goth clothing and sweets but bemoans her petite figure; while Hajime is a displaced motion designer who is loudly exuberant and about as busty as one of the many figures which she collects. Aoba’s pairing of eagerness and naivety offers the whole office a canvas upon which to paint, and these three above have first shot. Good thing they like her!
NEW GAME! is fun and funny, a relaxing bit of slice-of-life with which to calm yourself after a long day IRL. It is not, as was Shirobako, instructional. Do not expect to learn anything much about the gaming industry. Instead, come to laugh at the universal pitfalls which attend starting a new job: learning the office politics; learning the office layout (& getting lost, so lost!); learning your job duties and coworkers; and those two most important aspects, figuring out the lunch and pay schedules. Aoba has her work cut out for her, but we’ll be there to cheer her on!
[Parental Note: Regular but rather tame fan service. Nothing of actual concern.]