Playing at a NEW GAME!

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?

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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.

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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.]

Author: David

Southern gentleman of Irish heritage. Family man--proud husband, father, and grandfather. Wiccan with a dose of residual Catholicism. Background in food service, military (US Navy), and law enforcement.

2 thoughts on “Playing at a NEW GAME!”

  1. I find it funny that people compare NEW GAME! to Shirobako, when they are (quite frankly) two very different shows. They both initially present themselves as “cute girls in the workforce” with weighted emphasis on the anime/VG sector, but their goals are different. At the very least, NEW GAME! brings in a sort of naïveté in the character of Aoba, but her own childish views are steadily overshadowed by the similarly immature antics of her supposedly “senior” office mates. In many ways, I think this parodied workforce ethos strikes closer to home than we think. Sure, Shirobako brings to light the harsh realities of the modern-day work force, and the cost of dedicating oneself to an idealized sort of “passion”. But NEW GAME! doesn’t bother itself with whether or not it’s worth pursuing – worth the draining all-nighters or the lack of direct praise. Rather, the show highlights the importance of camaraderie and community (as emphasized by the transformation in Kou’s character), as well as the need for objects of admiration.

    To some extent, NEW GAME! exaggerates the nature of the workforce with its carefree characters, but that’s sometimes the kind of thing we need, especially when old timers like us want to unwind after a long day’s work. The thought that there are people out their chasing their dreams and living out their passions shouldn’t make us wallow in our despair; rather, encourage us to pursue our own passions and actually make our lives worth living.

    1. Thanks for stopping by! And I agree with you completely–NEW GAME! and Shirobako take very different approaches to their admittedly similar subject matter. Shirobako was meant to be–and is–instructional as well as entertaining. Its creators wanted to allow their audience a glimpse into the industry responsible for the anime that we fans love. NEW GAME!, far less detail-oriented, uses its subject industry more as background and as a vehicle for the expression of the foibles of its characters. And therein lies the crux: both series present similar character clusters working within similar (and often related) industries, but with Shirobako emphasizing the industry itself while NEW GAME! focuses upon its characters. (If you’re interested, I reviewed Shirobako in my December 2014 The Wandering Witch column on 918thefan.com, and left an abbreviated viewer review of NEW GAME! on Crunchyroll.) Thanks again for your interest and comments!

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