- Genre: Moe, Slice of Life
- Episodes: 12
- Studio: Doga Kobo
Everything is coming up Aoba! Aoba has dreamed of becoming a video game designer ever since falling in love with the epic RPG Fairy Story back in grade school and has since dedicated herself entirely to her singular goal. And wouldn’t you know, despite the fierce competition in the field, Aoba manages to land that exact job right after graduation. Not only that but it’s at Eagle Jump, the studio behind her beloved fairy story AND she is immediately assigned to the team working on the latest installment of the franchise. Getting a highly anticipated AAA assignment right off the bat is truly a rare gift but Aoba is “special”. Ok so there’s a persistent atmosphere of sexual predation from the top (really where isn’t there) and new employees seem expected to literally spend the night at the office for no overtime pay but all of these are small prices to pay for the job of your dreams. I’m not being sarcastic, I’d do it.
Whenever I claim to be unfamiliar with a particular genre, I usually immediately prove myself wrong by posting on nothing but said genre. This time, after mentioning it in my Pan de Peace review, it seems I am on a cute girls doing cute things streak. Of course New Game is no Pan de Peace but let’s face it, there’s a chance Pan de Peace is no Pan de Peace.
New Game is another one of those shows I had seen artwork for all over the place without really knowing where it was from. Obviously people are loving the style. It’s pretty in that Kobayashi, Gabriel DropOut sort of way. And I mean exactly in that way, the visuals could be interchangeable. I found the designs here to be the most generic but that’s to be expected with no supernatural element. The production was well made with no real quality loss at any point.
It was a shame that the creative team behind new game opted to have everyone wear pretty much the exact same clothes every day despite there being no reason for it. It’s even mentioned at several points in universe but I guess no one wanted to design dozens of different outfits for the girls. I personally would have appreciated a bit more variety but thems the breaks.
New Game! may be the first time I really paid attention to a cute girls show (I haven’t seen K-on) and I gotta say, I sorta get the hate. New Game is very cute and nothing else. Actually that’s not entirely fair, it’s also mildly sexist.
New Game! is just a moe Slice of Life. By that I mean that shows like Yuru Yuri or Gabriel DropOut, which ostensibly also fall into that category, do have some pretense of comedy. There are actual jokes, a set up, delivery, punchline structure, with the intent of making the audience laugh. Whether or not the goal is achieved is highly debatable but it remains that this was the aim. As far as I can tell, New Game! just shows a series of cutely designed girls doing random very ordinary tasks with unjustified and unneeded optimism and a good dose of helplessness in an attempt to make the audience go “awwww”. It’s like a showing us a basket of puppies for 12 episodes, except it’s not like that at all OMG going to go watch a basket of puppies now – bye!
I don’t mind the cute for cute’s sake premise but it does get boring pretty quickly if you take it at face value. However, there is something much worse than the moe overdose going on here. I have at some points in my life interacted with other human beings and I’m aware of the very odd notion that helplessness (politely called innocence, less politely called stupidity) is considered by some to be attractive. You would think natural selection would have weeded that out of us but apparently we still don’t think of resourcefulness as hawt. I do. A lot.
Aoba is supposed to be above average. She is offered such a unique opportunity in her industry because she probably did very well in school in the exact field which she applied for, she is noted to be a very hard worker, very dependable and quick on the uptake. Many different characters plainly explain how good she is at her job. As such she is presented as a model heroine who still has a lot to learn but is definitely someone to aspire to.
And yet, we consistently see her acting like a complete idiot without the show ever acknowledging that this isn’t normal behavior. On her first day, she locks herself out of the office (by forgetting her pass) twice. These things happen. Her solution is to sit down on the floor and start crying until someone eventually comes out on unrelated business, both times. Knocking was seemingly beyond her grasp. This professional game designer had never heard of FPSs, not only the acronym but the actual concept. This professional game designer never even thinks of asking why her software keeps indicating there are multiple errors with her 3d model. This professional game designer and lifelong RPG enthusiast has never heard of NPCs and needs to be explained the concept and purpose of non-player characters….
I don’t know why these moments were added in (there are a lot). They aren’t presented as jokes but maybe it was a super subtle troll. The most cynical part of me thinks this is actually an attempt to comfort that part of the audience that believes womenz do not belong in the gaming industry by saying – sure we’re portraying a completely female game production studio but see, they don’t even know the basics. Nothing to worry about. This is probably an unfair take on my part, most likely the almost as depressing concept of stupid is adorable is what’s at play here. I didn’t find it offensive or anything but it did annoy me.
Let me paint you a word picture: At one point two characters are having a friendly chat. One of the girls says: Sometimes I can do some stupid things. The other response with: That’s ok I can also be a complete airhead. The first comforts her by saying: It’s ok that you’re an airhead because you’re cute, flustered by the compliment, the first quickly responds: Oh but you’re cute too! This very slightly paraphrased exchange (only because I can’t guarantee I remembered the exact wording) is basically the most accurate description I can give you of the entire show. If you are dying to find out how this conversation played out, by all means go watch New Game! now.
Then there’s the fanservice. There’s a particular type gleeful glaring fanservice in something like NGNL. When you watch a show like that you feel a bit like that cartoon wolf with it’s eyes popping out of it’s head. The fanservice itself is part of the narrative, very obvious and is played for laughs. Then there’s the commercial fanservice of Fairy Tail where the girls are just continuously dressed ridiculously and take on pinup poses for no particular reason. That fanservice is just a cherry on the sunday and although it can get pretty stupid at times, it remains mostly harmless. Admittedly, I am a fan of both types.
In New Game!, the camera would pan up to girls’ panties, like we were about to give them a gynecological exam, as they were asleep and helpless. There’s something that feels very nonconsensual about this particular type of “peeping tom” fanservice, and the fact that the show doesn’t even acknowledge its existence (no gags, not part of the story in any way, no other characters mention it) makes the entire experience a bit more predatory feeling than I’m comfortable with.
Let’s be clear, I’m not saying this show advocates sexual predation or that people who enjoy it are in any way comfortable with such things. I’m saying that that’s the personal feeling I got from it which really turned me off the series in general.
I’m thinking I missed something here though. The series is well rated and generally well reviewed. There are a few people whose opinion I respect who enjoyed this show a lot. Statistically, there’s a good chance you might too. I have been thinking about it and I could not tell you why. I slogged through the show because the thought of abandoning a series midway gives me hives but I will definitely not be picking up season 2.
The actual game itself – i.e. Fairy Story 3 did look dope though and revived an itch I’ve been having for some good ol’ traditional JRPG action. I’ve heard good things about Tales of Berseria. I haven’t played a tales title in a while but Vesperia was my jam! You guys have any suggestions?
Favorite character: Umiko Ahagon
What this anime taught me: I am overqualified for the gaming industry
My father always said- “the day I can’t do my job drunk will be the day I hand in my badge and gun”
Suggested drink: Final Fantasy shot
- Every time Aoba is self-conscious about looking young – take a shot
- Every time Hifumi blushes – take a shot
- Every time Aoba “sparkles” – take a shot
- Every time Yun has food – take a snack
- Every time we see the cat – take a shot
- Every time Hazuki is inappropriate – take a shot
- Every time we see Sofia – take a shot
- Every time anyone says “senpai” – take a shot
- Every time we see in game footage – take a shot
- Every time we see panties – take a shot
- Every time someone cries – drink some water