Although not exactly like “Shiro Bako” (which detailed the struggles of an anime production company and how they are getting out their latest offering), “New Game” (“Nyu Gemu”) details the struggles of a video game production company and how they are getting out their latest offering of one of their most popular games. It also follows the tale of Aoba Suzukaze, (dead center), a recent high school graduate, whose first real job is working for this company, Eagle Jump, and how she can fit in to the demands that both the company and game want of her. She also runs into or runs afoul of or runs around in circles with the odd and divergent staff that populate this company and I will tell you right out, there is not a single man that works for this place and precious few men seen among the show’s run. This means it raises the question “Is it yuri?” (as you may have seen in my commentary revolving around “Valkyrie Drive: Mermaid”). However, I’m going to let that pass and focus on the show itself.
For a video game production company, it certainly is laid-back and casual. There are no frantic people, flying off the hinges and running around like a comet is going to strike them down because something isn’t working out right and they are losing time and money and sanity. There are deadlines to meet, but they aren’t really make-or-break moments. The game is coming out but there is no firm date that it has to be released upon. It will happen when it happens. (“A wizard arrives at the precise time.”) Our young heroine’s job is to help with background characters (NPCs) but she is basically flung into the deep end of the pool and forced to sink or swim with little more than a ‘get to it’.
And as the new kid in town, she feels intimidated by the seasoned pros there, including (starting from left to right in a circular manner):
Hifumi Takimoto (and her pet hedgehog Sōjirō), character designer.
Nene Sakura. A friend of Aoba, she comes on as a game debugger.
Umiko Ahagon. A programmer who is into airsoft gun play.
Yun Iijima. A character designer for monsters, she often dresses in goth.
Hajime Shinoda. Motion designer, she also owns a lot of prop weapons.
Rin Tōyama. Art director and head of the background department. Good friends with Kō.
Kō Yagami, lead character designer, she sometimes sleeps at the office in her undies.
The person off Aoba’s right shoulder is Shizuku Hazuki. She is the game director (with her cat, Mozuku).
Aoba wants to make a good impression, but this is still all very brand new for her, so she is reluctant as to how to ask for animation help or how to work the 3D graphics program or how quickly this all needs to get done.
Again, this is all a very soft show. Potentially, the most dramatic thing that happens is when you cross Umiko, as she has no qualms in whipping out her airsoft guns and plugging you full of pellets. The learning curve is not all that horrible and there is plenty of time for her to learn how to work the PC and get the caliber of character that they need for her. Another great source of comedy is the conflict between Umiko and Nene. The former is quite stern and the latter is rather carefree, so there is a lot of head-butting. But Nene does exactly what is needed in debugging, as one thing she does is see if the characters have underwear on as she looks up their dresses. Hee, hee, hee. Even the ladies do that!
If you are looking for a show with more aggravation and conflict, the aforementioned “Shiro Bako” is more for you. If you merely want a cute show about cute girls doing cute things, this is what you seek. Come for the fairies, stay for the underwear shots.
They came out with an Episode 13 that they bill as an OVA, but it is really a throwaway episode and constitutes the fan service entry, as they go on a company trip to a ski lodge and spend a ton of time in the sauna and the hot springs, talking a lot of nonsense. One reason they talk a lot of nonsense is that the subtitling took a world cruise. It began as Japanese, went to French and then to English, so we have all the pitfalls of a double translation, so the dialogue does not make genuine sense, which make understanding this episode hard. But the gist of it is that they deepen the bonds of friendship and camaraderie that they have, as they look forward to their next project and, as a treat, the next company trip. Let’s hope they get to the beach next time, eh?
On a scale of 1 to 10:
Artwork 9 (Gosh, they are all so cute!)
Plot 7 (Pretty standard)
Pacing 7 (Sometimes too languid)
Effectiveness 7 (Nice, but lacks a harder edge)
Conclusion 4 (It reaches a ‘coupler point’, but hasn’t ended)
Fan Service 2 (A similar show would be “Okamisan”)
Overall 6 (Just a bit more conflict is needed)
And remember, it’s first run until you’ve seen it. Hey, get back to work!