While I was quite disappointed that this show didn't turn out to be like Shirobako, I still ended up enjoying this anime so much and it's now one of my favourite slice-of-life anime.
(If you think my reviews are too long, scroll down and read my "Pros and Cons" list or my [VERDICT]. They're basically a summary of my review)
(My Review will contain some SPOILERS)
New Game!, in short, is basically a "cute girls doing cute things" show but it takes place in a game development studio. Before this anime started airing, I was expecting the show to be like Shirobako, an anime about making anime. I loved Shirobako because it isn't just some simple slice of life show about cute girls making anime. Oh no, it was more than that but that's all I'm going to say since I'm writing a review about New Game! and not Shirobako.
New Game! still shows you what goes on in the game development studio but they only show you the gist of it. They don't show you what really goes on behind developing games. In other words, New Game! only shows you the simplistic side of what goes on behind developing games. They don't show you the shitty side (time constraints, delays, huge stress in staffs and etc) of the game industry and they don't show you how hard it is to even work in the game industry. Well, to be honest, they do show you some like how some of the characters in one of the episode stayed up all night to finish said tasks but the show finds a way to make the situation more enjoyable for them and enjoyable for us to watch. We're not going to watch the scene and be like "Oh shit, just look at how stressed these characters are" or "This industry is a hellhole to work in".
The story, while simplistic, is surprisingly well done. The story of the show is about an 18-year old girl named Suzukaze Aoba, who just graduated high school and joined a game company named "Eagle Jump". It follows Aoba and the staffs working on a game called "Fairies Story 3".
The premise is a bit unbelievable but I learned to just roll along with it and the story never got dull or boring. It was really fun watching the slice of life moments and at the same time, watching the characters develop a game in a span of 12 episodes. Yes, I was also shocked. There was a story in this show about them developing a game and finishing the game in the final episode. Usually, slice of life shows are setup in a way where they'd introduce a story in the first episode and just forget about it to focus on cute, moe girls but in New Game!, they also focused on the cute, moe girls but at the same time, making sure that they don't forget about the story. Take in mind though that the story is really subtle because it mostly focuses on the slice-of-life moments
The comedic aspect of the show was amazing. I pretty much laughed at almost every funny moments in the show and none of the funny moments fell flat. For example, the scene that I found to be one of the most hilarious is the "AC temp. changing" moment in Ep. 5. That scene, where Hajime and Kou were constantly changing the temperature of the AC without them being aware of it, killed me. Another example is a favourite joke of mine where, Aoba and Kou were talking about how part-time workers generally get payed the same amount as full-time workers but they work less hours plus they get paid more on their overtime and Aoba realizing that full-time workers are just a loophole to keep the wages down. That scene had me dying.
The conversations between the characters were also fun to watch. Like watching Rin and Kou together was just too adorable or watching Aoba and Hifumi trying to have a decent conversation was too cute and hilarious. Also, that "first paycheck" conversation between the characters was really interesting to watch and it made me feel nostalgic for whatever reason.
The pacing of the show was well-done. I never felt bored of the show. Not even for a minute. For a 24 minute episode, each episode felt like 5 minutes. They made sure that the characters have always something interesting to do and that's one of the reasons why I found the show to be enjoyable. I also surprisingly enjoyed New Game!'s fan service. I generally hate fanservice scenes in general but New Game! is an exception. I can't explain it properly but I just found New Game!'s fanservice scenes a lot better than 90% of the ecchi animes out there.
Ever since Sansha Sanyou (Another slice of life show from Doga Kobo), the studio's visuals have been pretty amazing and New Game! is no exception. The show's visuals are top-notch and the character designs are amazing. Now this is the kind of character designs that I'm looking for in a slice of life show, even though Aoba and Nenechi's character designs looks really young for their age. The show is self-aware of the fact that they look like middle schoolers even though they're 18-19.
In general, I love the soundtrack but there's that one soundtrack that really stood out to me and I ended up falling in love with that OST. I don't know the name of the OST but the OST sounds like something that you'd hear when you get this "feeling of accomplishment". If you have the name of the OST, please Please leave a comment on my profile with the name of the OST because I really want to know. Now the OP and ED theme song(s).
The OP theme song is "SAKURA Skip" by fourfolium. I straight up loved this song the moment I first heard it. The song, in a whole, was really catchy. Especially the beginning part of the song where the characters were singing in front of their computers.
The ED theme song is "Now Loading!!!!" by fourfolium. The ED theme song was decent but when I went ahead and listened to the full song, it sounded much better. I even have the song downloaded on my phone. The Full ED song was much better than the 1 and a half minute version that we got.
You most likely have noticed this already but I'm just going to say it anyways but New Game! doesn't have a single ounce of male main/side character. You may see one but they're just forgettable background characters. No guys in a game developing company? Almost no guys plays video games in this universe? Haha.....right..... I'm going to let that one slide since this is just a slice of life show about cute girls doing cute things.
Besides the slice of life on a game development setting, one of the reasons why I really enjoyed this show are the characters. The cast of characters are enjoyable to watch. Their personalities are absolutely lovable and the character dynamics and character interactions are perfect. For example, one of the character dynamics that I enjoyed watching was Aoba and Hifumi. They both have different personalities (Aoba is a sweet, kind, and almost-naive girl and Hifumi is the cute introvert with a steaming hot body) but when they're both having a conversation, it leads to a whole array of cute/sweet/heart-warming/hilarious moments between them.
But...The character dynamic that I really enjoyed the most was Kou and Rin. Yea, they've been best friends for a long time but I enjoyed watching the "Yuri undertone" between them. They may not be an official couple but when they act like a couple, I just scream like some shipping fanboy. They're both sweet and adorable when they act like a couple.
Also, as you may already know, in every slice of life show, there's that one annoying female character with a squeaky voice. That character, folks, is Nene Sakura or "Nenechi". At first, I found her to be really annoying and when she joined the Eagle Jump company, I was like "Oh God". Surprisingly, she turned out to be one of the best characters in the series. She made me laugh, her personality is a bit-childish but still enjoyable to watch and the character dynamics between her and Umiko (the military enthusiast girl) was spot-on.
I know someone's going to ask me this so I'm just going to leave this here. Who's my best girl in the series? Hifumi, hands down, is my best girl. It's mostly her introverted personality that I find cute but when they showed her naked-censored body in one of the "Bathing" episodes, I decided on the spot that she's my best girl in the series.
I just want to say that I really enjoyed this show. This was a show that I'd looked forward to every Monday and now that it's over, I'm, once again, experiencing an "Anime withdrawal symptoms". I'm probably going to go ahead and read the 4-koma manga now that I finished the anime.
"New Game!" is a slice-of-life series that I almost discarded because I came in expecting it to be like Shirobako. While it didn't turn out the way I wanted it to be, I still enjoyed this show so much. The premise may be a bit unbelievable but the slice-of-life moments are well done and surprisingly, the show has a story. The story may be subtle but we still kind-of see the progress of them developing a game and finishing it on the last episode. The characters is what takes the cake though. I didn't find any of the characters in the series unlikable. They all had unique and likable personalities. The character dynamics is perfect and is one of the reasons why I ended up loving this show. If you're a fan of slice of life shows/CGDCT type of shows then this is for you.
Now I have one more request for Doga Kobo.. Please, please make Season 2!
+Enjoyable Slice of Life series
+Comedic aspect of the show is well done
+Amazing Visuals and Animation
+Fun cast of characters with enjoyable personalities
+Character dynamics are perfect
+One of the few series with enjoyable fanservice
-Main Character, who is an 18 year old high school graduate, immediately joining a professional game company is a bit questionable and laughable.