So New Game! made a splash with its cute cast of gaming grill nerds dedicating its entire runtime to making games combined with various antics in the office cause quirkiness is a staple for this kind of show to keep things interesting. To no one’s surprise, we got a sequel. So…how’s the sequel, I guess is the question. (Missed opportunity not calling it ‘New Game+’.)
Now finished with their current project, we return back to Eagle Jump one year later from Aoba starting as a character designer for the company as we continue viewing the lives of the women who work at the company. Now with an expected new game rearing its head on the horizon, the team buckles down again for another round of game development.
As expected, the story for New Game!! (now with two exclamation marks) is something of a rehashed storyline cause in a moe show dedicated to game development, you don’t really have much variation to go off of from the base plot. So really what you saw in season one is gonna be done again in season two, but done in a slightly different manner, with that ‘slightly different manner’ being a new duo of characters, a new game (how fitting), and a myriad of littered sidestories to make the overall product something more than just ‘a show in the moe genre’.
The small sidestories added development to give the show a little bit more to work with in terms of how to use its runtime, as several sections of the show is devoted to showing how characters have grown, small bouts/tension moments to give the show a bit of a serious atmosphere, and resulting change to make the relationships between these girls more meaningful. The problem here however is how little the show attempts to facilitate and keep those things in the foreground. Sure the moments they’re presented in are important, but the lack of time investment to make it something more than what’s on the tin is rather disappointing cause there was actually a good amount of tonal shifts to be more serious in order to instigate change among its cast members, yet they didn’t really pack the kind of punch that made the subsequent changes anything largely substantial. It’s cute and all, but if you’re going for serious, really shooting for that angle helps.
In the end, New Game!! is a harmless sequel to a show whose potential was limited from the get go. Its attempts to be serious are vastly overshadowed by its naturally fluffy nature, and was an aspect that would’ve added a lot to the show had it not been so focused at showing the cute girls doing cute girl things. I will agree the ending was impactful enough to make up for some of what the show lacked, but not enough I feel to really make up for what else the show had.
+ Attempts to be interesting
+ Surprisingly good end
– Largely the same show
The cast is…largely the same as season one. In terms of shift, the two more prominent character designers, Aoba and Ko, receive a decent amount of the show’s attention by providing an overarching narrative for how the new game they’re developing is going. This in turn gives average growth of character to Aoba as she becomes more comfortable in both the work environment, and in the creative space. As far as Ko goes, the show treats her with a weird imbalance, as for a majority of the show she’s something of a character on the side, before becoming the main focus RIGHT at the very end. It was handled well enough to be a good plot point, but didn’t have enough impact I feel to really be enormously substantial.
By contrast, the rest of the ‘main cast’ of girls get specialized time focused to them, imbalanced with the rest of the story by more or less by only giving attention to them once before shoving them to the side so they can do more cute girl things. Hifumi, Yun, and Hajime all get this treatment, and I find it disappointing cause there was potential to do something significant with them.
In terms of new cast members, the show provides a heaping handful of development to its new additions Momo and Narumi, as well as giving Nene time in the spotlight as a more explored character. While the show did devote attention to its older cast members, practically all of the latter screentime is focused on these three in some way or another. As such, a majority of the show’s attempted serious/tonal shift moments happen here, and it’s here where the problems with season two become clear. The show really tries to build up all three of these characters to have higher stakes to prove themselves and make them more significant. Yet in spite of that, they just don’t seem that severe. Their stories, problems, and flaws are practically written out and/or are resolved within the episode, cutting away any and all of the tension pre-established in the scene. Ultimately, the arguments or problems seem kind of petty, and not really that fun to watch due to its naturally predictable nature.
+ Development for its cast
– Most of the development is rather quick and/or not impactful
Produced by Doga Koba, the art for New Game!! retains the company’s standard bright and shiny visual style with a light color palette in order to emulate the show’s naturally carefree and happy nature. As such, the visuals look cute, have very few dark colors added to it, and is overall standard fare for the company’s track record since nothing about the show’s artwork really has any outstanding or super clearly pretty moments added to it.
Similarly, the soundtrack is a remarkable average that has few memorable qualities about itself that make it truly unique or have a special quality about it. The show’s OP “STEP by STEP UP↑↑↑↑“, and its two EDs “JUMPin’ JUMP UP!!!!” and “Yumeiro Compass” are all sung by the seiyuus of the four main girls: Aoba, Hajime, Hifumi, and Yun, with each song sounding strikingly similar to each other with the show’s OP and first ED sounding almost like the same song.
Admittedly, the second ED has a more mellow tone to it with less energy to its other counterparts, but overall, the soundtrack is surprisingly samey, and overall just doesn’t have anything about itself to be a memorable piece. They’re fine and do what they’re intended to do, but that doesn’t stop the songs from being quite generic.
+ Ok songs
– Entire soundtrack is quite samey
Honestly, New Game!! is a show I didn’t really care for much. Moe fluff is moe fluff, and after watching so many, I feel quite jaded by the repetitiveness and overuse of certain tropes in the medium. New Game!! was sadly no different. Sure it gets props for at least attempting to be serious and having a setting that not many other shows can say they’e done, but that doesn’t save it from the fact that a majority of what it has in its screentime is devoted to your typical cute anime girl stuff, and most serious tonal shifts are swept under the broom due to their easily solved nature.
What did I like about this anime?
As much as I’ve complained about it, I’m happy the show tried to do something different for itself, even though most of it didn’t work out in the end. Sure the glimmer of hope that there would be development usually vanished in thin air a couple minutes after the plot was kickstarted, but it at least had development, and again, had a really nice and impactful ending relatively speaking.
What didn’t I like about this anime?
Momo. She just feels like a lazy character because her motivations during her introduction just didn’t seem interesting at all. The whole ‘claiming rivalry’ thing is just stupid to me. Also not enough stuff about Hifumi and Sojiro. Not putting in more scenes about a girl and her pet hedgehog is a crying shame.
Would I recommend this show?
As a piece of moe fluff…I guess it’s alright. It’s got at least something going for it, so if you liked the first season or want to watch a half decent moe show, New Game’s a decent starting place.