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New Game! / New Game!! Complete Collection Blu-ray Anime Review

9 min read
New Game! and New Game!! are easily some of the best slices of anime series I’ve seen in a long time, easily on par with anime like K-ON! and Lucky Star, which is considered top tier slice of life anime.

LEVELING UP IN THE REAL WORLD.

What They Say
Get both seasons for the first time ever!

Go behind the scenes of professional game development! From the studio that brought you Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun!

18-year-old Aoba Suzukaze just landed her dream job at a video game company, but the real world of office culture is challenging for this total noob. From her awkward first day, to her first game’s debut—and even training the next new recruit—she’s got a lot of skills to level up. But with a little help from her coworkers, she can handle any raid boss in her way.

The Review!
Audio:
New Game has some really great audio. The quality of both the subs and dubs are outstanding and clear. The voices are crisp and easy to understand. They are also very talented, and I had a lot of fun listening to the characters as they interacted and talked to each other. Each character plays off well with each other, and it’s interesting to see the clicks that form. As this is from the same studio who created Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun!, you can expect a lot of hilarious dialogue.

Video:
I was really shocked by how amazing the video and art quality for this series is. I adore the art style for this series, which is so pretty and cute. What’s more, the animation is extremely fluid and well-done. It feels like the budget for this production was much higher than it is for most anime, though that could just be me. The art quality is consistent throughout the whole series as well, so there is no degradation in quality like we sometimes get when studios overdraft their budget.

This anime is created by Doga Kobo, a studio formed by former Toei Animation members Hideo Furusawa and Megumu Ishiguro. They’ve been involved in several anime over the years. The script was also written by Fumihiko Shimo, who is best known for writing the scripts for Kyoto Animation’s anime adaptations of Key visual novels, which explains why this series has such fluid animation and a great story. Kyoto Animation and Key are some big hitters of the otaku industry.

Packaging:
This standard BluRay sleeve’s front cover seems very crowded, with all the main cast and side characters making their appearance with their heads together as if they are laying down in a circle or flower shape on the floor. I feel like this works for the anime because of how involved all these characters are with the series. Because this anime comes with seasons 1 and 2, the title at the time has the New Game! and New Game!! titles to showcase that this features both seasons. While the front is crowded, the back only features Aoba and Yun. Both look pretty adorable and stand out among the bright pink background. They’re on the right side of the back, while the story description is one the other side.

Menu:
With sparkles offsetting a blue background that looks vaguely like pixelated squares, the menu is colorful and vibrant. On the right side of the menu is the main cast and all the side characters. Aoba is the most prominently displayed because she’s the main protagonist. On the left is the title and the options underneath it. The discs for season 2 feature a similar scheme but with more characters.

Extras:
There are not many special features on this anime. I was a bit sad that we didn’t get any episode commentary. The extras this anime comes with are the textless opening song, the textless ending, and several trailers—none of which were very interesting. That said, I really do like the opening and ending. Being able to see them without the text getting in the way was nice since all the OP and EDs had a very nice animation.

Content: (Please note that this portion of the review may contain spoilers):
Aoba Suzukaze is an 18-year-old girl fresh out of high school and ready to begin her life as an adult. She gets a job at a game studio called Eagle Jump, which produced her favorite game series, Fairy Story. This game and its lead character designer were actually the reasons she wanted to create video games in the first place. The story starts off very strong by presenting a colorful image of our naive lead as she travels to her workplace, unaccustomed to Japan’s heavy traffic during business hours, and worried about whether she can leave a good impression on her new colleagues. She’s so nervous that she actually makes a blunder upon meeting art director Rin Toyama, who she mistakes for the person in charge of the whole production studio.

I really like Aoba as a character. When she is first introduced, she comes across as naive and easily embarrassed, but she is also very enthusiastic about her job. Despite making several blunders during her first day, she never stays depressed for long and does her best to adapt. Of course, my favorite moment in the first season was her initial meeting with her childhood hero, Yagami Ko. During her first day on the job, she hears moaning in the next cubicle over. She panics thinking it might be a ghost. However, she soon discovers that the moaning actually came from a woman sleeping in nothing but a shirt and her panties. It was an odd first meeting.

There are a few issues I do take with the beginning of this series—namely how Aoba has no experience with 3D modeling. If you know anything about gaming studios, it is that they would never take a fresh out of high school noob to video game creation unless they had experience with 3D modeling and a solid portfolio to showcase their talent. That Aoba was accepted despite this is a little weird. It’s even weirder that the company has her going over basic 3D modeling in Autodesk instead of working on the project. While in-house training is not unusual since companies like doing things a certain way, you still need to have the experience to be hired.

Despite this slight immersion breaking aspect, the story itself is still highly enjoyable. The first few episodes focus on introducing the incredibly colorful cast of characters. Aside from Rin and Ko, there is Hifumi Takimoto, Hajime Shinoda, and Yun Iijima. They are Aoba’s co-workers and each of them is vastly different from the other person. Hifumi is very shy and has social anxiety issues that make it hard for her to speak with others face to face, Hajime is a sentai fanatic who is outgoing and athletic, and Yun is a monster character designer who dresses in gothic lolita clothing.

While Aoba is easily my favorite character, Hifumi took second place in this series for me due to her endearing personality. There is just something about girls with social anxiety that is cute in anime. I think the series did a great job highlighting all of her strong points and making her weaknesses seem adorable rather than problematic. Of course, in the real world, social anxiety is a serious issue that can be debilitating for most people. Here it is just another cute quirk of an adorable anime girl.

Season 1’s primary focus is on Aoba learning the ins and outs of the game industry as she helps her colleagues with the production of their next game—Fairy Story 3. Aoba ends up learning all about character modeling during the production period and creates several models. While I mentioned before that a company hiring a newbie with no modeling experience for a character design job breaks immersion, the constant revisions of characters Aoba models because Ko was unsatisfied with them, feels very much like how a real-world character lead would act toward an employee.

Due to the anime’s moe slice of life nature, the story doesn’t just focus on their jobs, but also the life Aoba and the others lead outside of their job. When Aoba is not working, she’s chatting with her friend Nene, a college student attending the university. Even when they are at work, the girls will often get together during breaks to eat sweets, drink tea, and discuss various issues both about the game they are creating and real-life issues and topics. It’s through these conversations that we get to learn even more about each character.

There are also some great moments of comedy present throughout the entire series, such as when the character design team takes Aoba to a welcome party after her first job and Rin gets wasted after only a few drinks. There are also cute moments between Aoba and Hifumi. We also meet other characters from different departments like Umiko Ahagon—a programmer who gets annoyed when she has to fix bugs found in Aoba’s character models and gets embarrassed by her surname. She’s a military nut who carries around a 9mm airsoft gun and has a penchant for shooting Shizuku—the game director—whenever the woman annoys her, which is quite often.

While the first season of this anime’s strongest points is definitely the cast of colorful and cute characters, that isn’t all this anime has. There are some surprisingly deep and real-world issues hidden behind the layer of cuteness. Aoba learns about how Ko Yagami used to be the art director in their previous game, but she quit halfway through because she couldn’t get along with anyone due to her harsh demands. She expected more from her team than they were able to give. Her harsh treatment of those who couldn’t meet her standards led to one woman quitting, which was a huge blow to her confidence and the reason she quit as an art director.

The second season has even more complex character interactions and moral dilemmas. When deciding on a new game to create, all of Ko’s character designs are rejected because they too closely resemble those from Fairy Story. Meanwhile, a little doodle Aoba drew gets accepted because Shizuku saw potential in the idea. This leads to Ko getting upset and jealous of Aoba, causing her to lash out at the girl without intending to. The situation Ko was in has now reversed. Back when she first began working, her incredible talent led to her—a fresh recruit just out of high school—to become the lead character designer despite her colleagues working for the company for far longer. The situation is resolved thanks to a talk from Rin, who helps Ko see that she understands what Aoba is going through because of her past and makes her realize that what she needs to do now is help Aoba instead of hinder her.

On top of Ko Yagami and Aoba Suzukaze going through growing pains together, two new characters are introduced, and one of them presents an interesting dynamic to what had been a duo. Momiji Mochizuki is a graphic designer who has looked up to Yagami Ko just like Aoba. When she sees how much Ko trusts Aoba and learns that Aoba is the true lead character designer for their newest game, she begins to see our leading lady as a rival. There hasn’t been a rival in this series yet, so the addition of one keeps the story fresh and moving along with new interactions. These interactions also show how much Aoba has grown from a fresh-faced newbie to a more confident worker. Even though Momiji doesn’t think she has what it takes to match Ko’s incredible talent, Aoba has no intention of giving up.

In Summary:
New Game! and New Game!! are easily some of the best slices of anime series I’ve seen in a long time, easily on par with anime like K-ON! and Lucky Star, which is considered top tier slice of life anime. This is a series that relies on its wonderful and endearing characters to carry itself. You learn to love the quirky characters through their interactions with each other as they form bonds together and grow. I also liked how this series was about adults instead of teenagers. It adds an interesting dynamic to the slice of life genre, which is almost always about students in high school.

Content Grade: A
Audio Grade: A
Video Grade: A
Packaging Grade: B
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: B

Released By: Funimation
Release Date: June 11, 2019
MSRP: $69.98
Running Time: 600 minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p
Aspect Ratio: 16×9 Anamorphic

Review Equipment:
55″ Class AQUOS HD Series LED TV LC-55LE643U, Xbox 360 DVD player

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