New Game gives us the story of Suzukaze Aoba. A recent high school graduate, she’s managed to snag a job at her favorite video game company, Eagle Jump. In this episode we follow her through her first day on the job.
For those who keep track of this sort of thing, New game is originally a 4-koma manga, published in one of the many Manga Time Kirara magazines. Other works from them that have received anime adaptations include Gochuumon wa Usagi Desu ka? and Kiniro Mosaic, just to name a couple. They seem to specialize in cute girls doing cute things, and while in this case the girls are adult (Aoba is quick to remind everyone that she’s 18, thank you!) office workers rather than the standard high school or middle school girls, this still fits.
Many of us who have been part of the working world ourselves can probably sympathize with Aoba as she goes through her day. As she walks up to the building she’s nervous. After all, what if she does something wrong? What if she embarrasses herself? Wait, is she supposed to just walk right into the building? Every little thing, every bit of uncertainty, can seem like a potentially massive disaster on the first day, as she’s trying to make the best impression she can.
Having been through several different workplaces myself, I could really feel Aoba’s plight as she tries to settle into this one. After all, who knows what sort of strange people one might have as co-workers? Will the atmosphere in the office be friendly and conducive to work, or will it unhappy, with people constantly talking about wanting to leave, and how they’re out of there as soon as they can find another job? There’s a lot of potential stress and uncertainty that can come in a new job.
Of course, this is a Kirara series, and we aren’t here to watch Aoba being tortured. We’re here to have fun as she does cute things with her cute co-workers… like walking in to find her boss, Yagami Ko, sleeping on the floor in her underwear. I can say with some honesty that that is one experience I have never had. This unorthodox greeting completely throws Aoba off her game, but I think it works out best in the end. It shocks Aoba past her nervousness, and sets her on a better footing to communicate with the weirdos around her.
Speaking of which, let there be no question of it: everyone is weird. The game director skips out on meetings and brings her cat to the office. Her coworker shoots at her with an airsoft pistol and drags her away by force. The three members of Aoba’s group include Shinoda Hajime – a girl who works with motion design and keeps several toys near her desk, including a lightsaber which she randomly grabs and swings around to test out some moves for the game; Iizima Yun – a character designer in gothloli clothes who has fully decorated her desk to match her style, including a skeleton with a tophat peeking out over the top of the monitor and who keeps a complete tea set and table hidden in and under her desk; and Takimoto Hifumi – a girl who is so shy she can barely say a word to anyone in person, but is perfectly will to chat up a storm using the company’s instant message client. This is not an office you go to for calm, quiet, normalcy.
Fortunately, all three girls want to be Aoba’s friend, and are about as nervous about getting a new kouhai as Aoba is about being their new kouhai. Seeing Hajime and Yun debate back and forth to try to get the other one to ask Aoba to go out to lunch with them is both funny and cute.
At the end of the day, after a few more minor mishaps, everyone heads out and locks up the office to go home. It’s only then that Aoba finally asks what the name of the game they’re working on is, and learns that it is, in fact, a sequel to the game that had defined her childhood, placed her on the path to becoming a character designer, and convinced her to try applying to that company in the first place. The character designer for that game was the same Yagami Ko who is now Aoba’s boss. For Aoba this is her ideal, her dream come true. To work in character design for that game of all games, there is nothing she could want more.
So, when all is said and done… cute girls met other cute girls, worked on video games together, and were cute while doing it. All of the girls in New Game are incredibly expressive. One expects it from Aoba, being the eager newbie who wears her heart on her sleeve, but even everyone else always shows exactly how they feel. Every bit of movement and emotion feels genuine, and it helps make everyone feel just that much more real, in a way. They aren’t hiding anything from us, after all. We see them for who they are. I get the feeling this series will never get deep into the gritty details of video game production. It isn’t here to explore that in depth. The game company is simply the framing device around which we will get to see these girls live, and work, and play. For me personally, I couldn’t ask for more.
I would say this scores at about an A-.
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