New Game! (Slice of Life Anime Review)
With many nuanced protocols, myths, and seniority privileges, Japanese business culture creates a fascinating dichotomy for Westerners to observe. Similarly, fans of video games are often fascinated by how their favorite games are created. New Game! attempts to give some comedic insight into both of these business cultures in the form of a slice-of-life anime.
New Game! focuses on Aoba Suzukaze, who recently obtained her dream job, immediately after graduating high school, as a digital artist for her favorite game company, Eaglejump. In grade school, Aoba’s favorite game series was Faries’ Story, which was created by Eaglejump, and now she has the opportunity to work on the upcoming game in the series. Further, Aoba’s senior is the creator of the original game that inspired her desire to work in the gaming industry. Challenges abound for the young artist, as she adjusts from the life of a high school student into that of a young professional. Co-workers with big personalities ensure that, while Aoba’s adjustment may not be easy, it will be enjoyable.
While cultural and industry elements are on full display, it is the story of Aoba’s growth and transition from student to worker that keeps the viewer interested. Upon arriving at Eaglejump, Aoba is greeted by the Art Director, Rin Toyama, who mistakes Aoba as a kid standing in front of the company’s office. At first Aoba agrees, and begins to walk away, before asserting that she is the company’s new hire. Embarrassed and caught off guard, Rin shows Aoba around the offices and introduces her to the other Eaglejump employees. Aoba is faced with the feeling that she doesn’t belong from the start of her work as a digital artist. This is part of the charm that New Game! brings to the viewer.
Aoba’s confidence as a person and professional grows in each episode, but she is able to remain her sweet and innocent self. Each day she spends with her co-workers, she quickly makes friends. Even the most hardened of workers warmed up quickly to Aoba’s innocence. It is interesting to see how her confidence grows with the less than traditional work environment. With an old cat roaming the offices, one co-worker that is anti-social except for over instant messaging, a loli style co-worker, and a co-worker that is extremely into airsoft guns, the environment of this corporation is very odd. Going out with her officemates for a drinking party, reflecting a common business occurrence in Japan, Aoba begins to feel like part of the team. Keeping in contact with her closest friend from high school, who opted to attend college, the view is treated to the contrasting personal development of the two individuals.
The diverging personal development, serves to highlight not only Aoba’s development, but the development of the other Eaglejump characters as they overcome their personal challenges. This feel-good slice of life anime will speak to those who have had fears when starting a new job or the fear of transitioning from one lifestyle to another.
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