OP Sequence

OP: 「SAKURAスキップ」 (SAKURA Sukippu) by fourfolium: 高田憂希, 山口愛, 戸田めぐみ, 竹尾歩美 (Suzukaze Aoba, Yamaguchi Megumi, Toda Megumi, Takeo Ayumi)

「なんだかホントに入社した気分です!」 (Nandaka Honto ni Nyuusha shita Kibun desu!)
“It’s like I’ve actually started working here!”

Many video game nerds—of which I am one—probably dreamt of working on game design at least once. At one point long ago I entertained such a fanciful idea too, before disabusing myself of the romance of the entire thing. It seemed like the only anecdotes I regularly hear about game design are horror stories. Development hell is real, and its layers are infinite. Even outside the nightmare scenarios there is perhaps an even worse fate: tedium, for although we associate games with fun, going out of our way to create that fun may be a different matter altogether. Eating the sausage is great, but making the sausage is unpleasant work that we shouldn’t really think about too much. I imagine the team tasked with churning out new FIFA games year after year must be broken men one and all, their souls having long fled their bodies, just empty husks chained to their keyboards.

Peeking inside the industry may not necessarily turn out to be that entertaining, is what I’m saying; informative, yes, interesting, maybe, but perhaps in the way that a tragedy is, keeping us frozen between pity and terror as the damned ply their profession. Despite the warm reception for a show like Shirobako and its proof of a market for these sorts of insider shows, but there’s still some work to be done spinning various technical and mundane topics into an interesting anime (well, an interesting manga that then gets adapted to anime). And care also needs to be taken to maintain realism, yet also not driving viewers into disillusionment. And NEW GAME! probably knows this, for it employs anime’s most potent weapon in the fight to make otherwise mundane topics appealing: cute girls. It worked for Shirobako, and it’d likely work for NEW GAME! as well, for protagonist Suzukaze Aoba (Takada Yuki) is a veritable ball of condensed cute. Anime loves cute school girls, but how do we fit one into a professional setting? Just have one anyway, and say she’s actually 18 because, I dunno, a dwarfism gene. And entire company seemingly staffed entirely of comely females, though, may be pushing it a bit, but New Game! does not live by its mono-gendered cast alone. The even the art outside the character designs look pretty good, as does the animation. I usually don’t talk about animation too much, and Doga Kobo has always been a studio of consistently quality animation so it’s not much to write about, but NEW GAME! is almost excessively animated at times by the standards of its genre, as if someone was showing off. It does go some ways to push some of its exaggerated comedy, though, so it’s not a complaint. Also on the visual appeal front, NEW GAME! also has fanservice! Nothing major, but a higher quantity than one might initially expect coming from Shirobako or Sore ga Seiyuu!. NEW GAME! is capable of marketing itself from many angles.

How about the meat, though, the actual making of videogames? Not as much there, I’m afraid, but this is just the first episode, devoted more to character introductions, with some little observations of general office life like communicating with colleagues and the all-important ID card. As it stands, I consider it a low-calorie Sore ga Seiyuu!, lighter even than Shoujo-tachi wa Kouya wo Mezasu, and that show was more a youth drama than about the videogame industry. Problem is, one of the best things about Sore ga Seiyuu!, in my opinion, was that it pulled no punches, and felt like an authentic take on the industry, despite its cute-girls-doing-cute-things trappings. Does NEW GAME! intend to rise to that challenge? I don’t know, and perhaps it doesn’t intend do. I hope it does, though, because while its simple workplace comedy is charming enough, it can certainly go beyond. It alludes to the infamous ‘crunch’, so it certainly knows its industry is, pardon the pun, not all fun and games, but whether it intends to milk any drama out of that remains to be seen. Either way, though, I think it’ll be a solid, entertaining show; it’s simply a matter of whether it wants to be more than that.




  1. A quick note: the “art outside the character designs look pretty good,” link is broken.

    I’ve been warned not to expect Shirobako out of this. This is a Kirara 4-koma manga, and their specialty is cute girls doing cute things. In this case it’s cute adult girls (Aoba’s absolutely an adult. Don’t believe her, she’ll tell you!) doing cute office-work things, rather than the regular cute schoolgirls doing cute schoolgirl things, but the basic concept is most likely going to hold true.

    That’s not to say there’s no sign of the reality of game development in there. Ko is busy enough that she often sleeps at the office, for instance, and you may note that they all worked until 9 PM, on a day when they started before 8 AM, and this is before crunch time. The elements are here, but I think they’ll serve more as a framing device around which we will see these girls live and work and play.

  2. Consider me pleased with the first episode. I always liked the art used in the comic, especially the color palette, and seeing it brought to life with Dogakobo’s animation is a treat for the eyes.

    Also Wanderer’s comment about not expecting Shirobako is pretty on-point. You’ll get an idea of how the girls make their game but don’t count on anything in depth.

    1. This. Unless they decide to expand on the material in the manga to offer a slightly more in-depth explanation, i.e. the K-ON! treatment. It’s a 4-koma, and each chapter’s pretty short after all.

  3. I loved it! The manga is one of my favourites and I’m so happy to see it animated. The sequence of events in the anime is a little different from the manga, but I felt it flowed better and more naturally as a result.

    Off topic, a great story about video game development is Knee Deep in a Dream: The Story of Daikatana. It’s an old article but if you can find it, give it a read to find out what can happen if you want to make a video game.

  4. From what I remember of the manga when I read some chapters of it way back when, the anime actually upped the cutesy angle. Not to say the manga isn’t cutesy (it most definitely is), but this adaptation makes it more noticable. I think it’s mostly the color palette, lightning and certain backgrounds that does it.

    Maybe because it’s been a while since I looked at this series, but I don’t remember the director, the dark skinned woman or the cat.

  5. I wonder if the fact that it’s only manga fans commenting this show has any deeper meaning…

    But hey, it’s such an awesome manga and the anime is going to be a treat!

      1. Coming from reading the manga, it is a bit shallow when diving into making of games. New Game is very similar to ServicexService where it focus mostly on the culture of gaming and work life.

  6. Haven’t read the manga. In fact, all I knew about this show was the brief synopsis in the preview, and that one anime chart site had it as “seinen, comedy”. Good enough, I’ll give it a shot. I had no expectations going in and this surprised me to the upside. In short, I liked it. I’d call it more “amusing” than “hilarious” when it comes to the comedy, but that’s still on the plus side. And cute. Definitely cute.

    As for the “meat”, right or wrong I’m approaching this as “comedy first” (i.e. the “meat”) in the same sense I don’t expect Seitokai Yakuindomo to focus on the intricacies of HS Student Council workings. If it delves into some game development information fine, but if the execution is there, focusing on the comedy can work just as well IMO.

    Honestly, I forgot this was based upon a 4-koma style manga so props the the staff for avoiding potential choppy issues that can result when adapting that kind of source. Also props for not defaulting to “good enough” visual presentation. Much appreciated.

    Definitely in for another episode. It may be light, fluffy cute girls doing cute things, but that’s not always bad. In fact, it’s a nice counterbalance to some of the grim-dark stuff I’m watching this season.

  7. I’ve read all the manga, in Japanese, and in English. (Because I can.)

    Same mangaka as Komorebi no Kuni. Great artist. The problem with Komorebi no Kuni, IMO, was that the storytelling wasn’t “standard” enough, so it didn’t do as well as it could have commercially. New Game is very standard in its approach, however. It hits its marks like a veteran, and is therefore predictable.

    That can be either a good or a bad thing, depending on your POV.

    Anime and manga have to sell. They sometimes get lucky trying new things and getting all avant-garde, but usually, tried-and-true is overused because it works so damn often. This is pretty much hitting all the trope buttons for a MT Kirara 4-koma, because it will sell blu-rays like it has sold tankobons.

    And for some people, that’s not a bad thing. Others will not like it for a variety of reasons. It’s a big world, so it’s okay to like different stuff.

    Doga Kobo still does great work, IMO, and that hasn’t changed here. I’ve been a fan of theirs ever since GJ-bu. But they could probably animate a dead badger, and I’d still probably watch all 12 eps of it, even though I might not buy the blu-rays. (Unless there were extras!)

  8. So this is what the Video Games are made (at least in an amateur company), and only about few people! i wonder how many people are working in a video game company?

    as for this show, well…not too bad still let’s see how keep this up!

    1. you know the anime only focus on the art team. they are all CG artist expect hajime (the firl with the sword) and himeko (the girl with the gun)

      game developers vary immensly in size, ranging from few (2-3) peoples to undreds of them.

  9. Definitely enjoyed this first episode (haven’t read the manga either) and really liked the characters.

    I was really surprised by Hifumi though.


    When first introduced, she gives off an initial impression that she could be some sort of rival for Aoba who would constantly be looking down on her and whatever work she does.


    To find out that she actually isn’t like that at all and really does want to communicate with and get along with Aoba and the others, but can’t communicate too well vocally and so uses chats, was really unexpected (and adorable).

    Same with Kou.


    At first, she comes off kind of like one of those lazy, laid back, almost idiot savant type characters who, if it weren’t for her magic of helping develop a solid game, then no studio would ever consider hiring her.


    She quickly dispels that initial impression with the way she looks after Aoba, even to the point of almost motherly, as well as learning about how much work she really does, to the point of even spending several nights in a row at the office.

    And for a last random note:


    …who could possibly resist this smile?

      1. I wasn’t. And these girls are designed to look little to fit a gross demographic. I don’t care how cutesy feel good slice of life it looks. The undertones of shows like these are VERY clear.

      2. @sosbrigade: …No, actually, they’re not. The only undertones are what you’re inventing in your mind. With the exception of Aoba, all these girls are at least 20. They are adults. Moreover they aren’t being particularly sexualized. There are minor shots here and there, but they are neither the focus nor the draw of the show. People aren’t coming here for “sexy young girls.” There are shows designed for that if someone wants them. People come to this sort of series because they want something relaxing and fun.

  10. The events unfolding in the story are so true! Having to introduce yourself a hundred times around the office and being given tasks which you know next to nothing of…

  11. This is the first show where I appreciated the fan service. As Wanderer says it doesn’t overly sexualize the characters and in my opinion helps to stress the maturity of the protagonists.

    1. okay, i admit it. Episode 02 is the ice breaker…

      If you want to start with this Anime, try Episode 02 first. the explanation is a bit better

      an easy going slice of life anime, not really Shirobako at an Game company, but entertainment

  12. yes, yes. If you want to get hooked with this Anime, watch Episode 02. It is the better Ice Breaker then Episode 01

    the interaction with the Girls is the “fuel” of this anime.


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