After graduating high school, Suzukaze Aoba joins Eagle Jump, the game company that developed Fairies Story, the game she obsessed over as a kid. On her first day as a working member of society, Aoba heads to work swaying in a packed, morning rush hour train. She manages to get to the office building all right but hesitates, wondering if it was really okay for her to take that last step and go inside. That’s when a senior member of staff, Toyama Rin, shows up at work and safely leads Aoba inside the offices of Eagle Jump.
New Game’s back for a second season! I was pleased to hear the announcement that Aoba and company would be making their way back to our screens this summer. This time around, the team are looking at developing another game following the success of Fairy Story 3. Aoba’s ambitions have come to the forefront and she wants to design some more important characters rather than being consigned to designing NPCs like last time. When she realises that the company is hosting a competition to see which employee can come up with the best character designs, Aoba is keen to take part – even if it means going up against Ko Yagami, her mentor. Much to her disbelief, the panel decide that the character style will be headed up by Aoba and Ko in a joint effort. Of course Aoba is over the moon – she now gets to work side-by-side with the person whose game designs she idolised as a child. I’m looking forward to seeing what the game development process has in store for the women at Eagle Jump!
The first game-related focus we see (and Aoba’s first real hurdle as a character designer) is 3D design. Though she wants to advise and help her colleagues through the process, since they are working with her designs, she quickly realises that she isn’t experienced enough in the other developmental areas to adequately help them. So, in typical Aoba style, she vows to do her best to get up to speed. Meanwhile, her friend Nene is trying to code her own game from scratch this year thanks to her time working with Eagle Jump’s (sometimes scary) programmer Umiko.
This season it would seem that Hifumi is trying her best to overcome her social anxieties in order to socialise with her colleagues and enable her to do her job now that management are keen for her to become the character lead. Meanwhile, Yun is questioning her drive when she sees Aoba’s ambitious attempt at submitting new character designs pay off and she wonders at the reasons why she herself didn’t throw her hat in the ring.
Usually when an anime goes into a second season I want to see something a little different. With New Game, however, I’m keen to see more of the same as last time. Obviously some things will change though: New Game has… uh… a new game to develop and the character are more grown, more skilled and ready to try new things. But what I’m looking forward to seeing Eagle Jump go through the development process again. I was great to see them, designing, programming and testing their new game and I’m rooting for everyone’s success, just like last time.
Aoba has developed a sort of nostalgia about her now that she has been in her job for a year. She enjoys it, she is good at it and she knows that she’s on the right track to developing her career. Whilst she feels that she still has a long way to go to be on Ko’s level, her new responsibilities are making her feel out just what works for her and how she can continue to move forward.
The ending credits is particularly memorable for its catchy song and it’s super-cute chibis that are used throughout. Despite its technical focus, New Game still maintains an ‘adorable factor’. All the character have their own defining style and the offices at Eagle Jump are brilliantly coloured and so great to watch – which is a good thing because who wants a basic, drab office to be the main location of an anime?
So far it’s been a successful second season for New Game!!, continuing to follow Aoba’s journey into this pseudo-realistic game design industry and learning vicariously through her progress. The characters are back and better than ever, establishing their personalities, dynamics, skills and flair quickly as we see them sink their teeth into developing their next hit game.