There were a lot of really good shows this past summer season. You had a few close to the #1 spot in Sweetness & Lightning, Amanchu!, Alderamin on the Sky, and Tales of Zestiria The X. But at the end, there was no doubt. The best show from the summer season was without question, New Game!
I was really curious about this show when I was watching the previews. It was one of five shows that got a 4/5 rating in the previews, one of three shows to survive till the very end of the season and the only one to crack the top 5 at the end of the season. In fact, taking all the top 5 shows into account, it’s the show I rated the highest going into the start of the season. So it’s really saying something for the show to not only pique my curiosity, but also follow through when the show actually aired. A lot of shows in this season fell way under my expectations, while this was the lone show that not only reinforced what I had expected from the show, but still exceeded them as well.
New Game! is a slice of life comedy featuring the ridiculous concept of a high-profile video game developer being a company only inhabited by not only girls, but girls under the age of 30. The realities of getting a job in the game industry aside, the show doesn’t hide what it is, it’s a moe anime featuring a ton of young girls that end up in various ecchi situations throughout the show (though not quite the levels of harem anime) and they all happen to be game designers. You’re pretty much getting your standard ecchi moe anime, just with the added bonus of getting a surprisingly realistic representation of the process of designing and producing a video game.
The realism of the process is actually an extra draw for me, I loved how much attention to detail was spent with this. Obviously it’s no secret that a lot of people working in the game industry end up pulling all-nighters, especially during crunch times. But what the show also does is not half-ass on things like showing programming code, showing the detailed bug reports that happen during QA testing and more basic stuff, like the programs being used in development, producing demos and trailers, going to promotional events and even being at the stores on release day to watch people excited to buy what they created. It’s actually really cool watching though moments in the show, you feel by the end of the series that you have a better sense of what it’s like working for game developer, regardless of the absurdities that the show also contains.
The wide cast of characters really sells the series though. There really isn’t a single character on that show I hate (though Nene could’ve used just a slight change to her character, she can be annoying at times), all of them are not only enjoyable characters, but unique in various ways. You have Aoba who’s your classic proper Japanese girl, Hajime who’s a tomboy and loves collecting figures and props, Yun who’s a more gothic otaku girl, Hifumi (best girl) who’s extremely shy and aversive, Kou who’s super casual and doesn’t wear pants if she can get away with it, Rin who’s very dependable and almost like a motherly figure to the group, Shizuru who’s a bit of a slacker and a personal space invader, Umiko who’s scary and collects weapons and Nene is extremely childish and hyper.
All the girls have something different to offer, they’re all uniquely designed and while there’s no way they should be able to mesh together cohesively, over the entire show, there’s never really a time where it feels like anything is forced, there’s no classic “they learn to co-exist” story arc or anything like that, they just work together. Because they’re professionals, they’re at work, they ensure that they’ll work together, regardless of whether their personalities mix or not.
Because I have no shame in admitting it though, a large part of why the show really stuck with me too, was all the great ecchi content the show has as well. It’s not like the show is going around having girls grabbing each other’s breasts or teasing make out sessions, or being caught naked or undressing, or any other classic moments that harem anime loves to do, but the show also doesn’t hide the fact that these are normal girls and sometimes girls change their clothes, take showers, go to a bathhouse together or in Kou’s specific case, enjoy walking around without pants on when she’s alone.
It’s why if not for Hifumi being the best girl ever in anime, Kou would’ve been the easy runaway favourite the entire season. She comes off so real, not an over-exaggeration of any cliched anime character. I live with two friends right now and I’m planning on moving into my own apartment next year, you know what I honestly cannot wait to be able to do when I move out? Walk around my apartment however I’d like to. Especially in the summer time when it’s hot outside, I want to wear the least I can so I can stay cool and comfortable. So I can sympathize with Kou, I cannot wait to be able to walk around in my apartment without jeans or shorts on. It really is liberating and it is very comfortable, you should try it sometime.
The show is chalk full of great ecchi moments, obviously the most memorable being the scene pictured above. To those unfamiliar with what’s going on here, no Rin is not raping Kou. Actually, given how their relationship goes over the course of the anime, it’s not out of the question to think that maybe in the future these two actually become a couple. But what actually is happening is that Kou stays overnight at the studio a lot and because most of the time she’s also alone, she has a habit of working in her panties when this happens. Rin thinks it’s very unladylike of her doing this, but Kou tells her to try it sometime. So when one night both of them stay over, Rin wakes up early that morning, seeing the pantsless Kou again with the blanket off of her. But Rin out of curiosity decides to try Kou’s strategy as well and takes her pants off and notes that it really does feel liberating. However, Kou wakes up and teases her about this and Aoba has shown up early to work. So instead of rushing back to her sleeping bag and putting her pants on underneath, she tries to shut Kou up, while on top of her. So naturally what we see in the picture is what Aoba walks into. That’s just one great example of good ecchi done in New Game!
Another fantastic example is through the company’s medical checkup where we see the girls changing into their gowns, something that would normally happen. Then there’s a point where they get their waists measured and everyone takes a moment to marvel at Hajime’s well-toned stomach, including Yun getting a little too close. There’s also the main four girls taking a late night trip to the bathhouse together and Aoba coming out of nowhere, looking sexy as fuck!
And that’s what I like about New Game!, yes there is a lot of ecchi content, but in actuality, how much of it happens through ridiculous, unrealistic means like harem animes are common for? The majority of ecchi takes place through normal, everyday things, like undressing, showering, bathing and a somewhat rare but plausible occurrence in a girl like Kou enjoying walking around without pants on. It’s arguable that the only slightly over-the-top moment was the Kou/Rin scene pictured above, that’s about it. Everything else is normal, it’s not forced.
New Game! is a great show, I don’t care what anyone says about the ridiculousness of its concept, it’s ecchi, or whatever else they have a problem with the show. I enjoyed it for its humour, its variety of characters and yes, its ecchi.
I’m into what I’m into, deal with it.