The Summer 2017 Anime Preview Guide New Game!! Season 2
How would you rate episode 1 of
New Game!! (TV 2) ?
What is this?
It's been a year since Aoba Suzukaze joined game development company Eagle Jump, and she's finally getting used to her role on the character design team. With the company's next big project about to begin, an opportunity has opened up for Aoba to take the next step toward achieving her dream. Ko is moving up to the position of art director, which means there's a vacancy for the next game's lead character designer. If Aoba wants to move up in the company, she'll have to compete with her coworkers to prove she's ready for the job. New Game!! is based on a manga and can be found streaming on Crunchyroll, Tuesdays at 10:00 AM EST.
How was the first episode?
New Game!! is back for a second season, now with twice as many exclamation points in its title. Extra punctuation aside, the show's general tone and atmosphere remain largely unchanged. This is still the same moe workplace comedy it's always been, albeit a little more polished and refined. With a natural flow of character humor and a small uptick in narrative ambition, this episode displays all the signs of a competent sequel.
While the show does go through the obligatory round of reintroductions, they act mainly as a refresher course for returning fans, and new viewers would be well advised to start with the first season. If you're already up to speed, you may notice a few callbacks to the first episode of the series. These are neat little references that don't go too far overboard, and they actually help to highlight how some of the characters have grown over time. With a season under its belt, New Game!! is able to lean on the chemistry it has already built up within the cast. This makes the comedy flow more naturally and allows the story to move quickly into new territory. I don't remember Yun having an accent in the first season's subtitles, but everything else is on point as far as the characters go.
With all the “hey, remember me?” scenes out of the way, the episode starts introducing some new plotlines. The performance evaluation meetings are a decent way to let most of the characters talk about their ambitions, whether they're proposing concepts for new games or aiming for personal growth. One of the best scenes actually takes place outside of the office, as Nene talks to Umiko about her desire to become a programmer. (Who knew these two would end up having such strong chemistry?) Even if some of these storylines end up falling by the wayside, it's encouraging to see some genuine narrative ambition from New Game!!.
Outside of these small but important improvements, this series retains most of its old strong and weak points. It's still a good-looking show with some generally mild fanservice, and it still teases the prospect of romantic relationships between characters without actually committing to anything. If the first season's blend of cutesy comedy and relaxed pacing worked for you, then this sequel appears poised to deliver more of the same. As long as it keeps taking baby steps forward in the drama department, it might even grow into something more impressive.
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