New Game!!
Episode 11

by Paul Jensen,

How would you rate episode 11 of
New Game!! (TV 2) ?

With the game nearly finished, Eagle Jump's interns and part-timers are starting to wonder if they have a future at the company. Naru in particular is trying to make a good impression, and she has another tense exchange with Nene after turning in her minigame assignments. Nene eventually learns why Naru is in such a hurry to get hired, and she volunteers to help out when bugs are discovered in Naru's minigames. Over at the character team, Ko ponders how she can help Aoba and Momo get along better, and a playtest of the game provides the perfect opportunity. Everything seems to be going well, but Rin starts to worry when she overhears a conversation that implies Ko may be planning to leave the company.

Having Momo tell Nene about Naru's circumstances is a good call, as it provides a more interesting explanation for Naru's competitive streak. Simply casting her as an ambitious intern worked up to a point, but it's much easier to sympathize with Naru now that we know more about her backstory. We've seen other characters deal with obstacles like self-doubt before, but this is the first time someone in New Game has dealt with serious pressure from family members who don't support her career choice. It's an interesting twist on the show's usual “chase your dreams” formula, and it allows for a smooth transition into the next scene.

The revelation that Naru's minigames are full of bugs is handled pretty well. It's a plausible outcome of Naru's desire to impress Umiko with her programming speed, and it also throws a dramatic wrench into her career plan. The script leaves her hanging just long enough to deliver an emotional moment before sending Nene in to save the day. As they work together to fix the issues, Nene and Naru are able to bury the hatchet in a way that feels natural and satisfying. The situation also gives us another window into Umiko's leadership style, as she puts enough pressure on the new girls to make them solve the problem on their own.

While the programming team takes the lead for much of the episode, New Game also goes out of its way to set up a big development for the design crew. I don't buy the idea that Ko is actually going to leave Eagle Jump, largely because it's pretty common for slice of life shows to stir up drama by implying that a major character might be about to disappear. These storylines tend to be much ado about nothing, usually ending with the revelation that someone just overheard the wrong part of a conversation. Still, this setup makes just enough sense to keep the viewer guessing as to whether or not there's really something going on. Ko has been grooming Aoba to be a capable designer in her own right, so it's not completely unreasonable to suggest that she might want to pass the torch to the new kids. Even if it's all just narrative smoke and mirrors, the image of Rin clutching the wristwatch that Ko gave her is compelling.

It's nice to see New Game's dramatic ambition come back as we approach the end of the season, and the series does a solid job with this episode. The rivalry between Nene and Naru is finally settled in a satisfying manner, and we're given a big hook for next week with the suggestion that Ko may be moving to a different company. While I wouldn't be surprised if the show ultimately backpedaled on that, the possibility is intriguing enough to build up some excitement ahead of the finale.

Rating: B+

New Game!! is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.


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