by Paul Jensen,
How would you rate episode 7 of
New Game! ?
Aoba's creative ambitions run straight into the realities of game design this week, when some sloppy work on her part incurs the wrath of an intimidating programmer. Umiko pays a visit to the character design team to let Aoba know that her models are full of errors that give the programmers all kinds of problems. Aoba is able to fix the issues, but Umiko starts to worry that she was too harsh with the new girl. She ends up giving Aoba an empty shotgun shell as a peace offering and invites her to tag along on an airsoft match. Later on in the episode, everyone at the company goes through some routine health checkups under the supervision of a very nervous nurse.
While we've seen Umiko around the office in previous weeks, this episode serves as her official introduction. Her main role seems to be telling the show's lazier characters to get back to work, usually by shooting at them with an airsoft gun. As an impatient voice of responsibility, she offers an interesting contrast to Toyama's more low-key lectures. She has some decent comedic chemistry with Yagami, and it's fun to watch her scare the living daylights out of poor Aoba at the beginning of this episode. As expected from New Game, there's a surplus of good intentions and enthusiasm to balance out Umiko's no-nonsense attitude, though she still has enough rough edges to stand out from the other characters.
The airsoft scene is largely forgettable, though it's kind of amusing that Umiko's idea of making peace with her new coworker involves an arsenal of model guns. The scene serves mainly to reinforce the dynamic between Umiko and Yagami, with Yagami easily finding ways to wind Umiko up. The friendly rivalry between them stands out as more antagonistic than most relationships in the series, and it's kind of nice to see an interaction that doesn't end with blushing and giggling for a change. If New Game ever gets around to introducing some actual conflict, it'll be good to have Umiko around to start an argument or two.
The health checkups take up the latter half of the episode, and this sequence seems to function mainly as an excuse to amp up the fanservice level. The girls talk about underwear while changing into hospital robes, gossip about one another's measurements, and generally provide ample fodder for the audience to infer romantic relationships that may or may not actually exist. There are also some moments of humor for the portion of New Game's audience that isn't here for fanservice, and the girls' interactions with an extremely jittery nurse play out like a well-timed comedy sketch. We also get a few hints about the company hiring part-timers to keep the game's development on schedule, with Nene's appearance in the episode preview implying that she might be coming in as a tester.
New Game continues to feel like it's in a holding pattern, neither moving forward nor slipping back as it circles around the possibility of advancing the plot. Umiko is quickly and successfully integrated into the supporting cast, but her introduction seems like it's being used as a safe and easy stand-in for actual story content. If this is all that New Game wants to do, then so be it; the series is pleasant and entertaining enough to coast along at this pace for the remainder of the season. Coasting is all it's doing though, and it'll take a more substantial effort to fulfill any loftier narrative ambitions.
New Game! is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
Paul Jensen is a freelance writer and editor. You can follow more of his anime-related ramblings on Twitter.
discuss this in the forum (62 posts) |