New Game!!
Episode 7

by Paul Jensen,

How would you rate episode 7 of
New Game!! (TV 2) ?

The word “new” comes up a lot in this episode: new jobs, new perspectives, and new characters add up to a busy week for the series. We start off with Nene, who comes in to interview for a job as a programmer. Once that's done, the focus shifts to Yamato, who represents the game's publisher at the Eagle Jump office. She's worried that the key art drama has made her unpopular with the character team, but Shizuku has plan to smooth things over. Finally, the company picks up a pair of interns: childhood friends Momiji and Tsubame are excited to join the team, but Momiji's personal ambitions lead her to see Aoba as a rival.

If nothing else, the interview scene is interesting because it lets us see Nene in full-on professional mode. Even when she was helping with the debugging last season, Nene always came across as the quirkiest goofball in a cast full of quirky goofballs. Having her show up in a suit and give serious answers to the interview questions brings out a new side of her personality. Since her initial introduction, Nene has grown from Aoba's airheaded confidant to a character with goals of her own. Umiko's decision to have Aoba sit in on the interview is also a clever move; it allows Aoba to see how Nene has grown, as well as being a test to see whether or not Nene can stay focused with her best friend around. It's kind of a shame that this scene doesn't get more time to play out, but it's still a worthwhile moment.

Yamato's attempt to make peace with the character team is arguably the weakest part of the episode. It's not that the sequence is a bad idea; in fact, it's important that we get to see her perspective on the key art situation since she was the closest thing that storyline had to an antagonist. The problem lies more in the presentation, as the way this scene plays out isn't very compelling. After a brief moment of tension between Yamato and Ko over some new promotional art, the show allows everyone to bury the hatchet without ever really talking about what happened. As amusing as Mozuku's antics are, it would have been interesting to see a more direct heart-to-heart conversation between Yamato, Ko, and Aoba. Now that New Game has proven it can handle emotionally charged scenes, it's harder to let the series off the hook when it sidesteps around a potentially dramatic moment.

Finally, we get to meet the new characters whose arrival has been teased through the opening credit sequence all season. Momiji and Tsubame make a reasonably solid first impression, especially in terms of their immediate chemistry as old friends pursuing their ambitions together. This also gives them an obvious connection to Aoba and Nene: in addition to the childhood friend angle, both pairs are made up of a character designer and a programmer. I suspect Tsubame will be an entertaining addition once she joins the programming team, but for now the focus is on Momiji. The show gets some decent comedic mileage out of her immediate (and incredibly one-sided) rivalry with Aoba, and there's definitely room for a more dramatic take on the situation in future episodes. Time will tell if these two are a worthwhile addition to the series, but they do display a healthy amount of potential.

In many ways, this is a housekeeping episode for New Game. The show hit a dramatic high point last week, and now it's in the process of tying up loose ends and setting up new story arcs. From an entertainment standpoint, it's perhaps inevitable that this is neither the funniest nor the most compelling episode of the season. Nevertheless, the big picture remains largely positive, and most of the changes should pay off nicely as long as the New Game plays its cards right. Reuniting the comedic duo of Nene and Umiko can only be a good thing, and the new characters open up some additional paths for the narrative to follow. I expect this series to get right back into its groove once the characters settle into their new positions.

Rating: B

New Game!! is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.

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