Of the shows on this list, New Game! is currently the only one that I’ve gone back later and rewatched it, or at least binged a few episodes in a row. The story is a straightforward one: we follow Aoba Suzukaze, a recent high school graduate, as she begins working for the video game developer, Eagle Jump, where she works as a character designer. Her boss is Ko Yagami, whose characters were what inspired Aoba to want to work in video games. The story follows her as she works on her first game, learns the ropes of making characters, and makes friends with her co-workers.
Another slice-of-life and character focused anime, New Game! does well in making all of the characters unique and likable. All of the main cast of the show is female (leading to a comedic moment when the game director is asked why they don’t hire any men), and each character is distinct in their visuals and personalities. Honestly, the weakest character in the story is Aoba herself, being the always cheerful, hard-working, bright ray of sunshine that almost makes you want to puke… but at the same time, she is endearing and kind hearted, and her attitude causes changes in many of the characters in the show.
About halfway through the first season, we get a focus in the company that’s away from the character team in the form of Nene Sakura, Aoba’s childhood friend who works at Eagle Jump as a debugger, and later, programmer. While there are times that Nene can be annoying, having her allows a slightly broader scope within the company, as we can see the debugging and programming process and how those interact with the main group’s character designs.
Season 2 of New Game! (or New Game!! <- 2 exclamation points) does something good and brings in two new characters that basically act as rivals for both Aoba and Nene, giving the audience characters who are in the same position as the characters they had, but have different personalities and backgrounds. This creates an interesting dynamic between these characters that’s fun to watch.
The strongest part of this series is its cute personality. Whether it’s Aoba walking around in a bear sleeping bag, Hifumi shyly showing off pictures of her pet hedgehog, or Hajime swinging around a lightsaber like a madwoman, the characters are all enjoyable to watch and their personalities are so good you can’t help but smile.