New Game S2

December 30, 2017

More girls making video games? Nah. Just another sequel of cute girls making video games, New Game S2. After that OVA that had our team of girls fully rested at a snowy resort, it is time to get back in creating the next big game. More drama, more bonding relationships, more new characters and more or less the same thing. We’re here for the cute girls doing cute character designing and programming, aren’t we?

Episode 1
It has been a year since Aoba joined Eagle Jump. She is nervously practising her introduction lines since she will be a senior. However Rin tells her they aren’t hiring any new staffs this year. Made a fool out of herself. Well, she isn’t the only one. Her other colleagues too think the same thing with Hajime full of zest while Hifumi is scared the newbie will be a meanie. With that, I guess Aoba will still considered a newbie. At this point of the year, their company isn’t busy so the staffs have some free time before the next project. Kou suggests going for flower viewing tomorrow. Hadzuki catches a glimpse of Hifumi’s smile so she can’t help join in the girls’ conversation and suggests they could help by coming up with some ideas of their own. Nene meets Umiko. It seems she has programmed a game but it is filled with bugs. She is slowly understanding the role of a programmer. Umiko agrees to help in some parts and Nene thinks she has talent. She hopes she could keep this a secret from Aoba. Hadzuki and Rin have a one on one meeting and evaluation with the staffs. Like Aoba who is wondering why the company is all females. Our age old question finally answered because like Hadzuki says, if she hires a man, he might steal Kou away! That’s a joke, right? We hear their wishes like Aoba wanting to make lots more of other types of characters, Hifumi wanting to get over her social anxiety, Umiko threatening not to change anything or she’ll flick the hell out of her forehead, Hajime handing in her own game proposal and Yun being a worrywart comparing herself to others. The ladies enjoy their flower viewing and at the end of it, Hadzuki makes an announcement. The plan for the next project is almost finished so she would like to hold a character design competition. The winner will be the character designer for that game. Aoba is excited to participate.

Episode 2
Aoba begins her character design but lacking ideas, she goes to ‘spy on the enemy’. This means looking to Kou for inspiration. Because Hajime has been watching a show all night long and is sleepy at work, the rest mistook it as overworking. Hifumi gives her some sweets to invigorate her. During the first round competition, participants go upfront to present their character designs. As Kou presents hers, Hadzuki comments the art is good as always. However it is too similar to Fairies Story. They want to create a new world and since she was free to design anything, she was expected to experiment a little more. Too bad, all rejected. When Aoba presents her, there is one design she accidentally slipped in based on a character in a sleeping bag. Hadzuki likes this and hopes she could fix it up by the next competition. Aoba is ecstatic but she notices Kou’s sad face. The next time Aoba goes to Kou for advice, she didn’t mean to say it this way but because she notes she hasn’t had anything done so far, Kou lashes out at her she just had everything rejected and had to design from scratch. Awkward. Aoba feels conflicted about it as Yun tries to cheer her up by saying that she herself is the lamest and hasn’t improved much. Still, Aoba is sad she didn’t want to see that sad face of Kou. Of course Kou also feels bad for that. Rin talks to her about it and they want to believe for what is best for Aoba. So Kou goes to help Aoba with her character design and all the anxiety between them blows away. So when the second round of the competition arrives, Hadzuki is fascinated with Aoba’s design. Though, it is primarily a collaboration between Aoba and Kou. Hadzuki decides to go with this prototype character but the final call will still depend on the art director. This means there will be 2 producers for the next project. Congrats to Aoba and Kou.

Episode 3
Kou checks on Hifumi’s animal character design as she has trouble deciding on the fur texture. She thought of making it more realistic but Yun disagrees saying it will cause a few problems like processing issues. This makes Aoba feel odd. It’s a character she designed and yet she can’t help out with the suggestions. Hifumi notices this and talks to her. Aoba shouldn’t be worried since she is inexperienced in 3D modelling. Well, that sure hit a nerve but it’s a fact. Nene and Umiko are respectively having programming issues. However, nothing like a few debugging to solve it. When Hadzuki talks to Umiko about accepting one’s failures, I guess this is her subtle way to plead that she wants to make some feature changes. I hope she hasn’t forgotten the promise whereby Umiko will flick her forehead. After taking ‘damage’, Umiko tells her the reason for doing so wasn’t about changing features but her heart for making excuses. If she had acted more apologetically like Kou, the flicks would be gentler. For real? I guess she didn’t learn. The girls bought bento for everyone to share. Kou comments how it might taste better than Rin’s so she gets annoyed while eating it. Hadzuki tries to feed Umiko. When she eats it without much hesitation or reaction, everyone is left surprised because they’d never think she would do it or at least be embarrassed. She has been working so long here and knows of Hadzuki’s antics. She would have gotten used to it. Also, ‘training’ by Nene previously… Speaking of her, she invites Umiko to her college to help continue with her debugging advices. It still has its problems but Nene has to continue to work hard and not be a lazy bum if she doesn’t want Umiko to walk out on this entirely. Umiko then tells her about Aoba. Thus Nene calls to congratulate her.

Episode 4
Hajime is in the toilet trying to buy online the tickets for the events to Moon Ranger. I guess the competition is so hot that the website crashed! And when it is back online, it is all sold out. Poor Hajime. This is found out by Yun who chastises her about ditching work for this. Later Hifumi heard about it. It seems she has managed to buy one and offers to give it to her. But Hajime can’t accept it so easily since Hifumi was the one who did all the hard work buying it. Subsequently Yun has an extra ticket for Hajime. Her father was supposed to go with her and her younger siblings but he isn’t interested. So guess who the lucky girl is? Hajime and Yun’s siblings are so hyped. They’re really like children. So I guess that makes Yun the adult, huh? Hifumi also attends the event but a different time slot, she bumps into Aoba and Nene who are also there for the event. Back at the office, Hifumi catches Kou smiling. So they begin an odd conversation about it and Kou ends up fooling about with her. Rin sees this and gets jealous with this misinterpretation. Hifumi can sense Rin’s resentful aura so she tries to steer the conversation that would make Kou support Rin. Like the beef stew she made, Rin would make it better. Unfortunately Kou likes Hifumi’s so much that it can’t get out of her mind. Oh no… Hifumi thought she could do some peace offering by giving the recipe to Rin. Accepted but she still wants to know what they were talking. Hadzuki wants Kou and Hifumi to meet her shortly. After a while, Umiko is angrily looking for Hadzuki. Looks like she made more changes. In the meeting, Hadzuki suggests Hifumi take over Kou as the character team leader. As expected, nervous, low self-confidence, the fear of disappointing everyone but with the support and words of encouragement, she accepts. Now here comes Umiko to bring Hadzuki away for another meeting. Hifumi fears this is what she’ll have to face. Especially Umiko’s wrath. Heard Hadzuki’s scream there. Oh sh*t… The results of the prototype is soon announced by Christina Wako Yamato who is the producer from the publisher. In other words, the highest ranking person around. With the positive feedback, they will continue making the game into an alpha version.

Episode 5
Hifumi has to go around checking the progress of others. It’s going to be scary… For her, that is. Since she is quite lenient, they better work hard not to miss the deadline themselves. One day Yun is a bit late to work due to some family issues. Feeling guilty, she wants Hifumi to scold her! Hifumi acts out one of her cosplay characters. Is this yuri? Aoba certainly had the wrong idea when she sees this before the embarrassed duo pull away. Hajime is stuck and the ideas aren’t flowing. She talks to Hadzuki about her general idea so she suggests asking Aoba and Yun since they handle the character and monster designs. At first she didn’t want to because of her pride. But when she puts that aside, her friends have a lot of ideas flowing. Now she is bragging it to Hadzuki. Let’s hope she won’t too full of herself. Aoba is trying to design the final boss of the game which is an adult queen. She seeks Kou’s advice but is told to think for herself since she would just copy what she will say. Then talking to Hadzuki about it, her idea for the queen is an ill little girl who is mean to others because of her loneliness. It gives Aoba some ideas. When she finishes and shows Kou, it looks great but Kou’s looks better. Aoba feels she’s bullying her… Aoba is happy to receive a message that her high school friend, Hotaru Hoshikawa has returned from studying abroad at France. She shows Rin some of the photos of their time together. And then there is one where they kissed! OMG! Not French kiss and just on the cheek. It’s a French greeting. So Aoba and Nene meet up with Hotaru as they hang out at the hotspring inn. Hotaru must have gotten so used to this greeting that she nonchalantly does it to her friends. Maybe she just wants to harass them? This evokes Aoba’s inner demons as she uses her perverted excuse to grope boobs as her form of greeting. It’s chaotic…

Episode 6
As Aoba is in charge of key visuals, Kou teases and scares her that her art will be the main face of the series. This means she will be tied directly to the sales figure of the game. Pressure… It has been 6 months and Nene has finished her game. She calls Hotaru and Aoba to meet up and surprises them with this. The surprised look on Aoba’s face was priceless and worth it for all her hard work. Now to play the game. Hmm… Graphics look cheap… But the girls had fun playing it. Aoba can tell she put a lot of effort into it. It makes her remember her own key visual job. Pressure… Aoba sits in the meeting with the rest. As Yamato reveals, the publisher is having high hopes for this new game, PECO. Being a new IP, they want to start securing sales and promote it as soon as the alpha version passes inspection. This means Aoba has to start on her key visuals. But there is one catch. Aoba will not be doing the key visuals. They want Kou to do it. Kou protests against this but Yamato says the credits will not be changed. Rin gets madder when Aoba meekly agrees if this is what they want. If Kou won’t draw, they’ll hire a famous illustrator to draw it. Aoba finally speaks her mind and hopes she gets a chance. Hadzuki approves her competition again with Kou for the key visual but the outcome will still be fixed even if she draws better than her. This is so they would feel better. Aoba goes into serious focusing mode as her friends are ‘scared’ to talk to her. She stays late to finish her work. Kou wonders had she not helped her during the competition, she would not be in this situation. Aoba doesn’t want to be treated like a child and besides, she requested for this. If things get bitter (like this black coffee she’s drinking?), she can handle it. When Kou shows her work, Aoba is awed at how magnificent Kou’s key visual is. So great that she starts crying?! Is this a sign that she has lost? Well, not sure if I can say she handled that well. Of course in the end, Kou’s art gets featured on the back cover of a magazine. We see Aoba’s not-too-bad visual too as it sits on her personal board.

Episode 7
Aoba isn’t sure why she needs to come with Umiko for an interview to hire a new programmer. That’s because the applicant is Nene! The friends are surprised to see each other. It might be awkward for Nene but Aoba is trying to control her snickering because it’s rare to see Nene on her good behaviour. Aoba asks a few questions like why she decided to work here (her part timer job as a debugger had her impressed with the company’s atmosphere and all). Once she has no questions left, Aoba is excused. So is it worse for Nene to be alone with Umiko? She’s overthinking. Because Umiko passes her for handling it well. As she is still studying, she will be offered a part time contract for 3 months. Umiko tells her that her programming skills aren’t up to standard yet but she negotiated with the company president to let her in. So do your best. She has high expectations. Is it okay for Nene to cry now? I mean, nobody really had expectations of her. Yamato talks to Kou to hand her requests from various companies. It increases her workload but it is also her job to promote the game. Mozuku then ‘attacks’ Yamato. Seems she had catnip in the charm that Hadzuki gave her. When Aoba tries to help her up, she screams not to touch her! Everyone is confused so Yamato explains she is not good with handling people close to her. Aoba tries to break the ice by talking about her French ancestry but that greeting kiss topic makes it awkward. Aoba is excited that new interns will come to work here. This means some of their places will be shuffled. Hifumi requests to sit next to Kou. Aoba is excited when she sees the new interns at the company’s doorstep. While Tsubame “Naru” Narumi is lively and friendly, Momiji Mochizuki is a bit unfriendly. Overlapping with Hifumi’s character? Naru will be under programming and Momiji under character design. When Momiji meets Kou for the first time, she nervously lets her know she admires her work and all. Overlapping with Aoba’s character? Momiji thought Aoba’s desk is where Kou sits seeing all the PECO designs there. But Kou clears the misinterpretation about the misleading advertising. It is Aoba who is the main character design. Momiji then connects the dots and realizes why certain art of PECO seems silly. Realizing Aoba is the same age and her and has done some amazing work, Momiji is fired up. But why does she look like she’s trying to challenge her? Well, if she could only get Aoba’s name right. She becomes embarrassed after Aoba corrects her.

Episode 8
The girls need to think of a place for a welcoming party. Better think fast before Hadzuki gives her own ideas. Oh, too late. She has the girls dress up in cat maid outfits and practice. Yeah, she can’t stop pressing the shutter button. Hifumi who is showing Momiji around sees this. That disgusted stare means she doesn’t want any part of this sh*t. Hadzuki manages to make Momiji dress as one (was she being baited she could take on this challenge?) before Umiko comes in to drag her away. Eventually Kou randomly chooses some burger and steak stall in which Aoba’s face lights up. She really wants to eat here. Umiko, Nene and Naru’s side are getting along well. But at Kou’s side… Everyone’s so stiff! Anyway they manage to break the ice talking about nicknames. Momiji doesn’t join the others for lunch and usually brings her own big onigiri. Aoba feels it is a bit difficult to get close to her since she is still reserved. Hadzuki points out Kou was like this so Aoba fears Momiji would turn into another Kou by sleeping in her panties! Hifumi talks to Momiji. She manages to break the ice by showing her pictures of Soujirou. Pets always do the trick. On another day, Momiji brings a smaller onigiri for lunch. She reveals her goal to earn more money so she could buy and eat more meat. Hence her lunches are often brought from home as she fears she would spend them all. Currently she is sharing a rented space with Naru. They come from Hokkaido. Later, Momiji is trying to hint to Aoba that she is a talented top grade genius like her. However Aoba isn’t cowed and could accept her challenge not to lose confidently. This isn’t how Momiji pictured how it should be. She starts feeling strange. Could it be love? Back at her office space, Momiji is glaring at Aoba’s work. Damn it’s good. Is that the look of dissatisfaction or jealousy? Why so serious?

Episode 9
Hajime is at a hero show with Yun’s siblings. Her old high school friend, Akki happen to be here so they catch up a little bit. When asked what Hajime is doing, she replies a designer. Well, not technically a lie but not accurate either. Later Hajime talks to Yun how she was an otaku in high school and tried to hide it. Yun feels a bit jealous that back then Hajime looked quite feminine and had some decent knowledge of fashion. Yun then shows her own photo of her during high school. Promise don’t laugh. She looks like a nerd. When Hajime decides to reveal her true otaku self to Akki, it seems she already knows it for a long time. Yun is surprised to hear Hajime cut her own hair short. Yun thought of wearing those glasses again so Hajime also copies her. Don’t they look smart? Momiji shows a game she did in school and it is pretty impressive. Maybe she just wants to be praised. The newbies are given some work to do. Naru learns how Nene became a programmer and from what she told, it looked like she got in here via connections. This doesn’t sit well with Naru as she vows to get in on he own skills. This makes Nene feel bad but now Naru hates her?! Momiji might look serious at work but back home she is a bit loose. She sounds like she loves eating. While Naru takes a bath, she hears Momiji’s scream. Looks like there is a black bug lurking around. Oh no. It’s hiding and making those scuttling sounds. Any moment now going into panic. Because they have no insecticide or magazines to whack it. Basically, no weapons and defenceless! So how are they going to handle this ‘threat’? Instantly, Naru takes Momiji’s bowl and covers on it! Now it’s Momiji’s chance to run out to buy insecticide. Hurry! Because of that, the next day Naru takes off since she has gotten a cold. Momiji arrives at work wearing her pyjamas top. She doesn’t mind it when Aoba points it out until she draws attention to her unkempt hair.

Episode 10
Naru creates a daruma mini game inside PECO. Hajime tests it but feels something is not right. Till Aoba points out the need to add other NPC players. She makes the changes and although it is better, this time Momiji points out how the NPCs could identify the player as the imposter from such angle. Time to rework it again. Because it will take time and hence deadline of importance, Naru wonders who will be responsible if the game is not delivered on time. Hajime might be a full time staff but Naru is still on probation and this affects her evaluation. Umiko learns of Hajime’s constant request change and advises Naru to blow off stress. A chance to introduce her to the world of airsoft? The final change is made and they show it to Hadzuki who loves it. She even suggests a few more features. More changes, I guess? Nene has finished her ball maze game. It has some bug in the end but she thinks it’s okay. Since Umiko and her debuggers are busy, she goes to bug Aoba. Too bad she is busy too. Returning to her place, she spots Naru having glitches. She can’t say because Naru also knows about her glitch and advises her to finish it properly if she is a pro. Nene thought she could weasel her way out by adding more special effects but it is going to be easier said than done. Eventually she finishes it and Umiko tests it. The easy mode seems pretty okay but the hard mode crashes since she has trouble incorporating those random special effects. Umiko passes her since she did complete the main project within the stipulated time. With the deadline looming, Umiko will have Nene use her debugging skills like last year. Get ready for more work! On the way home, Aoba and Nene talk about how they have improved. Aoba can’t forever depend on Kou. Rin talks to Kou who stays back late to finish her work. They talk about the changes that have been for everyone. Kou gives Rin a watch as a thank you present since nowadays she is hardly at her desk and always out. But Rin starts getting mad since Kou plans to sleep over in office and strips right away. That part of her has never changed.

Episode 11
Naru finishes her task fast and this earns Umiko’s praise. That smirk at Nene… However Nene spots some bugs so Naru tries to quickly fix it and ‘warns’ Nene not to tell Umiko. Nene takes the break at the cafeteria. Since Momiji is there, she asks about Naru. Sounds like a hardworking and reliable girl. Till she learns Naru’s parents were against her going into the game industry and wanted her to take over their inn. Therefore Naru had to work hard and finance her own living just to prove she can make it. If she cannot secure a job at Eagle Jump, it’s game over. Nene also talks about Aoba. She was playing around until her senior high school years till Hotaru came along and sparked an interest in the arts. Umiko calls Nene not because she is slacking but rather there are many bugs found in Naru’s programme. That’s why she managed to finish so fast and did not check. Naru feels bad. She thought this is the end of the road. Surprisingly Nene encourages her to fight on. As they have a deadline to follow, they have to work to patch things up and depending on how fast they can do, the mini games will be cut if they can’t fix it fast enough. Naru wonders why Nene is helping her. Doesn’t she hate her? At first she did but after hearing her family story, she wants to support her. Naru apologizes for being jealous and stubborn. So everyone puts in the effort and works overtime. Those energy drinks sure come in handy. In the end, it is all fixed and Umiko passes Naru and offers her a renewed contract to work here. Meanwhile Rin overhears a conversation between Kou and Yamato. Kou is going to leave Eagle Jump to work somewhere else. Oh no… With the game completed, the girls test PECO. Seems pretty fun and good. Everyone is having a good time. Except Rin. She’s really fidgeting and feeling uneasy…

Episode 12
Everyone is here for the pre-release event of PECO. Momiji finally learns the truth that Aoba was the one who designed the key visual but the higher ups wanted Kou for promotional purposes. She realizes Aoba went through a rougher patch than her. As Kou takes centre stage to introduce the game, she improvises and credits Aoba on the design of most of the characters. Later at backstage, Kou drops the bomb that she is quitting to go to France to hone her skills. This obviously leaves Hadzuki and the young ones in shock. She told Rin a bit earlier so she’s able to ‘handle’ it. Hadzuki tells her to come back when she’s done. But don’t take too long till she gets old! Nice one. Aoba is also reeling from the shock and forces herself to accept this. During the party to celebrate the event’s success which also serves as a farewell party, Umiko is also interested to work for another company that Yamato’s sister works. Yamato is even getting ready her contacts but Hadzuki stops her. She isn’t going to lose more of her precious paradise! After the party, everyone sees the face of Rin they have never seen before. She starts crying that she doesn’t want Kou to go. All Kou has to say is to hope she keeps watching over her or else she won’t be able to leave with a smile. A week later as Aoba arrives for work, she thought Kou is still around when she should be catching her flight today. Nope. False alarm. Just Mozuku. Momiji then walks in and sees her close to tears. She is going to bring her to say her real goodbye to Kou. Because it looks like she still has regrets over it. During the train trip, they talk about Kou like Aoba’s first impression of her when seeing her sleeping in the office in her panties. Pretty much the same irresponsible person then. Arriving at the departure hall, they see Rin in the midst of giving her a farewell lecture? With Aoba starting to get emotional, Kou hugs her as she thanks her for making her realize she needs to get better. After watching her work so hard, she realized she has gotten complacent. That’s why she is going overseas to learn more so that she can move further up. In gaming terms, that is like upgrade, right? They both promise to become better. By now, the whole gang has also skipped work to come say goodbye. After the plane takes off, Momiji realizes after Naru reminds her about her internship results. Oops. Looks like Kou forgot to evaluate her and left. Don’t worry, Rin says she passed. Another week later, PECO goes on sale and out girls go buy them. Hotaru being kiasu and buying all versions and editions? Aoba hopes to work harder so that everyone can work together again making great games.

Same Game, Next Level
Well, looks like it is Aoba and Momiji to be the next Kou. Life is just like a game. You can’t stay in that same level and do the same things all over and over again. You have to level up and move on. So even though it is sad that Kou is no longer at Eagle Jump, I’m sure as part of the game developing community, everyone will still be connected. Things may change again in the future. Kou may or may not come back and Aoba may or may not stay on. But we’ll cross the bridge when we get to it. For now, things are looking good for the company and the future of the young ones seeing the initial success of PECO. I mean, they are already dreaming of making the next game based on what they really want it to have.

The character development this season is fairly decent. While there is nothing too deep, I feel that because they have to spread the focus on some of the characters, some of them feel like they have shorter screen time. For instance, Hifumi. Ever since she got promoted, we hear very much less of her. This is compounded by the fact that Hifumi herself is a quiet girl herself so you don’t hear much of her originally and even so in her meek form. Even much lesser when Eagle Jump hires a bunch of newbies and the focus then shifts to them.

Even Rin seems to be featured less ever since she has gone corporate. It’s like she is sticking around because of Kou. But then that dramatic heart-breaking news of Kou quitting and hence no more yuri time? When everything seems to be going so well and easy at Eagle Jump, this kind of news that an employee is hopping ship and even Kou lashing out at Aoba seems like something serious. It provides the much needed drama for our characters to grow and to tug our heartstrings. So like I’ve said, there are some character development but it is just minimal. It just shows that after a year, there have been some changes to the positions of the characters and their job roles and how they moved forward. Otherwise, their overall character remains pretty much the same. I mean, you can’t expect the girls to remain in the same position doing the same thing again, right? Might as well go watch last season again.

The introduction of new interns and a ‘veteran’ newbie halfway through this season brings a refreshing direction to the series. Each has their own reasons and goals for coming to Eagle Jump. Like Momiji who looks up to Kou like how Aoba once was and her seemingly unfriendly outlook overlaps with Hifumi. In some ways I thought she was Hifumi’s character replacement since the latter now has less appearance, do not fear all those who love poker face girls because here is Momiji to substitute her in her absence. Something like that. I’m sure competitiveness is in their blood since right away Momiji and Naru begin making ‘enemies’ out of Aoba and Nene respectively. Considering their background and how they came about and ended up here, maybe that is why they need to prove their worth if they want to stay in this company. But once they get to know each other, it’s just another day at work. After all, everyone is working on the same project.

Nene is still my favourite character because of all the ‘troubles’ she brings in addition to that very cute squeaky voice that spells mischief. Surprisingly, she took on the challenge and became quite a decent programmer and is considered a pro veteran debugger. It feels like she was bitten by the debugging bug (no pun intended) last season and hence she decided to hone her skills and becoming one. Therefore I also feel that perhaps she is such a subtle masochist and loves getting scolded by Umiko, she came to apply for a job at Eagle Jump. Well, if she was that scary in the first place, she wouldn’t have done so. So rather she came here for that instead of to be with Aoba.

Umiko also seems to be less in trying to ‘recruit’ people to play airsoft. With so much programming to go, maybe there is no time to play her favourite outdoor activity. With her guiding Nene, I guess this eats up some of her time. She might play it at other times when we don’t see her but we don’t see her trying to bug others to accompany her playing the game.

Lastly, the pet mascots of the series, the cat and the hedgehog. Mozuku still hangs and bums about in the office like a cat boss. Hardly anything and just for some furry relief. Otherwise it is the most carefree character ever in the company. In fact, I think it is also the most bored seeing everyone is mostly too busy to give it some attention all the time. But from time to time when it crosses your path, it’ll surely make your day and relief some stress because who can’t resist petting a fat cat or play with its paws? Too bad Soujirou feels like it made even less appearance this season because I remember Hifumi often confides in her pet about her troubles at work but the hedgehog just don’t give a damn and all it cares is just to be fed. Why not? Hedgehogs can’t talk!

Mentioning how carefree Mozuku is prompted me to notice how easy going the employees at Eagle Jump are. I have not worked in a game company or seen one in action but the way they portray the girls doing their job seems like they are stressful. I know we don’t see everyone in every department but as for those we can see, it’s like there is no real stress to it. Everything looks like in order and is going well. Even during times when they rush, they don’t look all that stressful. Maybe women can handle stress better than men? I’m not saying the characters have it easy. There are tough times too but the way they portray it feels like as though making games looks like such an easy thing. Well, when you have bosses like Hadzuki who has free time to come mess with the girls, I guess everything is not that bad and under control. Well, at least everybody is dedicated and hardworking. Also, looks like my question to last season on why the company hires only women is somewhat answered. Workplace romance is going to affect productivity. But lesbian pairing is better than straight pairings? Whatever. Just make a good game.

Fourfolium (basically the quartet of Aoba, Hifumi, Hajime and Yun) who sang all the themes last season, return again to sing all of them. This season’s opener Step By Step Up has that same energetic and lively feel like in the previous season’s opener. This season we have 2 ending themes. The first one being Jumpin’ Jump Up which is also another genki piece and the second one being Yumeiro Compass which is a moderate rock pop. Adding to the existing casts are Arisa Suzuki as Momiji, Hitomi Oowada as Naru (Sana in Alice To Zoroku), Kaori Nazuka as Yamato (Nunnally in Code Geass series) and Manaka Iwami as Hotaru (Chiaki in Gamers).

Overall, if you enjoyed the first season, this season feels like an extension that adds a few new things but hardly changes the main core nor are there any major shakeups. Also, for those who can’t get enough of cute girls doing cute things, making video games version, this season will be very much up your alley with all the bright and vivid colours as well as the overly cute girls working in a company (thank Hadzuki for that – and his paradise is likely to go on as long as she can stop them from leaving). Hence this second season feels like something equivalent to cosmetic extra content rather than mandatory paid DLC or microtransactions that are needed to complete the game. Let’s hope this series doesn’t cut out content that should have been in it originally just to make an extra quick buck. Oh wait. Isn’t that what OVAs are for?

New Game OVA

June 16, 2017

I guess to remind others that there is another season for the series, hence New Game OVA is released in conjunction with that. Oh heck, maybe it is to milk more money to get fans to buy and complete the collection of the series with this unaired thirteenth episode. Make that a hotspring unaired thirteenth episode. What does a group of game designing girls has got to do with hotspring anyway? Who cares? Sometimes geek girls need to show off their natural assets and let some steam lose once in a while.

My first company trip…
As reward for recently completing their recent project, the designing department gets to go on a company trip to a ski resort. However Aoba has fears of skiing because she flopped badly when she was young. So the next morning when Hajime is looking forward for the gang to ski, Aoba opted to stay back in the hotel. However Kou also wants to stay out. They notice something isn’t right with her so Rin takes Kou back. Turns out she is sick so she can’t join them. Aoba wonders if she should still go skiing and that is when Hifumi offers to teach her. Can she finish her bread first before saying that? The quartet are geared up to start skiing. But Umiko is here too. Her programming team is here doing a survival game. Care to join them? No thanks… Suddenly skiing seems to be a better option, no, Aoba? At first Aoba is panicky, worried she will fail just like in her dreams. But when she realizes she is alright, she overcomes her trauma and is happy skiing with Hifumi. She’s doing pretty alright. After all that cold outdoor activity, it’s time to hit the warm relaxing baths. Read: Fanservice. So we have them stay in the sauna. Oddly, Aoba seems to be a sadist because she made a mini snowman and then lets it melt in the sauna! Then there is the outdoor hotspring which is supposed to be the main fanservice draw. Don’t hold your breath… Anyway, we see Aoba again being a snowman killer because she ‘interrogates’ it and lets it melt in the hotspring! WHAT DOES SHE HAVE AGAINST SNOWMEN???!!! And she isn’t even drunk! Well, Hifumi is a little and wants Aoba to join her but Aoba declines since she doesn’t drink and still underage. Yeah, thank goodness. Who knows how many snowmen she’ll start killing. On the other hand, Kou has recovered and goes drinking with Rin and Umiko. Umiko shows her unruly side when she gets drunk. Yeah, threatening the oyster with her gun when it doesn’t open up? As everyone turns in for the night, Aoba feels her first company trip was a lot of fun. The gang hopes to do it again. Well, after you have completed your next project, we’ll cross the bridge when we get there. Aoba hopes Nene could come the next time. Speaking of her, she is having her own fun of soaking in her own bathtub. Who says you can’t be together and still not have fun?

Drunk Women And Snowman Killer…
Sighs… Didn’t feel like anything much. Just the gang frolicking around and having fun. Uh huh. That’s what they’re supposed to do, right? They’re not supposed to go overboard when relaxing. But then again, I shouldn’t have placed such high expectations on the OVA in the first place. What was I thinking? Even the fanservice feels like a bit of a let-down. Yeah… No bare tits. Okay. So we want to make this series clean. Showing some skin and cleavage are acceptable. So going a bit too far to see real tits might be crossing the line, going overboard and too shocking especially for the kind of series New Game is supposed to be. So the only amusing thing that broke the monotony of it all is Aoba’s shocking side of torturing poor cute little snowmen. Although it is not that bad, it is a side of her that you don’t normally expect. It goes to show behind that cute innocent face lies a much crueller sadist that is bursting to get out when given the chance. Oh, how I would love to see such twist and conspiracy theory playing out in the next season. But then again, I should keep in mind what this series is supposed to be really about. Aoba designing secret animations of NPCs dying and getting tortured… Woah. That game I would want to buy.

New Game

January 14, 2017

We have gone behind the scenes on how your weekly manga magazine is published. Then we have gone behind the scenes for a comprehensive understanding on how anime is produced (and scared the hell out of us lazybones who thought animes were easy). Then there are a few seemingly behind the scenes or the lives of seiyuus wannabes. And now it is time to come full circle to complete Japan’s famous modern age pop culture and exports: Video games. Ah yes. Would you like to know the workings behind a video game company? Then New Game might be the anime to watch if you are interested in becoming a programmer or designer of your own game. Well, at least that was what I thought at first. Because you know how games are usually marketed greatly with all that hype till the real deal comes out? Yeah… Now, I’m not going to spoil anything for now for this anime but this anime more of revolves around a group of girls working in a video game company and their antics/obstacles they face at work. Sort of.

Episode 1
Aoba Suzukaze just graduated from high school as she is eager to start her first day at work at a game company, Eagle Jump as a graphics designer. She is nervous but meets art director, Rin Toyama. Taking her work station for the first time, Aoba thought she heard a monster but it is Kou Yagami sleeping in her panties! Rin introduces her as they try to guess each other’s age. You know how animes screw up our perception of a character’s age, right? Aoba learns that Kou is the character design of her all time favourite game, Fairies Story. This makes Kou her boss now. After Aoba is introduced to the other staff, it seems it isn’t so well for the rest of her team members. They act funny and seemingly ignore her. Even when she introduced herself to Hifumi Takimoto, she didn’t respond. Aoba also sees a fat cat, Mozuku that belongs to the game director, Shizuku Hadzuki. She brings it to work since it is bored and might stir up trouble at home. Hadzuki is so laid back that her assistant, Umiko has to shoot BB pellets and take her away to remind her the meeting is starting. Aoba returns to work and it seems Hifumi converses with her via instant messaging. She isn’t good at talking and this is the best way she can converse. As Aoba has little knowledge on 3D programming, Kou gives her a thick textbook to read. You’re on your own. Seriously?! But with Hifumi’s help, Aoba manages to get by. During lunch time, the other team members are shy in trying to get Aoba to go out lunch with them. Eventually Hajime Shinoda asks her. But Hifumi declines to join them as she has never gone out to lunch with anyone. So Aoba joins Hajime and Yun Iijima for lunch. Back to work, Aoba needs to go to the toilet when Kou sees her sitting by the hallway depressed. Because she lacks an ID, she can’t enter certain rooms. Kou is quick to blame Rin for not processing an ID card for her but gets shot back when she was supposed to get a picture of Aoba in the first place. During the break, the girls talk about how the busy period is coming up. Hifumi dreads it because it means going home late or not at all. Like Kou who sleeps over here. Might as well call it her second home. But Kou is amazing since she does the workload of a few people. At the end of the day as they clock out, Aoba asks an important question that she couldn’t: What game are they making? Fairies Story 3. This gives her more motivation to work harder as this was this game that got her interested in becoming a graphics designer.

Episode 2
Aoba has gotten used to things at the office. But she still can’t get used to seeing Kou wake up in her panties. Yeah, the office is really like her home. As Aoba gets to work, Mozuku comes to fool around, Naturally Hadzuki also does the same and cheekily wants Aoba to ‘punish’ her! When Aoba finally asks Hifumi when she could join them for lunch, she replies she normally don’t as she has lunch back home. Why? Because she wants to eat with Soujirou. Her boyfriend?! No, her pet hedgehog. Oh… Aoba tries to encourage Hifumi to smile but she just looks weird. Very weird. So when Hifumi returns home to Soujirou and puts up a decent smile, the hedgehog ignores her. Is the hedgehog a moody one in the first place? Because of that, Hifumi ‘complains’ to Aoba that she got into a fight with Soujirou. You make it sound so ambiguous… Kou gives Aoba her first assignment and that is to design and create NPCs for the game’s villagers. But soon the designing team head to the restaurant as Aoba’s welcoming party. Kou then drops the question probably everyone would love to hear from Aoba: Does she have a boyfriend?! Flustered at first, she says no and asks the same question back at Kou. She flusters even more than her. So blame work? Rin doesn’t sound happy. Worse, she gets drunk and admits she has no boyfriend. Hifumi has issues ordering (because it involves using her voice, I guess) so Aoba helps order on her behalf. However she mispronounces some of the kanji and there are a few options in ordering this alcohol so eventually Hifumi has to speak up. Aoba gets curious to try Hifumi’s drink but is luckily stopped in time since it is against the law for people under 20 to drink. When the restaurant is about to close, Kou suggests another round. Rin and Aoba agree while Hajime takes sleeping Yun home. At the bar, Aoba thought she could call a harmless drink like a pro but didn’t realize it has alcoholic content.

Episode 3
Aoba wakes up late and you can bet she is panicking she’ll be late for work. On the train as late as her is Yun. Once alighted, they make a mad dash and Aoba is much slower than Yun! Kou chastises Aoba, Yun and even Hifumi for being late at the same time. But when they explain Aoba tripped and all her belongings fell out, they were helping to retrieve them and thus the reason they were late. Kou feels embarrassed for lashing out at them and won’t record their tardiness but still has them submit their late report. These noobs don’t even know how to write an official report as they even put down their real reason for being late (hence Kou can’t write it off) including with emoji. Once Aoba is done with her character model, she shows it to Kou. Although it is good, there is still the issue of shading and the character’s face being stiff. She shows Hifumi’s work as comparison. Aoba has to redo it again. Down at first, when Mozuku comes to play with her, Hadzuki hints she can play with it all she wants whenever she is feeling down. This gives Aoba motivation to work hard. But each time she submits, Kou rejects and has her redo it. This makes Aoba push herself as she works real hard and stays overtime to get it done. It’s getting late and she still hasn’t finished. So Rin had to stop her and walk home together. She advises her about this is what working life is all about. Normally the one she sent in this morning was okay. Aoba is confused if it is okay or not. Rin’s reasoning for Kou for her to redo her work is so that she doesn’t get complacent and not be satisfied with the normal line for what’s okay. Thus there is lots of expectation from her. Aoba gets a call from her childhood friend, Nene Sakura as they talk and update each other on their current lives. While talking about the NPC Aoba is designing, Nene’s input gives Aoba the much needed idea for a change. When Kou wakes up the next morning, she sees Aoba already at her work station. She has completed her design and shows it to her. She passes. Although it took her a week, Kou gives her next deadline to design another one in 3 days. Aoba isn’t sure and pleads for 4 days. However Kou intends to have her finish in 1 day! So is this the infamous can’t-go-home thingy that Hifumi fears? Well, if you finish you can go home…

Episode 4
Kou thought everyone has left so she takes off her skirt and makes herself at home as always. She didn’t realize Rin was still around. Be glad she was the only one who saw her. Since she missed the last train, she’ll be staying here too. They talk about stuffs like if the game will sell but all that is important to Kou is that the game must be good. Just when Kou is going to get back to work, the worst fear of every programmer ever: The computer freezes! FFFFUUUUUU!!!! Ah well, time to start back at square one. Next morning as Rin wakes up and sees Kou sleeping in her panties, she gets this curiosity if sleeping with them would feel refreshing. So she takes off her skirt just to try it and what do you know? Kou saw her! Embarrassed? Be glad she was the only one who saw her. Just then Aoba just came in. I suppose she was too focused on work so she didn’t see them. However she heard weird sounds and checks it out. The most shocking discovery ever. Because Rin was trying to hush Kou, this ambiguous scene looked like they were having some hot lesbian make out! When everyone is talking and nobody is listening… Later Rin gives everyone their pay. This is Aoba’s first paycheque. Aoba is surprised if she should get this much. She earned it for staying late and completing her tasks. Chirpy Hajime tells her to keep up the good work and she might get a raise. Looks like she got one herself. Rin also talks to them about their yearly evaluation. Apparently Hajime isn’t from the same design team as them but the animation. It’s because her department lacks space so she is put here. Then they talk about what they did about their first pay like Hifumi bought cosplay but won’t elaborate further. Because spending your first paycheque is important as it leaves behind memories, Aoba is advised to think carefully about it. Hey, it’s her money. On her way home, she contemplates about clothes but realizes this suit her parents bought her was pretty expensive. So she ends up buying cake for everyone. Meanwhile Kou and Rin take a break by heading to the spa. Yeah, those ambiguous actions make it look like they’re making out. Rin thought Kou is going to ask an important question but it turns out to be a question all women hate: Did she get fat? Time to die…

Episode 5
Hajime shows Aoba the animation work she did on her character design. When Rin’s tablet pen isn’t working, it would be feasible to ask around if any other department has extra but Kou sends Hajime and Aoba to go buy one. At the store, Aoba realizes she left her wallet back at her table. It is worse for Hajime. She might have dropped it! But good news when Aoba returns to get her wallet. She saw Hajime’s wallet on her table too. Somebody’s getting pretty absentminded lately. Hajime is so happy that she acts out of character and this freaks out Kou. Since summer is here, the temperature outside is sizzling. Aoba wonders why Yun still wears long sleeve. She can’t say but the real reason is to hide he flabby arms. Since the office’s air-conditioning is getting too cold, Hajime turns up the thermostat. Yun is sweating like hell but thinks this might be good as she can burn some fat in this heat. Obviously Kou can’t take the heat so she turns down the thermostat. This cycle repeats a few more times before Kou decides to hide and catch the person in the act. Yun feeling comfortable fears she won’t burn away the fat and goes adjust the thermostat. Kou catches her in the act and since Yun can’t say the real reason, it makes her more suspicious. Then Hajime pops up and claims she is the one who was adjusting the thermostat. Because Yun also wants it hot, she claims majority wins. But it is going to get hotter when Rin blows her top when they are fooling around. As long as they cannot compromise, no one is allowed to touch the thermostat. Period. Wow. She’s also the coolest too. One early morning when Aoba is in early, she sits on Kou’s chair. Hifumi almost got the wrong idea if she has some sort of weird fetish. They talk to Rin about Kou’s old personality because it seems when she first started working here, she wasn’t very sociable. But ever since, she is starting to improve herself and just being true to herself. They’re glad they are getting along well with her. Aoba contemplates how she should act before Kou but Hifumi gets depressed thinking it would be hard for herself to change. When Kou enters, Aoba notices a big bag. She is going to stay here for a few days and it carries her clothes and other essentials. It seems she finds it easier to work at night. Aoba thinks she still doesn’t like interacting with people but nevertheless voices her support. Meanwhile Hifumi talks about the need to change her character to Soujirou. Screw you! Leave the hedgehog out of your human problems! Just feed him the food and not tease him!

Episode 6
With Aoba finishing her task, Kou hands her a new character design task. This time there is a specification list and unknown to Aoba, the character is modelled after her! Her character has a crueller fate: She dies! Aoba later tries the demo version of the game which is of course still work in progress. It really feels her hard work and everybody else’s come together seamlessly. When Hajime fantasizes about becoming the boss of this company, Kou quickly cuts her off and says she’ll quit the first thing! Everybody else too. On Aoba’s day off, she meets up with Nene to go see a movie, Moon Ranger. Because Nene looks younger than she is, she thought she hasn’t made any friends and thus the reason she accepted hanging out with her. You think too much… Of course the duo can’t help act like kids at times and even the staffs think they are as they look the part. Aoba finishes her popcorn and Nene offers her. But when she comments how fattening it is, Aoba puts her temptation on hold. Note: The movie must be screwed up if they have this alien baddie dude wearing a bra!!! Back to work, Aoba notices Rin and Kou are called for a meeting. They discuss what goes on in there and it seems the directors and other department leaders will sort out any issues faced. Then Aoba throws in the question of what if there are really issues. Will production get stopped? Hopefully not! Once the duo are out of the meeting, they relay the bad news. As Rin has miscalculated, her team needs to work overtime or come in on their day off. Of course they will be compensated monetarily. While the rest opt for coming in their day off, Aoba decides to stay overnight with Kou. But after a few hours working into the night, she has already fallen asleep on her table. Kou nudges her to go sleep since she bought her sleeping bag. However Aoba finds it hard to sleep since the figurines are like staring at her. So why go bug Kou about this? Just go sleep in the meeting room. Next morning when Kou wakes up and prepares for work, she realizes Aoba is still in the meeting room. She quickly knocks on the door to wake her up as employees are starting to stream in. She’s still sleeping…

Episode 7
Umiko sees Aoba and gets straight to her point that her character models are causing errors. All of them. This is causing the programming department she is in a big headache as the errors pile up. Aoba never thought there was anything wrong because Kou never taught her about it. This annoys Umiko about Kou for not teaching stuffs to her junior. Aoba hears a scathing comment when Umiko notes all the graphics department cares about is looking good. When Aoba asks Umiko for her surname, she is reluctant to tell. Till Kou shows up and calls her Ahagon in which Umiko instantly fires into her. She is from Okinawa and her family name of course makes it sound weird. She wants Aoba to call her given name. She will call her by that. Once Aoba has fixed the errors, Umiko returns to thank her and also apologize for being mean. To make it up, she gives Aoba a real shotgun shell! This is where Umiko starts ranting her love for airsoft and Aoba has no way of getting out of this conversation till Kou jumps in. So they decide to give her airsoft thing a try. At the rooftop which is supposedly her training ground, Umiko is seriously all geared up. It’s like she’s going to war. Once the rest suit up, Umiko demonstrates her deadly accuracy. Then Umiko and Kou get into a western style duo but end up pumping bullets into each other. Aoba isn’t sure if they get along well or not. The staffs are given a medical examination at a hotel. They see how ‘traumatized’ Kou is and this puts them under unnecessary pressure. Although Hifumi is attended by an old experienced nurse, the trauma causes her to act unnaturally. Aoba gets a panicky young and new inexperienced nurse. So much so Aoba is the one telling her to calm down! She’s clumsy too! Watch out for the injection! I don’t really know how she passed her nursing exam. Because of this, Hajime and Yun pray hard to get the old nurse. Unfortunately she is going out for a while. Holy sh*t… The young nurse is so panicky that Umiko got annoyed and just did the injection herself!!! Badass! Yun thought her tummy size was okay when her measurements were taken. Then when she hears the nurse praising Hajime’s tummy, she gets jealous. Yours not good enough? Once the examination is over, some head back quickly to work because it is that time of year where they’ll get busy. A time where they also hire part timers for debugging. But what does airsoft has got to do with this since Umiko tries to persuade Aoba to try it out in her spare time. She’ll pass.

Episode 8
College’s out for 2 months for Nene and she’s bragging about it to Aoba. She doesn’t get the summer off… Nene sees an ad for part time debugging for Eagle Jump and applies. Umiko is in charge of newbies and she almost fired Nene for being late on the first day! Because Umiko is trying to look for Aoba, this suspicious act has Umiko think she is a corporate spy! When Aoba spots Nene, she instinctively goes to hide. Thinking she wants to surprise her, Aoba acts well enough to make her presence known but enough to make Nene think she hasn’t noticed her. As Nene tries to approach her, Umiko catches her thinking she is snooping around. You sure you’re not a spy? After Aoba explains and introduces Nene to her seniors, Nene gets straight to debugging. During lunch time, Aoba introduces her other colleagues to Nene and they think Nene looks like a kid. Hadzuki as usual has a habit of jumping in and even teases if Nene was a spy, she would really divulge all the company secrets since she is so cute. Nene spends the entire day testing and now she realizes how tough this job can be. Umiko thinks she is slacking but sees her notes of bugs so she’s actually doing her job. When Kou is suddenly in despair, it turns out somebody ate her pudding in the fridge. Oh my. That guilty look on Nene’s face. Yup. She was the one. To apologize or to keep quiet… Later Rin sends out a company-wide email for the pudding thief to see her and promises she won’t scold. Wow. It has gotten that serious? Nene is in a dilemma to turn herself in but couldn’t help imagine the repercussions on Aoba. She runs away before Rin. Next day, Aoba buys Kou a pudding for her hard work. Nene is visibly guilty and Rin can guess why. She goes back to the fridge to see another pudding and an apology note from the supposed thief. Rin then hypothetically speaks how the thief secretly came to apologise yesterday. Despite her email making it hard for her to apologise, she can tell how sorry she is. She hopes everyone won’t be so harsh on her. Nene once thought the company is a scary place but is glad Aoba is surrounded by great and kind people.

Episode 9
Nene tries to look up an NPC’s skirt. She did it! It works! Umiko is not happy she is fooling around and is supposed to report this bug but Hadzuki explains this is a hidden feature in the game. Rin is feeling unwell so Kou takes her back and nurses her. Because of that, the other girls start chatting and even Nene joins in. Hifumi feels the need to tell them to get back to work and by the time she is ready to do so, Umiko has already lectured them all. Umiko then talks to Nene why did she come work here in the first place. Is it because her friend is working here? Nene replies Aoba was in a dilemma to pursue her studies and instead decided to come out and work to fulfil her dream. She is just worried for her wellbeing having being her friend since young. She promises she won’t screw around in a company that Aoba treasures working at. Later Umiko tells of a change in schedule because the wiring company is scheduled to come in tomorrow to check the cabling and wires so the girls will not be able to use their computers. Nene is glad this means Aoba will have some spare time. However Aoba realizes the importance of the schedule and with lots of corrections to come in the next few days, she decides to sleepover to cover for tomorrow’s work. The rest of the girls also have the same idea. We see them working great for the first few hours but then exhaustion starts to creep in. Hifumi then suggests going to a nearby public bath. Girls relaxing in the bath… Nothing much to see here… Next morning, Aoba feels refreshed and has slept well. She makes her way home and calls Nene. With how good Aoba sounds, Nene gets the wrong idea she fooled around last night! Kou is also out of the picture as she has got Rin’s cold and Rin hasn’t recovered enough. Nene brought this fate upon herself because as she is admiring the gun collection in Umiko’s station, she accidentally dropped her cake on the table. Now Umiko has Nene transfer her PC next to her table so she can keep an eye on her and make sure she concentrates on her debugging work. No more playing around! Aoba can’t help you this time.

Episode 10
Aoba comes in early to work on the weekend and on the way she bumps into Kou. They bought doughnuts on sale for the rest of their colleague but it seems Hifumi has also done the same. Aoba notices that the company’s policy forbids part timers to work overtime especially on weekends because otherwise they might get paid higher than the staffs! This has Aoba wonder if this wages law is just a loophole for cheaper wages! She might have opened a can of worms as Kou wants to ‘talk’ to her about this… Aoba and Hifumi go give some doughnuts to Umiko’s department who is swamped with work thanks to Nene’s diligence in spotting bugs. As thanks, she wants to give them a bullet shell. No thanks. Better go before she persuades you to join in another airsoft game. When they return to their place, Hajime and Yun have also bought doughnuts. More doughnuts overload when Rin and Hadzuki also bought some. However Hadzuki has bought senbei to go with it. Sweet and salty treats. Can they finish all of that? When Nene comments about Eagle Jump’s weird working policy to work on weekends, Aoba shoots back that the college life must be so easy and laidback. No reports to write that she has to come work part time? This causes a rift in their friendship. So Nene talks to Umiko about it. Aoba does get mad. Well, at least when she saved her from boys bullying her. For lunch, both avoid inviting the other. Aoba has to make do with Kou since Rin ‘dumped’ her too while her other colleagues are busy. Nene feels bad while eating alone so Umiko hints there is still time left till end of break time. This has Nene rushing to go find and make up with Aoba. Too bad she is out for an errand. When they finally meet, Nene trips and is literally flying! Funny! A cue for them to patch up and become best friends again. You can tell it worked when Nene’s mood is ultra happy. But then she accidentally trips on the power plug and disconnects Umiko’s PC!!! OH SH*T!!!! Did she save her work? Anyhow she is still going to get it!

Episode 11
Kou has Aoba and co visit the game expo today since Fairies Story 3 will be on preview. It will be good experience for them. We get a glimpse of its trailer and it is no surprise Aoba and co are astonished. They get motivated when they hear positive feedback from the crowd so when they return, they put in their best for this final stretch. Hifumi has been ‘missing’ since she was doing cosplay at the expo and even ‘testing’ the game there. One day Aoba forgot to pick her suits up at the cleaners so she had to pick another for work. She can’t decide and eventually let her mom decide. Thus she looks a bit different when Kou sees her. But Kou is going to get her own dressing down by Rin for a photo shoot. Kou dislikes dressing up since she doesn’t look too feminine. Eventually whatever tricks Kou pulled, she still has to change and get her photos taken. She looks decently cute and even Aoba noted it wasn’t some photography trick, the reason why she couldn’t recognize her when she first came here! Is that an insult? Umiko is already stressed with all the errors and programming and here comes Nene with another debugging report. Well, not her fault. She has Nene go buy drinks and snacks since everyone else will be staying over to finish it. I guess Umiko still doesn’t trust her and sends Aoba to keep a watch on her. Nene thinks buying the expensive energy drinks will help. You don’t know how wrong it is because Umiko blows her top. The fatigue must be getting to her. But when she tries it out, her tiredness is gone! Miracle? Nene and Aoba try it but their taste buds are like children. Since this is the last day for part timers, this means today (or the dead hours of the morning) would be the last for Nene. Wow. It’s like an emotional goodbye as Nene hopes Aoba’s colleagues will take care of her. It’s not like the end of the world or they’ll never see each other again. Yeah, Nene is crying the hardest…

Episode 12
Aoba and co are outside the game store as Fairies Story 3 goes on release today. Although the company has given each staff a free copy, why do they need to stand in line? Because you buy the game, you get limited edition of freebies! Uh huh. The company had to cut cost so the staffs only get the game. Nene and Hajime are so in sync with each other it’s like they’ve been friends forever with the same thinking and actions. It seems they have gone to different stores to get different editions of bonus goods. Despite the company has some recordings, I guess it is the experience of waiting in line at stores that counts. So happy they are that they accidentally disclose some information about the game’s final boss. This causes a few around to hear them. Panic then sets in especially for Rin because they could be fired if they leaked game info! Oh no. It is already spreading on social media sites! Oh sh*t!!! Thankfully those comments are those from people who stayed up all night to clear the game. Phew. Imagine what Umiko would do to Nene if she actually found out about it… Umiko shows them an article interviewing their company for this game. What’s so special? A picture of a feminine Kou! Everyone wants to buy the magazine now but Kou is swamped with embarrassment.

There is a post production party and all those involved from developing to marketing the game are invited. Nervous Kou gives her thank you speech followed by Hadzuki before they toast. Nene joins the raffles and won a prize: A military rifle. Looks like her fate will always connect her back to Umiko. Although Nene doesn’t like her prize very much, she takes on the challenge to research about the gun and will disclose what she finds in the next debugging job. However Umiko says that won’t happen since the company will be outsourcing debugging to another company. Nene so sad… Umiko gives her some hope in the form of her name card to contact her if she needs to get in touch. Hadzuki approaches Kou because she wants to promote her as art director as Rin plans to become a producer and work with the current one. However this leaves Kou very shocked like as though she didn’t see this coming and didn’t want this in the first place. Hadzuki tells Aoba that Rin once helmed that position during Fairies Story 2. She worked so hard but didn’t get the desired results. This led to frustration and clashed with those around her. It caused a newbie like Aoba’s age to quit. It was a bad experience for Kou. Aoba then goes to talk to Kou feeling depressed outside. After getting her to sign on her game copy, she thanks her for everything. She might not know much about her past but the way she is now, she can respect her as her boss. This means Aoba is going to stick with her thick and thin. This gives Kou lots of hope as she returns and joins the party. But Kou and Rin might have too much to drink as a surveillance camera catches them sobering up on the roadside while Aoba tries to negotiate with a policewoman. And then Nene came by with her gun… Oh sh*t!

Game Over. Restart Or Sequel?
Well… If you really want to know what goes on behind in the workings of a game company or at least how a game is produced, then you’d be sorely disappointed. Because after the great insights that we have seen in Shirobako and the trials and tribulations in Bakuman, this one didn’t even come close. Sure, we see some graphic design and some programming but those are so minimal that they don’t even matter. I am not sure if I can classify this show as the cute girls doing cute things genre because programming games aren’t really the cutest thing especially when you have all the headache of debugging and testing to do. Besides, the way they are seen doing their job isn’t in a cute fashion either.

Therefore watching this anime in hoping to learn something great feels like what big AAA games in the west are now these days. They play on your hype with all the great marketing and advertising and when the real deal comes on release day, nothing but disappointment. Now, I’m not saying that this anime is bad but partly I myself am to blame for hoping that this series would be something like this. Also, I didn’t really read the manga that this anime was adapted from so I didn’t really know about the plot when I decided to jump in and watch. Did they say something about how games are made in a game company? Nope. My fault. Even the synopsis didn’t say anything about it. Just about a newly hired girl and the rest of her colleagues working in a game company. That’s all. I guess I read too much and misplaced my hopes too much. While it does bring in the occasional laughs, there isn’t anything ground breaking to expect either.

At least where this anime is concerned, everything for the production to the release of the game seems to go on quite smoothly. I doubt it would be such a happy and smooth ride in the world but let’s not get mixed up with reality for a while. So to see the girls finishing up all their work and meeting the expected deadline is indeed a happy ending and thus a feel good factor to end the season. Heck, better than being stuck in development hell, right? So whether or not Fairies Story 3 will be a commercial success is another story because well, money brings in a potential for a sequel, right? I’m sure the Fairies Story isn’t planned out as a trilogy. But that’s just me speculating on things.

The characters… Some of them are interesting but some are boring. Personally, I find Aoba’s group of colleagues to be boring although they have varied personalities. Because like Aoba she just feels generic. Although as the newest girl in town (or in this case the company), it feels like she has settled in very quickly and before you know it, you’d think she has been an old staff like the rest. Well, it is good to always fit in and adapt to your surroundings. Other than that, nothing really stands out about her except for the irony that her small stature sometimes has her being mistaken as a middle school student. Oh, and the fact she dresses up nicely in her formal suit just to do character design. Because people doing her kind of job are usually dressed very casually like you see as the rest of her colleagues. First impression counts, right? I guess this dispels that game developers are hippie people with unkempt long hair and jeans.

Aoba’s friends in the same department are also boring. Hajime loves the sentai genre and loves buying its props while Yun is your typical girl concerned about her weight and thus has to diet. Hifumi is the obligatory shy girl of the series who loves to cosplay but the only amusing thing about her is her penchant to talk it out with her pet hedgehog who really is the ‘star’ among the duo. Because the hedgehog don’t really give any f*cks what she is saying and is only interested in what she feeds him. If he was blue and had shoes, he could have run away and far from her, get what I’m saying? Haha! As for their seniors, I only remember Kou as the girl who sleeps in her panties in office. Really. Rin? Nice girl. That’s all.

Therefore the most interesting character of them all in my opinion is Nene because of her tendency to cause trouble whether it is her fault or not. In a way, she brings life to the department that is already plagued with overworking, late nights and trying to meet deadlines. Yeah, she should just quit college and get hired here quickly. Life at Eagle Jump would be more interesting then because she is the joker of the series with many of the laughs coming from her antics. Only the constant supervision of Umiko should put her in place. The mere presence of her would send shivers down her spine. Uh huh. It is the case of being constantly guilty. As though Nene must always have done something wrong. Speaking of Umiko, calling her the series ‘antagonist’ might be too far fetch. Because her job is one of the most stressful considering she has to debug and reprogram any problems found. You don’t want to release of game full of bugs on your release day, would you? Oh yeah. Just release a day 1 patch… So by being the meanest of the lot (that itself might be an overstatement), she keeps those who are laidback in line. To show that she is not merely a working robot, we see her have interest in airsoft. Another sign not to mess with her because nothing is more dangerous than a girl with guns.

Last but not least, Hadzuki. I noticed this very laidback director has a penchant of popping up just about anywhere. Like as though she has this teleport ability. But when she does, she has some good advice or treats. You might be asking if being at the top must be very relaxing for her. Well, you don’t know what you see. It could be a whole lot worse than everybody else’s job. Or it could be the easiest. We don’t know because we are never shown what she really does in her office. Or if she is even there to begin with.

I’m not trying to be or sound like a sexist here but do you not realize that the entire Eagle Jump company is only made out of females? Do girls make better programmers? I don’t think that is even a valid question. It’s like saying only guys play video games when there are as much girls out there who play video games too. Even the staffs in other departments are all females. Does this company have a female only hire policy? Well, as I learnt later on, Hadzuki does have a penchant for cute girls and thus the reason why her staffs are all females. Is this why she always goes to ‘disturb’ the girls at work from time to time?

Art and drawing style aren’t anything much to shout about too. Because all the girls look cute enough as distraction and to focus on them. Especially in some episodes we get our pantsu fanservice because Kou likes to strip down to her undies whenever she stays overnight at the office. Yeah, might as well since the office is like her second home. Or is it her first? With bright and vivid colours and backgrounds, it sure makes this anime about making games looking a lot happy instead of being stressful. I mean, I haven’t seen how real programmers look like when they’re rushing for deadlines, but I believe they can’t be looking all this cute and their best from start to finish, right? Right?! This series is animated by Doga Kobo who also did Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun, Plastic Memories, YuruYuri, Himouto! Umaru-chan, Love Lab, Luck & Logic, Sansha Sanyou, Koihime+Musou, GJ-Bu and Mangirl.

Voice acting, I didn’t recognize anybody despite there are a couple of seiyuus I should like Eri Kitamura as Hadzuki (also doubling as Mozuku) and Youko Hikasa as Kou. The rest of the casts are mainly unknowns or newbies such as Yuuki Takada as Aoba (Rin Kurosawa in Aikatsu), Megumi Yamaguchi as Hifumi (Koharu Nanakura as Aikatsu Stars), Megumi Toda as Hajime (Yuzu in Sakura Trick), Ayumi Takeo as Yun (Eri Sajou in Aikatsu Stars), Madoka Asahina as Nene (Mai in Pan De Peace), Chitose Morinaga as Umiko (Karen in Shomin Sample) and the only veteran being Ai Kayano as Rin (Mashiro in Sakurasou No Pet Na Kanojo). Both the opening and ending themes are sung by Fourfolium (basically the voices behind Aoba, Hifumi, Hajime and Yun). Sakura Skip is the opener and sounds like your typical all-girl group idol pop while Now Loading as the ending theme also sounds like your all-girl group idol music but with a hint of rock in it. Well, both songs don’t really appeal much to me.

Overall, this is still a fun and enjoyable anime. It just didn’t meet my personal expectations that I thought it would be workings of a game company. But still, a good anime to watch if you want to watch cute girls doing something. And that something here is making games. Next time when a game is released and you critically called it bad and one of the worst games ever played, just remember the hours put in to develop and making the end product despite all the numerous glitches, bugs, crashes and falling short of expectations. But then again, I’m not going to tell game developers how to do their job. A bad game is still a bad game no matter what the problem is/was. And how dare you charge a full retail price on such a lousy game?!

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