New Game is a decently enjoyable anime series about a topic that we need to explore more (video game creation), and it is often criticized because it doesn’t stand to the level of other “creative job” animes like Shirobako or Bakuman.
And yes, the series could go deeper on the subject, but even if we focus on this work as just a comedy with a nice setting, we can still see it suffers from something that already stains the good things that the show already accomplishes, another great problem that it’s “slyly” put on screen: a lot of content that doesn’t serve any purpose.
I think the most noticeable example of this, is the fanservice of the series. Without any context, without need, without any substantial reason, we are bombarded with light fanservice shots, where the girls are just doing normal stuff, and just for the sake of it, all their sex appeal potential is shown.
This feels miserable, in my opinion. The show isn’t confident in the dialogue or actions that the characters are partaking, and to maintain the spectator’s attentions slips under the table some sexy pose that highlights the girl’s bodies.
And I don’t say this because I think fanservice is bad in itself, to exhibit a character’s body to the pleasure of the viewer’s eyes is another tool in the belt of any media, but the thing with tools is that you need to use them properly.
For example, Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann portrayed Yoko in bikini and shorts, being a constant source of fanservice , but it made sense in there, since Yoko represented the sexual tensions of Simon (a 14 years old boy, don’t underestimate puberty) and also served as a point of pressure, tension and conflict in the series thanks to those sexual values.
There are also tons of ecchi series that uses fanservice for the sake of it, but that do this admitting from the first minute that that is the tone they are going for, series like Highschool of the Dead or Highschool DxD present ecchi as something that gives identity to the series, for better or for worse.
If you want also a contrast of how New Game could have done thing better, just look at K-on! This series never show us fan service, it doesn’t have the need to, and so it doesn’t do it. Yes, it shows us cute girls doing cute things, but real high school girls do that, they are cute and have a fun time with their friends doing those silly kawaii things that set the tone. But that series never tries to bring that cuteness to the sexual level, which has a different set of values.
And the problem with fanservice can be extrapolated through a lot of parts in the series, with common gags and scenes that lead us nowhere.
Yes, it’s a series with comedy, but even so, every scene should paint us a picture of the characters and their lives, I feel some chunks of the show are just repeating what we already know, and thus, are very expendable. Yes, I know Hifumi is socially awkward, twenty extra jokes about this aren’t going to make me connect more with the character if you don’t do anything new on them, I have enough with a few of those. This just consumes precious time that could be used in setting something more interesting.
Summarizing, I think New Game is a good series, with a lovable cast of characters, and in which you can have fun in a cool context (that could be used more in anime), but it needs to be polished. It has a lot of unnecessary bits and pieces that lower the quality of what was good, by adding unwarranted filler and it could be something more fun and enjoyable by fixing this. The team behind the work is good, but I think if they consider this, they can do it better when making a new game +.