Ending on a Heartfelt and Poignant Note
New Game!!‘s final episode manages to end the series on a heartfelt and poignant note. After a rough start, the season finale makes it all feel worthwhile.
This episode primarily concerns itself with Kō’s departure from the studio, and as such, most of the spotlight is on her and Aoba. This marks the second time Aoba has had a group of friends split up. First, when she left high school and entered the workplace, and now. However, New Game!’s core message has always been that work is the beginning of a new chapter, not the end of an old one.
Aoba has grown over the past twelve episodes and adapted to her new role as an assistant director. From Kō’s farewell speech, it’s clear that Aoba has had a larger impact than she even knew. While Kō has been the driving force between Eagle Jump’s marketing campaigns, she dislikes the media attention and lacks the motivation and reliability that an art director should have.
In many ways, Aoba, once fully trained and a little more experienced, is a better fit for the role. She’s worked extremely hard to get where she is at the end of the series, and Kō knows this. While Kō is leaving to gain experience elsewhere, Aoba will do the same. This could lead to a reunion and new rivalry in season three (if it is made).
The season finale also does an excellent job of tying up loose ends.
Gone are the petty rivalries between the Eagle Jump team. PECO is a commercial success, but with their star artist gone, the remaining members of Eagle Jump’s art team will have to step up their efforts to uphold the studio’s reputation. It’s very likely that Aoba will become the new art director, and with a raft of new hires likely to appear, Momo could be a good choice for an assistant AD.
This episode is more emotional than usual, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. With shows like this, it’s all too easy to forget about certain cast members. Episode twelve, however, shows how much impact a single character has in the entire studio, even if they aren’t the most reliable person.
This episode also has additional visual flair, utilizing unusual camera angles to create evocative shots. As Kō leaves the airport, her silhouette slides past every member of her team. It perfectly captures those last few moments where Kō is dwelling on her Eagle Jump career and is by far one of the best scenes of the entire series. If you haven’t already seen New Game!!, it’s worth checking out: drama and comedy blend seamlessly with some of the most heartfelt and touching moments of any workplace anime from the last few years.